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Trevor really that good?

Splendid Wine Snob Jan 4, 2007 05:45 PM

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. OnDaGo RE: Splendid Wine Snob Jan 4, 2007 07:12 PM

    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. AmandaEd RE: Splendid Wine Snob Jan 4, 2007 07:45 PM

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

      1. pescatarian RE: Splendid Wine Snob Jan 4, 2007 07:53 PM

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

        7 Replies
        1. re: pescatarian
          Cereal Killer RE: pescatarian Jan 5, 2007 02:14 PM

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

          CK

          1. re: Cereal Killer
            OnDaGo RE: Cereal Killer Jan 5, 2007 05:17 PM

            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
              Food Tourist RE: Cereal Killer Jan 6, 2007 07:00 AM

              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
                Food Tourist RE: Food Tourist Jan 8, 2007 02:23 AM

                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
                  e
                  estragon RE: Food Tourist Jan 8, 2007 03:39 AM

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

                  1. re: estragon
                    p
                    peppermint pate RE: estragon Jan 8, 2007 02:34 PM

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

              2. re: Cereal Killer
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                estragon RE: Cereal Killer Jan 6, 2007 02:16 PM

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

            2. Vise RE: Splendid Wine Snob Jan 5, 2007 02:51 PM

              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
                Splendid Wine Snob RE: Vise Jan 5, 2007 07:49 PM

                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
                  aser RE: Splendid Wine Snob May 18, 2007 02:26 PM

                  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
                    Splendid Wine Snob RE: aser May 22, 2007 08:19 AM

                    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. Cereal Killer RE: Splendid Wine Snob Jan 8, 2007 01:46 PM

                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
                  Food Tourist RE: Cereal Killer Jan 8, 2007 09:02 PM

                  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
                    OnDaGo RE: Food Tourist Jan 8, 2007 09:26 PM

                    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
                      Food Tourist RE: OnDaGo Jan 9, 2007 04:50 AM

                      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
                    e
                    EPIcureanTO RE: Cereal Killer Jan 14, 2007 05:28 PM

                    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

                  3. Rabbit RE: Splendid Wine Snob Jan 9, 2007 12:00 PM

                    My "experience" at Trevor was great - but I think it was more about atmosphere and the company than the food, per se.

                    Six of us sat at the chef's table in the kitchen, which was sweaty, busy, intimate, and total fun (also earned us a couple of freebies, which is always a treat). I do not think we would have had such a good time in the main dining room, and while we were sitting in the bar area before dinner, we did find it a little low and cramped (and we're into that kind of vibe).

                    As for the food -
                    1. Martini list was typical Toronto (some interesting offerings). We were celebrating, so we drank cava all night and didn't wade into wine-list territory so I can't properly comment on the same.
                    2. Baby burgers were as at Lobby - fun food and tasty. Shared a number of other appetizers which were fine, but no real standouts. Winner was the tartare (venison, if I recall, although only tuna is on current menu).
                    3. Mains were all competent, but without a "wow!" standout.
                    4. Desserts were also good - quince tart probably the best. Two types of chocolate things not all that distinguishable, but both very satisfying if you're a chocolate fan.

                    We have a lot of restaurants in Toronto of quite similar "style" (and there is an emphasis here on style and atmosphere - lots of hipsters) and price bracket as Trevor. I would say that overall Trevor delivers on expectations but does not exceed. For those who dine out often around here, you know what you're gonna get. This is not the next Susur, nor even the next Rosbud. But with good company you'll have a fun night - especially if you're in the kitchen!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Rabbit
                      e
                      EPIcureanTO RE: Rabbit Jan 14, 2007 05:29 PM

                      ^^^^Lucky duck you!

                      ...or rabbit, I should say! LOL

                    2. spigot RE: Splendid Wine Snob Jan 24, 2007 08:28 PM

                      Just chipping in my two cents - I ate there this week.

                      - Tuna tartare was ridiculously large; as big as a full California roll - I abandoned it halfway through. And the balance was wrong IMO; too little fish, too much mayo, too much rice.
                      - Mini-Kobe burgers were cooked medium (yay). They were hot and fresh but frankly a little boring, and I was surprised to find all three identical.
                      - Frites were totally forgettable.
                      - Beef, my friend said, was good.

                      The room was beautiful; the service was great; it was annoyingly loud and the tables too close. On the whole it was fine but I probably won't go back.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: spigot
                        a
                        Aardvark RE: spigot Jan 25, 2007 05:23 AM

                        I went to Trevor recently and quite enjoyed it. We dropped in early and sat at the bar since we didn't make a reservation and thought the bar would be more fun anyway. Trevor (he looks about 22 but is obviously older than that) dropped by for a chat which I thought was a nice touch.

                        We ordered the Shrimp tempura with roasted garlic and lemon aioli, the Beef cheek & chevre nachos with pickled peppers & tequila sour cream and the Frites.

                        As someone mentioned earlier the Shrimp Tempura was very good, nicely seasoned large and crispy. The Beef Cheek Nachos were huge and certainly more than two people could handle. I thought the frites were very good. Not as good as Beer Bistro (which I think has the best frites) but still pretty good.

                        All in all it was a fun time and the food was great..

                      2. nummanumma RE: Splendid Wine Snob Jan 25, 2007 05:31 AM

                        22?! gimme a break!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: nummanumma
                          a
                          Aardvark RE: nummanumma Jan 25, 2007 12:13 PM

                          I didn't say he WAS 22 but he definitely looks young. I'd be surprised if he's not still in his 20's.

                        2. c
                          childofthestorm RE: Splendid Wine Snob Jan 25, 2007 12:18 PM

                          I had a delicious meal there last night, mix of the bar and restaurant menu. Terrific shrimp tempura, tasty aiago mac n' cheese and a so-so cheese plate...for $17 I expected a lot more than what I got. For main I had grilled cornish hen in Riesling sauce with spaetzle, which was utterly fantastic. The secret ingredient in this dish and several others on the menu is bacon, can't go wrong with that. My dining companions had the beef cheeks (very good, although for sure a slightly thinner cut would have been better); and the lamb rolled with lobster, kind of a take on a Wellington I guess, which I would have been disappointed with had it been my main. Chewy lamb, and I found the execution a tad dry on the palate.

                          As previously noted, very very loud in there, but hey we were contributing to the noise after our second bottle of wine. The server comped me my glass of icewine which was a nice touch, and he was very solicitous throughout the night, if a trifle distracted due to the packed house. So while I wouldn't go to Trevor for a romantic night out, I would go for some boisterous fun and great food.

                          1. e
                            EPIcureanTO RE: Splendid Wine Snob Jan 25, 2007 07:47 PM

                            What day are you folks who say it's noisy going? I'm thinking it's attracting the young king west after work crowd at the end of the week. May I suggest Wednesdays?
                            **11:48pm**

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: EPIcureanTO
                              spigot RE: EPIcureanTO Jan 25, 2007 08:08 PM

                              Mine was Tuesday..... I had three biz dev types yapping really loudly next to me - Sympatico, Yahoo, CBC, yeah yeah yeah.

                            2. nummanumma RE: Splendid Wine Snob Feb 3, 2007 09:05 PM

                              ok- we just had a horrible time at Trevor. Seriously.
                              First, we made a rezzie for 10:00, but they seated us at a table at the bar. I'm not a person to complain about noise, but i'm saying this was craaaaazy- we could not hear each other AT ALL. Our drinks didn't arrive until our apps did? And the shrimp tempura and apple/jicama slaw - the slaw must have been mostly jicama or a watery apple because it really didnt come through. Maybe it's my own fault for ordering fried shrimp- I'll own that. The bread arrived AFTER the apps were complete, and we had no butter knives. Upon trying the bread with no butter, my friend almost gagged. But not as badly as my other girlfriend gagged when she found a napkin with chewed up food in it on the floor- a careful server would not have missed this.
                              Our waitress couldn't even, literally, open a bottle of wine. She wrestled with and cut off the entire foil on both bottles we had. Our mains were boring. My girlfriend had the lamb sirloin, two of us had the beef cheeks. What squash in the risotto? It was there, but the flavor did not come through at all. We had to ask for salt for the beef cheeks and the server acted as if this request had never been posed to him; which is surprising because it needed it. Other friend had lamb tenderloin, which really a lamb wellington type thing, though the description did not in any way indicate this. Both sauces (lamb and beef cheeks) were slightly floury, thick, and heavy.
                              Finally, we asked to be moved for dessert to the main restaurant to get away from the crazy noise level, only to be assaulted by thumping bass from upstairs and icy air conditioning from over our table. My poor girlfriend knocked her head on a bulkhead in the bathroom, fgs.
                              Our friend from NB could take no more as we were waiting for our coats, while Trevor himself, hands on hips, stood and watched us from the bar. She finally spoke to him about the food/service/room issues and got virtually no response. Ridiculous. Our poor server, who clearly had not been properly trained at all, attempted to apologize to us, after Trevor clearly went and blasted her. This was more than Trevor himself could manage.
                              MEH. nay I say, BOOOOOO! Six thumbs down from my girlfriends and I.

                              1. troutpoint RE: Splendid Wine Snob Feb 3, 2007 09:28 PM

                                So, I'm the girl from NB that was with nummanumma, and she forgot a few KEY points. For instance, she forgot to mention that when we were moved to the dining room for dessert, I found the dirty linen from the table change on my chair. And when we got the dessert, in my first bite of of the quince tart I found rocks or nut shells (a very hard substance) in my mouth...I thought that I had broken a tooth.
                                When speaking to the owner, he was almost rude. He could barely make eye contact. (It made me feel like he really didn't care what I was saying-In fact I felt I was being a bother by speaking to him-I was an annoyance). I will not back.

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