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Swan, what happened?

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I had been to Swan before, and had a flawless meal with attentive and quick service, delicious and large portioned entrees.

Last night stopped by after Delux and Grace were booked... and, bad choice.
I think the waiter was new, as he slowly and intently read the specials off a piece of paper about 20 minutes after we were first seated.
Got the smoked trout stack, my sister didn't seem to mind it as much, but I found the whole dish underwhelming. Small amount of smoked trout slipped between dry johnny cakes, on top of a little pinch of salad.
Two of us ordered the grilled pork chop, and another the braised ribs. At first sight, the dish looked fine, but once I started digging in, I realized I didn't like any part of the dish (except the veggies). Hey pork chop was much larger than mine, and they were both overcooked and dry. The cornmeal cake was tasteless, and the sauce that was flooding our plates was extremely vinegary and to quote my sis, tasted like barf when eaten with the sweet potato mash.

I waved the host over, and she asked what I wanted to do about it. She obliged to take it back and give me a fresh order of the braised ribs. I appreciate them accommodating me, but her tone and facial expressions made me feel embarrassed for complaining.

I just found it odd that a standard dish on the menu was extremely disappointing and even difficult to eat - and trust me, I've freely eaten some not-so-good dishes.

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  1. All restaurants have their ups and downs. I share your sentiments.
    About three weeks ago bf and I went to Swans for dinner on a weekend. The food was very inconsistent. Our raw oysters (we have had really good ones before) were horrible (it was a bad call on my part: we were heading to Oyster Boy but was put off by the crowd). Bf's short rib that night was fantastic, but my mussels (appi as main) was ... inedible. The mussels were far from fresh and was soaked in sambuca: my least favorite condiment on the planet (and our server never informed us of that). The saving grace was the creme brulee, the good service, and the well-priced wine list.
    We visit Swan quite frequently, and the pork chops, the short ribs, and the sea bass are always fantastic. I guess mishaps do happen.
    The service was fantastic as ever though. BF was a little tipsy after dinner and dropped his cellphone in the restaurant. We went back the next day. Before we inquired anything, the friendly owner handed the phone to us and said "I believe this belongs to you!" with a wink.

    We went back for brunch the next weekend. Great food. Great crowd. Great service.

    You should give it another try. :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: happycamper

      I've been a there a few times and always enjoyed it for both lunch and dinner. In my mind I always classify it more the casual lunch spot though. I don't think it's up to the standards of Delux, but what it does, it does great.

    2. I went once about 8 years ago, and had one of the best breakfasts I've ever had. It was gorgeous. I next went back about 3 years later and the breakfast was pretty awful. Haven't been back since. Be willing to retry it. It's a very cute spot.

      1 Reply
      1. re: magic

        I take to Swan at least twice a month for brunch with the b/f and I've never been disappointed. We usually go early before it gets too busy and, to be honest, wish it was closer so we could go more often. We live in the Beach, so the drive across the city seems a bit decadent considering the price of gas! We just schedule meetings with clients in the west end to make our visits to Swan seem justified.

      2. Grace and Delux are definitely better bets but I still do enjoy Swan once in awhile. It's true their dishes are hit and miss - I find their specials and the braised ribs (which are a ridiculously large portion) are normally pretty good. Service can also be spotty when it's busy.

        I guess I just like the atmosphere of the place, it's been such a neighbourhood staple and has that comfortably old-world feel. Also their music selections are oddly great (if you like indie/alt that is).

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        Swan Restaurant
        892 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J1G3, CA