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Trevor Kitchen and Bar (bad review)

Some friends took me to Trevor last night for my birthday and the experience was less than great. Both my friends and I had heard great reviews about this place and were looking forward to trying it out. I'll start off with the positive points;
* The beef cheeks dish is excellent. Really tender and succulent meat, just enough fat to add flavour and moisture. Would definitely order it again.
* One of my friends had a really well cooked beef filet, but it was their second attempt (see below).

Now for the negative points from the evening;
* We had reservations, but were forced to wait for 30 minutes before being seated at our table. I can understand that sometimes it's difficult to get one party to leave, to enable you to seat the next group, but surely if other restaurants can avoid this undesirable situation, then Trevor can as well. Our only compensation for this, was a free amuse bouche, a piece of battered lobster, which was quite good. I think some complementary drinks while we stood waiting for 30 minutes would have been a better gesture.
* They forgot to serve us bread so we had to ask for it and it arrived with cold, hard butter. Is it really that difficult to provide room temperature butter? Big pet peeve of mine; this is the one item that *all* your guests will be receiving, and ultimately, judging you on.
* Two of my friends order the Alberta beef filet, one rare, one medium-rare. The medium-rare arrived properly cooked, the rare one was medium-well. We had to send it back. At this point the waitress was extremely apologetic and she actually commented that she could see we were having a horrible evening with the delayed seating, and now the improperly cooked meal. AND, she adds, "I'm going to give you a complementary dessert because of all this". This made us feel a little better, and the beef filet returned very properly cooked, rare.
* Four (of five) of us order dessert; the dark chocolate espresso cake is not recommended. It comes on top of this sickly sweet marshmallow sauce, and the consistency of the cake is more dense brownie than cake. The warm quince turnover was good, as was the blood orange sorbet.
* The service needs huge improvement. Cutlery was often tossed onto the table, with complete disregard to placement, and position. At one point, a dish was being served to a friend, and since the plate was obviously warmed/hot, the waitress was carrying it in a napkin. She actually handed the plate to my friend with the expectation that he grasp it from her hands and place it on the table himself. She made no mention of being careful because it was a hot plate. Luckily he didn't burn himself or drop the plate.
* We ask for the bill, and the waitress returns with it and she adds "I'm having a family emergency and need to leave ASAP, could we please settle this immediately?". So it appears they're willing to rush us out of there, but not the group that held us up for 30 minutes at the start. Could they not have just told us that another server was being substituted because she had to leave?
* We examine the bill and three desserts are included. We call over the waitress and inquire about this. She reports that she only meant that my dessert (ie. the birthday dessert with candle) was being comp'ed, not everyone's. After further discussion she says, in a completely rude manner, "I don't want to argue about this, let me speak with my manager". She returns to inform us that she will remove all the desserts from the bill. At this point, it is all more than uncomfortable, and we just want to get the hell out of there.

I spoke with my friend who had had a great experience here a few weeks earlier and it really is unfortunate how my night turned out.

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  1. I feel sorry for you giving such an bad experience on your birthday ! I think that waitress should be fired right away.

    Thanks for the review, looks like it is a restaurant to stay away, plus I heard that their dining room is not very comfortable with low ceiling and noisy ...

    2 Replies
    1. re: skylineR33

      Sorry you had such a bad time, I have had a couple of excellent experiences there eating at the bar myself... and BTW... I really don't think that James Chatto eats for free very often.

      1. re: Non Doctor

        I dont understand why managements dont seem to understand that its the customers that keep them in business. Comping all the desserts with out a fight would be a hellof a lot cheaper than having to pay for expensive ads in Toronto Life, to get new customers to replace the ones who read Chowhound!

    2. That's the shame about your experience, but I am not surprised. I went with a few friends shortly after Trevor opened, and, although we didn't have to wait for our reserved table, we did wait over 15 minutes after we ordered our drinks. The service was horrible then, and sounds like it hasn't been fixed.
      We all enjoyed our food, and the chef/owner came out to talk with us (being a group of attractive women) and offered us aperitifs, but it really wasn't worth it for the bad service. Trevor can cook up a storm, but he needs to fix the rest of the restaurant if he wants people to return. It's the whole experience that counts. Hope the rest of your birthday was better!

      3 Replies
      1. re: melly mel

        It was a shame because several of us were really hoping to like this restaurant since it appeared to have some good dishes at decent prices. As good as the beef cheeks were, I'll never return, and Trevor has a lot to learn from places like Rosebud where the food is great, prices are moderate, and the service is excellent.

        I actually felt a bit bad during it all because my friends felt like they had made a poor choice, but truth be told, as bad as the experience was, we were all actually laughing through it all, so the experience was unique to say the least.

        1. re: chromatin

          I was starting to wonder how representative my horrible experience there was...seems like it was a fairly true reflection- sorry you had a bad time.

          1. re: nummanumma

            I've been thinking of checking this place out for a couple of weeks now, and fortunately I stumbled across this post before I did. Thanks to all who replied from saving me from a possibly lacking evening. I'll spend my money elsewhere.

      2. i had an ok experience a couple weeks ago, nothing spectacular. it isn't too much of a stretch for me to imagine your experience though. there was something i couldn't quite put my finger on that left me with a rather 'meh' feeling about it all.

        a friend and i went for a 9:30pm dinner on a sat. night, and because it was late, we ate earlier and so weren't super hungry. so we ordered some food from the bar menu (really wanted to try the kobe burgers and the mac&cheese, both were very tasty) and salad from the regular menu. we didn't get bread (but i wondered if that was because we didn't order 'properly' from the dinner menu?) i had read reviews on here where people said trevor went around to almost every table to check, and thought that was a nice touch. but i didn't see him do it the night we were there, he seemed to know the table a couple down from us and the only time he was in the dining room he spent it sitting and talking with them. service was average. i might go back just because i am curious about the quince dessert, and if i could, i'd eat at the bar and only have the mac&cheese.

        1 Reply
        1. re: auberginegal

          The quince dessert is not worth the trip back (imho). The flavor was good, AFTER I picked the gravel-like substance out of my mouth. (It was probably nut shells but I almost broke a tooth!) And we paid for the dessert too. :)

        2. Took Dad on a Saturday night in April...we sat in the bar area and loved the atmosphere. Quiet except for a motorcycle parked inside the restaurant just at the top of the stairs, which revved LOUDLY about 3 different times during dinner, startling us and interrupting conversation. Ridiculous.
          Main courses disappointed...lamb wrapped in thick pastry (the female server incorrectly described it as phyllo when we were deciding what to order) wasn't interesting enough to finish. Nachos were excellent as usual, and kobe burgers and tuna tartare decent enough. Server forgot to bring a salad that was ordered.

          It was my second visit, and I had warned Dad not to get his hopes up, and we all decided not to return.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Food Tourist

            We too decided to check out Trevors's after hearing such rave reviews. Very disappointing. We had made the reservation for 4 on a Saturday night weeks in advance. When we showed up they had no record of us and naturally they were completely booked up. I HATE WHEN THAT HAPPENS!!! As we were trying to figure out where else we could go last minute on a saturday night...Trevor shows up, scratching his head and neck and stuff....total turn off in a restaurant. Anyways, long and short, somehow they managed to fit us in after all and what else can I say, we ate, we left. The food was just okay, service was just okay....much preferred Bouchon. Nothing to write home about and don't understand what all the fuss is about. Too be fair the mini kobe burgers were good!

          2. I really really wanted to like Trevor. I scoured this board for a good recommendation after I had a great time at JKWB. However I find that the only redeeming quality about trevor was their amazing mini Kobe burgers and perhaps the interior design by the designer guys. The execution and service was spotty and scatterbrained at times. Ie. After we got our table, no waitor helped us till after about 10 minutes in which I had to make eye contact to get some service... I was missing a fork, overcharged for 6 oz wine instead of 3, ground pepper was not offered until asked, etc. In addition, I agree from other posters in another thread that their Mains are definitely not up to par. I had the duck, which was quite gamey and a bit sinewy. The Lobster spaghetti was alright but nothing amazing. Overall, service and food really really needs more attention. Like other posters have said, if I ever go again, I would probably stick with the bar menu and drinks. Perhaps Trevor is overzealous in that he wanted to venture out and make a name for himself with his own hip and high end resto.. but in reality he is not ready for it... as evident by the lack of training for their wait staff and only shining through bar food. I really hope he can take these constructive criticism and really work to improve himself rather than blame the customer for being harsh...

            1. I have to post in favour of a lovely experience at Trevor. A group of work colleagues and I went in March and found the service to be very attentive and the food both interesting and unusual. Those who preferred more adventurous foods were excited over the menu options and those who were less adventurous were equally happy. The wine list was lovely. My only complaint was that the portions on the cheese tray were too small. We sat in the dining area, along the back wall and couldn't hear any noise from the street (or from the bar). I would go back anytime.

              1. I myself found my dining experience at Trevor's to be fairly similar to yours so I can emphatize. A group of friends and I went on a Friday night with 9pm reservations. We arrive 10 minutes before our reservations and still had to wait an extra 40 minutes to be seated! While we were waiting, not one staff member came by to check on us. I found that to be extremely unprofessional and annoying.
                During dinner, the servers kept on handing our party the wrong dishes and utensils were being dropped all over the table. They seemed to be frazzled, not polished at all. In addition, the server we had was short with us. Needless to say, I was unimpressed with their level of service from beginning to end. The food was decent but nothing memorable, except for the disguting chocolate/marshmallow concoction that one of my friends ordered. Stay Away! Overall, the dining experience was unpleasant to say the least. I think we can all agree that at Trevor's price point diners come to expect a certain level of service, professionalism and quality of food. All of which I can reasonbably say they didn't deliver on. I would never return to the restaurant and when asked have told my friends the same. I have been to other comparable restaurants like The Rosebud and Globe Bistro, both of which exceed Trevor in quality of service and food. I would much rather give my business to them.

                2 Replies
                1. re: purple september

                  We also had one good and one bad experience there (mostly due to service). The food was generally good, but the service is generally bad to horrible.

                  1. re: DDD

                    We went with a small group to Trevor, and also waited a half hour for a table.
                    The place is very busy.
                    The accoustics, (or lack of) drove us crazy.
                    One of the noisiest restaurants that I have ever encountered.
                    There was another table of six next to ours, and they literally screamed at each other to be heard.
                    The result was a very uncomfortable, assault on our ears, and a silent meal.
                    The server was very pleasant, but seemed to be harassed with far too many tables to take care of.
                    We needed to ask for salt, and pepper.
                    The app's salads, were quite decent.
                    Even had a rave re; tomato soup.
                    My roast chicken was extremely tasty, and sometimes a simple dish can show the ability of a chef.
                    Hubby raved about his lamb loin.
                    The others were semi-vegetarians, all had fish, and although it wasn't a "wow", it was good.
                    Desserts were so-so, especially the watery creme brule.
                    Most agreed that they enjoyed the food.
                    However I would never return.

                2. This experience was similar to one my wife and I had this past weekend though we never even had the chance to dispute the bill. We were in Tornonto for the week end and made reservations 2 weeks in advance. 3 days prior to our reservation the restaurant called to confirm which we did. When we arrived at the time of our reservation to find that our name was not even on the list. The hostess pointedly told us we had never made a reservation, she was not willing to accomodate us and we couldn't speak to the manager as they were very busy that evening. Needless to say we left and we will not be returning.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: winorhino

                    OUCH! And with an out-of-town-guest. I'm sorry this happened to you.

                    Welcoming guests to our city is a win-win all around in terms of tourism/economy and creating a positive impression of our city. I hope someone at Trevor is reading this.

                    Trevor Kitchen
                    38 Wellington St E, Toronto, ON M5E1C7, CA

                    1. re: JamieK

                      Same thing regarding reservations happened to us back in May - see above.

                      1. re: millygirl

                        I too hope they're reading, because this was a restaurant that I was considering trying with excitement, but after seeing two similar complaints, I'll take my credit card elsewhere.

                  2. Wow, I can't believe all of the bad feedback. My man and I went to Trevor last night on a whim and had an amazing time. The place was packed and we didn't have a reservation but we were able to secure a spot for two at the bar. Hostess was very sweet, took our coats and gave us a coatcheck ticket for later. Servers were obviously busy and the place is quite loud (which I like - don't want to hear people crying about having to wait a few minutes for a table), but we don't require the kid-glove treatment, so we were quite happy with the attention that we received. Pleasant, informed and too busy to chat with us.

                    Dinner consisted of cod fritters and frites to start, followed by beef cheek risotto, rare & peppercorn encrusted tuna with a side of asparagus au gratin. We were very impressed by everything (although I prefer the frites at Starfish), and were blown away by the tuna. Would go back again just for that! Can't say anything about desserts because were didn't have any room at all. Can't wait to go back.

                    1. Last night my girlfriend and I chose trevor's as a dinner date. Unfortunately I had a similar experience to those negative ones in this thread.


                      1, our introduction by our waiter was simply the question "tap or bottle water" no hello's or welcomes
                      2, when we ordered the wine she did not pour it another man came over and then proceed to use the table as leverage to open the bottle
                      3, it was the summerlicous menu so it was limited yet the waitress managed to mix up our orders and her excuse was the she couldn't read her own writing
                      4, the meal was in and out within 1 hour, talk about fast food
                      5, table 305 which we were seated in was wabbly as hell like eating on a ship in the ocean
                      6, the cutlery was askew and improperly placed
                      7, the food was good but not what i expected from the chef who puts his name on his restaurant

                      on a good note the wine was to die for but seeing the dates of these post it has not gotten better only worse it appears.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: krats

                        I went to Trevor's last year at Christmas time. We had the table by the kitchen. We had the tasting menu, I should mention $190 later and we were hungry. The food was dreadful. I fell on the floor near the kitchen. When I approached Trevor the owner, his response "the waitstaff fall all the time". Would never go back to this place if the food was free. The owner needs a serious attitude adjustment. I haven't heard or read one good thing about this place.

                        1. re: krats

                          just to let you know, krats, when a sommelier or service professional opens a bottle of wine, they really should have the bottle on the table or some sort of flat surface. it's considered bad form to do it otherwise. - http://www.howcast.com/videos/1913-Ho... - a server not welcoming or messing up an order is definitely offside, but having worked in the industry myself, I can say from experience that small mistakes like "wabbly" tables or wrong cutlery tend to happen when it's busy, especially at a time like summerlicious. if you went out for a summerlicious meal and had good food and wine that was to die for, I'd consider yourself in a good spot.