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I hate myself for going to Harbour Sixty

Fwagra Nov 18, 2007 06:17 AM

It had been a while. A friend had enthusiastically recommended the "seafood tower". I left feeling like I had just been swindled by a three-card monty game on the streets of Athens. I should have known, I know, that this place is no good. The telltale signs are all there: proximity to numerous sports venues; busty, bleached, women clinging to muscular men with frosted tips.

The ladies started with a pair of $85 “seafood towers”. This is a large platter of mostly crushed ice, strewn with a few pieces of obviously thawing seafood. One would think that service on ice would imply fresh seafood, no? My wife hands me an oversized shrimp, challenging me to find any redeeming quality in it, aside from its size. I bite it. It’s overcooked, a bit waterlogged, and totally without sweetness. A “half lobster” has either been robbed of its contents before being plated, or is the tail of a less-than-one-pound lake lobster of some sort. It also has been frozen. A single stone crab claw is equally devoid of flavour after its long and pointless cryogenic journey from Florida. This platter pretends to be a carefully picked selection of fresh sea treasures. In fact, it is little more than Captain Highliner for the Toronto Maple Leafs set.

My appetizer is a crabcake, and a fairly good one.

The steaks were large and decent, much like you would find at Morton`s or any other steakhouse. One cannot criticize Harbour Sixty too much on their meat alone. But the sides are disgusting. We ordered creamed spinach, onion rings, and macaroni and cheese. The creamed spinach was… well, they don`t know what the hell they`re doing when it comes to creamed spinach. This stuff was wilted spinach, drowning in a glutenous puddle of starchy white mess; I`m sure I detected some Kraft ranch dressing tossed in there too. Atrocious. The onion rings, which I thought could never be bad anywhere, were awful. They had no crunch. They were oversized (everything at this place is obnoxiously and gratuitously large). They were strewn with some kind of remoulade which made them mushy. The macaroni and cheese was actually not bad; and a bit of truffle oil added a nice touch.

My friend and I ordered wine by the glass. The wine mark-ups are about 940%. $140 for a bottle of 2006 Yellow Tail! I exaggerate, but you get the point. Anyhow, we ordered a glass of some California cabernet sauvignon made especially for Harbour Sixty. It tasted like a blueberry milkshake mixed with Crohnfelds Loganberry syrup. Yechh.

Dessert was coconut cream pie, which was good. Not Wanda`s or Scaramouche good, though. But, pretty good.

The bill for four was $600, before tip.

  1. b
    beachdemon Dec 4, 2007 12:47 PM

    I have to throw in my couple of cents as well - we visited the restaurant on a very special occassion (about six of us). The bill neared $2,000.00 And I do not plan to go back. The server neglected to mention to us in advance that the wine we were drinking was the last of their bottles (this happened with two different bottles - unacceptable!) My brother who likes his steak prepared bleu had to send it back TWICE after specifically telling the waiter he did not want Chicago - he eventually just ate the third steak despite it not being to his liking (as everyone else was half way through their respective meals). I sent two separate letters to the restaurant and the general manager simply informing them of the experience and got absolutely no reply. I know friends have loved the restaurant, but from my humble opinion, I can certainly get better treatment and food elsewhere for a far lower bill.

    1. NovoCuisine Nov 19, 2007 07:31 PM

      Wow, that story pretty much made me nauseous. And the bill.. :/

      1. m
        marktheshark Nov 18, 2007 06:11 PM

        just my two cents i had a fantastic steak at jacob and co super expensive but delish
        sides were hit and miss ....service was decent.
        harbour is way too expensive for what you get...never again

        2 Replies
        1. re: marktheshark
          magic Nov 19, 2007 05:24 AM

          Only been there once but I had a really good experience.

          My bone-in ribeye was exceptional, the fries, mashed taters and sauteed mushrooms delish. I remember liking the coconut cream pie a lot, as well as the molten chocolate cake – both were darn good.

          I agree with others – I would go to a steakhouse for steak. Not seafood. And creamed spinach – I’ve honestly never seen a creamed spinach that failed to disgust me. Just the concept grosses me out so I would not have ordered that to begin with.

          I thought the service was great (again, only been there once), and the space itself was very nice. I’d go back for a ribeye, mos def. Also, I wouldn’t go to a steakhouse like H60 and complain about the price. I’ve never seen a high end steakhouse that wasn’t outrageously expensive so I’m sure they are not breaking new ground there. And I certainly would never order wine at one. Maybe if I won a lottery. Maybe not even then. On principle.

          But who knows, this is just one person’s view on one time there.

          1. re: magic
            jessi20 Nov 19, 2007 07:36 AM

            magic...you are not alone. loved the service, the food and the desserts.

        2. JamieK Nov 18, 2007 11:30 AM


          Harbour Sixty
          60 Harbour Street, Toronto, ON M5J 1B7, CA

          1. a
            Aardvark Nov 18, 2007 11:09 AM

            These guys are absolute thieves but I'm always mystified when people go to a steak house and order seafood. It's hardly ever a good idea. I did really enjoy my steak when I was last there but haven't returned on principle given their blatant price gouging.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Aardvark
              vorpal Nov 19, 2007 06:08 AM

              Seriously. I just checked out their website. $9 for a baked potato?!?! I can understand paying $50+ for a stellar cut of perfectly prepared meat, but $9 for a potato that cost pennies to buy is crazy.

            2. redearth Nov 18, 2007 10:17 AM

              So, to sum up, the seafood was bad, the crabcake was good, the steaks were good, the spinach was bad, the onion rings were bad, the mac and cheese was good, the wine was bad, and the dessert was good. That's four bad to four good things. Doesn't sound like a total bust to me.... Why would you hate yourself for an experience that was only half bad?

              3 Replies
              1. re: redearth
                vorpal Nov 18, 2007 11:37 AM

                Maybe because it cost over $150 pp? For that price, an experience had better be more than half good, IMO.

                1. re: vorpal
                  millygirl Nov 18, 2007 12:14 PM

                  Totally agree!!!

                2. re: redearth
                  Fwagra Nov 18, 2007 04:55 PM

                  In high school, I got around 50% of the answers right on my exam. They still gave me a "D".

                  And, see Vorpal and Milly's responses.

                3. b
                  Bigtigger Nov 18, 2007 10:16 AM

                  Not sure, Fwagra, why you would go to a steak house and order seafood towers. Like many of its ilk, H60 is not a great restaurant, but is a pretty darn good steak house. When I've stuck to typical steak house fare - big drinks at the bar with those amazing cheese toasts and deep fried bacon strips - a large filet with mashed taters, a caesar salad and a hunk o' pie for dessert - with a servicable zin or cab along the way - I've been pleased. Not cheap. And inexcusable that they try to sucker some twosomes into "the Gallery" = passage between one room and the next where the waiters pick up orders and shout. But if you're firm in xnaying that when you make your res, and stick to the obvious, you'll have a fine time.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bigtigger
                    Teep Nov 20, 2007 06:16 AM

                    Here is why you would order seafood at a steak house - when you yourself do not eat beef but you're accompanying someone else who does. I've been in that boat. (Luckily the crabcakes at Ruth's Chris were not bad.)

                  2. Moimoi Nov 18, 2007 10:13 AM

                    When are we going to learn? I feel for you, your story was painful, but well-written...

                    For $600, you can hire one of Toronto's best chefs to come into your home and cook a dinner for friends or business colleagues that will not be forgotten... That price includes food as well. Don't believe me? Call almost any restaurant in town and speak directly to the chef. If you do the shopping and discuss a menu with them, they'll do it for the right price... Again, my condolences...

                    1. Googs Nov 18, 2007 10:08 AM

                      Hey now, some of us Leafs fans know good food when we bite it. Now in hockey... that's another matter.

                      1. g
                        gps_shag Nov 18, 2007 06:49 AM

                        I've been there a couple of times for sponsored dinners, but never on my dime. I don't think I would ever pay for it myself. The steaks are good, but not exceptional.

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