Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
Sep 13, 2007 02:19 PM

One Star for One

I had to try the new McEwan One, and let me tell you this place is far from being all it makes itself out to be. I was told that lunch was sold out and the only time they could accomodate was 11am. I showed up and they didn't have my reservation. To make matters worse, they said it wouldn't be a problem because they weren't fully booked. Okay, so why was i told 2 weeks prior that the only time they could slot me in was 11am.

Fine so we are led to our table by a snotty maitre'd, no apologies were ever made for the reservation error, and when we asked to have a table that had some sun exposure we were given a look that could kill. The chairs are too low for the table. The food was good (certainly not exceptional) but the prices are unreal. $7 for an OJ. $5 for one croissant. $7 for a latte? I mean c'mon. I know its Yorkville but who is McEwan kidding, this isn't London or Tokyo. If you are going to set your prices so high, service should be exceptional and should be on par with the Four Seasons...its not.

Take your miners light to the bathroom, you wont be able to see around for the forest green marble that lines the floor and walls. Furthermore, who ever fit out the taps for the sinks set the taps back too far so when you wash your hands you and the entire vanity get wet...making my guest assume i had a slip up in the bathroom. Eventful dining experience but far from the marketed "five star hotel." Save your pennies and go somewhere where you can wash your hands, not your skirt.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. not that it makes it right, but they probably told you they were booked 2 weeks ago, so that they could save seats for the TIFF celebs.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pescatarian

      probably---this thought had crossed my mind but WTF? They need to hire a good restaurant manager, not some 20 year old front of house looking to get a piece of some celeb.

    2. Wow!! Thanks for the warning!! $7 for an OJ and $5 for a croissant!! I payed less than that in Tokyo's Ropponghi Hill Grand Hyatt!!! Will definitely give it a pass and use the $ for a meal at C5 instead! Anyways, I've never been impressed by McEwan's overpriced dishes from either N44 or Bymark. If given a choice, prefer Scaramouche instead.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Charles Yu

        If you are going to pay that sort of money the presentation better be unique and quality top-notch.

        1. re: Charles Yu

          Having recently eaten at both C5 and One, I would agree that your $ is much better spent at C5 (and in both cases, you'll be spending lots of $). We ate dinner at One a few nights ago - the service, while friendly, was a combination of absent, frenzied and unpolished. We tried a sampling of dishes - seared tuna, frites with parmesan and truffle oil mayo, shortribs, pappardele and lobster spoons. Of those, the lobster spoons were quite tasty, as were the frites, but nothing was off the charts "wow". And the prices are really high - one of these small plate "sharing" concepts, which I love, but which invariably cause you to spend far more $ to get full. I will give high marks to the dessert - I think it was a tart with chocolate and peanut butter flavours, I forget the details, but it was knockout. I know it was TIFF, which is why we were there, and I know it just opened but still, I was disappointed. That said, I'm a huge fan of Mark McEwan, I love the bar area and the patio and I'd definitely give the restaurant another shot in a month or so to see how they are when they're less hectic and they've had a bit of a chance to work through the kinks. By the way, ren horace, I totally agree about the comment on the taps/vanity and I made that comment to a few people myself.

          At C5, by contrast, every single bite from the amuse bouche to the final dessert was spectacular as was the presentation, the plates, the silverware, etc. The room can feel a bit cavernous and quiet and in that way, I probably prefer the atmosphere at One (but that's a personal preference). Definitely request one of the window tables if you can or at least nearby. I think there's some real genius going on in the kitchen here and I wouldn't hesitate to go back - preferably when someone else is paying, though!

          Both places have a New York vibe to me and in that respect, they are both welcome additions to the Toronto resto scene.

          1. re: peppermint pate

            If you think One's Lobster Spoon was quite tasty, you should head down ( up? ) to Truffles and try out their Lobster 3 ways ( a la Michael Mina?!) appertizer. Every one a gem and uber delicious! And, on the subject of $, Truffles is surprisingly cheap!! But, the food, service and ambience are all first class!

        2. "$7 for an OJ. $5 for one croissant. $7 for a latte"

          Seems like standard high end hotel prices to me...

          I had lunch at One 2nd day open and everyone was friendly and helpful and the food was great. Not sure what you ate but going there and having a croissant and an oj is not the way to experience a restautrant.

          Only thing about the resevation that I can think of is that if you called two weeks ago that must have been when they first opened so I can see that the person then did not know what they were doing with the computer... did you call and confirm before hand?

          4 Replies
          1. re: OnDaGo

            I didn't eat the croissant nor a latte nor the OJ. I was simply commenting on the price of a single croissant etc...

            We had the eggs benny and omelette. Both were good but not off the charts.

            I travel an awful lot and one should never have to confirm a booking at a five star restaurant or hotel...especially when the booking was made in person!!! In my mind this is simply unacceptable. McEwan should remember that Hollywood stars are only in town for 2 weeks, the other 50 weeks of the year his patrons are mainly regular Torontonians.

            1. re: OnDaGo

              Sorry but since when do you have to call back and confirm your reservation?? Is this something new - I've never needed to do that. I guess I just assume that when I make a reservation, it's done. I shouldn't have to call back. If anything, the restaurant should be calling you, I have had that happen. In fact, if not mistaken Scaramouche does that. Sounds like a Seinfeld episode to me.

              1. re: millygirl

                It sounds from the other postings (one third full etc) that the restaurant is getting seriously hosed by no-shows. Maybe this is their effort to make people legitimize. Haven't had the chance to try it yet, but I've heard nothing but raves from serious food-loving highly critical friends.

                1. re: Snarf

                  My point being, I could understand if One is calling you, but OnDaGo is suggesting that the diner should be calling back.

            2. I went to the One for lunch last week. I called for reservation 1 day before asking for 12 noon. They said I can only come at 12:45. I said that's too late & asked for 11:45 which was ok.
              Throughout my lunch from 11:45 to 1:30, the dining room was only 1/3 full at most.
              The service was ok. Food was ok. Not impressive for what I paid.
              I prefer C5 if I'm in the area, better food & service.

              6 Replies
              1. re: ace123

                Funny I really liked Bymark, or at least did, went a few times when it first opened but haven't been in awhile. And, not sure why, but I've never had an interest in trying North 44, and from what I've read about One, same thing, not interested. But Charles, I now have to try the lobster at Truffles....sounds amazing.

                1. re: millygirl

                  I agree Millygirl. Why should any diner have to call a restaurant to confirm they still have your reservation. Last time i checked airlines and hotels don't operate on this premise.

                  1. re: ren horace

                    The difference being that hotels and airlines have your credit card number and can charge accordingly should you not show up. Personally, I have always made it a habit to re-confirm my reservations with restaurants. Let's be honest - there are people who will book tables and then not show up. This is just as inconsiderate as restaurants who 'lose' reservations and/or allow incompetent employees to do this task.

                    1. re: basile

                      I've never heard of anyone having to call a restaurant to "re-confirm" a reservation. As millygirl said, if anything, the restaurant will often call the customer a day before to re-confirm, not the other way around.

                      1. re: pescatarian

                        I agree that the customer should not have to call and the onus is on the restaurant to do so. However, I started doing this a number of years ago as a result of two occasions where bookings I made were somehow lost.

                        1. re: basile

                          I think if you have to do that, it reflects poorly on the restaurant. It means they are unorganized. Now, I'm not excusing it, but One just opened, so it's possible they are still ironing out some kinks. Human error is always possible. I wouldn't be happy though if I showed up somewhere with reservations and they didn't have a record of the reservations, and I would expect them to figure out a way to make me a happy customer despite the oversight.

              2. I had to meet friends later in the evening
                They were having drinks at the bar
                I found the staff to be quite young and the barmaid to be kinda clueless
                no personality, kinda too spaced out for my taste
                I expected older staff, more refined to be working there quite frankly
                But they were not rude or anything, just not what I had in mind when I went for drinks

                And yes the prices are expensive for Breakfast even if it is a boutique hotel
                my friends told me Oatmeal is $8, and a Grapefruit was $7. I mean unless they are actually feeding it to me, that is way over-priced for my taste!

                9 Replies
                1. re: NoFixedAddress

                  I guess my point was, at a place like One, there should never be an expectation for the customer to call and confirm their reservation. I mean this is the same place that markets itself as a five star experience. Basile, if you don't like my reference to airlines and hotels perhaps i should parallel the experience to that of a spa losing your facial/massage booking (the later not usually holding the booking with a credit card number).

                  Its just not the type of experience nor atmosphere i was expecting from McEwan. The whole place reeked of Miami Beach (overpriced and stuck on itself).

                  1. re: ren horace

                    It is necessary to re-confirm reservations in almost all 2 and 3* restaurants in Europe.
                    Some demand a reconfirmation more than once.
                    One 3* in Paris will take reservations only with a c.c. guarantee.
                    I don't think that One qualifies in the same league as L'Ambrosie, but already has an attitude problem.

                    1. re: ren horace

                      I am completely with you on this one.
                      We dined at “One” a few days back and this is my experience.
                      Food is good, not awesome. Service is terrible, borderline goofy.
                      It was so bad I won’t even bother reporting on it.

                      Here is what “I” had to eat.
                      Lobster spoons, 23$
                      The dish was good, nice presentation, but not a WOW.

                      Steak and foie gras 52$, side of artichokes 13$, side of fries 19$.
                      The steak was a tiny piece of filet, 4 ounces if that, the Foie Gras about half of that.
                      The artichokes were not properly trimmed. Sauteed halves of artichokes in a very non descript sauce made them too tough to eat. Fries were soggy, ah well, they were only 19 bucks??? The small beets, 3 of them, cut in half….were very good, but 3 beets for 16$?

                      You would expect a fair sized chunk of meat at 52$, unless it would’ve been “Kobe” but it is advertised as “Choice”. This was the size of meat that I would give to my Chihuahua (if I had one).

                      Dessert 13$. An Angel Food Cake creation that would have been very good were it not for the cake being as stale as an old farmer’s hat in Tennessee.

                      And once again I will mention that the service was the worst I have ever experienced, and I have traveled and dined extensively.

                      The room is fabulous and I am sure that it will impress the “wannabees” but I will not return. B.T.W, this menu concept is a carbon copy of Tom Colicchio’s “Kraft” Restaurant in NYC including the little “Creuset” style serving pots. The only difference? Kraft is fantastic.

                      1. re: fatboy44

                        Am I reading you right?! $19 for a side of fries!! If they use Yukon Gold, for that price, that 'gold' better be the real 24K stuff! Ha!

                        1. re: Charles Yu

                          Sorry the fries were actually 9$ and 15$ for the beets.

                        2. re: fatboy44

                          I recently read a Chatto post that talked about the front of house staff having pooled lottery buys, and won a large sum of money in the early fall. something in the area of a quarter mill each. Might explain the service questions in these posts.

                          1. re: Snarf

                            No, the lottery win was after all of these posts.. but some of the staff should be a lot happier! while other may not be.. I know one waitress there who showed up for work that day but went home early before they bought the ticket... so is out $280k .. McEwan son was one of the winners - he is a manager there.

                          2. re: fatboy44

                            hey- that was exactly what I thought when I looked at the menu too!- that it looked like a carbon copy of Kraft. (which i agree is fanatastic)
                            appreciate your review, i will now but it on my "to skip" list of restaurants.