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le castor a disastor

marktheshark Nov 20, 2008 08:59 PM

Don't get me wrong....i love hot chicks. Let's just say the beaver has plenty of beaver.
a friend and I walked in off the street after a couple of pints across the road. We were going to go to Lakes for a bite but opted for the castor last second, as the room seemed cozy.
It wasn't crazy busy but we were greeted at the door and got sat towards the back, right away. I swear i smelled paint i love that new car smell. the waitress was a stunner and a another women who acted as the manager looked after us .they were pleasant and friendly enough, a little on the unprofessional side, as from some previous posts i gather that they haven't done a whole lot of upscale serving......ahhhhhhhhhh i miss the Matador. had a couple of cocktails which were tasty and then made a huge mistake, we ordered food, and ruined a perfect evening,
I should have had alarm bells ringing in my ear when i saw heirloom tomatoes on the menu
with pesto....I mean i love the thought of summer in the winter but not when it comes to food.
i was also perplexed by the Spanish or south American influence in some of the menu at a French restaurant my friend a former waiter...mumbled something about fusion cooking and turned to gawk at the waitress. Ay Carumba el diastor at the castor. i love brussel spouts, except when i ate them here. i love devils on horseback except when i had them here....and well.
I wish i had the nerve to actually chat up the waitress let alone tell her how horrible the food was.
Poutine was o.k the meat on it was dry and there wasn't enough gravy or cheese for that matter. Come on people it's our national dish.
All in alli wish i could say i'd return, but not on a date as i'd get distracted, and for sure not for the food.I haven't been out for months beside some pho or sushi. P.s i've been to John lee's new place and it's good, not as good as the first but good.

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  1. Rabbit RE: marktheshark Nov 21, 2008 02:51 AM

    Yeah, it's pretty clear that you "haven't been out for months."

    But thanks for the feedback. From nearly all reports on this board this place sounds like a disas-tor.

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      peppermint pate RE: marktheshark Nov 21, 2008 01:18 PM

      Very funny post. Sounds like I should thank them for turning me away at the door last week!!!

      5 Replies
      1. re: peppermint pate
        millygirl RE: peppermint pate Nov 22, 2008 06:59 AM

        Okay I have to chime in here. Not taking sides or anything however I was at Le Petit Castor Wednesday night for dinner and LOVED IT!!!! Everything about the place was a hit for me. Great atmosphere, loved the leather banquettes at the front, very warm and homey feel, fantastic artwork and besides all that - our dinners were excellent! Devils on horseback - can't stop thinking about them and both of us said we'd return just for them. The service was fine, although I agree, the wait staff didn't come across as highly experienced but our needs were met and attention was provided as required. I was extremely hesitant and it wasn't my decision to go to Castor after reading other comments on this board however it turned out to be a great night. I would definitely return.

        It really struck me as to how different experiences can be from one person to the next.

        And p.s. the place was packed on a Wednesday night. We arrived about 6 and the line ups never stoped. When we left around 10 people were still arriving and waiting for tables.

        1. re: millygirl
          OnDaGo RE: millygirl Nov 22, 2008 07:21 AM

          What the heck is a "devil on horseback"?

          1. re: OnDaGo
            BodyByCheese RE: OnDaGo Nov 22, 2008 08:17 AM

            Bacon-wrapped, almond-stuffed dates.

            1. re: BodyByCheese
              millygirl RE: BodyByCheese Nov 22, 2008 08:28 AM

              Yes, except that at LPC they are prunes stuffed with cheese, blue I think and then wrapped in bacon. Very moorish!

            2. re: OnDaGo
              tjr RE: OnDaGo Nov 22, 2008 08:20 AM

              Devils on horseback are usually a date or prune stuffed and wrapped with bacon, to contrast angels on horseback, which are usually oysters (though sometypes scallops) wrapped in bacon.

              What else do you suggest having there millygirl?

        2. e
          embee RE: marktheshark Nov 22, 2008 08:40 AM

          A question remains outstanding, and there is no "polite" way to ask it. Do those of you who have gained entry fit the resto's apparent definition of attractive, hip, cool/hot, as exemplified by the staff?

          This place sounds more like a club that grants entry or refuses it based on appearance and vibe. Such places do, indeed, prefer to remain empty rather than grant entry to the unannointed. I prefer not to patronize such places even when they will allow me to pass their doors.

          10 Replies
          1. re: embee
            foodyDudey RE: embee Nov 22, 2008 09:22 AM

            Lete's wait to see if a certain reviewer from the Globe and Mail gets in, then we'll know for sure!

            1. re: embee
              millygirl RE: embee Nov 22, 2008 02:16 PM

              Embee, that's a tough one to answer really. I would say I'm about twice the age of their average staff so that alone probably disqualifies me from being considered hip, cool or hot but I'm no sloach either. Let's just say I get by. I will say though that we were greeted very welcoming and at no time did I feel that I was getting the once over.

              tjr, definitely try the devils on horseback. It's not something I would normally order but I saw a few orders go by and I overheard the owner telling another table it was one of his favourite things on the menu so we took a chance. Heaven! I was looking for a lighter meal that night so the only other things we had was the arugula salad which was dressed perfectly and the grilled salmon which was also cooked to perfection. Wonderfully crisp skin and inside just right, served with a lovely buerre blanc sauce. The table beside us had a steak frite that looked fantastic. I could see how easily he was cutting through the meat and made mental note to order that next time. Burgers looked good also. The menu is quite small and I believe changes often. We split a homemade carrot cake afterwards which was pretty good also. And great coffee I might add.

              1. re: millygirl
                peppermint pate RE: millygirl Nov 22, 2008 04:38 PM

                Hey, I'm no uncool slouch either - honest!!

                I've always been a fan of millygirl on this board - we seem to have similar taste so I'm interested to hear that you enjoyed your dinner there. I only know a few people who have eaten there and nobody has waxed poetic on the food. This neighbourhood could use a great spot and I would like to think that maybe they will find their groove, ditch the attitude and start showing some hospitality to any and all who choose to dine there (that is how restaurants are supposed to work, no?). But for now, I stand by the irksome perplexity of my original post as it was such a surreal experience - to be stopped in my tracks the second we set foot in the doorway and then so obviously lied to about a full house, well I'm still scratching my head and wondering "wtf".

                1. re: peppermint pate
                  millygirl RE: peppermint pate Nov 23, 2008 12:55 PM

                  Hey peppermint pate you flatter me and I am blushing. I could never think of you as uncool and I too have thought we have similar tastes and haunts.

                  And to JamieK, I realize you're probably only telling half truths but don't sell yourself so short. And besides that, everyone is attractive in their own right and this post is getting way off topic. I'm outta here.

                2. re: millygirl
                  JamieK RE: millygirl Nov 22, 2008 04:57 PM

                  Wednesday night at the little beaver seemed to have been worthy fodder for a gossip column -

                  - note the glee at describing someone who obviously expected entrance but was told "no available tables" as "played out"

                  1. re: JamieK
                    peppermint pate RE: JamieK Nov 22, 2008 06:31 PM

                    Interesting article. Not sure if that was just Shinan taking a pot-shot at Danielle or whether or not the Castor gang was also on-side - either way, ick. It's funny, because I happened to see Shinan looking in the window at Castor the other day (during the day, before it had opened) and I was thinking this is exactly the kind of place he'd love.

                    1. re: peppermint pate
                      JamieK RE: peppermint pate Nov 22, 2008 07:34 PM

                      agree - either way, ick. Well we know he reads this board as he's referred to it in past columns so I'm sure he's getting a chuckle out of the extra "buzz" we're providing.

                3. re: embee
                  mogo RE: embee Nov 22, 2008 04:11 PM

                  This calls for an experiment. Maybe someone who's already gained entrance can go back, this time in an Uncool Disguise.

                  1. re: embee
                    JamieK RE: embee Nov 22, 2008 07:50 PM

                    lol, embee, I'm in complete agreement with you but your remark reminded me of that Groucho Marx quote - "I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members. "

                    - from totally uncool, old, not-hip, not cool or hot , and basically unattractive
                    (so I will never get in to the little beaver, unless I get rich I guess!)

                    1. re: JamieK
                      estufarian RE: JamieK Nov 24, 2008 08:04 AM

                      Hope youre not mistaken for me - they wouldn't even let me sit at the bar - I guess that had been reserved too!

                  2. MichelinStarChaser RE: marktheshark Nov 26, 2008 09:51 AM

                    Hi all,

                    Thanks to marktheshark for the hilarious post and for the ensuing witty replies – this is one of the most amusing threads I’ve read in a while!

                    Funny, I’ve been on a long hiatus due to being out of the country, and upon my return, I noticed that, oh, maybe 80% of Shinan’s recent columns have mentioned Le Petit Castor, along with other assorted “buzz” flying about. And, it actually has made me want to check it out! Pathetic, I know!

                    I love the discussion of dress / appearance / manner and getting into restaurants. I find that yes, it does matter sometimes, especially in how you’re treated once you’ve sat down. And especially in Europe, dressing well is more important, and implies a respect for yourself, the other diners and the people who will be serving you – so it’s not always a snobbery thing, it’s just cultural. (Although I have to admit, rather ashamedly, that I recently ate at both Nota Bene and Lucien in hoodie sweatshirt, jeans and running shoes – I didn’t mean to under-dress, each time I just happened to be in the ‘hoods and wanted some good food, sartorial readiness be damned!) But also – and I’m sure this is similar for the other illustrious participants in this thread – to me it’s not so much about how I look or how I’m dressed – it’s about confidence. I never walk into a restaurant without acting like I own the place. I didn’t really think about that until now – it’s not something intentional – I’ve just dined out a lot, here in Toronto, and all over the world. And I do believe, that as a guest of a restaurant, you DO own the place in a matter of speaking – or you should, if they’ve got their service right.

                    Was just in London 2 weeks ago and decided to go to Maze, after reading how you can't get in, impossible, blah, blah, blah. Called them around 9:30 just to make sure the kitchen was still open before heading over. They started telling me, “Not possible, we’re fully booked” and I ignored that and told them I was on my own and wanted to sit in the bar, so I quickly said I was just going to pop by anyway and have a look. Of course, I got there, and there were several seats free at the bar. Had a great dinner, the Man Himself was there (not that I approached him to speak, of course), my waiter took me on a kitchen tour, and I had a fabulous evening. This is (supposedly) still one of the hottest restaurants in London, so it will be amusing to see if Le Petit Castor is actually harder to get into. Anyway – now I view it as a (tongue-in-cheek) challenge! (Then again, estufarian mentions that he was turned away from the bar, which is my usual M.O., so I might be foiled!)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: MichelinStarChaser
                      estufarian RE: MichelinStarChaser Nov 27, 2008 04:28 AM

                      But I was turned away from the bar when EVERY table was unoccupied. Just reverse your logic (and perhaps your hoodie) and they may seat you at a real table!

                    2. s
                      sweatersister RE: marktheshark Dec 3, 2008 09:50 AM

                      Word on the street is they aren't even entertaining media enquiries at Castor. Kind of confirms the fact that the management doesn't even have faith enough in their product to allow reviews.

                      Funny, I though McCann was a journalist. I guess he knows enough that the product that he's selling is all about image and not about quality. I tried to make a reservation and I've left a message. That was three days ago.

                      Castor is a train wreck.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sweatersister
                        The Chowhound Team RE: sweatersister Dec 4, 2008 12:01 PM

                        Some replies discussing procedures for reviewing restaurants have been split to our Food Media and News board: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/577341

                      2. s
                        Snarf RE: marktheshark Dec 3, 2008 07:59 PM

                        Dang this is getting funny.

                        So, what happens next? Someone's going to have to actually make a reservation and either see what happens, or barge down the door to call them on when they've got a table open. Maybe we can take an informal survey abour whether it's a Boss, Armani, Canali or Zegna suit that commands sufficient attention to get a table. Or what the right age quintile is. I'm going to assemble my various media clippings in case I need to justify my presence if I'm down that way. Anyone know a good agent?

                        Reminds me of that scene in Hell's Kitchen where some of the guests order in pizzas as a result of the service. This could be good street theatre.....

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Snarf
                          Full tummy RE: Snarf Dec 4, 2008 06:45 PM

                          Actually, this is what I think should happen. A couple of hotties should enter first and request a table for a larger group. See if their request is granted. If so, shortly after they're seated, the rest of the group (toupée laden, rumpled, pimply, whatever) enters to join them. I wonder if LeC has a protocol for such a possibility; like, does everyone from the group have to be there and get approved before any are permitted to enter?

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