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Globe Bistro - review Feb/08

Had two birthdays to celebrate, we deliberately waited until Winterlicious was finished so we wouldn't run into rushed or bad service. Was a family dinner, ages range from 13 to 82 (82 year old is the biggest foodie of us all!). When our party of 9 arrived at 7 pm at the Globe Bistro (our first time), our waiter told us this was only day 2 of their new menu, and to bear with them. Guess that should have been first clue. He advs'd that they had gone to tasting/tapas style, and that we should consider one plate from each of the three courses.

Some of us ordered all 3 courses, some went with just 2. But we sat for 1.25 hrs with no food other than the bread and a tiny portion of butter and hummus to share between 5 of us at each end. Service was extremely uneven; a number of times only half the table got serviced, and we had to call them back repeatedly to get refreshed water, or a missed order. When food did finally arrive, they couldn't get the plates to the right diners.

The tastes were all there, litte foam and molecular happening, the food was good, but for what they're charging I shouldn't be paying for research to find it. Bloor & Danforth ain't Eigensinn, chef ain't Stadtlander, so it's not like we're getting the reputation or the real estate treatment.

I had the lamb chop and 48 hr sous vide lamb shoulder. Waiter claimed there was about 4 oz of each, I think maybe he needs a new scale. The chop is the size I would use for passed hor d'ouevres at a function, i.e. roughly 2 bites, and the shoulder piece was about the size of a silver dollar, maybe 1/4" thick. 5 baby carrots atop 2 tbsp of mashed potato, and that was $24. And it didn't arrive to me til almost 9:45, us with our 7 pm reservation.

My sibs had the Vanilla Glazed Yarmouth Lobster Salad, $20 for a plate that looked like an albino rabbit had done some nasty business on it; again, the taste was there, but honest to goodness, that presentation was just nonsense, and $20 a complete insult.

Desserts: I had the bread pudding & banana ice cream; the ice cream was a knockout, which was good cuz the bread pudding was way too dry. My folks had the sticky toffee pudding; a dry crumbly pudding, barely enough sticky toffee to snort with a straw. Niece had the expresso sorbet, it was dreadful, none of us (including this coffee addict writer) liked the taste, texture was like they used coffee grounds in it. When they put down the cheese plate for my sis at the end, they finally had to call over the owner to identify the cheeses because neither waiter could. To his credit, it was finally evident when the owner spoke that HE is passionate about food, but he's got a very long road ahead to get that message out over top of this kind of abysmal service and pretentious menu.

We're generally a pretty tolerant group; we eat out A LOT. Everyone had checked out the previous online menu, and were primed for a really interesting meal. Sadly, the Globe really blew it. Something is really wrong that after $750 worth of food and bev, by the time we got home @ 11:30, everyone had to chow down a bowl of cereal cuz we were all hungry.

So, I guess that will be both times we go to Globe Bistro: first...and last.

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  1. It is quite different from our last visit there which is a few months ago. Eventhough not top-notch, but service is good, food portion is big, presentation is nice. And with the price point, it is good value. Do they have a new chef ?

    1 Reply
    1. re: skylineR33

      Same chef, but it sounds like a much-expanded menu. The portions may be small (small? say it ain't so, Ed!), but they're no less labour-intensive, and there's now 50% more dishes on the menu. Sounds like the kitchen just couldn't keep up.

      I have to say, unless I'm actually interested in a tasting menu, I prefer the app-main-desert style of dining, especially in this price range.

    2. Went to Globe a few months ago before their menu changed and it was mostly positive. That's unfortunate.

      1. Interesting I was there on Friday - Day 1 of their new menu (I did not know they changed their menu concept, but I did avoid 'licious).

        Ordered 5 dishes:
        Indian Spiced Roasted Tomato Puree - The paneer was far to soft and milky for our liking. Spicing was underwhelming, I was confused about the grapes, but I did enjoy the flavour combination with the preserved lemon.

        Morrocan Crusted Monkfish Chop - slightly overcooked for my tastes but I did enjoy the spicing and the green salsa was nice. The fritters were okay.

        Masala Black Cod - Cooked wonderfully, but can't remember much else.

        Nunavut Caribou Leg - I enjoyed this dish, while I did find the Caribou a touch bland (could be a function of the meat itself I haven't had Caribou much often, but it's definitely not as rich as venison IMO), the spaetzle was very tasty as was the spiced red cabbage.

        Lamb chop and 48 hour shoulder - I too was very disappointed with this dish. The 48 should was "fall off the bone" flaky but dry! The mash was inedible IMO.

        With a cocktail and 3 glasses of wine $200+ tax/tip incl. I don't think I will immediately go back. There are other restaurants I would rather experiment on.

        Service was fine, they were very busy even for a late evening reservation. Though, I'm not one to fuss over service unless it's obviously poor, which it was not (for us). I did comment to the SO that I liked how the timing of the dishes were spaced out a touch longer - she wished they'd arrive a touch sooner - matter of preference really.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Apprentice

          Sorry to hear you had such a disappointing experience. We've been a number of times and have always enjoyed the food and never a problem with service. In fact I found the staff to be quite knowledgeable, and if they didn't know, would quickly find out. You're right in that Ed is very passionate about food, dining and in particular his restaurant, and so he should be. I'm with estragon in that I much prefer the traditional style as opposed to tasting menus. I'm hopeful that this was a one off experience and that if something is broke Ed will get it fixed pronto. Hmmm, haven't been for awhile now, might have to check it out for myself.

          1. re: millygirl

            Well, it's interesting to see that those of you who have dined there before have had completely different experiences. My waiter said the first night of the new menu was actually even worse than what we went through, I cannot imagine that. And I have trouble believing what you all say about the portions, because these really were, well, just silly. I don't mind the tapas style m'self; as a foodie family, we spent years ordering half a page of appetizers so everyone could try, or ordering 4 forks to go with each plate so we could all try each others, so we were doing our own version of tapas before anyone but the Spanish had a name for it. But you don't do tapas at those prices; the whole raison d'etre of tapas is small tastes for small prices. I will be interested to hear what those of you with a history at Globe have to say when you have your own experience with this new menu. To say I was disappointed would be a grand understatement.

            1. re: The Goddess

              Thanks for this review. I am always appreciative of those who take the time to spell it all out. I was invited recently to a UWO Alumni event at Globe Bistro. I guess Ed the owner is a Western Alum.... We'll see what the Westerners have to say about all this.

              1. re: Maimonides

                Friends of mine were also there during the second day of their new menu and found similar issues with respect to portion sizes being all over the map - specifically the small portions of the lamb chop and shoulder for the price.

                Sounds like they need to work out the kinks and potential fix the prices.

              2. re: The Goddess

                I've eaten at Globe three or four times and always enjoyed the food even though I had some scatterbrained service on one occasion. The last time I was there was in August. I've been wanting to go back but there are so many other places to eat at. In early January, I had a look at the menu and saw that the prices seem to have risen drastically. (like about 30%) and I didn't see anything that really stood out on the menu. Did anyone else notice this? I would like to hear what others who have eaten there in the past think of the current menu, as my birthday is coming up in a few days and I was considering GB.

                EDIT: I just visited the GB site and dinner menu after the posting the above, and see that the high prices I saw a month ago are now back down. I wish I has saved a copy of that previous pdf. I'm sure it had many items in the $30 to $45 range. It appears the new menu has three courses to choose from instead of the two in the old menu, and now you spend $50 for the second and third course, instead of 30 to 45 for just the "main".

                1. re: foodyDudey

                  That's too bad, as others have noted hopefully they'll work out the kinks.

                  We've eaten at Globe twice, once last July and again this past January. At both visits, we were very happy with the service and the food.

                  I noticed when we went in January that the the wine list was much improved, and the mark-ups seem more than fair (Vega Sicilia's Alion for $120 - it retails for $70 in Ontario).

                  That said, on both trips we found their desserts to be truly awful. They're clearly aiming for something clever with the last course and really missing the mark.

          2. Upcoming birthday planning... any updates on the Globe Bistro situation? I desperately want to go, but don't want to be disappointed!!

            2 Replies
            1. re: lyn_zee

              Word is, Chef Ben is back at the stove after missing a few days (including the night in question) due to a bad fall. They've had some practice with the new menu and have been adjusting portion size. And given the public spanking they got, I'm sure they'll be on their best behaviour service-wise.

              1. re: estragon

                Yay, glad to hear this since I just made birthday reservations here as well. :-)

            2. It appears that Globe has decided to jump off the local, sustainable bandwagon. Not really a bandwagon but one of the most significant movements in food ever. Monkfish is a red flag fish to stay away from, and really isn't really all that local either. My 2 cents.

              1. I'd have to agree with you on that one.. won't be heading back to Globe Bistro unless they improve the menu items: I went there for my bday bash with my two buddies.

                Amuse Bouche: wasn't told of what it was... it was just placed in front of us. We tried the shot, ended up being a lobster essence soup.. the verdict: too salty.

                The waiter mentioned that we were looking at a new menu, and despite the fact that the night was young (it was only 7pm) and the room wasn't even full: they were already out of the "Canada's finest Plate" from the Entrees

                Appetizers: I shared the butternut squash gnocchi: all right, but would have been nicer if squash was integrated into the little dumplings rather than have it as cubes sprinkled on top.."burnt butter froth", that was on top, was tasteless and useless.

                My buddy also had the "Berkshire Head to Toe Terrine". before hand, we asked what type of meat it was.. "oh it's not on there?" Maybe the waiter should have familiarized himself with the items a bit more. Anway, we found out it was pork. When it arrived, it was a nice presentation, a deconstructed dish.. where you get to build your own sandwhich. stacked pieces of sourdough toast were described as "too hard" by my friend. The piccalilli he said he didn't like (although i forgot to ask him why) and the only thing he did like was the terrine itself.

                My one friend chose the Quebec Duck breast. although by my viewing it was cooked perfectly medium-rare, he complained that it was tough and chewy. My other buddy had a bit of it and agreed.
                The wine that was suggested by our waiter to be paired with the duck was a pinot noir.. but my friend said that it overpowered the dish.

                My other friend had the Moroccan Spiced Cod... while I told him not to get fish (no offence to it or anything, i just never select fish in restaurants because I find it uneventful), he decided to listen to the waiter instead ("the fish is very popular".. although he practically said that with every dish we inquired about!).
                He found the taste extrememly bland... he said it needed seasoning.. i guess he'll consider my advice next time.lol

                Dessert: (we got them all.. as u can tell by my name I am a sugar fiend.haha)
                Presentation overall for the desserts definitely lacked pizzazz.

                Apple and Calvados Trifle with almond crust:
                refreshing in taste but not appealling in looks:it was almost falling over when it arrived
                crust is not really a crust, more like slivered almond croquants sprinkled on top.

                Traditional sticky toffee pudding w.butterscotch sauce, whipped heavy cream:
                dry sticky toffee pudding and definitely not enough sauce.. had to request for more. AND almost ate a piece of plastic (cling film maybe?!) which was IN the pudding... all they did was give me another one, and the waiter never apologized for the incident...

                Double chocolate brownie Niagara cherry coulis, peanut butter ice cream:
                a bit dry and very crumbly, not the texture one expects from a brownie. didn't detect that it was peanut butter ice cream

                Apple + rhubarb crumble vanilla ice cream:
                Homey and comforting but again.. need to up the ante with innovation.

                Classic lemon tart house crème fraiche:
                tastes fine, but nothing spectacular... like eating lemon curd from Wilkins and Sons but with a crust underneath.. not enough creme fraiche.

                English bread + butter pudding w. banana ice cream:
                Banana ice cream was well done and not artifical tasting, very smooth
                pudding presentation was not appealing, looked like a heaped ant hill. taste wise it was warm comforting and moist.

                I had high hopes for this place with all the media hoopla it received.. I guess it's back to the drawing board...

                1 Reply
                1. re: sugarcube

                  Alright ... another restaurant to cross off my list! So many negative reviews that I'm just not going to bother. Thanks for the review!

                2. To those who were concerned - don't worry. Globe is back on form (actually for me it's always beeen on form).
                  Was there early last night (6:00 because we were going to theatre at Todmorden Mills) and it was certainly quiet - so very attentive service. We explained we had to be out by 7:30 and the bill arrived at 7:15 (without further prompting from us).
                  Appetizers were excellent. The scallops were cooked PERFECTLY with a light crunch on the outside. The beet salad was full of flavour and at least 3 different kinds of beet.
                  Mains were the 'daily special' of roast squab on a risotto base with foie gras and wild mushrooms, and the Berkshire Pork loin - with a couple of glasses of wine (they offer both 3 and 6 oz servings).
                  The squab dish was very rich - the mushrooms in particular were great although squab could have been a little more tender - but good flavour. Risotto was pretty good but a tad mushy for me (although AmuseGirl prefers the creamier texture).
                  Pork was also fine - perfectly cooked with just a hint of pink at the centre.
                  But I have to comment on dessert. Yes, all those mentioned above were there, but they also offer 8 different cheeses (all described) and you can choose them singly or in combination (4 or 8). We had the 4-up for $16 and all were excellent, served with several condiments (5 IIRC - candied apple, date puree, a nut something etc). It's great to find cheese available in Toronto - all too rare unfortunately, and Globe have this right - enough selection to be interesting and small enough to ensure the stock turns over before it 'expires' - actually we had the last piece of 1 of the cheeses - so only 7 available last night for anyone else.

                  ALL portion sizes were as expected - didn't have any of the issues people are reporting above.
                  So excellent food, fair wine prices (good selection by glass), attentive but not overbearing service, and cheese. And we got out slightly ahead of our requested schedule.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: estufarian

                    phew! thank you for the update. I would have been upset if this place had completely gone downhill.

                  2. +

                    124 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, ON M4K1N1, CA

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: JamieK

                      Based on the comments of estufarian above, took my wife to Globe last night for her BD.

                      Very much enjoyed it. Service was very attentive, room is lovely, thought the food was great. We would go back and would certainly recommed to others.

                      One slight downer is the music they play. It's that sort of endless techno-bob crap. Don't know where they get it, but I hear it also played in lots of spots. Sux bit time.

                      Anyway, that's a small complaint. Otherwise, a good effort and worth the money.

                      1. re: Vern Ryerse

                        Thanks for listening (reading?). Glad you enjoyed it.
                        And that music is 'everywhere' now. I think it's supposed to create a 'vibe' so when you call for a reservation it sounds as if the place is 'happening'. Recently tried a place on Queen st (no names yet - have to eat there at least twice before reviewing) and almost had to shout over the phone. When I got there only about a dozen people dining.

                        1. re: estufarian

                          ah Im so curious about this place you speak of. One clue- Queen E or W??

                          1. re: hungryabbey

                            One clue:
                            Amy Pataki was there (my least favourite reviewer!).
                            Second Clue:
                            Ed Ho (owner of Globe) was also there!

                            1. re: estufarian

                              hm, interesting pair.. well I look forward to your review !

                    2. We held an event at Globe in late November, and were really pleased. The food was lovely, and the service spot on that night. And everyone who didn't tell us about food allergies and suddenly mentioned them were accommodated without issue. That in itself was impressive. We had oysters, the cod, the scallops, the gnocchi and a beef dish I didn't eat (so I can't remember what it was).

                      Based on that, I've been back once: The food was also good. The service was so ridiculously bad I actually said "Unless I see a waiter here in the next ten minutes, I'm leaving". We had been waiting more than an hour for our food, and restaurant was barely half full.

                      A coworker of mine happened to be in the area with her daughter during Winterlicious. She didn't realize it was Winterlicious and wandered into Globe. They were up front, saying they were only serving the Winterlicious menu, so she said "Well, there's nothing appropriate for my ten year old, so I'll have to come back". The hostess kindly said that they would accommodate the ten year old. My coworker was impressed, so they took a seat. The waiter, however, did not speak to the hostess, because it became a HUGE issue at the table. After a bit of fussing they did end up getting the child a steak, but it left my coworker feeling a bit strange. After all, she completely understood "Winterlicious only" so was willing to come back another time.

                      I want to like Globe. And I've liked the food. But beyond the event we had there? The service has been -- at best -- mediocre.