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Oct 1, 2007 11:53 AM

Beer Bistro - tips and suggestions please

A couple of friends are visiting from out of town and they want to have a dinner at Beer Bistro. Any tips or suggestions, experiences?


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  1. I'm a big fan of the BB. It is a great place to kick back for a couple pints or settle in for the night to see how many of the offerings you can get in on one night. Overall I tend to end up there at least 2 or 3 times a month with various sets of friends.

    Upfront, the beer is on the more expensive side, but the selection is fantastic. So if selection and novelty is what you're looking for, this is the place for you.

    The food is also pretty good. Everything from small appetizers to more inexpensive fare, all the way up to the fancy stuff. I've enjoyed most of it.....especially the steak tartare, the burger and the Pulled Pork Sandwich. They do switch up the menus, so not sure if it is there now.

    Service can be awesome to inattentive, depending on how packed the place can be, which usually happens with the after work suit crowd, not that that should deter you as things are pretty fluid and you can grab a table or spot at the bar relatively quickly.

    Good luck, have fun.

    1. I've been twice recently and while I liked the beer, the food didn't impress me. I had a pizza the first time which I wasn't a big fan of (although I did like my pulled pork quesadilla appetizer), and the second time I had the lobster tacos which basically just tasted like seafood salad and weren't anywhere close to worth the $17 I paid for them.

      1. I've only been there once, really liked the frites and tasty dips. I had the mussels, the one with Thai flavourings, and they were great. Service was attentive and helpful when it came to choosing beers. The beer selection is amazing and the servers really know their beers.

        My only issue was that the room seemed too noisy and the table (at the back) really wide, so that the group of us were constantly leaning in toward each other so that we could hear one another.

        I would go back for the food and the beer, but I'd try to sit somewhere different, perhaps up in the lounge area.

        Beer Bistro
        18 King St. E, Toronto, ON M5C 1C4, CA

        3 Replies
        1. re: JamieK

          My husband and I are heading to the Springsteen concert on the 15th. Are reservations necessary at Beer Bistro, or are we chancing it if we just show up?

          1. re: Askosrose

            I'd say a reservation is in order if you're counting on eating there that night. Otherwise, you might show up and get a spot in the lounge/bar area upfront to eat/drink or wait there for a table in the dining room.

            1. re: JamieK

              Alas, there were no more openings, except at 3:30 pm. I guess we'll have to find another restaurant nearby.

        2. When I went we all had the steak frites which were really good (nice think frites with homemade ketchup mmm) , to start I believe we had some type of ribs and the corn dogs with duck I believe, both of which were really delicious. I recommend the place for sure

          1. We tried Beerbistro for the first time this past weekend. While it wasn't awful, we won't be going back.

            The beer selection is amazing, though very expensive. Our waiter was attentive, but he failed badly when asked to help with beer selections from the huge list. Given reasonably precise descriptions of what each of us liked, and knowing what we had ordered, he enthusiastically recommended some beer pairings. While okay, they didn't have (even remotely) the characteristics we had requested in our beers.

            The food was disappointing.

            The Bistro salad was huge and contained good ingredients. But there was no sign of the promised "lemon and white beer truffle vinaigrette". It had a bland, characterless dressing and needed much salt and pepper.

            The Slowww Smoked Shoulder of Lamb with goat cheese mushroom gnocchi, fava beans, and tomato fennel ragout sounded enticing, but the dish was a bust. The little brown lumps of meat looked unappetizing. They arrived tepid, were not tender, and tasted blah. The goat cheese gnocci did taste of goat cheese, but were dry and unappetizing and became overtly bad tasting as they cooled. There were no discernible mushrooms or fava beans. The tomato fennel ragout dominated the dish and the fennel was overwhelming relative to the other weak flavours.

            The smoked prime rib of beef bones did taste of smoke, but had no other discernible seasoning. The parsnip corn smashed potatoes and slaw served with the ribs were both pretty good (though there was no discernible corn).

            I will say that the frites (which we didn't have) on the tables alongside looked and smelled wonderful.

            4 Replies
            1. re: embee

              When it comes to beer joints, I stick with the general rule that you're better off not going for the fancy fare. Stick to some fries (fabulous at the BB) and a burger or tartare... the more bistro like things. The minute a beer place mentions truffles, I take that as a flashing beacon saying "DO NOT ORDER", no matter how drunk I am.

              While I have had dinner there and enjoyed it, it certainly isn't top of my list to go out for a fine meal. It's the place I go if I'm hanging with the guys, drinking beer, needing some food before going to a Leaf game or getting loaded (*please drink responsibly - do not drink and drive - sponsored by MADD!) before hitting other activities.

              Gnocchi, fava beans, salad. No way Hose-Ay!

              Surprised they weren't better on the beer advice though. Someone should give that waiter a spank.

              1. re: DowntownJoe

                I agree totally with the thrust of your comments. The problem with BB is that they have positioned themselves as something far more haute than a "beer joint" or even a "gastropub". The spin seems to be that beer can be much, much more than just alcohol to wash down your burgers, wings, and fries. And, indeed, it can.

                The menu items we tried did not strike us as likely to exceed their grasp. They sounded interesting, but still simple. The salad would have been great with some good oil and a sprinkle of truffle salt. The beef ribs could hardly have been simpler. Gnocci is just a peasant-style pasta.

                If I were to view BB as a "Firkin" type of pub, they might deserve high marks. But they claim to be something else.

                1. re: embee

                  i find that the cost for value is what has enticed me to go to the beer bistro and often make it one of my main stay options. i have heard, however, that recently they've been jacking up the prices of the beers and it's made me stay away and opt to grab pints at volo instead. food wise though, the value proposition is still good.

                  interestingly enough.. i always found their slow cooked foods to be the better ones and their seafood to be the greater disasters. frites are wonderful there, large and meaty... the way i like them but still crisp on the outside. their desserts are fabulous. i despise cheesecake and theirs is just amazing.

                  one of my biggest issues with them, is their service staff. shy of the bartenders... no one seems to have a clue about beer there! looking to veer off the beaten path, i asked for a suggestion and one waitress just kept offering denison weissbier! to everyone! for every pairing. they are pedestrian at best, which is highly unfortunate.

                  1. re: embee

                    Embee, I absolutely agree. They have definitely set themselves up that way. I just don't fall for the hype.