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Jamie Kennedy - Wow! 1.5 Stars! - Food really THAT bad?!

I was planning to give Jamie Kennedy's new 'museum' restaurant a try next week. However, after reading Toronto Star's saturday article and their 'Poor' 1.5 stars rating, I'm having second thoughts. Is the food really THAT bad?! Any chowhound had similar experience as Pataki? I realise even great chefs like Kaji or Susur Lee can have off days. But to have almost every dish listed on the menu rated poor to unpalatable is definitely unheard of, especially coming from the kitchen of a reknown chef like Kennedy! Very interesting?!

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  1. Amy Pataki has never liked Jamie Kennedy, she roughly said the same things about the Wine Bar just before it opened too.

    I was at the opening for the new restaurant (so was half of Toronto, it seemed at the time! lol), the space was beautiful, the food was good. Let's remember that that the same things are usually said about all new restaurants.

    I would recommend ignoring the so-called 'critics' and go - and then report back to us!

    1. According to Chefdb, the chef at Gardiner is Michael Dixon. After all, Kennedy can't be at 3 restaurants and a catering company at once. Does this make a difference?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Googs

        Sure that makes a difference however, as a professional chef/ businessman you should know that and have the right people in place. Apparently not! Interesting comment by Ramsey about Kennedy being best known for his fries. I am not sure whether that is bad or not. Kudos to Kennedy for running 3 restos and packing them in. Cheers.

      2. There must be some infighting at Torstar:
        Read Linda Barnard (who sat in for Amy when she was on leave):
        and Alan Vernon (who Linda replaced):
        for quite different opinions.
        I have been at JKGM and do not agree with Amy's review.

        1. What is funny is that all three reviewers say almost the same thing about the food with most loving and hating the same dishes... and just as Pataki is slammed for "hating" on Jamie I think the others should be slammed for praising him to highly.. Vernon rates it "Outstanding" but then goes on to say most dishes are too heavy for summer, the chawan mushi was waterlogged (same as Pataki & Linda said)then raves about the fries and burger.. but come on does that deserve and "Outstanding" rating? or is it just that when Jamie Kennedy makes a burger and fries it does?...

          to me in reading the three reviews (and without ever eating there in person) I would say that the place probably would fall exactly half way between... no it is not a 1.5 but I truely doubt it is outstanding either...

          Also all three reviews said that the menu "changes daily" yet the dishes they tried seemed very much the same.. to me switching the fish that is on top of a curry does not really constitute a new menu...

          1. For a non-Torstar opinion see today's Toronto Sun


            Anne Marie Males gives JKGM 4 out of 5

            1. I think the enjoyment of a meal is subjective. If you go to a restaurant expecting the best, barring a disaster you will probably enjoy yourself and the meal. If you go in with an agenda, looking for reasons to be disappointed, you will find them. This goes for both reviewers and regular diners alike. This is just my two cents... bottom line, unless there is a huge consensus amongst reviewers, try it yourself I guess.

              1. So has anyone gone to JK at the Gardiner lately and is there anything that you feel should be a must to try and a must to avoid?


                3 Replies
                1. re: Zengarden

                  I'm going for lunch next week - I'll post a review.

                  1. re: peppermint pate

                    So here are my observations after visiting JK at the Gardiner for lunch yesterday.

                    Firstly, the room - it's beautiful. An airy combination of light wood and glass, tall ceilings, this stunning room of sculptures on the way in. Very evocative of one of Danny Meyer's restaurants at the MOMA - definitely a New York feel about the room. The restaurant is smaller than I expected - only about 15 tables, I think.

                    The menu - presented on a wooden board. There were "hoppers" (one vegetarian, one with shrimp), a burger, some sandwiches, a couple of salads, etc. Not being starving, I chose the salade nicoise and my friend chose a grilled sandwich with roast beef, tornado onions and I think some cheese. We also ordered a plate of the famous frites with mayo.

                    The service - fast, pretty friendly but a bit awkward. The waiter seemed a bit frazzled and wasn't particularly engaging, though competent.

                    The food - the frites were lovely, as usual - crispy, squirted with a bit of lemon and fresh parsley, dipped in fresh mayo - addictive, yummy. But the nicoise, I'm sad to say, was a total disappointment. There was no description on the menu and I can't recall the price (my friend paid) - I'm guessing it was in the $12 range - but I just assumed that a Jamie Kennedy salade nicoise would feature seared tuna. Instead, I received something grey/brown in colour that was either (and sad to say I couldn't tell which) poached tuna cooked "medium well" or, more likely, jarred tuna (the kind that comes in olive oil). Green beans were a bit overcooked, there were maybe 3 halved cherry tomatoes, a bit of lettuce, a few mini baby potatoes and a hard-boiled quail egg (oh yes, and one slice of anchovy). In a word - underwhelming, disappointing, uninspired (okay 3 words). My friend said he liked his sandwich, though it didn't look so impressive and it came with some waffle chips (freshly made).

                    Let me say that I'm a huge Jamie Kennedy fan (and he was there yesterday, by the way) - I love JKWB, JK Restaurant and his previous incarnations. And I loved the room. Now maybe I just ordered the wrong dish but boy, was it mediocre - I was really surprised. I will try it again - in fact, coincidentally, I'm going there again next week - and sample a few of the other dishes.

                    In stark contrast, I was pleasantly surpised with my dinner at Hal Burger last night - but that's another post...

                    1. re: peppermint pate

                      My wife and I went a week ago. I also had the salad nicoise but I found it amazing. I prefer this type of tuna in a nicoise as opposed to the prettier but infinitely blander "seared sushi grade" tuna that is sometimes served. I found everything in the salad to be amazingly fresh and flavourful; better (but smaller and less filling) than any of the salad nicoise I had in Paris. My wife had salmon I think and it was also very well executed and tasty. Chacun son gout I guess...

                2. Haven't been to his resto at the museum - but was at the wine bar a couple of Sunday's ago - and was v disappointed. Took an out of town guest to impress with one of Toronto "best chefs" - and the food was OK - just OK. Only one of the dishes was outstanding. Why does JK keep getting such rave reviews? Great marketing I guess. Really can't put him in the same category as some of our stellar chefs.

                  1. I would just like post a bit about Mike Dixon...

                    FOr what its worth he is a young and up & coming Chef...He was a the Sous-Chef @ JKWB & has worked under Statlander(sp?) up at the farm for a while too...He may not be the name as the other Chefs that always gets mentioned but I'm confident as part of the whole JK machine he is quite capable...