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delux on ossington

  • k

i've been eagerly anticipating the opening of delux, the new restaurant that replaced the much loved sparrow (i know there were sparrow critics on the board, but many of us in the hood loved its intimate casual vibe, and generally tasty unpretentious food). while i will always remember sparrow fondly, i must say that the new restaurant is a better replacement. the chef corinna mozo was praised by some toronto critics in anticipation of the opening, and i think the praise was well deserved.

first, the decor has changed from shabby chic to more rustic elegance (no more quirky staircase to nowhere:)), white walls, grey banquettes, marble tabletops, and dark wood accents. bathrooms thankfully much upgraded, although the staircase leading to them remains trecherous. the place feels more grown up and the clientele, while mixed in ages, seems a bit older (ie. late 30s to early 40s, rather than mid-20 to late 30s - although still very hip:) ).

the restaurant offers a basic french bistro food, with a bit of cuban influence (the cuban-french fusion was mozo's signature at her previous gigs). the menu for now has basic bistro fare: duck confit, steak frites, garlic roasted chicken, boulabaisse (sp.), mussels etc. very seasonal, most dishes came with different types of root vegetables. we shared a arugula salad with beets and chevre (the latter pan fried in nicely seasoned coating). for mains i had the cubano sandwich, and my partner had steak frites. the salad was very nice, not mind-blowing, but perfectly fresh and tasty, with a nice zesty dressing. the steak was perfectly rare done - really did melt in the mouth. my partner thought that it was slightly oversalted, i disagreed. my cubano was really delicious - grilled sanwich composed of grilled chicken, ham, gruyere, little pickles, mustard and mayo. all these flavours melted together produced a really yummy savoury, spicy, zesty medley of flavours. the frites were good (not jamie kennedy good but good), and came with a spicy chipotle mayo. with a bottle of california pinot noir, this was a very comforting tasty meal, just the kin dof bistro experience i think the chef is trying to create.

my only complaint is that i'd like to see more of the cuban influence in the menu. this is an accomplished chef who is comfortable in both cuisines - it'd be nice to see what she can do marrying the two. on the other hand, i love the fact that there is a french bistro in the hood (and if the cuban angle will remain minor, then our beloved julie's on dovercourt will not be endangered which is also good!).

the waiter told us that sunday brunch is being planned - probably will start in a couple of weeks.

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  1. any items you particularly suggest? i've got a reso there sometime soon and while the menu is short i'd be glad to get a heads up.

    1. yes, the bread was very good. am glad to hear about the ribs, that was my second choice. now i know what i'll have the next time!

      7 Replies
      1. re: Kasia

        The first time I ate there was a private party with a set menu, so I've only seen the menu once, the second time we ate there...but my friends raved about the trout, and the roast chicken as well. The chocolate cake was delicious too. And her brother says her Cuban sandwich makes him weep with pleasure...I haven't tried it. Yet! Actually I'm hoping to find a dining companion who thinks splitting a sandwich and frites is a fine appetizer and will want to get main courses after. My wife looks at me like I'm a crazy pig when I suggest stuff like that.

        Curious to hear if there are nightly specials, and what they are...anyone have a report?

        I'm wary about sounding like I'm shilling for my friend's sister, but it really is a great little neighbourhood spot that isn't trying to make you eat $35 foam.

        1. re: childofthestorm


          We were looking for a new place to try last evening (Saturday). Did my usual searches on chowhound and narrowed it down to: Wish, L'Unita, and Delux. Picked Delux. Called Friday at 5:00, spoke to a nice guy who in fact referred to this string, and made a reservation for 2 people for Saturday at 8:00 p.m. See you then, he said.

          We drove over to that side of town and got there a little early, 7:40 or so. Noticed a sign on the door that said "Closed for Private Party". Went it. Saw the open reservation book with my name (and correct telephone number) for 8:00. The only reservation in the book. Spoke to the hostess who said they were closed for a private party. I explained that we had booked the day before and I pointed to the reservation in her book. I asked my no one bothered to call and tell us that the restaurant was closed.

          Uncomfortable laugh, a shrug of the shoulders, a half-assed apology. Finally, she offered "I hope you will try us again sometime."

          Not likely.

          1. re: EarlyDrive

            That sounds awful. They definitely should have looked after you. Customer comes first yes? Anything else is disrespectful which says all the wrong things, top to bottom. I had something similar happen recently at another resto. Booked specifically a booth. Got there and they said they accidently double-booked it. Since hubby doesn't take no lightly, he explained that since it was their mistake it was their problem. We got the booth.

            EarlyDrive, from a brief glance of your homepage I'd guess L'Unita would satisfy.

            1. re: Googs

              I will definitely try L'Unita -- maybe next Saturday at 8:00. :)

            2. re: EarlyDrive

              that is terrible! you may not want to bother which would be understandable, but i would complain to the chef/owner. this is certainly not a story she'd want to have publicized at a time when she and the restaurant are trying to establish themselves in toronto. if i was the owner, i would want to know about this, and have the opportunity to try to retain a potential customer.

              1. re: Kasia

                "not a story she'd want to have publicized at a time when she and the restaurant are trying to establish themselves in toronto." ???

                A little late for that...

              2. re: EarlyDrive

                "I hope you will try us again sometime."

                I was waiting for the bit where they offered you a gift certificate for a free meal because of the inconvenience they caused you. *sigh* Why don't restaurants get that in this age of the intarwebs, news of crappy treatment spreads like wildfire?

          2. was there friday night, but a great conversation with friends left me rather distracted from the food. the service needs some serious help though, it's disorganized and badly trained.. the green servers are quite obvious.

            arrived early for my reso and had to wait an extra 15 minutes for my friends to show up. during this time i was seated and given menus but for at least 10 minutes was completely left alone to hope for an offer of a beverage while other servers kept idly walking up and down the aisle. everyone but my actual server was helpful, picking a wine pairing for my meal and checking up on the meal during and afterwards.

            found the potato and leek soup overpowered with chicken broth and rather salty. friends very much enjoyed it through. the pear blue cheese and candied pecan salad over arugala was excellent. nice fresh produce and nuts was more of a tribute to good ingredients. the praised bread didn't show up until we were nearly done our apps and i didn't bother with a taste.

            beef short rib seemed a bit try, but my taste might not have been sauced. confit completely unmemorable. my own main of steak frites came with a good sizeable portion of rare meat (not asked how i wanted it cooked), which was very tender albeit lean. it was heavily seasoned on the exterior with something i haven't been able to exactly identify but a twist on basic salt and pepper crusting. the fries were nice but not exceptional as they arrived barely warm, the tarragon was a nice matching flavour. cubano looked nice but did not have a taste.

            now the apple galette dessert, heaven. my sweet tooth kicked in and all i really wanted was a taste. a nice tender and barely flakey pastry holding buttery and meltingly tender apple pieces with a perfectly caramelized sauce and a second creamy vanilla sauce. my dessert reticent friends gobbled it up while i visited the bathroom!

            i'm willing to give them another try in hopes that there will be a tweaked menu and improved service. the price point is certainly agreeable, 2 glasses of wine ($8 and $6) with an app ($10), large main (didn't even finish it, $23), and a delicious dessert ($7). certainly full and satiated with even a bit of leftover if it weren't for my ravenous friends.

            3 Replies
            1. re: pinstripeprincess

              this is my favourite new restaurant in town. the cubano is amazing!! the waiter informed me that the pork had been changed from loin to shoulder, and the sandwich was life changing! beautiful red wine (i have no idea) by the glass...finally!

              amazing food, attentive service, accessible wine list. could someone in the neighbourhood want more?

              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                Their reservations policy could use a little polish too. They clearly should have either fed them or comped them for another evening. Imagine not even getting a phone call and then having to find a place to eat on a Saturday night at 8pm in this town. EEK!

                1. re: Googs

                  Finding another restaurant at 8:00 was a big part of it actually. We spent nearly an hour driving around trying to find a place (we didn't have a cell). First we tried Foxley's (2 hour wait), then down to Niagara Street Cafe (they were full but spent quite a bit of time trying to re-arrange the seatings to see if they could fit us in but, in the end, couldn't), then Wish (table not available), then Rosebud (table not available), then Coca where we sat at the bar. Had a nice time -- sampled 4 or 5 different reds by the glass, enjoyed the coca, Cumbrae's skirt steak, salad with seared tuna, some olives etc. The real miss at Coca was the prawns. Otherwise very enjoyable.

            2. +

              92 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J2Z4, CA

              1. have been there 4 or 5 times already.. i live in the neighbourhood, so its not hard... but
                with comfort food like this, its not hard to repeat your visit.

                some suggestions... the pear salad is so yummy and the short ribs of course!!!!

                2 Replies
                1. re: danielwell

                  I quite enjoy this place as well. The service varies significantly depending on whom you get. (And I'm hoping to hear that the person wose reservation was botched got a real apology. Unfortunately, that sort of oversight is too common in TO so I'm not hoping too hard...) Only one person's mentioned it but the prices are quite reasonable. I don't know how people make a living with so few seats but it's to our benefit! With the exception of the Confit (which should be EASY to get right) pretty much everything else is good to very very good.

                  That stretch of Ossington has improved immeasurably as well. The last few times I've been there I've had a pleasant stroll between Dundas and Queen. There's a weird little Soho-like shop / installation just north of queen. Lots of cool antique places to gaze into and wish. (I know that's sort of OT for a food board but it's part of the experience.) There's a great little shop that's similar to Commute living. Start's with a C but can't remember the name. All in all a good place for some nosh in a cool neighbourhood. Seems like every time I go I sleep better than I have since the early 90's!

                  1. re: torestohound

                    I just visited Delux and absolutely loved it.
                    Great service, a lovely room- I liked the Sparrow but much prefer Delux's rendition of the space, hooray white!
                    Starter-Charcuterie plate (Amazing! The rillettes were gorgeous-rabbit and duck served with tiny cornichons, a currant/raisin spread and lovely crostini.
                    We also ordered a pastry with potatoes, caramelized onions, goat cheese and black olives that was heavy, buttery and scrumptious, but perhaps too heavy for a starter.
                    Main- My partner had the much-famed Cubano sandwich which was from heaven. He could only finish half, it's huge and from heaven. I'm looking forward to eating the leftovers tonight! The fries and chipotle mayo dip could have been better, but they were good.
                    I had the roast chicken with garlic, parsley and lemon served with asparagus and parisienne gnocchi filled with ricotta. The gnocchi were a bit screwy- a little sweet inside and too pan-fried on the outside and the chicken drippings could have been refined into a sauce instead of a loose pool, but the flavours were lovely and the portions huge.
                    Dessert was a gorgeous warm chocolate cake with creme anglaise and fresh raspberries, which i loved.
                    We had a great bottle of Sancerre and enjoyed ourselves immensely. I'm so pleased to have found Delux for myself!

                2. been there a couple of times,
                  great food, great service and great location.
                  good for any occasion.

                  get the cubano (pulled pork sandwich w/fries)

                  1. I really like this place because they can cook. Everything we've had on our two visits has been good to great. The crab & avocado and beet salads are two good starters. Last time we also had a foie gras and rabbit boudin that was exceptional. With reasonable corkage, decanters on request and friendly service, this place is a winner. My only caution is that it can be quite loud.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: vinojoe

                      Just got back from there, my first time, that boudin was the star...I will be back for it for sure....

                      1. re: Recyclor

                        I finally went and tried the boudin of rabbit w/ foie and was it gruyere (I forget), it is an exceptional dish, sitting on a bed of a nicely reduced brown sauce. Served alongside a tart shitake mushrooms salad, it helped cut the richness of the boudin. It is one of the best dishes I've had in Toronto this year, a real star in its simplicity.

                        Also had the bouillabaisse and steak frites. Both were good, w/ the bouillabaisse edging out slightly. Steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare, and was seasoned nicely. Frites were also seasoned well, but the chipotle mayo was not, it needed more citrus and salt to cut the fattyness. Watercress salad was functionary. Portion size (too large) and plating could've been better, but that's a minor quibble.

                        Bouillabaisse had that perfect touch of saffron, it featured clams, mussels, shrimps and monkfish. Per usual for Toronto, the ingredients are nowhere near a traditional Marseille bouillabaisse. All that aside, it tastes good, and was used to great effect with the complimentary bread.

                        Passed by the kitchen en route to the washroom (treacherous stairs indeed). Corinna + 2 line cooks banging it out. Servers are laid back, and befitting the neighbourhood, very very hipster.

                        1 app + 2 mains & no wine = $60 + tip for 2, good pricing for a bistro. Walked in at 9:30 w/o a reservation on Friday and sat right down.

                        Went by Foxley first and there was a 45 min wait.

                    2. Went to Delux on Saturday for the first time with much anticipation, armed with a reservation. I really like the atmosphere, fairly casual with a mixed crowd (even some families with children) and the minimal/raw decor is cool but not showy.

                      Our table shared 2 apps, first a boudin of rabbit and foie gras which I read about but didn't like - it was just a little bland and had a gamey taste (I haven't had rabbit many times but never had a problem with the taste). And then brandade "fritters" were more like fried fish cakes but were still excellent, batter wasn't too heavy and the inside had a good creamy balance.

                      For my entree I had the duck breast which seemed to be competently prepared but unfortunately the meat itself had chewy sections (I don't know what that is, tendon? fat? muscle?). The sides were great though, a sweet citrus sauce, a thicker red paste that I think was made from tomato, and a fennel salad. Even though all the components were delicious I can't recommend the dish with the duck being so difficult to chew. I'm going to chalk it up to a bad cut and maybe will try it again in another few visits.

                      Other people of the table had steak frites which I was told were good, I tried the frites and they were delicious crispy. The other was the fish, I think it was halibut that was thought to be a little bland.

                      For dessert we shared a cake special that I'm really disappointed I don't remember (it I think was flavored with a citrus rind, had a plum centre, and was dressed with Chantilly cream. All of us at the table weren't usually dessert-eaters but everyone found it to be great, this for me was one of the best desserts I can remember in recent memory!

                      Service was friendly, sans-attitude, and responsive on a busy night. Entrees are around 19-29$. Our table shared a bottle of Rioja for $40 that I thought was a great value.

                      I'm definitely returning despite the gaffe with my duck just because the service was so nice, some of the dishes were unconventional but excellent, and it's all at reasonable prices. I find the general tone of the flavors to be complex but subtle, maybe even muted but that makes you pay all the more attention when tasting...

                      Recommendations pretty much required on the hot nights and if you have a group you may want to ask for the booths which were very comfy.

                      92 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J2Z4, CA

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: artificialard

                        I agree with you on the value - they could easily charge more.

                        I find this falls in line with the friendly comforting neighbourhood vibe. I adore. Bistro heart and soul.

                        Trout Menieure on cauliflower purée -delish. Roast chicken and Cubano was a hit at our table too. Shared nice texturally varied charcuterie plate - rustic patés and rilletes with creamy chicken liver mousse - excellent with the riesling they suggested. Yes wine list is pretty good, definitely easy going.

                        Definitely going back!

                      2. Does anyone know of a website for Delux?

                        1. Went to Delux again last night:

                          Starters were the crab salad and the oysters on the half-shell. I thought the salad would be boring but it was a pleasant surprise - a good mix of crab meat mixed with other elements (can't remember) for good texture and taste (a mild citrus and herb), a very nice presentation of accompanying avocado and beets. A great summer dish. There were 6 oysters, 2 kinds that were also good although I'm not an oyster connoisseur people I was dining with did remark that the already added garnish (a cider I think) was a little too strong for the oysters themselves.

                          For mains I had the chicken which was about a quarter laid on top of ratatouille and with a side of spinach folded into 2 small crepes. It wasn't the most exciting dish but excellent execution: the chicken was perfectly done with a good crisp of the skin but incredibly moist on the inside and had a nice buttery taste to it. The ratatouille brought great flavor from the produce and the crepes added a bit of whimsy to the dish.

                          Others at the table had the lamb shank and bouillabaisse which were both similarly well-executed but didn't bring anything incredibly new to our palettes. The Boillabaisse was a nice exercise in minimalism - the plate is deceptively small but had a very high quality of select seafoods (monkfish, clams, mussels, etc.) and I thought there could've been more broth but it still carried a very intense flavor.

                          For desert we had a walnut and plum cake (maybe the same as last time) that was once again one of the most delicious deserts I've had in a very long time, and I don't usually order desert. Toasted walnuts, sweetly reduced plum sauce with the tartness of the plums, a crispy outside cake that falls away to a great fluffy core. Amazing!

                          Service was fairly good on a busy Friday night. My own big beef was the fact that they seated the 3 of us at a table that's really for 2, although the banquette seat extended around the corner table so there's 3 seats. It was incredibly cramped and we're a diminutive Asian family but 2 of us on the outside still had to sit in almost a diagonal posture to fit properly. I understand you need to fill your tables to capacity and this is maybe understandable if we just walked in and you wanted to give us a table but I had made the reservation a week before so I expected to be seated a table that I could comfortably sit in!

                          Still all the food was excellent although I've pretty much exhausted the menu at this point - I'm hoping that they introduce some specials for the entrées or change the menu seasonally. Highly recommended!

                          2 apps, 3 entrées, a $30 bottle of wine, one desert and tax = ~$135. Entrées are $19-30-ish.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: artificialard

                            "It was incredibly cramped and we're a diminutive Asian family..."


                            1. re: mia_wallace

                              Remember that episode of Seinfield with the Japanese people sleeping in the chest of drawers? It was the dining table version of that.

                                1. re: artificialard

                                  Those banquettes are ridiculous. We had to change tables when we first went there. Luckily we could switch tables as we had an early reservation. Sadly, the table we switched to had a "time limit" on it, which I hate, but there was no way we could all cram into the first table. The food is awesome, but make sure you ask for a real table.

                                  I know they were expanding into the back. Anyone know if that's finished?

                            2. Had dinner at Delux last night for the first (and most likely the last time). Liked the design and the atmosphere, but both food and service were lacking. The place was by no means full, but there was a long wait between each interaction with our server, and she didn't even have the excuse of being distracted by having to fuss over Susur Lee who was one table over and being served by a very attentive young gentleman.

                              The heirloom tomato salad was good but easily replicated at home. Cubano sandwich was tasty, but its bread was smothered in butter to the point of being a little stomach churning (and I like fat, so for me to say that...). Fries nothing special, watercress salad perfunctory. Also tried the duck breast - well prepared, but lacking in flavour. The pork belly two ways was nicely done - but also flavour-lite. I appreciated the skill of the cooking, but taste wise I was underwhelmed. I was expecting more after reading so many glowing reviews..

                              As for the wine list, it was definitely interesting, but I would have liked to see a touch more info for each bottle - not all of us would instantly know that the 'Orphan' from California is a cab sauv mix, for example.

                              I feel that with some work done to inject some more flavour, and a less heavy handed approach with the butter, this could be a great little neighborhood bistro. And a less lackadaisical attitude towards service would be nice too. As it is now though, I'd rather head up to Foxley, even if I do have to wait for a table...

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: dxs

                                Also tried for the first time recently with fairly high expectations, a little disappointed. Nothing bad but things in general were too rich, even avoiding the heavy meat stuff. Pumpkin soup was sweet and would be great with just chives (and wouldn't hurt to be offered fresh ground pepper for a $100+ meal) but instead was topped with sweet cream and croutons that were bordering on french toast cubes, seemed to be fried in butter and sugar. Chicken was juicy, large, but plain except for butteriness. Fish was small and swimming in cream sauce. Service from young waitress was a bit on the attitude side. Window could use some curtains to soften and warm the room, not only for atmosphere but the light from the street lamp shines in.....white street lighting is neither soft nor warm.....similar to the rest of the place which could benefit from candles at the tables.

                                Fresh-baked cookies almost made up for the otherwise unmemorable evening.

                                1. re: nasdaddy

                                  Hi everyone,

                                  I would have to agree with nasdaddy on this. I went to Delux last night with high expectations seeing all the reviews it had gotten, but sadly I was disappointed.

                                  I was given a time limit of 1.5 hours which was fine, the crowd there was oddly enough 50's+ gentlemen and ladies so I felt out of place being there. Servers were very casual, tattooed and efficient.

                                  Bread was fresh out of the oven, deliciously crusty but we only got three slices - no refills. After we were done they immediately took our bread plate-probably to make sure our table churns quickly, which was strange as there were several empty tables beside us.

                                  Goat cheese salad was okay, zesty dressing, slightly too cold mandarin oranges with delectable goat cheese that was creamy and lightly fried. The star here was obviously the cheese, salad was forgettable

                                  I had the bouillabasse - while it did have the promised saffron a poster above me stated, the broth was overly salty and I obviously had no bread to dip it in =| Probably should have asked, but a lot of other people ordered it as well and had no bread either. The portion was diminuitive. I don't think it had more than 100 calories in that plate. The fish was super fishy, while the mussels had a good injection of salty flavour and the ONE clam I had was passable. The shrimp was standard. I was still hungry after my 8k run at that point.

                                  Mr Muffin Top had the cubano sandwich which was pretty delicious but covered in grease! Fries were pretty good-the mayo accompanying was well executed. The cheese was overpowering in the sandwich and took away the glory from the pork.

                                  Dessert were the chocolate chip cookies-they just came out of the oven, outside was hard but inside was gooey warm and tender just how I like them. This was the standout of the evening.

                                  Wine list was decent.

                                  Unfortunately I was still hungry after that and chowed down some pad thai at Ginger :$

                                2. re: dxs

                                  Looking back on my last post and having visited again, I feel the need to revise my opinion - my 2nd visit was a very different experience. The annoyingly nonchalant server was not in attendance, so service was friendly and efficient - and the food was great, although I'm pretty sure I'm still working off the cholesterol! I had the rabbit boudin and the choucroute garnie and both were delicious.

                                3. The cubanos at Delux are absolutely fantastic, but about the only interesting thing on the menu. I found the waitstaff a bit snotty and unaccomodating. I'm going back tonight for the delicious sandwich, and wil report back if I see any significant changes.

                                  1. Was there last weekend and was extremely unimpressed. I had roast chicken - no flavour, no spice, no sides. I could have made this dinner by throwing a chicken breast into a frying pan.

                                    Desserts were great. Warm chocolate chip cookie with milk.

                                    Wine? I think it is great to offer Canadian wines but not when you charge $12 - $15 for wines that are unarguably of lesser quality. Also, the waiter was of no help and knew nothing about the wine menu. Generally, the service was not great.

                                    Overall, really underwhelmed with this new new thing.

                                    13 Replies
                                    1. re: omar kasi

                                      That's odd. I've been several times. Had a cubano, bouillibaise and a pork special and some different starters. All very good and flavourful. Last time we went it was quite late and were one of a few diners left in the place. I'm sure the waitstaff wanted to get out of there but they never let on. Very accomodating and friendly and recommended a Riajo that went nicely with the meal.

                                      And there were no sides with the chicken? It was literally just a chicken breast on a plate all by itself? Because that would be weird, if true.

                                      Also not sure what you mean by 12 and 15 dollar wines

                                      1. re: omar kasi

                                        No sides? Come on, that can't be true. I've eaten the dish before and of course it comes with sides. From the Toronto Life review: "A juicy roasted half chicken is supported by gruyère-enriched mash and a sublime sauté of savoy cabbage and chewy slivers of king oyster mushrooms." So Chatto got sides.

                                        1. re: childofthestorm

                                          Well what do you know, people do read and discuss. Let me explain then. No sides: the menu stated that the chicken was to be served with chick pea fries and a sauce derived from some kind of Moroccan spice, the name of which I currently forget. The kitchen forgot the spicy sauce and as such I was left with the following:

                                          - chicken
                                          - about five or six "fries" that had been made form crushed chickpeas (they were not flavorful as the spice/sauce was absent)
                                          - a small amount of bok choi

                                          So this was not a complete disaster and it was not a terrible meal, but it was not a very good meal either. I wouldn't rush to go back.

                                          As for my comment about wine prices, my point was that at 12-15 per glass, I expect to have a decent wine. Again, the Niagara Region Pinot Noir was not terrible, it was actually good, but it wasn't very god or even great.

                                          1. re: omar kasi

                                            I look for "God" in every glass but perhaps that's just me?

                                            I have always found the mains and sides more than adequate.

                                            Actually, the last time I went there (granted, around a year ago) I was utterly stuffed.... but in a good way.

                                            1. re: omar kasi

                                              It is not supposed to be some mind-blowing experience. It is humble and comforting home cooking (done perfectly every time I've gone - I've enjoyed that dish with the mash and savoy cabbage very much before). The wines are indeed more easy going than food-oriented but after all it is a casual bistro - moreover the prices totally fall in the bistro zone, so why the fancy expectations?

                                              1. re: Sui_Mai

                                                Fair enough and a good bit of perspective. I suppose that I had just expected more. Pizza is just pizza, but when I go to Liberetto's I'm surprised by how good it is and think to myself "yeah this tastes good and these ingredients really go well together". Sure the chicken was tender but other than that, there was nothing to it. Mashed potatoes are just mashed potatoes, but to paraphrase Billy Bob Thornton, "I like a little gravy". Anyways, the meal wasn't awful or anything and there are obviously several people on this board that enjoy the place.

                                                1. re: omar kasi

                                                  It's a pretty bush mistake to leave the sauce off the dish but one that could have been easily corrected if it was pointed out to the kitchen. Should have said something.

                                                  I tend to not judge a restaurant based on their mistakes -- for the most part, some are unforgiveable -- but rather on how they choose to correct those mistakes.

                                                  1. re: omar kasi

                                                    omar, if Kaji is your favourite resto you have very high standards indeed. Perhaps casual bistro just isn't your thing. I agree that the herd of new bistros are largely making what one can at home. They're really just there to give us hard working saps a break from the kitchen.

                                                    As for a good Niagara Pinot Noir, an excellent choice but they do tend to be on the more expensive side. That's about average for a by-the-glass price.

                                                2. re: omar kasi

                                                  why would a french bistro be serving bok choi.

                                                  1. re: petitaubergine

                                                    Why would it also serve a Cubano sandwich? Delux has never tried to be a classic French bistro.

                                                    1. re: childofthestorm

                                                      who said "classic french" bistro.? I believe the term was casual bistro.

                                                      You don't need faux art nouveau, edith piaf, zinc counters and steak tartare to qualify.

                                                      delux is fundamentally a bistro. It takes bistro concepts (honest comfort food from solid ingredients, and warm service) and puts it's own spin on them.

                                                        1. re: Sui_Mai

                                                          i went tonight had the sunchoke soup with sauteed mushrooms to start-fantastic, earthy, creamy but not too rich. Accompanying bread was fantastic too-very fresh. Ordered the steak frites for dinner which I was not a fan of-it was too rare though I requested medium rare and lacked seasoning. However the fries were excellent. They were kind enough to take the steak frites off my bill when they noticed I only touched a quarter of it even after sending it back for more cooking time. Dessert was a strawberry rhubarb shortcake, the shortcake having a perfect crumb everything lightly sweetened. Good wine list here-had a very tasty grenache. I'll be back to try the cubano sandwich and some other stuff.

                                              2. Went to Delux last night and was so glad that (most of) the negative reviews I read here did not come to fruition. We had an 8:30 reservation and were seated right away. We were given adequate time to settle in and then approached for our drink orders. We were already to order our food & asked for wine pairing recommendations. She was very helpful & the wine was delicious; it fit the food and our wine preferences.

                                                When the food came (it was prompt but not too prompt) it was so delicious. We shared the charcuterie appetizer and then he had the duck and I had the new roast chicken dish on the menu (the waitress said she was really excited about it and after tasting it, so was I). It was served with corn fritters & an arugala corn salad. I loved how the corn was obviously freshly cut from the cob; there were clumps (bad word for the occasion but I can't think of another) of kernals still in rows.

                                                For dessert we shared the cookies & creme brulee; both great but next time I would only get the cookies. I think I am done with creme brulee in restaurants. It is too easy; just finish it off before serving. I think I prefer something just baked/prepared for me like the cookies at Delux or the the sticky toffee pudding at The Drake.

                                                In terms of service, I loved how it was attentive but not overbearing; at dessert time, they asked if we wanted our order taken or wanted a few more minutes to just chill. Appreciated. The only snafoo in the whole meal was that they waitress said she "didn't hear" me order the frites and thus, we did not get them. Oh well...perhaps it is better for my thighs in the long run.

                                                1. We went to Delux on Saturday night. Decided to switch things up on our Ossington visit (sorry, Foxley). we went with another couple.

                                                  service was very knowledgable and relatively pleasant.

                                                  I was pretty surprised to how limited the menu is. pretty much no vegetarian options (another couple was supposed to join us and he was a veg.). I don't eat fish or seafood, so my choices were limited to the roasted chicken, steak frites or the duck. i chose the steak frites (rare). my fiancee and my friend's wife chose the scallops and my friend chose the fish dish (i don't eat fish, but it was a cod-like white fish).

                                                  We started off with the chevre (sorry, i forget if it was chevre. it was the start to a long Nuit Blanche night) salad with candied beets. very tasty, beautiful presentation, but very small. my friends started off with a panini (I forget which kind of pork it was) that was tasty and not a bad value for the price. came with a small order of frites.

                                                  My steak frites was cooked really nicely. Rare to perfection, although it wasn't as warm/hot as i would expect a rare steak to be. Frites were very nicely cooked and seasoned. Flavour-wise, the frites and their dipping sauce were more "wow" than the steak. the steak was good but not mind blowing.

                                                  The scallops were well received as well. again, very tasty but not mind-blowing.

                                                  Presentation gets an A+. portion-size doesn't. we actually were not overly full - and we are huge eaters. for the price, we left disappointed with the size and flavour of the food. it was good, but not worth a second visit, in our opinion. we'd much rather go up the street to Foxley's and spend the same amount to be satisfied tastewise and quantitywise.

                                                  92 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J2Z4, CA

                                                  1. I'm finally getting around to trying dinner at Delux. Has anyone dined there recently? What do you recommend the most on the dinner menu?


                                                    92 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J2Z4, CA

                                                    21 Replies
                                                    1. re: phoenikia

                                                      It is a rather small menu with some classics like steak frites and duck confit. I think you can't go wrong with either of these dishes. The cuban sandwich is also great but for me that's a lunch item. The warm cookies and milks are a fun dessert item.

                                                      I had the cod on one visit and wished I had ordered something else.

                                                      1. re: JennaBean

                                                        Thanks, JennaBean. Esp. for the tip re: the cod...that probably would have been what I would have ordered, if you hadn't mentioned anything ;-)

                                                        1. re: phoenikia

                                                          i went under a month ago and prior to that there was probably a good year or so gap since the last time i went. i only sampled the charcuterie, white fish, oysters, cod, sausage and donuts for dessert. the main thing i noticed is that there seemed to be a big pull back in filling starches as a component in the mains (save for the steak frites), so i'd definitely consider it a 3 course meal. the friture was a little fishy, oysters beau soleils and good, charcuterie was better than most and i'd be happy eating it again. the cod was my dish and i quite liked it but it is a cream bomb. it's more like a re-constructed chowder and could used a little more spicing oomph but its decadence worked for me that evening. the lamb sausages were nice, but didnt sample the broth and beans which i think would have made it better. did wish i tried the chicken though, have generally been very happy with their fowl. doughnuts were little rounds that were nice and fluffy on the inside with some chantilly cream for dipping - very satisfying.

                                                          1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                            Thanks, pinstripeprincess ;-) Appreciate your comments.

                                                            1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                              The chef from Brockton General was there doing charcuterie there for a while before he went to the Hoof Cafe. I wonder if you ate at Delux while he was there b/c I haven't had a good luck with the charcuterie there since he left.

                                                              I like the cod the first few times I had it but the last time is wasn't just a cream bomb, it was a bomb. It lacked flavour altogether and didn't seem as fresh as I would have liked it.

                                                              92 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J2Z4, CA

                                                              Brockton General
                                                              1321 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1Y1, CA

                                                        2. re: phoenikia

                                                          I ate at Delux about a month ago with some friends. I had the cod, which I quite liked, and contrary to PSP's thoughts, I did not find it to be a cream bomb. It was nicely balanced, and the cod and littleneck clams perfectly executed. There was a good distinct fish broth that was accentuated with a little cream. To start I had a mushroom tart and thought the pastry was kind of lacking-I prefer it flakier. We all shared the charcuterie board and it was decent.

                                                          Companions had the duck confit and chicken. Both enjoyed their dishes. I tasted the romesco sauce in the chicken dish and it was quite good. We also had the cookies and milk and doughnuts. The doughnuts were the hit, and I thought the cookies were just ok. I also wondered why the milk is in quotations on the menu when all they brought me was...milk.

                                                          Overall, a very decent meal, no real hits or misses, and likely a good neighbourhood restaurant for the price.

                                                          I have to admit that I was annoyed at the person taking my reservation over the phone. He stated upfront that we would have to vacate our table for 8:30pm (we had a reservation for 6:30pm). I thought, ok fine, no problem. But when we arrived at a nearly empty restaurant (that pretty much stayed that way throughout the evening), we had to wonder whether all those reservations were no shows. And had they asked me to vacate the table after the round of cocktails and wine, well, I probably would have been a little peeved regardless of them telling me upfront.

                                                          1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                                                            curious about your cod dish now, my "broth" was thicker than most chowders i've ever had and when i coated a piece of cod with it i tasted more cream than i did cod.

                                                            funny, they actually bumped up our reservation by a half hour so we'd have enough time to vacate by the 8:30 or 9pm table coming in after us. they're likely being overly cautious to a fault.

                                                            1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                              You know, when they told me we would have to vacate the table by 8:30pm, it screams "we can't turn tables in 2 hours". Its unprofessional IMO, and most professionals in the industry have no problem turning a table in 2 hours. I've actually never been told this over the phone in all the years I've been dining in the city. If they are telling everyone this over the phone, it may be deterring people. Overly cautious indeed.

                                                              1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                                                                completely agree. what an impression to make before you even get to the restaurant. it's just plain old uncomfortable, definitely not hospitality.

                                                                1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                  4 of us had dinner at Delux last night and I can say with certainty that none of us will be returning. The service was completely unacceptable. My friend had made the reservation and she was advised of their very "strict" 2 hour policy over the phone. It was made quite clear to her that we could have a table between 5pm and 7pm, 7pm and 9pm, or at 9pm. We chose 9pm. I arrive a few minutes early and the first thing the host said to me was "you're 7 minutes early". Ummm...what?! I was shown to a couple of stools behind the host where I sat and ordered a bottle of wine. (No offer was made to take my coat so I ended up putting my coat on the narrow bar area.). My friends show up a few minutes later and we all stand around, having a drink, waiting for our table. At 9:15pm, we are still waiting and the host comes around to offer not the table he was originally going to offer us but a small (cramped) table in the back. We decide to wait for the table he had originally planned for us. After 10 more minutes, I inquire and was told that the host couldn't very well ask the party to move (despite their very strict 2 hour table policy). He said we would have to wait until they were ready to leave. He pleaded that he couldn't ask them to leave because they were paying customers and had just spent money on their dinner. To which my friend asked, "are we not paying customers too?" we had already ordered a bottle of wine and were planning on spending money too. If it was acceptable to put us in the "bar area" behind the host, why couldn't they move to that area where they could continue their evening? I live in the UK where it's not uncommon for a restaurant to advise you that they need the table at a certain time and then ask you to move to the bar to continue your evening at that time. What I'm saying is that I wouldn't have minded waiting a few minutes past my reservation time if the host hadn't made such a big deal about it over the phone when we made the reservation and then immediately upon my arrival. But for the host to simply shrug his shoulders and say, you have to wait indefinitely is unreasonable.

                                                                  The service during the rest of the evening was dismal - at each course, plates were cleared away as my friends were finished making the rest of us who weren't finished, feel rushed. My bread plate was cleared while I was in the middle of eating bread.

                                                                  The food was good but given the abundance of restaurants in this city with excellent food AND excellent service, I will most definitely not be returning to Delux.

                                                                  92 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J2Z4, CA

                                                                  1. re: CChan126

                                                                    Question, so did you stay and eat or did you leave? If you stayed the food itself was still good or not?

                                                                    1. re: BlackChap

                                                                      I am guessing the OP edited their post to add that information because it is now in the original post.

                                                                    2. re: CChan126

                                                                      damned if you do, damned if you don't.

                                                                      1. re: aser

                                                                        a good restaurant will know how to turn tables in an efficient manner so they can get their 2-3 seatings/night without being classless and saying "you have 2 hrs to eat. ready, set GO!"

                                                                        1. re: atomeyes

                                                                          I've been to Delux 4-5 times since it's a convenient local place and I've never experienced the table turnover issue before. It's been awhile since we've been so I honestly can't recall if we ever had reservations but we never felt rushed. I wonder if this is a new policy?

                                                                          1. re: jamesm

                                                                            Not at all new. First mention of it in this post is under "By Muffin__Top on Apr 5, 2009 09:59 AM". There are a few other mentions in this post aside from that one.

                                                              2. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                                                                Will report back to let you know how the service goes tonight ;-)

                                                                In case any of you really like the fish served in a chowder theme, Biff's current winter menu has a pickerel in smoked haddock chowder that's quite tasty ;-)

                                                                1. re: phoenikia

                                                                  After all the discussion re:the cod, I decided to try it. I really enjoyed it. I didn't find it to be a cream-bomb tonight, so I'm wondering if the cream factor varies from night to night? Fish was cooked perfectly, with a flavourful chowder. Also ordered a side of rapini, and the donuts.

                                                                  Service was friendly, and perfectly paced. No complaints there.

                                                                  Hoping to try their brunch or lunch one of these days.

                                                                  1. re: phoenikia

                                                                    I had the roast pork lunch a few months ago and it was astonishingly good. I was worried about skipping the cubano, but my leap of faith was rewarded for sure.

                                                                    1. re: phoenikia

                                                                      I am glad you had a good meal! I will give the cod another go when I return which tends to be once every few months these days.

                                                                2. re: phoenikia

                                                                  the cubano is always great.
                                                                  i had the lamb sausage last time and really liked it. not greasy, nice grind to the meat and served with beans with a bit of broth at the bottom of the plate.
                                                                  the soup that evening was velvety parsnip potato.
                                                                  mini donuts are popular and the roast pork dishes on the day menus are excellent too.

                                                                3. Went last night and were fairly impressed. Tried the cubano sandwich naturally and loved it. But it is pretty rich and might not slay you so much if they used a little less butter in the panini press. We also tried the fried "tiny white fish", which were crispy, not oily, and perfectly done. For mains the steak frites were very good - tender juicy steak, tasty salsa verde, and very good frites. The duck confit was even better - crispy skin, moist flesh, not too salty or greasy - and the pureed parsnip was a nice accompaniment (the fried chard was a bit oily to my taste). The doughnuts were a great dessert - very light. Service overall was casual, but decent.


                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Dr. John

                                                                    We tried the Sunday brunch and was out of this world. We had to wait 15 minutes for a table but I would have waited half hour. The Cubano breakfast was AMAZING, the pork as well seasoned and the rice beans very flavorful. The 2 poached eggs that come with a perfect suited for dish, can't wait to return!

                                                                    1. re: BlackChap

                                                                      Happened upon this restaurant by pure luck. Steak frites and cubano is awesome. Steak is cooked perfect with no overpowering sauce. Nice cozy little place, great atmosphere and service.

                                                                  2. Revisited Delux last night after for desserts and coffee after the lobster boil at Grace. After the walk in the rain we were all looking forward to some warm and tasty desserts. Delux did not disappoint! We had the warm cookies and milk, the warm donuts in cinnamon and sugar and the special of the night, peach shortcake.

                                                                    Really, truly, a great trio of desserts and reminded me why I enjoy this little bistro as a casual weeknight choice.

                                                                    1. Although I live in the area I don't often eat on Ossington. Two of us decided to chance a walk in last Friday and started with Rock Lobster. We got a seat, uncomfortably crammed into another table. Sadly the music was unbearably loud. I could not sit under tinny speakers with incomprehensible "music" jacked to 10 for longer than 60 seconds. We left before ordering which turned out to be a great decision.
                                                                      Next up was Delux where we got a booth and a very attentive server. The music was loud enough to hear but we could still speak to each other without screaming. I tried a delicious boozy watermelon cocktail and loved it. Over the night I tried the cubano sandwich, bibb lettuce salad, Steak Frites, creme brulee and house donuts. All were delicious! I can't think of a single thing that could have made the overall experience more enjoyable. This is RARE. Will definitely be back and hope to try lunch soon too.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: A flock of seagulls


                                                                        In my mind, Delux's Cubano is among the very best of all the sandwiches in town. Crunchy, soft, savoury, sour, salty and sweet: about as perfect as you can get.

                                                                      2. It looks like Delux will be closing its doors for good.

                                                                        From their FB page, it looks like their last dinner service will be a week from today (June 13th)... I've had some memorable dinners there and will definitely need to go back before next Friday...

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: bernardtkchan

                                                                          I panicked when I saw this post a few weeks ago and made sure to get in there for brunch that weekend. Thankfully, I found out that Delux isn't closing for good - just renovating and reinventing itself. Phew. I'm not sure when it will open again but I didn't get the sense it would be too long a closing. The new place will lean more closely towards Cuban offerings.

                                                                          1. re: peppermint pate

                                                                            Don't panic PP. I think that La Cubana serves the same brunch as Delux.