Globe Bistro for Lunch . . . hmmm . . .
A loyal Globe Bistro fan, went last week for the first time at lunch: very disappointed at small portions, sloppy service and high bill. Birthday guest had complained en route about restaurants that leave you hungry after a hefty bill; I assured her that Globe was reliable for it's generous portions. Apparently only at dinner!! We didn't leave hungry after 6 oysters and crab cakes, Cumbrae crisp pork belly and pappardelle respectively only because we had another 6 oysters for dessert . . . bill for two with water and tip was $140.00.
Food quality was adequate, but well short of the usual dinnertime magnificence: pork belly was moist and tender, but flabby, not at all crisp; $16 seemed reasonable until the plate arrived with just three meagre slivers. (Thought they may have been running out as the next table had a much more generous portion when we sat down). The artfully described "spring" pappardelle (mushrooms, sweet peas and Parmesan truffle butter) was basically tasteless--no hint of Parmesan or truffle.
Was also somewhat nonplussed to be seated in the bar area, although I suppose understandable given the lighting situation and eventual opening of the sidewalk area. . . not helped by a new or confused hostess who seemed bewildered at the whole affair.
The entire experience left the feeling that a second string team was in charge for lunch service: flashes of demonstrated Globe Bistro excellence, but general failure to deliver.
I'll be back as usual for dinner, but think I'll skip lunch next time.
We had dinner last night at the Globe and it was excellent. The new Rock Hen dish with fresh peas, ramps and favas was bordering on incredible, and my wife's pickerel, pork belly and wild rice dish was very good. For $23 and $25 respectively I thought the portions sizes, while not huge, were more than reasonable (it was enough food for us without having had an appetizer dish). We drank a bottle of the 2005 Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard Pinot Noir (very good, similar to the 2004 but maybe a bit riper fruit). And, the service was very friendly and attentive.
I do sympathize though... I've often been disappointed in Toronto with many restaurants that on good nighs are great, but on the typically less busy evenings and/or lunch shifts, drop the level of their game a few notches. Not that it's an excuse, but I guess that's the reality of a market where a combination of spotty demand (in terms of neighbourhood lunch and/or early weekday dining), lot's of competition (Toronto does have a lot of restaurants!) and a lack of a large pool of labour (in terms of people who want to work in the service part of the restaurant trade as an actually profession, and/or large staff turnover) conspire to make it difficult to deliver a consistent product and experience every day/night of the week.
Nelson: out of curiosity, how busy was it at lunch?
Pretty well full for most of the time we were there, up until about 14.30. I take your point re Toronto in general, but a restaurant of GB's calibre doesn't have a lot of competition in that area . . .
I only bring it up because find it confusing for the customer to have an incredible experience one evening and a disappointing one the next week at lunch . . . if you are not convinced that lunch service is really worthwhile, then just don't do it!
But love game hen and will be heading down soon--one evening!--to check it out. Thanks for the tip!