Harbord Room recs?
Went to the Harbord Room last week with BR and the in-laws for Mother's Day, and I would like to share our experience with other CHs. First, it's nice to see that restaurants are starting to think about their beer lists, and Harbord Room has a short but interesting one. My FIL and I each had a McAuslan pale ale brewed especially for the restaurant, and BR enjoyed a Brooklyn Lager on tap.
For apps, we had a salad with citrus cured salmon, fennel, and other veg, with a avocado/horseradish (if memory serves me right) quenelle. FIL had the chicken liver pate app, served with a side salad, and a poached quail egg which was then lightly battered and deep fried for just a moment. Upon arriving at the table, the waiter mentioned to cut the egg (which was still slightly runny inside), mix it with the salad and pate, and shmear it on the toast. What a presentation!
For mains, BR and I each had the highly recommended burger, and it lived up to the hype. The side of thyme salted fries were also great. MIL had the lamb dish with an amazing cauliflower mash, and FIL had the pork. Not partaking in matters swine, I am unable to provide commentary, but he was very pleased.
We split a dessert four ways - think it was a panna cotta (sorry for the week's delay in reviewing). We were really too full to remember details, but it certainly didn't disappoint.
Service was attentive and extremely professional and polite. This is a restaurant that knows how to...and does it right.
The next day, BR and I received a message from the restaurant, thanking us for coming, and hoping that we enjoyed our time there the previous evening, and if we had any comments or suggestions, to please email them. If anyone from HR is reading, all we can say is "well done and keep doing what you're doing".
(written by Mandy Lin...using BR's account)
re: Ben Reiner
I have been to the Harbord Room a few times now and I must say I quite enjoy this gem on Harbord street. I've had the burger (definitely one of the best in Toronto with it's juicy beef, eggy brioche bun) and the calamari with clams and chorizo-i liked the smokiness of the tomato sauce in this dish. The drink/wine list has good variety and I really like that they have the cheese plate lends itself to choice (e.g. $5 for oz from a list). Service is very friendly and on my recent visit, I see that they have a charming patio out now in the back.
I was there last night as well. My dining partner and I split the Clams and Chorizo dish. The seafood was perfectly cooked, and the rich tomato and olive sauce was happily sopped up with the accompanying bread.
For mains, my partner had the burger, and I had the Halibut. The Halibut was good, but was slightly underseasoned. The potato and artichoke gratin, and sauteed vegetables accompanying the fish fared much better. I would have ordered an extra side of the fresh, zesty and wonderfully buttery asparagus, grape tomatos, and greens, if it were an option.
I managed to steal a bite of my partner's burger,(allbeit only a little one),and it indeed should be in the running for the best Toronto burger. A thick, juicy patty, still a little pink inside. The Fred's bun is what made the burger really sing, probably the best burger bun I've ever tasted. The fries were medium cut and nicely crisp, and I liked the smoky tarragon ketchup on the side.
Although I'm usually a sucker for dessert, we were both too full to order any. Our server was polite and kept on top of things. Only two complaints, we were served cold butter with the bread basket,(a big no no in my book) and the bathroom ceilings are very low. I'm quite short. and almost needed to duck when entering the washroom, (loved the chalkboards lining the wall though. Very cute.)
Our meal, with 1 app., 2 main courses, 1 glass of Rioja, 1 Manhattan, and 2 beers came to just over $100,(with tax, before tip.) The Harbord Room is a great neighborhood spot, but I would not call it a destination restaurant. I wouldn't hesitate to reccomend it to a friend, and look forward to my next visit.
All I've had is the burger, but it's the best in the city. Can't wait to get back there for more.
The cheese plate with proscuttio, cheddar and bleu cheese is really good. They serve a small dish of honey to cut the blue and it's brill. It's one of those things that the taste exceeds the sum of it's parts.