416 274 8766 | $17-34 Mains
Does King West have enough restaurants? Yes. Does it have enough good restaurants? Debatable. East of Spadina? There’s serious room for improvement.
While Weslodge isn’t precisely east of Spadina, it’s close enough to get folks who work downtown excited. I kept hearing people say they wanted to try the place with ‘the big yellow doors’, so I decided I’d head there and sample it.
A drink is definitely food, so I’ll start with what I drank. The mixed drink menu is a fair size and kinda pricey, and since this is a saloon, I felt compelled.
The drink above was entitled the Gentlemen’s Quarterly. Quite strong, really pronounced herbal/licorice flavour. At first I was surprised at the size for $16, but it packed a punch.
After a few sips, our two starters arrived. The first, a scotch egg surrounded by chorizo with tomato jam and truffle. While quite tasty, the best thing on the plate is the jam. Chorizo and truffle felt like it was missing unfortunately.
Next up, awesome garlicky snap peas. If you want to start with something green, this will be a great choice. The parmesan and radish are fairly subtle, but these are just really fresh and delicious. We should have ordered two of them.
Our first main was the fried cornish hen with chantrelles, corn, and black kale. The sauce had a bourbon note to it which was great and the hen was quite moist. The breading was a bit thick and maybe lacked a bit of crunch, but I think the dish fell short due to lack of salt. It just felt under-seasoned and the flavours didn’t pop.
This dish was terrific. The veal cheek was melt-in-your-mouth delicious, but the balance of this dish was what sold me. The white bean puree provides a good hearty base, the escarole has a great sharp vinegar taste, the dates were just sweet enough, and the bacon adds just enough pork to round everything out.
We also ordered a side of carrots with harissa, yogurt, and crispy carrot tops. This was an unfortunate miss. It looked cool, but was ultimately more about harissa than carrot. I also thought the tops didn’t work given their lack of flavour and toughness.
Thankfully, the dessert was really creative to end the meal. It’s a cherry sorbet, with a machego cheesecake, melting chocolate bits and crumbs of condensed milk (I’m guessing) for texture. While the cherry wasn’t super pronounced, the machego cheesecake DEFINITELY tasted like manchego and the texture was really close to melting cheese. It’s hard to describe, but I think it’s a really unique composed dish.
Service and Ambience
It’s clear a ton of work went into to creating the vibe of this place. I’m terrible with describing these types of things, but the three words I’d use are old-fashion, ornate and open. I’ll say you can’t help but just look around for the first 10 minutes or so.
Our service was great for the most part. The server was very personable, helped speed up our meal so we could make a flight, and ensured we had everything we needed. He did miss the carrots when we ordered it, but was apologetic and got an order to us right away.
I would definitely recommend this place, but I think there’s attainable room for improvement. The veal cheek, snap peas, and dessert were real highs, and a few other dish concepts are inches away from that same territory. With an already impressive dining room and charismatic servers, this isn’t so far from a 3.5/4 in my book.
Posted by: Jacob, Visited Sep 17, 2012