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Carman's Steak House - first class prices, third class offerings

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Sad to see this formerly packed steak house deteriorate so dramatically. Once the notoriously garlicky purveyor of hospitality, now it is insipid, unsophisticated and expensive.

We were seated at a rickety table with little privacy. A pane of the stained glass window next to me was empty. The wick of our oil lamp went out moments after we were seated - perhaps brushed by my elbow as the waitress tried to jockey wine bottle on our cramped table - she noticed, said she should relight it and never did. She cut off my request for a caesar salad by saying "we have our club salad'; seemed surprised when I asked her to name its ingredients; and more so when I asked to have the peppers left out. When it came it was with an underseasoned creamy dressing and a lot of iceberg and cold tomatoes. Blah....

The limited wine list is reasonably enough priced by today's standards. But the once-reputed garlic buns tasted of little but margarine and burnt garlic. We waited 10 minutes to have our credit cards picked up at meal's end.

The steaks themselves are expensive (my filet, $50), not particularly distinguished, no longer robustly seasoned, or for that matter, seasoned at all that I could discern. Not unpleasant meat, but lacking in any real beefy mineral flavour. The amateurish and rushed comment "Cut into the middle of your steak to see it's done the way you want it" suggests a lack of confidence in the ability of the kitchen to produce meat of reliable doneness. Certainly not an instruction given at any sophisticated eatery - and of course I ignored it.

Could eat WAY better in FAR more sophisticated style and a MUCH larger wine selection for about the same price at Barberian's or for less (without the sophistication but with genuine warmth) at Senior's with far better meat at House of Chan. Too bad, but I won't go back to Carman's.

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  1. Similar experience and exact same sentiments. We have a small choice of truly excellent steak houses in TO.

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