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Chatto seems to like Cluck, Grunt, and Low

Hi all,
Just read James Chatto's weekly blog, and he seems to give C, G & L, a pretty good review, calling it the "best bbq in town". Now, I can't really comment myself, as I haven't been, but according to the review of C, G, & L on Chowhound, is Chatto eating at a different restaurant? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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  1. But that review seemed kind of silly to me... o_o I didn't get much from it...
    He spends a 1/3 of it on the actual restaurant and the rest on random ramblings.
    Then, of that 1/3 spent on the restaurant, he spends one sentence on the meat and the rest on decor and dessert. Am I missing the rest of the review or something...?

    1. Is Chatto the review in Eye?...that one is over the top on decor (which is totally pre-fab-its a tad unrealistic to go on about the authenticity of a cowboy rustic look for a place that was a retail store 3 months ago!)

      I am not sure why otherwise decent food critics are so keen on this place that they have seemingly NOT noticed they do not smoke the beef/lamb/chicken on site. I know this because I live next door and I am convinced they don't even have real oven, as opposed to microwave judging by the total lack of cooking smells at any time other than serving time.

      4 Replies
      1. re: LJS

        Chatto writes for Toronto Life.

        The decor is hand-crafted.

        The location has been occupied by restaurants for many years. No retail in recent memory. Construction took six months. There was no business there three months ago.

        Both James Chatto (Toronto Life) and Amy Pataki (Toronto Star) specifically mention that much of the cooking is done offsite.

        It is easy self-education to verify that there are "real" ovens there by looking through the window into the kitchen.

        1. re: LJS

          I've read many negative comments about the meat not being smoked on site. If the food is good then who cares? Have you seen the size of some of these smokers? What about the smoke and smells? If I lived nearby I wouldn't appreciate the cooking smells 24 hours a day (and proper smoking requires many many hours). And if I owned the place I would have to think about paying $100 a square foot for prime retails space to house the smokers. Like I said, I only care about what's on my plate.

          1. re: Ron Carver

            I agree with you 100%. But too bad it sucks when it hits the plate. I am waiting another month til I go back. I still have hopes that they will eventually add flavour, fix the sides and heat the food better. It is easy compared to what Thuet puts out everyday.

            1. re: Ron Carver

              Smokers don't take up any more space usual in a professional kitchen, also, many of the smokers can come on a trailer and can be housed just out the back door of the restaurant, also the price per square foot is nowhere near $100/sq Foot.

          2. Seems like a fairly tepid review to me. The sort of thing you'd write if you liked the person in question or simply needed to fill some inches in your article.

            If Boehmer has moved on after such a short time I'm going to do the same. Sounds like a sign that things just weren't working. Perhaps he can finally turn Six Steps into a place worth going to.

            2 Replies
              1. re: phisherking

                Chummy is fine. Jacob Richler gets right into the kitchen with some of his chef buddies, but I don't think he or Chatto or any food writer worth his salt would last very long if the public thought their reviews were tainted by favouritism. I think they speak volumes by what they don't review. They don't HAVE to review every place, and I've seen situations where someone who is "chummy" with a food writer opened a place that sucked. The reviewer only mentioned that it was open, but didn't do a review. Add to that places that don't get any review and I think that speaks for itself. Besides, I would rather read reviews of places I might like to go, not places to stay away from.

            1. I'd take Chatto with a grain of salt, as he seems too chummy with local businesses to be objective.

              1. Went to Cluck, Grunt and Low last night... it's expensive for what it is. Shared the sticky ribs, dry rub and brisket with various sides. The ribs were a bit too chewy for my liking... I like the meat falling off the bone. Brisket was good, but not fatty enough. Total bill with beer and Thuet lemonade -- $70. We didn't even share full ribs.

                The restaurant is a strange mix of high-brow meets down home food... it feels very experimental.

                I much prefer Memphis BBQ in Woodbridge. It's worth the drive and the price is right.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Lotus Seedling

                  My hubby and I liked all of Cluck's ribs better than Memphis BBQ and even Phil's - which has been our fave up til now. The beef ribs were a bit fatty, but it was easy to cut away the excess, and the rest was heavenly tender and tasty. The dry and sticky pork ribs could be a bit more tender, but were still very tasty, and depending on the piece, fairly juicy.

                  The sides were disappointing - especially the cornbread, which is the main reason we went.

                  The last time we had Phil's we felt the quality really went down - the pulled pork and brisket have been dry.

                  So Phil's is still the winner for the beans (other than my homemade baked beans that take a day and a half) but Cluck has won us over for ribs - especially since Phil's doesn't sell Beef Ribs.

                2. Went there on Sat nite.. had a very bad experience that I ever had.
                  - Waitress were rude ( esp. the hostess )
                  - Food were warm/cold ( esp. the ribs )

                  1. C G and L was a disappointment. The brisket was tasteless and cut too thin. The Memphis dry ribs were pretty good. Sides were average...although the fiance liked the biscuit. Expensive for a resto that reminded me of Hooters. The service is below average. It's really a shame b/c i really wanted a place in Toronto to go besides Phils for BBQ.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: MeMeMe

                      Cluck seems to be very hit and miss... have been back a few times and the beef ribs have since been inedible and some of the sides were awful... except the biscuit... the best bet seems to be the sandwiches - perhaps because they are on Thuet's pain au lait?

                      1. re: LovelyAsia

                        Last time I was there the sandwiches weren't available!
                        But the biscuit was good.

                      2. re: MeMeMe

                        When we went, the server warned us off the memphis ribs - a bit odd given the short menu. What we did get was very ordinary. Not as good as Camp 31. Not by a long shot.

                      3. Has anyone tried their new Bayview location?

                        I was looking at their (annoying) electronic menu board and noticed that beef ribs are something like $15 PER BONE! Am I missing something??

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: embee

                          My SO and I went there for a quick bite last week. I think if you go in wanting a decent, filling, speedy, and affordable meal (and are not expecting Thuet caibre food) it's actually quite good.

                          We were famished when we arrived and were very happy to be served quite quickly (I realize that this is attributable to the food sitting around for a while, but I didn't care). The staff we dealt with were extremely pleasant which (if other CH'ers are correct, is quite different from the downtown location). We shared the pulled pork sandwich (very moist, tender and flavourful) and the beef brisket (also tender and moist, but could have used a bit more flavour). Our sides were the collard greens (tasty, but a bit watery), the corn bread (very good and fresh, contrary to previous reviews) and the Brunswick Stew (good, but not earth-shattering).

                          The total bill for this, plus a beer each, (not including tip) was about $40 (and would have been even less if we'd both had a sandwich). I don't recall seeing anything along the lines of $15 per rib ribs...

                          It's not a gourmet experience, and doesn't compare to true southern BBQ (at least in my experience); however, it hit the spot and I'll definitely be back.

                          1. re: embee

                            They are expensive for what you get. I ordered the 3 sides for $10 and got a ramekin of ok coleslaw, a smallish piece of corn bread, and half and ear of corn on the cob. It was good, tasted fresh, but definitely not very much food at all. Although I wasn't expecting a ton, it still seemed like they were being cheap.

                            My bf had pork ribs, which I tried and they were ok. The brunswick stew also came in a tiny ramekin, and he said wasn't anything to write home about. A friend had the pulled pork sandwich, which she said was great. Another dining companion had sticky pork ribs, which they said were good, but weren't memorable.

                            The room was really small and tight, although the servers were nice. The decor had green (sorta vinyl..hard to describe) chairs with rustic wood on the walls. They had buckets for the bones, and lemon water for messy ribs after- a nice touch. However the bathroom had some lavender painted accents and a picture of a perfume bottle that said "parfume" or something...the Parisian thing did not go with the rest of the decor. It felt weird and cramped overall, but I wanted to like it.

                            I won't go back unless someone else suggests it. Also the hours are only 6-11.

                            1. re: cupcakez

                              I've eaten here twice, and both times were really disappointing.
                              i thought the sauces ruined most of the dried out food, and sides were expensive with tiny portions, which really weren't that great. best thing on the menu i've had are the baked potato and the beans... but... they're just a baked potato and beans!
                              the food isn't terrible, but pretty expensive for the quality you get - i'd eat it if it was free...

                          2. Been wanting to try this place out the last while. Looks like I will continue to try the best ribs in town. My Ribs at our house.

                            1. Just checked the menu online, it's $14 for the first bone of beef ribs w/ 2 sides, and then $10 for each additional bone. Prices look reasonable actually.

                              Anyone know if the Bayview location takes reservations? Is it a big place?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: SMOG

                                I assume they'd take reservations, but it may not be necessary. It's small to medium sized (whatever that means - I'm just taking a stab at a size estimate) but when we went (on a weekday, close to 8:00) there were plenty of free tables.

                                1. re: SMOG

                                  Cumbrae's (next door on Bayview) sells some quite delicious cooked prime rib bones with much meat and a homemade sauce for about $3.00 a bone. Three bones had me stuffed. They aren't smoked. For cornbread, substitute polenta - several varieties available.

                                2. I ate at CG and L last night and was mightily disappointed. I had the pork ribs 'sweet and sticky' style. The only significant plus was the ribs were amongst the meatiest I've seen and tasted. They were dry, some parts tough, no 'sweet' noticed at all and barely 'sticky'. They were also very spicy (as in hot), and the only strong flavor coming through was that of celery. The sides were equally disappointing. I had the buttermilk biscuits which were like none I'd ever had or made: more like hard tack. Shaped like little pigs, come to think of it they were more like dog bones... The collard greens, my second side, came in a little ramekin, warm-ish, and with very little flavor. All in all not worth a repeat performance.