647 748 3287 | $15-25 Mains | 176 Dupont St.
So by now, I think it’s already pretty evident I had an amazing meal at Rose & Sons. This new comfort food restaurant from Anthony Rose, formerly of The Drake, is the first of three new openings he’s planning over the next little while, and if Rose & Sons is any indication of their eventual quality, this city’s in for a real treat.
The restaurant has been running brunch and lunch service for a couple weeks, but only began serving dinner on Dec 6th. I dropped in with a few friends on Dec 7th, only the place’s second dinner service, for a meal I won’t soon forget.
Exterior Image Credit: blogTO
The concept for the restaurant is “comfort food with lots of loving”, and that’s aptly conveyed in the menu. The best way to describe it is a chef thinking of all the food they love to eat and putting it on one concise menu. You’ll find pork fried rice, buckwheat pancakes with whitefish and gravlax, steak frites, chili, and duck confit all just lines apart. Usually, that kind of assortment’s gotta make you apprehensive, but there’s no reason for anxiety here.
We started with the pork fried rice with egg, ginger, peanuts, and broccoli. I’m not sure what the best part was, but I’ll highlight the great little chunks of belly and the crunch of peanuts and crispy rice as my favourites. The dish as whole is addictive, simple, and assuredly comfort food at its best.
Next up: fries and gravy. If we’re eating comfort food, we might as well just go for it. The fries were fries, but the gravy was borderline creamy and had a really nice depth of flavour. The creaminess added thickness and textural contrast that made this a bit unique overall.
Next up, something I’m seeing a lot more: grilled romaine. The romaine had a good amount of char on it to impart bitterness, but the balance in the dish came from a good shaving of toscano cheese, and an assertive punch of garlic and anchovy. There’s nothing particularly complex here, but the trick is being bold without botching the balance. Well done.
Our means began with the pickerel, creamed squash and ‘green sauce’, that I’ll say is a riff on salsa verde. This was one of the more unique flavour combinations on the menu, but even reading it, you get the sense it’ll work. The verde was where it should be, the fish had a great sear and flaked as you’d hope, and the squash provided a good base of flavour and heft to the dish.
The patty melt (above) is one, among many reasons, you need to come here. Essentially it’s a burger and grilled cheese in one and is absolutely fantastic due to (1) the awesome rye dotted with caraway seed and (2) a juicy patty expertly cooked to medium-rare. This wasn’t my main, but I’ll remember my bite of it for a while.
The last main was the duck confit with brussel sprouts, beans, and poached pear - it didn’t disappoint. Tons of very tender duck, brussel sprouts that even the most vehemently non-vegetable eaters would love and some pear for mild sweetness that really compliments the protein. The only miss here I’d say were the beans that I’m quite certain were under-cooked and little chalky as a result.
Given the excellence that preceded it, dessert was a mandatory undertaking. We ordered a bread pudding with blueberries and split it between everyone to keep our hearts beating, even though it’s not actually that huge of a portion. A friend of mine described it as the perfect balance between custard and french toast, topped with some of the purest blueberry flavour I’ve had in some time.
Service and Ambience
I’ll start off by saying you’ll have a tough time reserving a dinner seat here once people know it exists; there just aren’t very many seats in the little space. The diner charm is undeniable and I really like the two-man kitchen in plain sight, helping make the connection between you and the people preparing your food.
On the service side, Anthony himself greeted us when we walked in, was our server for most of the night and seemed to be doing the expediting with the kitchen. You gotta love the advantages a smaller space provides. He was a great host all night, the food came out of the kitchen quickly, and we really got the sense this was his baby. Very cool.
I’ve found that ‘comfort food’ is a delicate line to walk, and can mean anything from really poorly-executed classics to gloriously simple but addictive plates. Rose & Sons is surely the latter. This is only my second four-star rating in nearly 80 tries, so if that isn’t recommendation enough, I don’t know what is. Go now and enjoy!
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Posted by: Jacob, Visited Dec 7, 2012