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Trevor really that good?

After reading chowhounders rave reviews of Trevor, I finally decided to try it out the week after Christmas with a friend. We were seated promptly and courteously. However, after informing our server immediately that we would be annoyingly leisurely with ordering our food (we explained we hadn't seen each other for 5 years), she proceeded to continually hover over us, making us feel stressed over ordering our food. Now I understand just how frustrating it is for a server to wait for an order, however, I made it clear to her that when we were ready to order, we would wave her down. Personally, if the table was needed for a second seating, it was also her responsibility to inform us, rather than creating a stressful, intrusive atmosphere.

My friend had the beef cheeks, which were admitedly excellent, although not in my opinion a particularly difficult dish to master. I had the venison with foie gras which was not good. The venison was tough, and I could not distinguish any foie gras either in flavor or in appearance. Overall, not really impressed.

In addition, the wine list was much too heavy in Australian reds for my liking.

The low ceiling, and "basement" feel to the place is definitely NOT conducive to tall people. It felt very claustrophobic.

Its not that I hated my experience, it was just ok. Perhaps in the future I'll try it out for a drink and order off the bar menu.

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  1. Agree with all you said... it is a great afterwork drink and Bar menu place but the combination of low ceiling and the loud bass from the lounge above (Pravda) after 10:30 will keep me away from prolonged visits...

    1. I agree. It's great for a $7 asiago mac 'n cheese off the bar menu and a glass of wine.

      1. As mentioned in a previous post, it is much better for the bar food than the mains IMO.

        7 Replies
        1. re: pescatarian

          Damn you all! Group dinner Saturday at Trevor for a friend's birthday.

          CK

          1. re: Cereal Killer

            A freind went with a group last night and the gril at the door said there were no tables but after a bit mentioned that they did have a chefs table... turns out it is not in the dining room but right in the kitchen... They said it was AMAZING chatting and joking with the kitchen staff watching them produce the food for a full house... best time they had in a long time...

            So ask for that table when you go!

            1. re: Cereal Killer

              Hey! Me too! 13 of us are going for dinner in the bar area on Saturday evening. I'll be sure not to wear stilettos -- and I'll report back soon. Unfortunately, it looks like the prices have been raised since the fall.

              1. re: Food Tourist

                Trevor was great! Impressive beef tartare tacos (5 mini tacos with spicy filling, $9); lovely McManis zinfandel ($9 for 3 oz); delicious beef cheek and chevre nachos ($16, definitely worth trying); decent beef cheek and rich (perhaps a tad too thick) mushroom-squash risotto (lacking in squash); and perfectly seasoned tuna with impossibly thin frites! Service was generally good (several helpers helped move things along), but they had a particular aversion to responding to requests for more water (had to ask three times before water was finally refilled at the end). Our server falsely stated that the black cod did not come with any sides (in fact, it came with potatoes) which discouraged me from ordering my favourite fish in favour of server-pushed risotto-paired beef cheeks (one of the cheapest mains, $19). Quince turnover with five spice caramel ($7) was quite good, the tiny amount of caramel sauce the highlight.

                I would definitely return. It seemed to be an advantage to sit in the bar area versus the dining room as the bar menu provided cheaper options for appetizers in comparison with exorbitant dining room apps. Both the bar and dining room have similar atmosphere as they are side-by-side.

                1. re: Food Tourist

                  I'm pretty sure the bar menu is available on the restaurant side as well.

                  1. re: estragon

                    Yup it is - you just have to ask for it.

              2. re: Cereal Killer

                Don't know about the venison. Have the duck two ways - it's fantastic.

            2. We went to Trevor last week... had an early (5:30pm) seating for dinner last Friday so the place was quiet which was nice. We were told up front that there was a 2nd seating at 7:30pm, which was fine with us because we had a party to attend afterwards. The service was actually quite good, our (male) server had a great dry sense of humour so it made for an enjoyable night. Onto the food... I had the tempura curry shrimp to start and it was a huge serving (5 large shrimp) done to perfection, crispy/hot, tasty, and very tender. Also sampled the soup (mushroom with truffle oil) and the tuna tartare (HUGE portion, spicy tuna served on a crispy rice cake), both were very good. For my main I had the half duck two ways (seared breast and confit leg), and to be honest it was just so-so... the breast was overcooked, the sauce rather boring, and the confit although interesting (the bones were removed and the meat was wrapped up in the skin to form a sausage of sorts) was far too salty. I did sample the vension with foie gras which I thought was excellent, it was cooked to a perfect medium rare (on the rare side) and the foie was definitely noticeable and present. Had a small piece of the fish special (line caught sea bass baked in a salt crust) and again it was a huge serving of very tender, flavourful fish. Desserts were just ok, did enjoy the quince tart though.

              Overall? I'd say it was pretty good, not outstanding but I think I would go back for dinner... if anything my choice of main made it less then 100% enjoyable. Price wise its quite reasonable given the quality of the food, and the servings are quite large for those into that sort of thing.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Vise

                I also had the venison med rare (also towards the rare side), and while it was definitely cooked to perfection, it was tough as nails. More a reflection of the quality of the meat/cut I believe.

                Hmmm..interesting about the foie gras...eat it fairly frequently and didn't notice anything.

                I've always believed that to some degree, going with a large group of people to any dining establishment tends to get you better service. Perhaps that's related to the final bill non? One of the standards by which I evaluate places is no matter who you are, or how many people you are with, service should be consistently good. That said, I will give this place one more shot.

                1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                  yes I'm bumping an old thread.....

                  perhaps it was tough because you're used to farmed meat? Venison will be tougher due to less marbling. N. Americans are conditioned to like their meat extremely tender, at the expense of flavour. Do you blame the farming industry or are they simply providing what consumers went. Anyways, I'm veering off topic.

                  I've been meaning to try trevor, looks like I'll pop by soon for the bar menu.

                  1. re: aser

                    No, in fact I am used to wild (ie: freshly killed and eaten during hunting season).

                    Hunting and the subsequent preparation of the meat afterwards (from gutting, cleaning, hanging and butchering) is an extremely complicated and time consuming process. And the meat can be irreparably damaged during any one of those processes. Farmed game is just quite simply not the same thing.

              2. For those who missed it, Joanne Kates reviewed Trevor on Saturday: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servle...

                We had pre-existing reservations, so a group of about 10 of us went on Saturday for a friend's birthday. Food was very good (beef cheeks with fine risotto, excellent venison with very sweet fois gras, cornish hen, tempura shrimp, etc etc.). Then menu is fairly small, but you CAN order from the bar menu in the dining room - we had apps off the bar menu and mains off the dinner menu. All in all, a very enjoyable experience, which can sometimes be hard in a large group. And despite what JK says, there is nothing wrong with the room itself - I am 6 feet tall and didn't have a problem "in the basement".

                The only major flaw was the server. I happened to be sitting on the end of the table, and soon after we were seated the server showed up with not one, not two, not three, but four open bottles of flat water. He started dumping it in my glass when I stopped him and said "I don't remember ordering bottled water". After a stammer or two where he tried to explain his way out of foisting $100 dollars worth of water on us over the evening, I told him we were happy to spend copious amounts of money on food and wine, but that our taxes pay for very good tap water (Toronto's Finest). Seriously though - if I'm going to pay for water, it's going to be sparkling. Some of the flat water they sell in the City is absolutely awful.

                Not a great way to start the meal, knowing your server is going to do anything he or she can to pad the bill. Since we were a large group, they included a 15% gratuity. My friends tend to tip 20 to 25% (former servers many of us), but this time the excess money (over the 15%) after everyone threw in their cash went to buying drinks for the birthday girl at the next destination.

                CK

                4 Replies
                1. re: Cereal Killer

                  I'm 5'9" and didn't have any issues with the low ceiling either. Our server, Ray, didn't try to pad our bill; in fact, he kept promoting the beef cheeks which was the lowest priced main on the menu (I'm sure the profit is high, however).

                  In our group of 13, we all got separate bills, and the tip was printed on the bills; however, the tip was not included if paying by credit card so we could add our own!

                  I'm also a big fan of municipal tap water! Check out:
                  http://www.devp.org/testA/current/ACT...

                  http://www.insidethebottle.org/

                  You may never buy bottled water again!

                  1. re: Food Tourist

                    the low ceiling is not an issue with hitting your head it is more of a claustraphobia thing. I found sitting at the bar on the high stool and having the ceiling lower there that I felt very closed in especially when the room filled up. Also the thumping of the music upstairs did not help...

                    1. re: OnDaGo

                      I don't suffer from claustrophobia, so I don't know if the small, windowless space would negatively affect someone suffering from that phobia. However, we were seated on high stools at high tables in the bar area, and had no issues with feeling cramped. There was a low beam on the ceiling along the length of our table, but even so, it didn't affect us negatively. Luckily, there was no music above us, and we were able to hear ourselves talk. We went on a Saturday night between 7 pm and 11 pm. The biggest issue, for me, was the lack of adequate lighting - I couldn't read the menu without the aid of the tiny tealight.

                  2. re: Cereal Killer

                    JK's review seem dated-- many of the menu items are no longer there. Amy Pataki @ the star gave Trevor good review though: www.thestar.com/article/170190