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Cajun Corner - Laird Drive

  • j

Talk about getting too big for your britches - that appears to be the above.

Hubby & I wanted to go there today for food & jazz, but found out they are charging $25.00 per person for the buffet & music. Too damn much for a Sunday afternoon, along with the drinks.

Just getting the steam off my chest.

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  1. was there as well. it's not that i feel ripped off.......we ate some tasty food. i just felt better organization would have improved our experience.

    1. 25$ for all you can eat plus music is not outlandish. The Boiler House and Manyata are both in the same price range. Free Times is somewhat less, but the food pales by comparison.

      I was there thursday night for some takeout, and was blown away by the flavours. I'm a gumbo snob, and have only rarely found restaurant versions that come close to my own. The CC's gumbo was very close. Rich, almost sauce-like, with a fantastic subtle heat that lingered after each mouthful. They've been open for only a couple of weeks, and are taking small steps to make the transition to a full-on restaurant. Cut them some slack.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Snarf

        I have yet to check them out but hey, $25 for AYCE and music seems pretty reasonable to me also. It's definitely on my list!

        1. re: Snarf

          Although I'm not on board with the $25 brunch--it's just not something that I do--I am in complete agreement with Snarf's second paragraph. I have been to the new location 3 times in the past 2 weeks. I've had po' boy sandwiches each time, shrimp and catfish. Both are outstanding and pretty reasonable (about $9), served with delicious, piquant chopped slaw and sweet potato fries (chips). The food is excellent.

          1. re: Yongeman

            what's on the menu for the buffet?

            1. re: caitlink

              Here's the link to the Cajun Corner website: http://cajuncorner.ca/

              Click on 'Jazz Brunch' and it's all there.

            2. re: Yongeman

              Hey Yonge.

              Have you tried the Muffalletta?? I had one on opening day and it was great. The only problem with it is they can't get muff. bread so they had to put it on a kaiser which is a little too heavy for it. The taste is excellent for the filling though.
              Mrs. Sippi (Who obviously knows a thing or two about catfish) had their cf and thought it was great.
              I had the fried chicken when we went and I really liked it. I've read where people thought it was not really seasoned well but I thought it was nice. It had a real "Home made" taste to it. Go for the remoulade for dipping instead of the hot sauce.

              DT

              1. re: Davwud

                Hey DT,
                I tried the muffaletta a couple of times at the Queen location--awesome sandwich. Love that olive salad. I've never been to NOLA, so don't know what an authentic muffaletta bread is like. Is it kind of like a ciabatta bun? Actually, I think that would be a great container for that sandwich.

                1. re: Yongeman

                  It's more along the lines of an over grown hamburger bun. I've never had one in NOLA but have in a few delis down yonder and the bread makes a big difference.
                  They also wrap them in foil and bake them for a few minutes so everything is nice and warm and all the oils are oozing.
                  Can't be beat.

                  DT

                  1. re: Davwud

                    I have had one in NOLA (from the Central Grocery), and the original muffaletta is actually served cold. You can get some heated debates started in New Orleans over whether or not it is acceptable to serve it warm, but you can easily find it both ways. The bread is kind of like focaccia, with sesame seeds on top. I think it's a little bit more sturdy and absorbent than a hamburger bun - the sandwich is actually much better after it's sat in the fridge for a couple of days.
                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Ce...
                    Haven't had the one at CC yet, since I usually only stop there when I need catfish, so I can't comment on its authenticity.

                    1. re: Wahooty

                      It's based on the CG in NOLA. The olive salad is imported from CG.
                      Maybe that's why it's served cold.

                      DT

                      1. re: Wahooty

                        Ok, now I'm really craving a muffaletta. Sounds good hot, too.

                        1. re: Wahooty

                          I know what you mean, wahooty, about always getting side-tracked from the muffaletta by the other great offerings, but I had one the other day--it was very good, although I think it depends who makes it. I've seen more generous quantities of olive salad on another one that I ordered recently for someone else. Also, the bun is really not the best quality kaiser I've ever had. All in all, the sandwich was great, though.

              2. for any patrons of the previous location.... any noticeable changes in the cooking? good or bad? the same even? that's good enough for me.

                1. I haven't been for the brunch but wouldn't go until they seem a bit more organized.

                  One night a couple of weeks ago, I was contemplating getting take-out from CC, so I called and was told that I should just come in rather than placing an order over the phone. So, we stopped in for some take out and were told it would take 10 minutes, which we didn't have at that time. I was a little irked since if they would have just taken our order over the phone, we would have left food in hand. (Do they not want our business?)

                  A few days later, CC was on our route to an appointment and we thought we'd stop in again to try it out. Called first several times (as I was in a rush) to let them know, but nobody answered the phone. So, Hubby ran in and noted that there were several people milling about (Why hadn't they answered the phone?). He ordered fried chicken and was told 3 pieces would take five minutes, and more would take 15. As we were short of time, he opted for three. I sat in our car on a side street, waiting, as parking is very inconvenient there. Five minutes passed, and I called Hubby's cell phone. The chicken was not quite ready. A few minutes later, I checked again, and discovered that they were having trouble processing his Interac. He would be done in one minute, he was promised. Well, it was another 10 minutes before he was out of the place: Apparently, they had to clear their phone messages before they could process the transaction. Given that amount of time we could actually have ordered more chicken... GRRRR!

                  So, what's with the not taking advance orders? Sometimes one doesn't want to sit for 15 minutes waiting for chicken to fry. And what about not answering the phone and not clearing messages, and promising you'll be done in 1 minute and then not getting out of there for another 10.

                  All in all, we were pretty frustrated (and late). The fried chicken was good, though I can't say I'd make a special trip for it. I did enjoy the spicy cole slaw which was reminiscent of kimchi. The sweet potato frites were nothing great, more like fresh potato chips. And, we had a muffuletta sandwich, too, but I don't know if it was worth the money. I can buy those cold cuts and cheeses, plus a muffuletta mix (I found a great one at Sobey's) and make that myself.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Full tummy

                    With all due respect full tummy, after reading your post I can't help but ask - why didn't you go some place like KFC? Maybe just me, but I would think that a wait of 15 minutes is not unreasonable to ask for freshly fried chicken. That aside, I agree with your other points regarding service issues. Seems like they need to get their act in gear.

                    1. re: millygirl

                      15 minutes is perfectly reasonable. So is accepting orders over the phone.

                      1. re: millygirl

                        Millygirl, I find your position a little unfair. We are talking take-out here. I have no problem with waiting 15 minutes, but why do I have to stand at their counter? If I go for take-out to Moti Mahal, Danforth Dragon, Lahore Tikka House, or any number of places, I can call in advance, and my order is generally ready when I arrive. I do not have to place my order when I arrive and then stand at the counter waiting.

                        1. re: Full tummy

                          No doubt, they are getting their act together, including training new staff. Shouldn't be too difficult to take a phone order, though. I think that it'll all wash out in time, and the integrity of the food is worth giving them some time.

                          1. re: Yongeman

                            On Queen St, Karen (at least when she was there) encouraged me to call in advance and ask to have stuff set aside.

                    2. To be fair, my hubby & I had dinner there last night. We arrived early - around 4:45 p.m. - there was one customer for take-out & us for sit-down dinner. One other customer came in after us for take-out.

                      Started off with crab cakes from the appetizer section; then we both ordered catfish cooked differently with two side dishes. Along with two beers & 2 glasses of wine, the bill came to $57.00, which was not unreasonable to say the least.

                      However, for now, we would give the new location a 6 out of 10.

                      I miss the old place on Queen street, which i found funky & ideal. Karen, the owner, told us that she & her husband own the building on Queen, but it would have cost too much to expand the premises.

                      We'll go back there, but not for at least another month & see how it's going.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Jay98

                        $25 seems OK to me for that.
                        Maybe the musicians even get paid a fair wage.

                        1. re: Jay98

                          How were the crab cakes? Were there larger chunks of crabmeat in them or were they more evenly textured? Good flavour?

                          1. re: Manybears

                            There were 3 crab cakes - 1 1/2 for each - small, like muffins, but okay - nothing astounding.

                        2. Drove by today and noticed that it was closed around 3 p.m. and had a sign on the door. Can anyone tell me why it was shut?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Zengarden

                            They said they would be closing early for a family emergency. They'll be open again on Sunday.

                          2. As a pre-Mother's Day celebration we decided to go to the new Cajun Corner opened up on Laird Drive. Six of us decided to go and arrived early. I checked the menu out on their website before I went and was looking forward to some authentic Cajun food. Not
                            only was there going to be breakfast items before noon, at 12:00 there was to be some tasty sounding main dishes. And for $25.00 per person it promised to be good.

                            We arrived at 11:30 and were the first ones there and there was no food set out. We were soon followed by some other patrons who were equally confused. There was no food at the buffet but we waited patiently for 45 minutes. A little bit of food came out but by the time I got to the buffet there was literally nothing left except white gravy. We were offered a cup of coffee (they couldn't even get it together to brew enough coffee for the tables they had). We ended up with a quarter cup. I went up to the buffet several times and all there was cold lifeless beans and some a couple of drops of grey liquid. Mostly there was no food there at all.

                            They brought out some chicken which got picked over so fast that there was only one scrawny chicken wing. I gave up. Our group had a terrible time.

                            I have never seen anything like it in any restaurant anywhere.
                            They should have told us that they weren't ready for customers and we could have gone to a real restaurant.

                            People in Leaside are very loyal if they find something they like and will stay away in droves if word gets around that a place isn't worth going to. This wasn't a very good beginning. I have no idea if the food is good because there wasn't any.

                            This is the worst restaurant experience I have ever had. They ended up not charging us but what a waste of time.

                            11 Replies
                            1. re: waterwood

                              That's a horror story. I hope things pick up soon.

                              1. re: waterwood

                                No business, restaurant or otherwise would risk their reputation and livelihood unless there was no choice. The early closure on Saturday says a lot, be it family emergency or "something else" (a lot of things come to mind but won't speculate)
                                It was obviously serious enough to take presedence above and beyond remaining open. As for Sunday almost sounds as if they were sleep deprived, lacking in prep and food supplies and running around in a fog trying to cope under trying
                                circumstances. Life happens to all of us, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

                                That being said -business 101 is "always have a back up plan" for the what if's, Plan A, B and C and onward. I feel bad for them regardless and hope they can surpass this crisis and get back to their passion which is Cajun food.
                                I've been so looking forward to the blue crab.

                                1. re: McCree

                                  Whatever the case may be, it sounds like they should have taken an extra day off on the Sunday to get things in order. From what I've been reading on Chow so far, it's no way to run a (successful) business.

                                  1. re: McCree

                                    More than once at the location in Leslieville, I'd walked from my home to the store (a good 20 min walk), during their posted business hours, to find the same sign - closed for 'family emergency'. Since the last time it happened I've not returned and will most likely not make the trek to Leaside. It's just not worth my time or money when I can't rely on them being open.

                                    1. re: thenurse

                                      One of their flaws in Leslieville was an extreme disregard for their posted business hours. They would occasionally put up a sign that they would be closed because of a catering gig. More often, you'd just arrive to find a locked door. This was especially true during the short time when they claimed to be open in the evening.

                                      We were regulars at Queen St and miss them here. I continue to wish them success, but we'll be holding off on a Leaside visit until things seem to be settling down.

                                      While they have many years of experience, a "micro" catering business with limited takeout is a very different business than a full restaurant operation. I'm getting a sense that they may now be doing something that is well beyond their abilities. I hope I'm wrong about that.

                                      1. re: embee

                                        As a side note, on my way to Home Depot, I noticed that CC is closed today, Monday, at 12:15. Are they normally closed on Mondays? Can't tell from the website, as hours aren't posted.

                                        I wonder if the new staff who were hired for the Laird location may have something to do with the difficulties...just wondering, and hoping for the best.

                                        1. re: Yongeman

                                          Hours posted on the door today read as follows:
                                          Monday - Closed
                                          Tuesday-Thursday 11 - 8
                                          Friday, Saturday 11-9
                                          Sunday 11-4

                                          I was told that hours will be extended (10 PM Tues-Thurs, Midnight Frida, Saturday) in June. The patio will also be open in June as well

                                          I would guess that the new staff have something to do with the snafus. Having been a regular customer for years, I recognize 2 guys from the old place (which was the entire staff) and they know their stuff. The new people I've dealt with seem about as sharp as a bowling ball.

                                            1. re: estufarian

                                              In all fairness, estufarian, I noticed that they were closed on Saturday, Aug. 2. I also happened to notice a sign posted on the door, I think. This stated that there had been a death in the family, and that they'd be reopening on Tuesday (I believe). Of course, you had no way of knowing that, if you didn't see the sign.

                                              1. re: Yongeman

                                                I was driving and didn't stop. Apologies to the family who seem to have had more than their fair share of family tragedies.

                                                1. re: estufarian

                                                  It's tough when you can't necissarily count on a place being open.
                                                  Then when it is, the service is a bit dodgy.

                                                  DT

                                2. I tried the new Cajun Corner location (Leaside) on Friday May 2nd.

                                  My experience was as follows:

                                  Parked on a nearby side street, walked by and entered.

                                  The staff on duty saw me; but intitially didn't react; before coming over to tell me I could take any seat. It was late in the lunch period and there were 2 other tables, one of six and one of 2.

                                  I settle down to read the menu and the waitress asks if I would like a drink. A splendid idea, except there were no drinks on the menu, no drinks menu, no drinks listed on the wall etc; and the waitress wasn't exactly sure what they had.

                                  After some thought, she noted they had a selection of 4 beers by the bottle (Keiths, Coors Light, Pabst, and Molson Canadian).

                                  That was followed by the pronouncement that they were out of Keiths.

                                  That was a strike against them; its bottled, its mid-Friday, can't anyone drive to the beer store? How can you be out....meh.

                                  Also not impressed by the staff knowledge (or lack of) or the lack of a drinks menu.

                                  She also neglected to mention the cocktails or wine, which I found about only after wandering up to the cash where they had a small sign noting house wine and the cocktails. (a sign which no one sitting down could ever see).

                                  Not my favourite choice, but ordered the Pabst which arrived promptly, with a chilled glass.

                                  Better.

                                  I then ordered the small green salad (the piquant dressing intrigued me) and the Shrimp po'boy.

                                  The salad itself was pedestrian, a few mixed greens and 3 slices of cucumber, but the dressing was genuinely interesting and as per its name, HOT. Quite enjoyable; for $3.00, no complaints.

                                  Actually, I think they should bottle the dressing, its quite unique.

                                  The food was slow coming out, with the waitress telling an another table that they were having fryer issues.

                                  The sandwich arrived, I wasn't sure what to expect.

                                  Never having had a po-boy before, I can't compare it to another.

                                  I can say, I found the shrimp nice, the tomato and lettuce were fine, the remoulade dressing had a nice flavour, but there wasn't very much of it. The bread was on the chewy side, and fairly thick relative to the amount of filling. All in all, a good sandwich, but not brilliant.

                                  The accompanying spicy coleslaw had a nice flavour profile, but could have used a bit more heat; it used to have more heat at the Leslieville location.

                                  All in all a pretty good meal, though not excellent, and reasonable price; but there were clearly some issues to be worked out (beer, signage/menus, timing).

                                  I would rate it a 6.5/10, but had the issues above not happened it would 7.5 - 8.

                                  *****

                                  Oh, and they really need to cook the beignets every day. Even at Leslieville they only did them on weekends; and now apparently only on Sundays.

                                  They're really good, they were the first thing I tried down at the old Queen St. location; I never understood why they wouldn't do them on weekdays; its not like they're hard to make. But they are delicious!

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: Northern Light

                                    GAR! THAT's what was missing...the piquant dressing...I picked up a "breadless muffaletta" Thursday evening, and I knew it was missing something - it was supposed to have that dressing on it. From the sounds of things, that's what would have made it complete. Anyway, I'd echo what others have said - I've been lucky enough to never find them unexpectedly closed when I stopped by at either location, but organization does seem to be their biggest problem. The general oddness of the place is one of the reasons I love it, but I now have to go pretty far out of my way to get there, so I'd do it more often if I felt the machine were a little better-oiled. I really hope they can get their issues worked out - it seems like there's no shortage of people rooting for them.

                                    And NL, I totally agree about the beignets. I'm not likely to go for a $25 jazz brunch buffet all by my lonesome, but what I wouldn't give to be able to pop in for an order of beignets and some chicory coffee every once in a while. If they also somehow got their bar stocked with the provisions to make a proper sazerac, they'd never get me out of the damned place.

                                    1. re: Wahooty

                                      They do have the provisions to make a proper Sazerac! I've had 2 at this point. They do not have herbsainte (it's not available at all in Canada so they use Pernod) but it's a fine, fine Sazerac. Some relative of the chef's was a lifer bartender in New Orleans (Commander's, The Old Absinthe House, Brennan's, Antoine's) so he knows the recipes and has the drinks ready to go. If you ask real nice and he's not busy, he'll probably make one for you! (he even tossed the glass as I'd seen in New Orleans- it was a damn fine drink) He told me that he was in the process of developing the cocktail menu and training the staff on the drinks. He's also working on the wine list.

                                      The wait staff is abysmal and they are going to kill that place. I've had one pro server (older guy, bald with glasses) who was great and on top of things and a young girl (very short, short hair) who was good but obviously learning. There is one girl in there (and I'm sure this is the one you had trouble with- tall, big, with dark, longish hair. Julie or Judy or something) who is probably one of the worst servers I've ever had- and zero personality. I walked right on past on 2 seperate occasions when I saw that she was in there at lunch. I said something to the chef and he said it wasn't up to him but he was obviously frustrated with her (I've seen her standing around playing with her phone while my water glass sat empty). Karen- please, if you read this GET RID OF THAT GIRL AND GET SOME PRO SERVERS!! The lousy servers are going to chase off your customers.

                                      1. re: moptop1966

                                        The real question is, do they have real American rye? Because if they're using Canadian whisky, or bourbon, then it ain't a real sazerac....

                                        1. re: Wahooty

                                          They don't use bourbon or American rye. They do use a 100% rye whiskey from Alberta (yes, it's real rye. It's even received high marks from Jim Murray) called Alberta Springs. I had one with Alberta Premium as well. Perfect in the Sazerac and as good as you can do up here. Recommended by the bartender at Brennan's apparently.

                                          1. re: moptop1966

                                            Yeah, that's what I was afraid of. I've had the Alberta ryes, and they're nice, but still distinctly different from American rye in style. Don't get me wrong, I'm willing to try a Canadian saz (and I'm sure it's quite tasty in it's own right), but it just won't be the same as the bottle of Sazerac Rye I've been rationing since Christmas. :)

                                  2. Tried Cajun Corner (Laird) on Friday, 23 May: food flavours, texture and consistency were wonderful--fried chicken was superb. But service is very disorganised and does a disservice to the food and overall dining experience.

                                    Tried the classic chicken, seafood file and Laplace gumbos: all thick, hearty, full of wonderful Cajun flavours and intact (not mushy, overcooked) generous ingredients. (Beware when ordering a bowl as opposed to a cup that it is considered a main course and comes later . . .).

                                    Limited range of bottled beers were served in frosty beer glasses, but only one bottle of Keith's was cold . . . (we could have switched brands to something chilled with notification rather than drinking unappetising warm beer).

                                    Aforementioned chicken was the star, juicy and tender inside with the lightest of crunchy coating outside--this is definitely a return experience! Jambalaya and crawfish etouffee were a bit close to gumbo flavours and consistency, but that an ordering mistake and no reflection on food quality. The etouffee was creamy and subtly flavoured with generous chunks of crawfish; jambalaya was drier, but similarly perfectly seasoned and full of sausage and prawns.

                                    All, with one takeaway slice of pecan pie and two rounds of drinks, for a very reasonable $80.00 for three inclusive taxes and tip.

                                    Definitely headed back for the food, but possibly takeaway next time. Slow, uninformed, careless service and lack of ambience doesn't make for an inviting return visit.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Nelson

                                      I was hoping the service would pick up. That's my only complaint about the place.
                                      I loved the fried chicken. I thought it had a real "Home made" taste to it.

                                      DT

                                    2. So I finally tried this place. Always on the hunt for a good Creole/Cajun place.

                                      I have issues with it. The food was fairly good. But not once did my eyes roll to the back of my head.

                                      I ordered the catfish/shrimp po’ boy, as I wanted to get a taste of both. Both were done very nicely, perfectly fried, no grease whatsoever. The catfish had a nice golden cornmeal crust and was cut in lovely pieces, just the right size for a sandwich. Bit it wasn’t huge on flavour. The shrimp were really good, better seasoned than the catfish I thought, almost tasted like buffalo shrimp. The seafood portion size was great. I didn’t feel ripped off.

                                      As someone mentions on another thread, the sandwich is tough to eat. Not rubbery, just a mouthful. And not in a good way. The baguette was really tasty and fresh, but I found it far too big for its role. I couldn’t get my mouth around the sandwich! Sometimes that can be fun, but here I found it annoying. I actually ended up eating the seafood separately from the rest of the sandwich. In part so I could taste the seafood better (like I said, the catfish was a tad bland) and partly because I simply couldn’t fit my mouth around it all! Plus the tasty shrimp were getting lost in the bread and remoulade, so I wanted to enjoy them on their own. I think a smaller, softer, less intrusive roll is needed. It came with lettuce, tomato, and the remoulade sauce. I honestly don’t know too much about remoulade, but this sauce essentially tasted like a creamy Dijon dressing. Is that what it is supposed to taste like? Can someone tell me? Cuz pretty much Dijon was all I tasted. The cole slaw was dressed (overdressed really) in the same sauce as on the sandwich. It was ok, but I kinda forgot about it and left most of it.

                                      Something that happened while I ate it that bothered me a great deal: I burnt the top of my mouth really bad. In fact, that was the worst I think I’ve ever burned my mouth. Piping hot and fresh is great, but they should warn you, no?? Has this ever happened to anyone who has enjoyed a sandwich there??? I am very very curious. I mean, I burned the roof of my mouth pretty bad. Not only did it affect that meal, but several meals to come over the next couple of days. It really hurt. It’s not like there was steam billowing from the sandwich. It looked benign, harmless enough. I didn’t expect my mouth to be scalded on fist bite! Fresh is great, but if this has happened to others there I really think they oughtta warn you that it’s superhot, since it doesn’t look threatening. I don’t know, this could me, but man did it hurt.

                                      The service? Meh. It’s kids running it. An indifferent girl. I don’t expect Scaramouche service at a place like this, I really don’t. But I don’t know, maybe hire someone barely out of their teens who care a little bit. No?

                                      All in all, it was fine, but didn’t blow me away. I might check it out again, but I wouldn’t think I’d rush there or crave the po’ boys. We’ll see…

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: magic

                                        We walked in one afternoon and stood a few minutes at the door while indifferent girl stood behind the bar, then went in to the back, never once making any attempt at acknowledging our presence. Hubby and I decided it wasn't worth the bother. Went and had the usual great fish and chips at Olde York instead. I think it was a wise move on our part.

                                        1. re: millygirl

                                          Yeah I'm sure it was a good move on your parts....

                                        2. re: magic

                                          Hey magic! Try out New Orleans Seafood & Steakhouse.
                                          I just posted my review!

                                          1. re: sylvrgirl

                                            Right on, thanks, will do that right now...... :)

                                        3. I just wish they'd get their act together, and really give us the New Orleans experience. That would make up for so-so food.

                                          They could be the "New Orleans North", for both food and music. There is a lot of New Orleans jazz and brass band in Toronto, that would be far more authentic than the lame jazz guitar I heard.

                                          Also, I've had several bad experiences with misinformation over the phone from staff who don't seem to know what is going on (including a embarassingly disasterous Mother's Day Brunch where I was told by phone that reservations were not required, and when I arrived with my mother they refused to seat us even though the place was not full!) I just find their overall attitude customer service attitude very haphazard.

                                          16 Replies
                                          1. re: big red

                                            I do like their food but I found it telling that on a day we could not get into Marvellous Edibles or Old York fish n chips for lunch (told to expect at least a half hour wait, with several parties ahead of us waiting), Cajun Corner was completely empty. I had to convince my friends to try it as they were very skeptical. However, they considered it a find. I also note the casual service, cannot get through on the phone, once the waitress had stepped out and chef who came out did not actually offer us menus (we ordered off the happy hour menu but would have liked to have known the other options).

                                            1. re: julesrules

                                              I have no intention of ever going based on what I've read but curious to know, how was the food?

                                              1. re: millygirl

                                                Had you ever tried the food at the original location? I thought it was nothing special but it seems to be popular with people here.
                                                I remember ordering fried fish cakes, the owner starts frying them and the whole place had a smoky, oily haze inside. I was wondering why they didn't turn on an exhaust fan. I mentioned that she should get one and she said "we have one". Obviously it didn't work. I don't know why she would think customers would want to be subjected to that atmosphere. Anyway I wonder how they are doing in Leaside. I try to peer in as I drive by, it never looks busy at all.

                                                1. re: foodyDudey

                                                  I live a couple of minutes from the old location. It was very handy to have around. When Karen was cooking, the food was all freshly cooked, tasty, and an incredible bargain.

                                                  They were never a real restaurant. It was primarily a catering business that also did some takeout. The stove, fridge, and exhaust were what you would find in a seventies vintage low end apartment kitchen.

                                                  I miss them down here, but have had no inclination to try the place on Laird. I got used to showing up and finding that they had closed to do a catering gig, but the new place can't be that informal. They don't have the skills needed to manage a real restaurant. I'm surprised that they've lasted this long up there.

                                                  1. re: foodyDudey

                                                    Based on my only visit to Cajun Corner a couple of months ago, the place is a bush-league operation.

                                                    Once a month, a friend and I randomly select a commercial street in Toronto and drive along it in search of dinner at any joint that neither of us has ever been to before. In short, a wild shot just for the fun of it. Usually, the place turns out of be middling average and not up to much - not surprising, given that most restos fall into that category. Occasionally, it's surprisingly good - like a bleak-looking beer joint called Ciro's which, if you can muscle your way past the drug deals at Bloor and Lansdowne, puts up decent ethnic food of oft-indeterminate origin, much of it Thai or West Indian (the delicious huge-portion black bean soup is a meal in itself). And then, zipping south down Laird Drive from Eglinton Ave. East, there was Cajun Corner. A dreary place, with only one other table occupied, depressing to be in, what with several tables uncleared. Food was forgettable, which zingy Cajun cuisine shouldn't be. The lone server seemed distracted. Whoever was in the kitchen made a lot of noise, and took a helluva long time to come up with luke-warm food. It seemed pointless to complain. We ate up, paid the bill and split, with those other tables still uncleared. The Cajun background music was nice, though. Otherwise, a total dud. We shoulda driven farther along to Marvellous Edibles. How Cajun Corner stays in business, I'll never know.

                                                  2. re: millygirl

                                                    I've only really tried the po boy sandwiches and fried chicken. Had the muffaletta at the old location. I liked the fried chicken better at the old location but it is still good, in a lightly coated, homemade kind of way... definitely not KFC. I like the po boy sandwiches (battered catfish and shrimp on a baguette with remoulade and some lacklustre tomato/iceburg) and the spicy coleslaw side. I need to branch out and try some of their soups etc.
                                                    We work at Don Mills and Eglinton so not a lot of options in the area for lunch, the fact they are dead helps because food comes quick.

                                                    1. re: julesrules

                                                      Never been to the new location. Stopped in over the weekend to try the po boy.

                                                      To sum, the sandwiched sucked. Stale bun, almost no remoulade, 5 or 6 tiny shrimp. Great coleslaw, however.

                                                      1. re: acd123

                                                        I remember po boys on Queen bursting with hot, crisp, well cooked fish or shrimp. A huge, filling sandwich that could be two meals for someone with a smaller appetite. I think they were $4.95.

                                                        1. re: embee

                                                          I had the catfish sandwich. The fish was very well cooked. I'm missing that spot.

                                                          1. re: grandgourmand

                                                            Hmm...I am still not sure what to make of the place since they moved. I was in there a couple of weeks ago for the second time after the move, and the place was dead. There was one other occupied table on a Thursday night. I ordered a sazerac - it was Mardi Gras week and I had been perfecting mine at home and wanted to compare. The waiter/bartender comes back and says he doesn't have all of the required materials, but if I like bourbon, he makes an awesome bourbon sour. I happen to love bourbon, so I bite. What he comes back with is awfully sweet, and awfully pale for something that is supposed to contain bourbon. It was the most watered-down cocktail I've had in a long time. We both had the muffaletta, which was good, but let's face it, it's a pretty simple sandwich and hard to mess up. Cole slaw and sweet potato chips were the same as they've always been (I've always enjoyed both). So aside from the barely bourbon-flavored beverage, it was a good meal. The waiter was pleasant enough, and the cook came out to check on us and encourage us to come back. But I can't help but wish they had stayed a take-out joint - it just feels weird now. I should probably say "weirder," since it was always odd, but that used to be a big part of why I liked it...

                                                  3. re: julesrules

                                                    Cajun Corner looked quite empty when we drove past tonight at about 7:30, en route to Marvellous Edibles.

                                                    Have you been to Olde York Fish 'n Chips? We've been tempted to try it (and it appeared to be quite packed tonight), but the fry smell outside is so overpowering that it always dissuades us from going in. We do appreciate good fish and chips, though. Any feedback would be appreciated.

                                                    1. re: Tatai

                                                      I haven't eaten at Old Yorke for over a year, but we liked it. You shoudl try it out.

                                                      1. re: Tatai

                                                        There are many on here who consider Olde Yorke the best in Toronto, myself included. I have also enjoyed the occasional po boy sandwich from Cajun Corner.

                                                        1. re: Yongeman

                                                          Olde York is THE BEST in the city!!!!

                                                        2. re: Tatai

                                                          Olde York was our favourite chippy until Reliable, around the corner, became really good. The fish and the chips were good, and both were fresh. We never much liked anything else there.

                                                          We haven't been there in at least a couple of years, an eternity in Toronto restaurant time. On caveat stands out: I don't remember Olde York emitting a bad smell in the past.

                                                          1. re: embee

                                                            Oh, it wasn't really a bad smell. It was one of those smells that, when one is in the mood for yummy deep-fried food, is really enticing. But we were walking past en route to enjoying a homey, but non-deep-fried (with the exception of some great sweet potato fries), comfort-food type of meal a few doors north.

                                                    2. Have any regular Hounds been to Cajun Corner recently??

                                                      15 Replies
                                                      1. re: embee

                                                        I had a totally crappy po boy with my wife a few weeks ago. After all the buzz on C'Hound, I was looking forward to a killer sandwich. It was terrible. A few small soggy shrimp, a teaspoon of remoulade, some iceberg and tomato, all on a bun way past its prime.

                                                        This was contrasted with some of the best cole slaw I've ever had. Excellent flavour and texture. I cannot figure out what they put in it, but it was really good.

                                                        1. re: acd123

                                                          That's what I feared. The po boys on Queen were huge, freshly made, quite delicious, and unbelievably cheap.

                                                          1. re: embee

                                                            Cajun Corner is in transition. It has recently been sold to an individual who has worked in the industry for a number of years, who, apparently, is taking a look at it while considering where to go in the future. With that in mind, I'm going to be blunt with the hope that others will also provide contructive criticism, as there isn't enough cajun in the city.

                                                            Kitchen: How can you run a restaurant on four burners? Might have worked on Queen street, but not here.

                                                            Gumbo: The texture and spicing aren't working. Too mild by far, and they seem to be hoping that okra plus stock will be thick enough. No. Make a roux for god's sake. Read Prudhomme if necessary, or try one of the derivative dry oven versions, but forget the okra.

                                                            Jambalaya: The spicing is right, but the texture is clumpy. Inconsistent moisture levels suggest pre-made reheated instead of a la minute. As it's generally made with minute rice, what conceivable reason could there be to make completely in advance?

                                                            I get the impression that ownership is sincere, and want to improve. I'm not sure if they get that the kitchen (which looks to be some of the old staff) is sliding. In terms of measurement on service, I found it took half a pint less for the food to arrive, which suggests to me more that it was reheated rather than made fresh.

                                                            1. re: Snarf

                                                              I was wondering when this place was going to close, and it looks like technically, it already has. Just being kept on a resuscitator by someone who has some spare time to burn. As I've mentioned before, it looked very empty in there when I passed by. I wonder if the original owners realised they would have been better of at the old location. I remember reading a post where someone mentioned the owner was sure that things would be better in Leaside.

                                                              Do you think there really isn't enough Cajun in the city? It's not hard to do correctly, so I would think that if there really was a demand for it, people would open up more Cajun restaurants.

                                                              1. re: foodyDudey

                                                                I heard that the owners have moved back to NO to run a BandB and work in the food industry there, which is a good sign for a part of the world that needs good signs.

                                                                As for the need for the cuisine, yes, it's one of the more vibrant and dynamic cuisines in North America, one of the few original and cultural ones. Ethnically, our Acadians left before the development of the food, so if it's done here, it's definitely going to be borrowed. It would be nice to see it done honestly by a small place with heart rather than some large soulless imitator like Baton Rouge.

                                                                1. re: Snarf

                                                                  Good point Snarf. When you think about it, a lot of the basics of Cajun cooking is very similar to Caribbean cooking (read the holy trinity).

                                                                  But the biggest stumbling block I could see being is the access to great seafood especially crawfish. When I was in NO, those little crustaceans came a dime a dozen fresh. Up here? Good luck finding frozen packs of those suckers.

                                                                  PS: I've always thought that CC's poboys sucked. The artisan baguette always bugged me. Just throw it on a cheap sub-bun and call it a day.

                                                                  1. re: goodcookiedrift

                                                                    I agree on the baguette too! Much too thick and doughy. The ratio was all wrong.

                                                                2. re: foodyDudey

                                                                  I think it was me who talked to one of the owners and questioned her about the move to Leaside. She assured me that they "Know Leaside."

                                                                  That maybe true but it seems as thought they did not know how to run a restaurant.

                                                                  DT

                                                                  1. re: Davwud

                                                                    and running a restaurant in Leaside, to be fair, is also different from running a restaurant, in general. think of Amaya. what makes them so successful is that people come from out side the hood to try the food. Marvellous Edibles, on the other hand, survives on the neighbourhood walk-ins. But how many places have we watched open and close on Bayview (think of StarEAst...then East...and Smalltalk, sigh...) that just can't manage to get that buzz. the diners know what they are paying for, and won't support anything less than excellent service and quality.

                                                                    1. re: LemonLauren

                                                                      I hope the Highway 61 owner is reading this as he may get a few tips.... let's take guesses on how many months that one will last. I'll give it till the end of September.

                                                                3. re: Snarf

                                                                  I have noticed that it has been open 'regularly' recently - a distinct change from the former situation.
                                                                  As others have noted, the food also hasn't been up to scratch. If indeed it has changed hands, surely a name change would be helpful - I know I'm reluctant to return.

                                                            2. re: embee

                                                              I was back this week and it is the same restaurant serving the same food. The only addition is the roast beef po boy of spam fame, but it is a special so not described on the menu or by the waitress... I'd really need to know it was homemade, thin sliced, rare roast beef to be the least bit interested. Otherwise it is the same menu, same cook, but different waitress who is trying hard (not that I had an issue with the old one, I believe she is on maternity leave anyway). And dead as always.

                                                              For $9, with no authentic experience to compare it to, and given my lunch options where I work at Don Mills and Wynford, I still enjoy the catfish poboy with the sweet potato chips and delicious coleslaw. The coleslaw seems different everytime I have it, but always spicy and always good. They sliced the sandwich on an angle which did it no favours, but plenty of freshly fried, cornmeal-coated catfish. The lettuce and tomato are still kind of wilty and sad.
                                                              Compared to the $7-8 dollar sandwiches at Marvellous Edibles, which are delicious and varied but come with no sides (and I am not impressed with the a la carte sides they do offer), this is a decent deal. Not something to come across town for.
                                                              If the new owners are reading - your signage is terrible. Why not rent some space on the north wall where the music store has a banner?

                                                              1. re: julesrules

                                                                Have you tried Island Foods just up the street??

                                                                DT

                                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                                  Yes and it is certainly on the acceptable list, but for some reason I can never get excited about their food, at any location. I like the jerk pork from Mr Jerk (I think) in the peanut but my other limitation is being carless so I'm always reliant on what other people want. In this case I was just happy to get this particular friend away from Jack Astor's :)

                                                                  1. re: julesrules

                                                                    Yep, Mr. Jerk in the Peanut. Good place too.

                                                                    DT