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Mildred Pierce+, JKWB-

Squeakycheese Jan 24, 2009 05:56 PM

Went there for lunch today, I must say I am constantly impressed by how good this place is.

Initially we intended to go to JKWB, but I must agree with other posters, this place has gone downhill, which is a real shame. It seems that they are putting too esoteric dishes on their menu... head cheese? Maybe its good head cheese, but for the average punter, a bit of a turn off. They need to get a core of straightforward staples (not the same everyday, but variations on the same)... chicken, beef, pork, lamb, fish. Then put a couple of more imaginative dishes around these.

Went around the corner to try Papillon on Front, but alas it was a brunch menu... not what I would expect in a French restaurant. Again, was probably good for what it was, but the prospect of a crepe with beef bourgignon (sp)? No thanks.

Anyway, we then hacked out to Liberty Village, cannot say how much I would recommend Mildred Pierce. Starters were a fantastic beet salad for her, I had a kind of ricotta gnocci with bacon and stewed onions... the beet salad was delicious; the gnocci was very good too, though a bit rich given the amount I was given (I'm not a huge eater).

Mains were the burger, and for me the chicken biriyani. The burger here is awesome ($15); for me its the best in the city. But the biriyani... wow. So many flavours and textures (in the rice). The chicken is cooked on the bone, so nice and moist. Fantastic.

Finished off with profiteroles and chocolate ice-cream, again very nice, though the icecream seemed a little freezer burned. A tiny criticism though, of what is currently my favourite restaurant in Toronto.


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  1. mlukan RE: Squeakycheese Jan 24, 2009 07:18 PM

    Is it called Mildred Pierce?? I thought it was Mildred's Temple Kitchen. I guess the wife booked it for winterlicous and I wish that Gnocchi was on the menu. I'm looking forward to it regardless. Thanks for the good review.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mlukan
      Squeakycheese RE: mlukan Jan 24, 2009 07:21 PM

      Actually you are right, old habits die hard!

      One thing to note, its a little bit hard to find, in a sort of office complex, best to ring them up and get directions if you haven't been there before. Anyway, I'm sure you'll have a great meal!

    2. b
      Blueicus RE: Squeakycheese Jan 24, 2009 08:05 PM

      I honestly don't see how one can determine the restaurant's gone downhill simply because they're serving more offal and non-standard meats (I looked at the menu online and headcheese is only one element of a charcuterie platter, and there is beef, pork, lamb... though the menu does look beef heavy). I'd accept the "review" if the headcheese was not tasty.

      20 Replies
      1. re: Blueicus
        justpete RE: Blueicus Jan 24, 2009 10:26 PM

        how bout serving tropicana for your "freshly squeezed" orange juice and a washroom that you could smell from 10 feet away? Does that qualify as "down hill"? It certainly does in my books, and I will be giving JKWB a pass for the forseeable future.

        1. re: justpete
          Blueicus RE: justpete Jan 24, 2009 10:51 PM

          At least your opinion's backed up by some sort of observation apart from "The menu has headcheese". Unfortunately/Fortunately for me I've never gone anywhere close to the bathroom nor have I ever ordered orange juice at JKWB.

          1. re: Blueicus
            Squeakycheese RE: Blueicus Jan 26, 2009 04:01 PM

            Stand by my opinion, I have eaten there about 30 times and I think its gone downhill. Their fries are very variable too now, and come soaked in battery acid vinegar. You like it, please feel free to go there, you're entitled to your opinion too. I just don't see this menu being anywhere near as appealing as in their earlier days.


            1. re: Squeakycheese
              jayt90 RE: Squeakycheese Jan 26, 2009 04:26 PM

              Fries are variable everywhere. Unless you want frozen.

              1. re: jayt90
                Squeakycheese RE: jayt90 Jan 26, 2009 04:30 PM

                Nonsense. At JKWB its a lottery as to whether they are almost raw or overcooked. Cut potatoes, heat oil to x degrees, cook for y units of time, no?

                1. re: Squeakycheese
                  jayt90 RE: Squeakycheese Jan 26, 2009 04:37 PM

                  I have to agree, if that is your experience. I haven't been there, but I know that in my own kitchen I have to adapt to each new bag of potatoes. Sweet, soggy, bland, crisp, they are all different, and the time of year is a factor, too. But raw or overcooked? There is something wrong if they can't get that right, especially if they have a reputation for crispiness and flavor.

                  1. re: jayt90
                    Squeakycheese RE: jayt90 Jan 26, 2009 04:54 PM

                    well Jay I bow to your better experience, I only know how to eat them, not cook them :) , but honestly the fries at JKWB are that variable. Maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but if so only because they used to be so reliably delicious. I don't want to sound that I'm really trashing the place, its just that it used to be so good, and its a shame to see (my opinion again) that its not so good anymore. Cheers!

                    1. re: Squeakycheese
                      justpete RE: Squeakycheese Jan 26, 2009 06:32 PM

                      no no, go ahead.. trash the place. It's a far cry from what it used to be, and I used to go there on an almost bi-weekly basis. Boourns.

                      I'm ashamed to admit that I went to his new place over the weekend despite my reservations, Gillead cafe. It was quite good. Simple, but good.

                      I also went to Mildred pierce this weekend - delicious!

                      and, err, also.. last weekend I went to Atelier Thuet. Service was a complete abomination. Seriously, some of the worst service of all time. I also noticed them marrying used creamers from other tables and serving them to unsuspecting customers.

                      1. re: justpete
                        Squeakycheese RE: justpete Jan 27, 2009 04:00 PM

                        Atelier Thuet? Is that the place in Liberty Village? If so, another one I can't understand. We went there last summer just on the off chance, and had a great croque monsieur, really tasty... I think the place had just opened.

                        Then we've been back twice, both times disasters, bad service (they had some poor young lad aged about 12 working once so couldn't get too annoyed, he was trying his best... as an aside, is that legal?), and sent back food (for being too cold) obviously returned having been zapped in a microwave. I don't understand how these very talented chefs let things slip... lets hope they read this chatroom. I would guess its a lack of oversight.. when the cat's away etc.

                  2. re: Squeakycheese
                    justpete RE: Squeakycheese Jan 26, 2009 06:41 PM

                    Actually, that process is incorrect. The crispiest fries are first half cooked, then removed and dried, and then fried the rest of the way to finish the cooking! :)

                    1. re: justpete
                      jayt90 RE: justpete Jan 26, 2009 07:11 PM

                      Perhaps you are right, but no less a chef than Joel Rubuchon fries once, in a shallow pan. I do it that way.

                      1. re: jayt90
                        justpete RE: jayt90 Jan 26, 2009 07:15 PM

                        hmm.. what temp and thickness? :)

                      2. re: justpete
                        tjr RE: justpete Jan 26, 2009 07:53 PM

                        Yes, normally fries are blanched in oil to mostly cook the inside, then fried at a higher heat to crisp the outside.

                        1. re: tjr
                          jayt90 RE: tjr Jan 26, 2009 08:02 PM

                          And in a single fry the temperature increases gradually until the outside is crisp. It just requires more attention, from a real cook.

                          1. re: jayt90
                            tjr RE: jayt90 Jan 26, 2009 09:59 PM

                            I'm not saying that this isn't a possible method, but how many restaurants in the GTA do you know that do this? Even those restaurants with "real cook[s]"?

                            1. re: jayt90
                              justpete RE: jayt90 Jan 27, 2009 12:32 AM

                              hrm, would Heston Blumenthal be considered a "real" cook? :)


                              He uses the "double fry" method.

                            2. re: tjr
                              Blueicus RE: tjr Jan 26, 2009 08:03 PM

                              It's generally impractical to cook fries the way jayt90 describes in a restaurant... but it's unfortunate to hear that a half-decent place is going down the tubes. I certainly haven't eaten there anywhere close to 30 times.

                  3. re: justpete
                    CoffeeAddict416 RE: justpete Jan 25, 2009 02:08 PM

                    ouch that's pretty rough!
                    hopefully they start to pick up their act
                    i really liked that spot! Haven't been in a while and i'm glad to see i haven't missed anything

                    1. re: justpete
                      Carruthers RE: justpete Jan 26, 2009 11:29 AM

                      Why would anyone order orange juice at a wine bar? Were you there for brunch?

                      My only complaint with JKWB is the (relatively) new annex next door where they want you to wait for your non-reservable table to be ready. Should have gone with the usual martini at the Keg across the street.

                      1. re: Carruthers
                        justpete RE: Carruthers Jan 26, 2009 06:34 PM

                        Yes, I'm very much a "bruncher". I used to go to JKWB every 2 weeks or so. Freshly squeezed orange juice is one of the standards by which I measure a brunch venue. Some claim to have fsoj, but it's pasteurized and from concentrate instead. It happens more often than one would think. JKWB used to have freshly made juice concoctions, not just fsoj. Now they serve Tropicana. That's just embarassing.

                  4. jayt90 RE: Squeakycheese Jan 24, 2009 08:08 PM

                    I'm glad to know that headcheese is being made by JK. I haven't had any since the A&P stopped selling Schneider's.

                    1. p
                      phoenikia RE: Squeakycheese Jan 24, 2009 08:40 PM

                      Some of us chowhounds love head cheese;) I had been writing JKWB off as a place for somewhat boring food but your post makes me want to give it another try;)

                      1. t
                        tjr RE: Squeakycheese Jan 24, 2009 09:39 PM

                        Do they cook the burger to order?

                        1. c
                          CoffeeAddict416 RE: Squeakycheese Jan 24, 2009 10:25 PM

                          for me the fact a place sells head cheese is a plus and in the case of JKWB might be an excuse to visit again to see if it is in fact on the right track again!

                          I wouldn't mind that charcuterie platter with a side of pig ears myself :D

                          1. e
                            ElizabethS RE: Squeakycheese Jan 25, 2009 09:23 AM

                            4 of us had brunch at Mildred's Temple Kitchen two weeks ago - food was fine/nothing startling but the designer should be stripped of his/her credentials. The front of the restaurant (bar/hostess area) is so cold the staff are wearing parkas and the bartenders are wearing gloves - there is no thermal break/double door and you can actually see between the doors. The weekend we were there was before the minus 15 temps of the last 10 days - I could not imagine what it is like in that restaurant under those conditions.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: ElizabethS
                              miranda RE: ElizabethS Jan 25, 2009 01:12 PM

                              I agree I was there on a freezing day last week...they were serving complimentary tea and coffee as it was so cold...I had the vegetarian Lunch...don't remember what it was...nothing outstanding...Miranda

                              1. re: miranda
                                Squeakycheese RE: miranda Jan 25, 2009 03:23 PM

                                Well to be fair that's true, it was a bit chilly.

                            2. t
                              the.eater RE: Squeakycheese Feb 11, 2009 05:01 AM

                              I have been to both. The food at Mildred Pierce is great... but going to JKMB fisrt for wine may be a way to go. I order their most expensive bottle of red and... I guess it's just not there focus there. Maybe I will inquire as to corkage next time.

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