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Mildred Pierce+, JKWB-

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.

Cheers!

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  1. 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

      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. 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

        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

          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

            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.

            http://www.jkkitchens.com/PDFs/WBmenu...

            1. re: Squeakycheese

              Fries are variable everywhere. Unless you want frozen.

              1. re: jayt90

                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

                  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

                    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

                      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

                        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

                    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

                      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

                        hmm.. what temp and thickness? :)

                      2. re: justpete

                        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

                          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

                            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

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

                              http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life...

                              He uses the "double fry" method.

                            2. re: tjr

                              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

                    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

                      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

                        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. 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. 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. Do they cook the burger to order?

                        1. 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. 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

                              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

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

                            2. 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.