Carens Wine & Cheese (Review)
First time diner, long time lurker.................
Went and met up with friends on Saturday Night
Suggested was Caren's
Glad I went
First off nice staff
From the time I called and spoke to the lady on the phone, to the time we walked in
Casual, unpretentious, cool vibe
3 in our party:
Started off with:
Rondin, Boerenkaas, Morbier & Parmigiano- Reggiano
Brie de Meaux, Chevre Noir & Blue Benedictine
Nice plate but smaller than what I had expected.
Then had the Fondue For Two
We chose the Gruyere cheese Fondue (white wine, kirsh & a hint of garlic
Then the PEI Black Mussels
(white wine, fennel & fine herbs broth)
HUGE portion thought it had to be more than a pound.
The the Crab Cakes
Pan-Seared with a pommery mustard cream sauce.
AWESOME!, again portion a bit small. (only 2 crab cakes).
Would have liked that they served a few more on the plate and put up the price.
Hard to share as these were SO GOOD, we fought over them!
The gentleman in our party had the 8oz Striploin Medallion
Grilled striploin with a celeriac puree, sautéed baby fall vegetables & haricot vert with a Coffee rum glaze
We stole his meal, my friend and I.
After sampling his Steak , HOLY WOW!
It melted in your mouth and whatever they marinated it, it was like butter in your mouth
And the aroma of this Steak, spectacular.
Friend has the Caramel cheesecake, which we all shared.
WISHED they had a Creme Brulee on the dessert list, would have ended the evening off nice
SERVICE - Outstanding
Simply nice folks with smiles all around
Not pushy service, answered our questions and also GREAT funky tunes!
Made my Saturday Night!
Caren's is my favourite spot in Yorkville. Glad it continues to live up to my memories.
Thanks for the report.
PS - when/if you go back, do try the stilton burger!
YOU would love it.
Music not loud, but groovy ambient mix.
If you go with the gals this place is perfect to taste/share items.
AND ask for the table upstairs beside the window (seats 4)
We ate, laughed and 'people watched' .....
(and you know the characters in Yorkville.....hahaha.....fun WOW!)
I would try it out for sure!
PS.dress code, not really, it was a mix of large parties, young folks, casual-high mix dress, but not pretentious at all! .....:)
Great dinner at Caren's last night... perfect spot for bunker-ing down and drinking our way through last night's blizzard.
Enjoyed a tasty tempranillo; sampled a couple of cheeses (can't remember what we ended up with... sorry, the cheese menu is quite extensive!) with pears, grapes and baguette; then split the lamb shank which was fantastique - super-tender with a rich and succulent sauce (subbed in mashed potatoes for the regular couscous, and would recommend going that route).
Friendly and attentive service. Still my favourite spot in Yorkville!
Pricing... dinner for the two of us (tax and tip incl.) was $130ish (two 1/2 litres of wine, a la carte cheese and fruit selections, one lamb shank entree).
Our wine (a Spanish tempranillo) was priced at $11 by the 6 oz glass, $47 by the bottle... we should have immediately gone with a bottle, but we weren't sure where the night would end up. If I remember correctly (and of course wine prices varied), you could get a decent glass in the $10-15ish range... nothing like the $22 pours elsewhere.
We chose to order our cheese a la carte, so cheeses were $5-10 for a fair sized chunk, fruit sides about $2 each, and meats probably in the $4-6ish range. One can also order pre-set cheese boards at around $25-$28. My sister and I have gone this route before, and they do a nice job. They also did a nice job with our a la carte selections, which were attractively plated and came with a generous serving of thinly slice baguette. (charming note: all you can eat walnuts at the bar!! )
I think our main was $24, but some mains were less (like the stilton burger which is amazing), and I don't think any were much more (the rib-eye might have been over $30, but I'm not sure).
Apps are in the $10ish range. The tequila shrimp are really great.
Desserts are probably $7ish (and some did sound tempting, but we were full).
Overall, I think prices here are totally reasonable. They're not over-inflated Yorkville prices and although I wasn't drinking by the glass on Saturday, I've never had a stingy pour here (I can't stand it when the bartender bends over to assess whether his pour is suitable - Kultura!).