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citizen- not impressed at all.

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Went last night to Citizen with my husband. It's tricky to find a place on Sunday night, and we wanted romantic, cozy. Realize now that we should have gone to Zucca, but were attempting to try something new.

Is it weird to have four mains and one of them is steak tartare and one of them is wiener schnitzel (excuse sp?)- in any event, I hate when I end up ordering by elimination. And the pricing seems weird- apps were way too expensive-

In any event, we get there around 8:30 and there are two to three other tables there. Loved the room, which I think was Restaurant Makeover- but the closer you look, you see details- like the ceiling, which is unfinished, not surprising, given what I've heard about RM.

I find charging $4 for bread offensive, we're not in Spain and it's not like the other prices are that cheap. You can throw in the bread,non? Happily, it came with a good salt-cod spread (can't remember the correct name and P. isn't here)- and apple butter, which was unremarkable.

Mid-way through our apps: ceasar with poached egg and polenta on buffalo de mozzarella with stewed peppers and tomato: ceasar was what you'd expect, except that P. was not happy that the egg was medium poached, should have been soft- polenta dish was way undersalted), other tables clear out and the waiter starts cleaning the tables with Windex. It was so strong and so offensive, I could not believe this guy- happily spraying away, feet away from us eating. You know how you are shocked into silence sometimes? This was one of those times.

Our plates kept spinning on the table- the surface of the table had no traction with the plates, and they kept turning as you tried to eat your food. Eventually, P. grabbed napkins off the table next to us to put under the plates. Mains were pasta bolognese (boring) and the meat and potatoes of the day- steak with smashed potatoes and a balsamic sauce. The Balsamic was ridiculously salty- and i do love salt. But the steak was properly prepared- a perfect medium rare, which was nice.

At this point, we are the only table in the restaurant and the kitchen is blaring their music, so we are now being treated to dueling sound systems + swearing and tomfoolery very loudly from the kitchen. Eventually our waiter comes out and when I say, "hey, do you want to just shut off this music out here, it is very distracting to have both" he says, "FOR SURE" and shuts off Etta James for whatever the kitchen is listening to.

WTF?! If I had Rodney's number, I'd call him and have a word about who is minding the shop when he isn't there- it just sucked.

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  1. And, yet, I bet that you left him a great tip..... :-)

    Put that Rodney guy on the "list" with Trevor!

    4 Replies
    1. re: troutpoint

      oh god, you know i did. I even declared part-way through- THAT"S IT_ THIS GUY IS GETTING A 15% TIP- but you know, I couldn't do it. I'm a sucker.

      1. re: nummanumma

        I don't know if you were being sarcastic or not, but this is such a surprisingly common attitude... it's really no wonder that we have so many crappy and inattentive wait staff in this city; clearly, they can get away with it.

        1. re: vorpal

          sadly, im not being sarcastic. I truly am a sucker. too many years waiting tables caused me to worry about bad karma. i know you are right though.

        2. re: nummanumma

          lol!

      2. My experience there wasn't as bad as yours. The big thing that annoyed me, though, is that the menu listed an "heirloom tomato & buffalo mozarella caprese salad". Well, the tomatoes were your run-of-the-mill greenhouse ones. And I, too, found the appetizers overly expensive. Oh yes, and, i had the side of spaetzle in brown butter...they were too dry and not much for the price if I remember correctly.

        1 Reply
        1. re: grandgourmand

          Holy crap, that sounds really awful. I've considered giving it a try a few times but I think now, I will just cross it off. There are way too many other restaurants out there to consider. This one seems to get very mixed reviews. I agree with troutpoint, sounds like shades of Trevor. Think I'll pass.

        2. Loved the bit about the Windex. I've experienced that many times in restuarants, another barometer of inhospitality that we sure don't need on top of all the others ..... however, I've usually been Windexed in inexpensive ethnic places, not places charging like Citizen.

          1. http://www.torontolife.com/guide/rest...

            1. It's too bad you didn't try the steak tartare. I had it there last year, wanting to be adventurous, and it was quite tasty. It came nicely flavoured with peppers and onions, and came with a number of tasty accompaniments like red onion relish (I think).

              2 Replies
              1. re: merlot143

                Now, I could be wrong but, shuldn't steak tartare just be flavored with herbs and salt and pepper??? Wouldn't peppers and onions be weird? And wrong?

                1. re: troutpoint

                  Traditionally, steak tartare has cornichons, capers, onion, horseradish, and an egg yolk. Different restaurants tailor it different ways.

              2. I enjoyed the lunch I had during Winterlicious, but I totally agree with you about the tables! I was getting dizzy trying to cut my pork loin.

                1. Just goes to show how different things can be on different nights. I had a really nice experience here about a month ago. Waitress helped me with my choice as I was unsure about the rabbit. No problems with the table (we were at a booth towards the back).
                  I agree that the menu could offer one or two more choices and while I won't say everything wowed me, it really all was rather pleasant. But I will point out, Rodney was in the building......

                  1. I don't dispute your experience, but ours was the polar opposite. Yes the tables are annoying, but our wait staff was quite attentive, and the food (we didn't order the bread) was simple and delicious. Clearly, this place needs some work, but its got some potential. I think its like many restaurants early in the game: uneven in experience.
                    No excuse for the poor service or music though.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: thetuscan

                      I agree that the restaurant still needs a little work. We ate there last night for the first time (we are big fans of Rosebud) and we could see the validity of some of the complaints but in general found our dining experience okay. We had the bread & spread which SO thought should be thrown in, 2 ceasar salads was delicious (eggs were perfectly poached, visicous yoke, enough anchovy tasting dressing and that double-smoked bacon - oh yum). I had the tenderloin tartare which I thought was decent - not stellar but decent - found it slightly stringy (silverskin?) - accompaniments were interesting but not quite right. SO had the striploin - thought it was quite nice - cooked to his specification (but also said for the same money he would have rather eaten at the keg.) Dessert - SO had the chocolate mousse and I had the brown sugar pavlova - both very happy with it.

                      As we were eating dessert, the server sprayed off the table beside us with vinegar (pungent!) which we didn't like but we were almost finished our meal. We had a laugh about it only because we had read this posting this week.

                      Service overall was okay - not outstanding but nothing I would complain about. I would definitely eat there again - but probably in the summer. I will give them a couple of months to sort out the customer experience before venturing in again.

                    2. Anyone been lately? Friends recently had a great dinner there so we're going to try it tonight. Any recommended dishes? Thanks.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: peppermint pate

                        yes been, many times 10+. live in the neighbour and love this spot! have had most things on the menu. the risotto is always great. had the schnitzel on my birthday so delicious. the caesar salad is the best! and can never go wrong with the meat and potatoes it is usually a perfectly cooked steak or a braised beef rib both well worth it. i have had pickerel and halibut there as well. always perfectly cooked. the best dessert ive had there is the cookies and cream but haven't seen it on the menu recently. they change the menu fairly often.

                        great spot! don't listen to all the negativity seems to me like a lot of people always have something to complain about!!!!!!!