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Jul 16, 2007 09:58 AM

Cluck, Grunt & Low now open...thoughts?

Did a search here, but didn't really find too much, and one of the topics was apparently removed (for reasons unknown).

Curious what anyone thinks of CG&L, as we are thinking of going there for a "welcome home" supper on Saturday night.

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  1. I just did a search to confirm what you said, and you're correct. The masters of our universe have left an out-of-date and irrelevant, thread, and seem to have removed the thread that actually contained current information. WTF? As I recall, the posters had good if mixed things to say about the product, but which could be attributed to opening kinks to be ironed out. Perhaps the Masters of the Hounds could revive the thread? I passed by, and there doesn't seem to be a great deal of seating, which makes me wonder whether they're counting on a high volume of take-away. This might seem like an odd question, but do they serve wine? No mention of wine on their website, just beer and mixed drinks. Wanting wine with my ribs might seem pretentious, but as much as I like beer, I find it difficult to drink with food. Just something quaffable is all I want.

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. Cluck Grunt and Low? A better name would be UP CHUCK and SPEW. The first warning bell that this was not true Que was when I walked in and could not smell any wood smoke. Even with the most efficient smoker like a Cookshack or Ole Hickory there is still some residual smoke in the air. This place had no smell. I tried to order brisket with beans and cornbread but was told that they only had coleslaw and potato salad as sides right then. I had the brisket which was smothered in a sickly sweet bbq sauce and had no discernible smoke flavour and no smoke ring. I could not even taste or see any dry rub on it. It was too tough to cut with just a fork and there was too much of the fat cap left on. The coleslaw was both watery and very sour. There were no bbq sauces on the table but 3 kinds of tobasco sauce and the brisket came with dijon and a grainy mustard.The potato salad was pretty good with the cumin adding depth but had too much onion in it. I went at 4pm but saw a sign saying it would open @5pm. I came back @ 5pm and saw different sign saying it would open @ 5:30 pm. I came back @ 5:30 and it was another 15 minutes before they opened. I asked about dessert and was told that only the Wild Turkey ice cream was made on site. I tried it and it was alright but 2 small scoops in a bowl for 6 bucks is not worth it. The website says there are no reservations, but a group came in with reservations. There are alot of servers for the size of the place. One server was walking around with his cellphone camera taking pictures of customers with no explanation which was a little unsettling. I also noticed that there are cameras set up in the restaurant itself. Are they afraid of being robbed? Overall a very disappointing exprience.

        21 Replies
        1. re: bbqontherun

          I love the new restaurant name!!! Now that's saying it how it is! I went last night and I want to make an amendment to the menu. The “PULLED” chicken sandwich should be changed to: The CHEWED UP and SPIT OUT sandwich! It was absolutely horrible, now I know what cat food taste like, THANKS!!! Also, I left there stinking of nasty chicken and ribs sweat like odour. It permeated my hair, clothes and skin it was actually very disgusting and unbearable. I couldn’t wait to get home and take a shower. I would advise everyone to stay clear of Cluck Grunt & Low.

            1. re: estufarian

              To each his own, I guess. But honestly speaking... James Chatto has no clue what good food tastes like!

              1. re: barbe77

                My tongue was firmly in my cheek! But Chatto did give a very positive review and is often quoted on this Board as an authority. He actually ranked it #12 (a top also-ran) for his top 10 list for 2007, especially praising the pulled chicken!!!
                Cluck Grunt & Low is AWFUL - and I think there have been about 150 posts on this with only a couple of mild dissensions (most/?all for the pulled pork).

                1. re: estufarian

                  Okay enough said... Looks like James is losing his taste buds!!!!

                  1. re: barbe77

                    Who are the reviewers whose advice you recommend?

                  2. re: estufarian

                    Estufarian, I had lunch at Memphis Smoke House, 4612 Yonge St, N of Sheppard. Pretty good wet and dry ribs (my wife and I split the ribs) for $12 at lunch. The cook came out, and he talked to all of us at lunch. Regular black guy named Sam. My wife, who lived in the Deep South (and Tennessee) for about 10 years, said he was the real thing...They talked recipes too!!

                    1. re: Dean Tudor

                      I tried this last year and it was pretty bad. Full of grease with enough on the side that I got a clear thumbprint of the server.
                      I know they closed over the New Year for a couple of months. Maybe they've changed their recipe/chef. The recent article in the Star missed all the important info - why did they close for "renovations" after less than a year in business? Was the 'month' in "For a whole month, they scoured more than 30 eateries" before the original opening or before the re-opening? And a serious reporter might well have inquired why their name was so similar to that of Memphis BBQ in Woodbridge which, perhaps not coincidentally, is often praised as the best BBQ in Toronto area! ( I seem to recall a protest from that source earlier.
                      OK I may re-try - because I respect your opinion. But I'll only post AFTER I've compared the two directly. So far I haven't trekked to Woodbridge as Memphis-style BBQ has always disappointed me (I posted on the Memphis Board about my experiences) - although I still prefer it to South Carolina.
                      Now if somebody were to open a 'New Mexico' style place I'd be first in line. The only person to rival that (IMO) is John Johns in Syracuse - if he's still around - haven't visited for 5 years. And I'm planning a visit to Kansas City - I like that style but need to try the authentic version.

                      1. re: Dean Tudor

                        We went there a few times a few months back, and then the place closed down. It reopened recently. Last time we were there, Sam also came out and talked to us. Have you been there before the shut-down and reopening? Is the food the same?

                        I recall one experience was excellent, and another was mediocre. But prices are reasonable, food overall is good and I'm happy to return.

                        1. re: Dean Tudor

                          They apparently flew in southern bbq experts to set up the smokers and train the staff on technique.
                          If you can't get authentic Texas smoke house bbq then I don't know where you can.

                          I haven't been to cluck grunt and low but I'm really excited to check it out now. MMM up chuck n' spew - sounds delish!

                          1. re: virtualvelma

                            Nobody seems to know WHEN they did this. I'm not ready to go back if I went after this 'upgrade'. They've been very coy about when this happened - it may have been before they opened!

                2. re: bbqontherun

                  I could be wrong, but my understanding is that C,G&L food is prepared off-site and then assembled and reheated at the actual location. That may be why the only smoke you smelled was from customers fuming.

                  1. re: sloweater

                    Based on another thread on this topic, you are correct. No smoking of food is done on site.

                    1. re: Pincus

                      Actually, from what I know, the cooking is done at the Bayview location and driven down to the Annex location. I can't see that causing a problem, if done correctly. Ribs are always slow cooked in advanced.

                    2. re: sloweater

                      The food is prepared at one of the locations. Your considerable research talents will quickly reveal which. Hard to find a smoked meat joint that never reheats anything.

                      1. re: lemoo

                        There's 'never reheats anything' and then there's 'reheats everything'. Must everyone bend over backwards to worship the great buddha Thuet?

                        1. re: Googs

                          Which it, in fact, doesn't. But, as you opine to the contrary, what items are on your list of "do not resuscitate". And how are these choices arrived at, by you? And, you have some knowledge to share vis a vis Thuet's influence on this immediate topic and the specific errors you see being made?

                          1. re: lemoo

                            All the slow smoked items are sent to the Bloor St. site, perhaps from Bayview, perhaps from another source.
                            There are complaints about reheated, tough ribs, and poorly finished, even cold (doesn't that remind us of microwave?)
                            It's enough to make someone (me) consider not going.

                            1. re: jayt90

                              they are smoked at the bayview site.

                            2. re: lemoo

                              As your postings are, with one exception, exclusively on Thuet please do share your inside information lemoo.

                            3. re: Googs

                              There is absolutely nothing wrong with reheating BBQ. It is basically always "overcooked." The whole point of BBQ is to take cheap, tough cuts of meat and then cook them to death at low heat until the sinews break down and become tender. In principle, there's no reason why they could be reheated at low 220 deg with any loss in quality.

                      2. Its not that good, their cornbread could be used as a hockey puck. If you are gonna go, never go at lunch, but reading some of these reviews you might just wanna skip it and drive to rochester for some dinosaur bbq. Real barbeque.

                        1. The Bayview location was very disappointing. The people next to us ordered both kinds of ribs and both were totally dried out. We complained to the waiter and the chef came out and replaced their food in copious quantities. It was fine, but why did we need to complain? I had the brisket, which was marginally ok. Besides the quality issues, the quantity for the price, given the kind of resto it is, is sparse to say the least. Compare to Centre Street Deli for example... not to mention Schwartz's in Montreal. Cute yes but not up to snuff. Too bad, because the concept is great.