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Citizen

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While walking down Queen Street East tonight I noticed that the Citizen is open. Has anyone tried it out yet?

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  1. Not yet but it's on my list. I've heard good things about the owner and I believe the chef comes from Mistura if I'm not mistaken?? In fact, I'm looking for a place this weekend, just may give it a try.

    1. I heard that it was the same owner as Rosebud (Rosebud... Citizen [i.e., Kane]... pattern?), but hadn't heard anything about Mistura connection.

      3 Replies
      1. re: hungry_pangolin

        Yes, the owners of the Rosebud have opened the Citizen (going with the Citizen Kane theme).

        1. re: hungry_pangolin

          The chef at Citizen is Klaus Rorick, who worked as owner Rod Bowers' sous chef at Mistura when Bowers was cooking there.

          1. re: gregclow

            Thanks for the clarification gregclow, I knew there was some connection to Mistura.
            We almost had lunch there today but it looked really dead and the menu did not entice, at least not today. Instead we went to Weezie's on King and had a great lunch....excellent frites and nice grilled chicken sandwich. My SO had the burger which he loved. Really good chocolate mousse too! Nice atmosphere too. Need to check out the dinner menu some time soon.

        2. My husband and I went for dinner tonight. The menu isn't hugely broad, but we had no trouble ordering. Hubbie had the "meat and potatoes" dish, a huge sirloin steak, prepared rare as requested; it was nicely charred and served atop crisp asparagus and roasted potatoes. I ordered the schnitzel. No rancid oil taste, which has made schnitzel disappointing at other places. Theirs was dressed with a fried egg, a grilled sardine or anchovy (sorry can't remember), and capers; the schnitzel was moist, thick and still attached to the bone. Nice touch. For additional sides, we ordered spaetzle (what's schnitzel without some sort of homemade noodles/dumplings?) and green beans with shallots. Crème brulée for dessert was also spectacular and had a goodly amount of plump, fresh raspberries on the side. Coffee was excellent. Service was well-paced, polished and friendly. As for cost, it's probably in line with Fare Bistro and perhaps a little more expensive than Batifole. There was a risotto option and a couple of pasta dishes for vegetarians or those looking to spend less. Definitely recommend this resto; hope the quality keeps up and the place garners a loyal neighbourhood following, as I plan to go back.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Full tummy

            How pleasing to hear of something so worthwhile in that 'hood. I was passing by today and saw that today's lunch menu (is that to imply that it changes daily?) had steak tartar, and my hopes were greatly raised. Thanks, FT - Citizen has vaulted up my list of must-do places.

            1. re: Full tummy

              Sorry, guys, that should be a huge T-bone steak.

              1. re: Full tummy

                Made it to The Citizen for dinner last night and was thoroughly impressed from top to bottom... to echo the review above it is highly recommended. Everything was amazingly fresh, perfectly seasoned, and very tasty. Service was also excellent (friendly/relaxed/professional), the room is quite nice, and the food is very reasonably priced.

                We started with a mini app of the outstanding veal croquettes (could have eaten 10 of them), crispy/hot/meaty morsels with a super fresh tomato salsa. Moved onto the gnocchi with braised rabbit and peas (me) and the caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella (wife). Both were amazing, essentially simple dishes but elevated via flawless execution with outstanding ingredients. I thought my wife was going to burst into tears... caprese is one of her faves, and it was that good.

                For mains I had the roasted halibut with a watermelon and watercress salad. Another winner... the fish was moist, flavourful and cooked perfectly, with the salad it was the perfect fresh/light summer dish. She had the 'meat and potatoes' in the form of a beautifully crusted sirloin, roasted fingerling potatoes, and crisp green beans. I thought the steak was more medium (vs the requested medium rare), but it was not tough and had great flavour... the thyme and shallot scented potatoes were also a treat.

                Dessert was a very nice creme brulee (me) and a ridiculously good 'S'more' (her) in the form of housemade marshmallow with chocolate sauce sandwiched between two pieces of lovely banana bread. Very original, and very very tasty.

                We're already planning a return visit with friends... definitely a brilliant addition to the neighbourhood. Can't wait to try the schnitzel!

              2. We've eaten twice at the Citizen over the last couple of weeks, once during the first week it opened, and again late last week. Overall I thought it was great (especially the second visit).

                The first night was a bit underwhelming: I had the "Good" Anchovies starter, which in fact was composed of some very high quality (probably salt-packed is my guess) anchovies that had been further marinated (olive oil and herbs?), then plated with some toasties, a sauce vierge (or verge? I always forget whether there's a diff between the two, or if one is just a mispelling :-| ) and small side of baby spinach greens. The anchovies would have been great, except that they were so salty (even for anchovies) they were nearly inedible. And the greens were a bit over-dressed and oily. I'm guessing that the anchovies may not have been soaked initially to take some of the salt out.

                The main course was a pasta special (a version of which I think has made it onto the menu now): a spaghetti with green beans (lightly blanched, with a good crunch to them still) and potatoes (cubed and crisp-fried), tossed in a basil pesto. The pasta was done perfectly, nice and al dente. The dish was again a bit oily and salty though (in general, I don't mind salty foods).

                They were out of what sounded like a great fresh berry dessert, but the chef unexpectedly showed up with a crème brulée that was really excellent, tasting distinctly of vanilla and egg. And it was on the house, which was really generous.

                The second time we went with a group of eight, and everything was great. I'll second the vote for the veal croquettes: very good! The panzanella was great, with surprising yummy tomatoes (given that they were probably greenhouse or imported). And the mergez sausages were also good.

                For mains our table was almost evenly split between the schnitzel and the gnocchi with braised rabbit. The fried egg, capers and anchovy (this time very good) on top of the schnitzel is a nice touch, as is leaving the bone on (good to gnaw on!). And as Full Tummy mentioned, not greasy at all. The gnocchi were light and fluffy, and the braised rabbit was delicious (and not too heavy, which made the dish not out of place in the middle of summer). A friend who's a steak tartare fiend raved about The Citizen's take on it. LBNL, we had a couple of sides for the table: the spaetlze (awesome: made with fresh herbs and fried in browned butter) and the green beans.

                Wines by the glass were solid: an interesting unoaked Chardonnay from Fielding Estates; a very good Cave Springs Pinot Noir Rosé; and some rustic, robust reds, including a Southern French blend and a Malbec/Merlot from Argentina. Decent stemware too for a casual joint (not Riedel or Spiegelau mind you), which matters if you're a bit of a wine snob like me.

                The only downside to the evening: their AC system isn't working properly or isn't strong enough to keep the room cool. It was a total furnace inside the restaurant. I'd definitely sit on the patio, or consider not going on a really warm evening (until they get it sorted out).

                Other nice touches: friendly service, and Rod Bowers (who was in the kitchen that night) came out and talked to us at length to get our feedback, and talk about their plans for the restaurant. Really nice guy.

                After so many disappointing dinners at other local Riverdale/Leslieville joints we've had over the years, it's great to see someone doing it right... If the last meal is any indication of what's in store The Citizen will become one of our regular hangouts. Highly recommended!

                We were too full for dessert, so we'll have to come back ;-)

                1. We've been to Rosebud before and loved it, so we decided to take our friend to Citizen for his birthday last night. We love the big booths and despite all the black in the decor it didn't seem dark at all. The anchovies appetizer was indeed very salty, but for me, it hit the spot. It came with some roasted red peppers and, as we were to find out later, some ubiquitous arugula. Unfortunately we only had 4 toasties for 5 fish. Veal croquettes were great and the ribs, unfortunately were side, and not back ribs. Merguez sausages were a huge portion at 8 pieces- I loved them, but others found them too gamey tasting. The caprese salad was wonderful- the tomatoes flavourful and I love that they gave lots of fresh basil. The caesar salad was a huge plate of crisp leaves, strips of bacon, and poached egg. Of the pastas, we had gnocchi with rabbit and peas- we appreciated that the gnocchi was light and fluffy instead of the usual heavy and doughy. The risotto was tasty, though I don't know why there were so many peas and only a sprinkle of edamame, and no tomatoes when our server clearly said that it was a risotto with grape tomatoes, edamame, and shrimp (and some of my shrimp weren't de-veined). The New York strip was cooked to desired well-ness, very moist and tender, and we didn't mind so much that the meat was pre-sliced for us. Sea-bass got a thumbs-up. For dessert, the creme brulee was delicious, as was the wild cherry shortcake- but I really loved their coffee. The servers were lovely and we had no problems forgiving a little spilled wine. (There was a good selection of beers and wines). Despite a lovely time, I'd still choose Rosebud over Citizen.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: JJ22

                    Citizen the Shitizen.
                    Never been more disappointed in a meal. There seems to be an abundance of salt in the kitchen. Risotto and anchovies were both incredibly salty dishes. Portion size was so small that Kate Moss might even come out hungry. Not sure who was in the kitchen the night i went but wouldnt surprise me if they work the day shift at Mickey D's. Next time i head out on a Saturday night in Riverdale i'll be sure to stop at Jilly's for appetizers.

                  2. We had dinner there on Friday and enjoyed it very much. Hubby ordered the merguez sausage and silly us, totally forgot that it's a lamb sausage. Duh. Unfortunately, neither of us enjoy lamb and despite a valiant effort, left most of the it on the plate. The server was very gracious about it and took it off the bill, despite our protests (it certainly wasn't their fault that we don't like lamb). The seasonings in the sausage were lovely, though.

                    For mains, hubby ordered the panzanella salad (tuscan bread salad) and I had the weiner schnitzel and a side of spaetzle. The salad was delicious and fresh and hit the spot on a hot evening (see note below). My schnitzel was enormous and very tasty with a butter/lemon/caper sauce. The spaetzle was yummy too, with that lovely chewiness and a bit of crisp from being fried in brown butter after boiling.

                    Service was very friendly and when I pointed out that they had only charged me for 1 of my 2 glasses of prosecco, he waved it off and said not to worry about it.

                    We very much enjoyed the evening, and look forward to going back and trying several other things on the menu. The roasted halibut looked yummy and the plate of fettuccine that went by smelled heavenly.

                    A side note: don't go on a very hot summer's day. The AC is minimal at best and they had to use a large oscillating fan to keep the air moving. It was very warm in the restaurant.