BARQUE: More than a BBQ sweetspot

416 532 7700   |   $24 Sample for One, $42 Sampler for Two

 

I’m admittedly a little late on the Roncy bandwagon. This was my first restaurant visit out on the west side and I’m happy I took the trip. There are a few supposedly good options including Hopgood’s Foodliner, The Ace, and The Westerly, but Barque felt most summery and frankly the dinner menu literally made my mouth water. That’s really all it takes, so out I went. 

Food

It’s one thing for the allure of BBQ to tantalize you, but when you can add on great starters and compelling sides, it gets really difficult to pick. Thankfully, Barque understands and provides you with sampler options for 1 or 2 that give you the opportunity to taste a good chunk of the menu. We opted for the two-person configuration and grabbed some apps to start us off. 

We began with some pulled duck tacos (above) that really didn’t sound like they belonged on the menu. To my surprise, they challenged for the best bite of the night. The pickled carrots really sliced through the hoisin and duck, and the tortillas were undoubtedly fresh. A great surprise to begin.

Next up came the smoked shrimp and bay scallop cocktail. Portion’s a little small, but the subtly smokey fresh seafood was tasty. Found the shrimp in the habanero sauce and scallops in the salsa verde to be the best combos. I’d say the salsa verde was oily and bit flat though.

Next we went the ‘Barque Plate’ (above). My assumption is this changes on a rolling basis, but when we dined there, it included two chicken fingers and two zucchini blossoms stuffed with pureed onion and bacon, then deep fried. Accompanying this included some cashews, almonds, olives, smoked tomato aioli and an awesome smoked hummus. The standous on the plate included the blossoms, fingers, aioli and hummus. Really hit the spot before the sampler arrived.

In a two-person sampler, you select three meats and three sides. We went with beef brisket, competition chicken thighs, and a 1/2 rack of baby back ribs for the proteins, and were thoroughly satisfied. The brisket is outstanding (especially when painted with a little more of the house BBQ sauce), the smoke on the baby back ribs is delicious, and the chicken is juicy and tender.

The side of smoked asparagus wasn’t a unanimous favourite. I quite liked the addition of smoke to it for a change, but the rest of table preferred a good charred asparagus sans-smoke.

The ‘Cuban corn’ was sweet and juicy, but I found myself looking for more. Some spice on it would have been a welcome addition.

We also ordered the picked vegetables as a way to cut through all the fatty, smokey proteins. While they were tasty enough, the form didn’t lend itself very well to eating with the BBQ. A really unique slaw incorporating some of the beets and/or carrots would have been ideal.

As our stomachs filled up, we decided to swing for the fence and close on a potential high note. Suuuuch a good decision. This pecan tart with strawberries and cinnamon gelato (above) was dead-on. The pastry was light and crumbly (think shortbread-ish), the filling wasn’t too sweet, and the cinnamon gelato was expert. Everything you could want in a dessert on one spoon.

Service and Ambience

I’d heard the dining room was quaint, but I have to say the place is a fair size, especially with the covered patio out to the side. The room’s a little quirky with Teletoon Retro playing on a TV behind the bar, a wall full of nic nacs, and some great fixtures all over the place. When packed full of happy people, it really is an enjoyable atmosphere though. On the other hand, maybe it’s just the meat talking. I find protein highs generally improve everything that surrounds you.

Despite almost every table being jammed, our food flew out of the kitchen quickly and we never found ourselves waiting long between dishes. Servers were also helpful letting us know what certain things were on the plate and recommending a good portion size for the three of us.

The Reco?

I really enjoyed the meal here and would certainly recommend coming over to Roncy. While some sides could use improvement, I can’t help but gush about the brisket, zucchini blossoms, hummus, pecan pie and duck tacos.

You don’t usually get to say things like that about a BBQ restaurant, and that’s why I’ll definitely be coming back for more. Enjoy. 

Other reviews:
 The Globe & Mail   | blogTO

 Posted by: Jacob, Visited July 14, 2012

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