Thanks for the heads up. It is a dinner and not lunch and yes, I will be dinning alone and do prefer to sit at a bar and eat... I am quite interested by the idea of the kitchen action at JKWB...
I'll see how hungry I am and play it by ear, glad to know both are worth it.
What is the price range at Bymark for a three course meal? Do they have a large selection of wine by the glass?
How much do you want to spend? and are we talking dinner? if dinner then . . .
The tasting menu at Bymark is really terrific. I would prefer it greatly over the little dishes at JKWB. It's not always publicised but I always ask and always get it - it's generally a tasting of the small portions of the menu items plus a few extra goodies. Bymark does a great job matching wines with the tasting menu and it's cheap, relatively speaking too.
If it's drinks you want plus food - eat at the Bymark bar which is comfortable -- and have the steak tartare, the truffle risotto and the dumplings.
If you want to see the kitchen action, then JKWB is your place. I *think* you'd get better wine by the glass there too. If you want small dishes but not the time investment of a tasting menu, JKWB is better. Also, if you want a slightly more casual setting.
Personally, I'd go for Bymark for the food if I was with someone, Bymark bar if I was alone and wanted to chill out. JKWB if I was alone and wanted to be in the action.
Having frequented both restaurants a lot, I agree with orangewasabi.
I dine alone at Jamie Kennedy's quite often - a tribute to the wonderful atmosphere and food that I've come to expect from the place. The wine by the glass selection is better than Bymark's, and it's a little more reasonable on the pocketbook as well. If I were going with a companion, Bymark is probably the more appropriate and elegant of the two. If dining alone, Jamie Kennedy definitely wins out.
I prefer the casual atmosphere of the JK wine bar and its little tasting dishes. Bymark is closer to the Royal York hotel (a short walk across Wellington St.) and is more of a traditional restaurant experience. I have lunched at both and I don't think you would be disappointed with either place.