Archive for January 1st, 2012

Happy New Year! I do hope you had a fabulous time bringing in the new year. JT and I enjoyed a four course dinner at La Société with champagne and wine. Don’t worry, we took the subway (Metro) which was free after midnight! We have a busy day on Sunday entertaining our neighbours for cocktails and then heading over to our friends for dinner; Rae and Monica just returned from a Christmas cruise with their three girls so there will be a lot of stories to tell!

I thought this was the last installment of our restaurant reviews this holiday season, but it’s not. The Bowery is in Old Town Toronto on Colborne Street near the St. Lawrence Market and King Edward Hotel. The restaurant is divided into two sections (two buildings were linked for additional space); the first space seems to be more clubby and it’s where the bar is, and the second space is more dining-y where the open kitchen is. The décor is contemporary New York with exposed brick, casual wood tables and cosy booths. The open kitchen is lined with a bar & bar stools along the length for diners to see the chef do his magic. There is a very cool neon light that says You+Me in a pink neon heart on the brick wall! The lighting is great. The cutlery is mismatched antique silver and stainless – it’s very cool.
We made reservations for 7:15 on a Thursday night in the middle of the holidays and we were late but called so they wouldn’t give away our table; we needn’t have worried, it was sadly very empty except for a couple of smallish office parties on the bar side. I liked the décor but there was no vibe, I suspect because it was empty. It was also UNBEARABLY cold inside. We complained and the waitress brought over a heater mentioning that they have also complained to the management. I ate my entire dinner wearing my winter coat, my feet were freezing. You could say that it’s an old building and it’s difficult to heat, but then half that area are restaurants and they don’t have a problem!
We ordered an appetizer to share, the Crostini Platter which was quite lovely with sautéed Mushrooms, Haloumi (Greek brine cured cheese), Pepperonata (caramelized peppers), prosciutto, Pierre Robert (a triple cream cheese) for $14; we had to ask for more crostini but other than that it was quite delicious. I ordered the Grilled Octopus appetizer as my main (in effort to control volume!). It had roasted peppers, nicoise olives, pea sprouts, chickpea panisse (think chick pea polenta) and pickled vegetables for $15, very tasty indeed; other than one tentacle being slightly chewy the rest were grilled to perfection. I could have used a sharper knife. JT had the Waygu and Prime rib burger with shallots, aged cheddar and garlic aioli $15 and the spaetzle with bacon, caramelized onions & sour cream $6, and it was incredibly delicious. We brought some of the spaetzle home it was soooooooo good.
The food totally rocked but I would only go back in warmer weather, unless they fix their heating issues. I can’t even tell you how chilly the bathrooms were!!!

Overall rating (in my opinion): Decor 1/5 (this is where I captured the insufficient heat, otherwise it would have been 3.5), service 3.5/5, food 4/5, Value 4/5, Noise: 5/5 (1 being very noisy, and 5 being very quiet). The restaurant was empty, I would imagine it gets pretty loud at night if it’s busy. We checked Open Table for Friday night and they were fully booked!

Disclaimer: We purchased our meal for full price and my opinions just that, my opinions.

Chef de Cuisine – Jason Maw
Executive Chef – Tawfik Shehata

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