TREVOR: Promising menu falls a bit short



416-941-9410   |   $25-35 entrees

Passed by a few times on Wellington, menu looked intriguing so took a shot with Eli (see his review of l’Ouvrier here).

Food

Nice diversity on the menu while still being succinct. Definitely some revisit value. There’s an entire section dedicated to foie gras, so if you’re feeling a little sinful, you’ll appreciate it. More meat than fish on the mains, but generally something for everyone.

I started with the beet salad. A great mix of red/gold beets, fried halloumi cheese, cashew butter, cashews, crispy shallots, some microgreens and herb oil (neither green seemed to have any flavour). I very much enjoyed the mix of textures and the balance of sweet beets, salty halloumi, and rich cashew butter.

Eli had the sea scallops over pea puree and duck. Enjoyed it despite the duck resembling cubed ham which was a little odd.

My main was the beef cheek on sunchoke risotto and shaved foie gras. I’m not a fan of foie, but figured shaved would be ok. The shavings were a little chunkier than I would have liked and were chilled. I didn’t find the different temperatures enjoyable. On the very bright side, the cheek was super moist and melted in my mouth. Sunchoke risotto was buttery and satisfying. I found the richness of the whole dish a bit overwhelming though and would have appreciated something fresh or bitter to cut it.

The other dish Eli tried was the seared foie on buttermilk pancakes, pork belly and spiced apple. We had delusions of a larger portion size (pancakes were size of your average cookie), and his description verbatim: ‘what it offered in delicacy, it lacked in flavour’. Too bad, it sounded promising.

Very extensive wine list, but limited beer selection (not really a big deal for a place like this though).

Service and Ambience

Friendly, laid-back service. Bread was brought after our appetizers which was weird, but other than that things were uneventful. We asked for a recommendation on which foie gras to order, but got the brief ‘depends on what you want’ answer. Not a big deal, but its nice to get an opinion or detailed answer when consulting your server. In contrast, we appreciated having the bills ready quickly which was great for a friend who had to duck out.

The whole restaurant is actually in a basement space with very low ceilings (7 foot kinda thing), so it feels very intimate. Exposed brick and use of wood gives the dimly lit room some character, and we both agreed it was a well-designed space.

The Reco?

A good fine-dining choice in the financial district that isn’t overly expensive (hard to find). Menu is interesting, especially if you like foie gras, but can’t say we were satisfied with all dishes. That said, we’d be open to giving it another try.

Other reviews:
Globe and Mail    |    Toronto Life

Posted by: Jacob & Eli, Visited Sept 29, 2011

Trevor Kitchen and Bar on Urbanspoon

SALAD KING: When I want Thai, I go here

(this review is from memory, I didn’t just eat here)



416-593-0333   |   $3.25 - $10 / dish

A friend of introduced me to Salad King this summer and now I’m officially an advocate. See below for the review.

Food

I’ll just start by saying this place is phenomenal value. In my two times eating here, not a single dish has been disappointing, and I’ve never paid more than $10 for any of them. The menu is large, but definitely not overwhelming. I usually order a few plates and share them with the table.

A quick note on spice level: they give you the option of selecting how spicy you want most dishes (those marked with chilis on the menu). Both times I went, the 1 chili and 3 chili levels were best. Sufficiently spicy but you can still taste your meal. If you’re an animal, go for more, if you don’t like spice, just stick with the dish as is.

The best things I’ve eaten there are the curries, my favourite being the Golden Curry. Pick any of chicken, beef, or shrimp and enjoy a decently sized portion of this stuff over some rice. Beautiful depth of flavour: sweet notes, the tartness of tamarind comes through, and your protein is definitely going to be tender.

Other favourite of mine is Sea Queen (breaded squid with thyme and chili, honey and lime juice sauce). Squid isn’t rubbery and the combination of spices and ingredients is satisfying and fresh.

Also enjoyed the Satays and Siam Noodles. I’d feel safe in my selection of anything on this menu.

Service and Ambience

Despite the fact that the place is usually packed, I’d say there are enough servers to get your food to you quickly. The water refills are timely and the staff is very friendly and accommodating.

The space itself is beautiful. Very modern and fun. Most of the space is taken up by long metal tables that you share with others, but there are also some private tables that face out onto Yonge if you’re lucky enough to snag one.

Cozy seating, but it works with the hustle and bustle of the place.

The Reco?

The title pretty much says it all. This is one of the highest reviews I’ve given out thus far for the simple reasons that my food tasted great, the service was fast and friendly, and the prices are almost too low. It’s not a fine dining experience with molecular gastronomy or high-priced ingredients, but it’s a damn good Thai restaurant that offers unparalleled value.

Other reviews:
Toronto Life     |      TO Bites


Posted by: Jacob,
Visited twice Summer 2011

Salad King on Urbanspoon

MARGARITAS: Aptly named, but simple eats



416-423-7555   |   $10-17 Entress, $7-10 Margaritas

Been here two times before, decided to walk over for a lunch out of the office.

Food

Your first question should be, “how are the margaritas?”. Answer: great. I had Pamelita’s Pick of the Day (mixed berry and chiles today) and it tasted like a berry smoothie with a hint of chile that lingers in your throat. Friend of mine had The Original and also endorsed it. Not super expensive either with the value in the 14 oz cup with 2oz of tequila ($10.95).


The sangria pitcher we ordered was decent, not overly sweet, but a lot of ice diluted the flavor a bit.

The menu is straightforward Mexican cuisine and well priced. Tacos, quesadillas, burritos, enchiladas, and some traditional dishes like chiles rellenos.

We shared Totopo (nachos with the usual fixings). Lots of goat cheese on top which added richness but the excess liquid from the tomato on the bottom of the plate turned most of the surrounding chips to mush.

I ordered mole on chicken enchiladas for my main. It’s rich with a prominent chocolate taste, not much heat or other distinct flavor, but I still enjoyed it. Sides were bland rice and salad.

Friends around me ordered quesadillas and fajitas and didn’t have much to say about them. The fish of the day was tilapia and came battered (surprise to us, waiter didn’t let us know).

Quick notes on what I’ve had there before: chicken con pollo (again mole was chocolaty good, sides were basic), guac (fresh, served in stone mortar for effect), tortilla chips (look like they’re made in-house, enjoyed them).

Service and Ambience

Took at least 30 minutes for mains to come to the four of us which was too long given the number of the patrons in the place. Our plates weren’t cleared very frequently so we used the table beside us as an unloading dock. Lots of wasps out on the patio appreciated it.

Patio itself is quaint but nice. Theres another on the roof of the place as well that gets busy when the after work crowd descends on Baldwin St.

The Reco?

If you’re in the area and want to grab drinks and snacks on the patio it’s definitely a good spot. It can probably satisfy a craving for Mexican food, but don’t expect a ton variety, any real depth of flavour, or stellar service.

Other reviews:
Toronto Life     |      BlogTO

Posted by: Jacob, Visited September 22, 2011

Margarita's Fiesta Room on Urbanspoon

WVRST: I went 3x in a week, and I want to go back

(this review is from memory, I didn’t just eat here)



416-703-7775   |   $6-9 Sausages, $6-10 Beers

I’ve been to Wvrst three times this past summer, and I feel I owe it to you to write about as soon as I can.

Food

Sausage selection is beautifully adventurous. Ever had kangaroo, guinea fowl, duck, bison, venison or wild boar in sausage? Yeah, I hadn’t either.

The sausages are offered either sliced with tomato curry sauce or in a fresh whole wheat roll (toasted rolls are awesome). I’ve been three times and eaten (1) Wild Boar + Saffron, (2) Guinea Fowl + Old Cheddar and Asparagus, and (3) Venison + Red Pepper and Dijon.

My take on the sausages: they’re juicy, tender, and the overall package tastes great in a toasted roll with any two of sauerkraut, mixed peppers, carmelized onions or sauteed jalapenos. With all the toppings and bread, sometimes it’s difficult to taste all the gourmet elements of the sausage, especially with more subtly flavoured proteins. Occasionally, you taste a glimpse of saffron or asparagus, but you can’t always find it.

The fries are perfect and I liked every dipping sauce I tried (loved maple rosemary). The duck fat fries add some nice richness, but if you order a large portion prepare for a ton of potato.

Beer menu is very eclectic with a mix of local and international choices. Found a Weihenstephan wheat bear so I was happy.

Service and Ambience

Staff at the cash were warm and friendly, open to making suggestions and helping people through the menu. Food was brought to the table relatively quickly, but it wasn’t super busy when I was there.

The place looks like a mini-Munich beer hall for sure. The hanging lights over the hall are a nice touch too.

The Reco?

I keep bringing people back when I’m on King West. The sausage and beer selection gives this place revisit value and it’s reasonably priced. I’d prefer more pronounced flavour from the sausages and complimentary ingredients, but I really can’t complain. I’m a fan.

Other reviews:
Toronto Life    |     BlogTO     |     Adrian Brijbassi

Posted by: Jacob, Visited thrice Summer 2011

Wvrst on Urbanspoon

MILAGRO: Decent Mexican food, great selection



416-850-2855    |    $17-25 entrees

Food

It’s OK. Great selection of apps, tacos, enchiladas, margaritas, sangria, ceviches, and cocktails. Definitely a large menu.

The best thing we ate was Vuelve La Vida, a shrimp, octopus, and crab ceviche. All fish cooked well, bright flavours, probably a touch too spicy though.

My main, short rib enchiladas with a habanero salsa, refried beans and rice didn’t wow me. The habanero salsa had the right spice level, but lacked depth and tasted a little sour. When I had the short rib, I liked it, but it was hard to find in the enchiladas. Rice and refried beans were dry and needed seasoning or something.

My friend had the Barbacoa, shredded(ish) lamb in a banana leaf. It was well cooked, but there was no flavour outside of the lamb and generally the plate looked kinda sad.

I also tasted the Margarita de Pepino, a refreshing cucumber margarita. Couldn’t really taste the tequila, but I did like it.

Service

As we were seated, our host told us we’d love the food. ‘Some of the best mexican food in the city’ he said. We both felt he over-promised (don’t blame him though). The bartender waited on us, which actually turned out to be great. He was a little busy on Friday night, but helped us through the large menu, was very knowledgeable about the food, and was an all-around good guy.

The Reco?

Not awful by any stretch, but I can’t think of a good reason to revisit unless I’m really craving Mexican food in the entertainment district. The selection gives me hope that there are some gems on the menu, but I don’t think I’ll spend the $20 each to find them.

Other reviews:
Toronto Life     |     Globe & Mail     |     49 St. (video review)

Posted by: Jacob, Visited Sept 16, 2011

Milagro Restaurante Mexicano Y Cantina on Urbanspoon