Good Winterlicious Experience - BeerBistro
After a bad experience at Veritas, was hoping BeerBistro will be better to make up for Veritas. Got a reservation at 9:15, arrived at 9:00 and was promptly seated. The hostess took our jackets and led us to our seat. To those that haven't been before, it's a nice open space that's divided into bar/lounge area in the front of the resto and dining area in the back with a kitchen in plain view.
My SO and I ordered the Country Terrine and Smoked Salmon. Both were very good and tasty. My SO would have preferred the terrine to be accompanied by a crouton toast rather than a slice of slightly toatsted bread, but regardless it was pretty good. Smoked salmon went well with the cream cheese, onions and three tiny slices of porter pancake.
For mains, we got the steak and veal cheek. The steak was the better of the two, cooked perfectly medium rare. The accompanied mash and onions were both delicious. My SO agreed that the steak was very tasty and well seasoned and loved the mash as well. Her cheek was also fairly good and it came on top of a bed of carrot/turnip/parsnip puree. The portion of puree was pretty big and the texture of the veal cheek was decent. My SO thought it could have used a bit more salt as it was slightly bland and it was not nearly as soft and tender and ones she had in the past.
For dessert were chocolate mousse and apple crumble. SO loved the mousse and as did I. The crumble came cold and I was actually expecting it to be served warm, but regadless it was still decent, nothing to write home about, but I still enjoyed it.
Overall, it's a place I would go back either with my SO or with a bunch of buddies at the bar area. Food was good, nothing spectacular and I think it's fair value for $25, service was good, once again nothing special. Food arrived really quick (perhaps due to the time, but we were glad cuz we were starving) For a low end winterlicious participant, it's definitely a place I would recommend. Since it was a late dinner, we were both hungry and thought the portions were decent and we left full. One thing we will order next time are their frites, they looked good.
Their frites are extremely tasty - I wouldn't leave their next time without having them!! My husband and I had them as an appetizer last time - he had never been so it was a must.
Beer Bistro is one of my favourite places actually. I ate dinner their for the first time last spring - the roasted chicken dish that I had was one of the best restaurant meals I had for a long time (a combination of food/price/expectations). I love the detailed beer menu - it does a great job of describing unfamiliar/unmarketed beers. My friend and I discovered a french cognac beer called XO that we just loved, only to discover that Alan's on the Danforth has had it forever - but it just says XO on the menu so if you don't know what it is then it means nothing. The servers at the BB go to "beer school" every couple of weeks, so they are all extremely knowledgable about the beers offered.
i also had a pretty good experience at beerbistro! my group of 9 had never been, but i had read generally positive things about it and it seemed casual and appropriate for the bunch ....
we had a reservation for 9 at 5:30 (cuz they said that'd be the only time spot for sunday; otherwise it was 9pm) ... but we wanted to watch as much of the superbowl as possible....so we got there to find that they had put us down for 4 ppl ... upon realizing this, they made the proper arrangements and within half an hour (we were wondering and checking periodically if they had forgotten about us), we were seated .... in the back room! ... which requires a swift tour of the kitchen (the kitchen is cleaner than a typical kitchen to be, but with the open view from inside and out, i suspect that is part of their draw and accoutnability regarding food safety and cleanliness) ..
anyhow, the back room, is a good size room with its own ambiance lighting, windows to the outside, lcd tv, music, wine cabinets, door to the outside ....and can probably fit 12 very nicely ....i thikn it took them half an hour to sit us cuz it wasn't prepared to be used that night .... the waitress (who seemed a bit better than a normal waitress; probably normally serves this back room), was great at explaining the different beers and giving us ample time to decide on what to order and drink ...she also checked on us just enough to give us our privacy and make sure we had what we needed.... i recommend getting the taster of any 3 draughts for $6 (esp. if you're not sure what you want, but you have an idea of what you like)
the food was exactly as ragged25 explained ....i agree that the terrine would have been better with a crisper crouton rather than the bread...i think the steak was cooked well to everyone's liking (the portions of steak, catfish, and veal cheek were quite generous for the price), and the fries are excellent and well seasoned (served with mayo! and smoked ketchup), but an extra $6....the desserts were decent (i had the brownie ice cream and it was nice and smooth and creamy; no real hint of bourbon tho) ...
again, for $25, i'm not sure you can find a better overall winterlicious experience in the city... it's nothing amazing as the OP mentioned, but very solid overall ... definitely good for a night out at a casual restaurant/bar!
We had an excellent 'licious experience as well. last night.
Reservation for 7pm - seated by about 7:20 (one of our party hadn't arrived yet anyway) - staff thanked us for being patient.
Enjoyed the terrine, generous portion (and I personally liked the toasted rye bread). The beer pairing was ephemere pomme, a great match.
Mains enjoyed by all. I had the mussels, which came with a small loaf of bread. At first I felt the broth was underseasoned, but the bites of spicy, salty sausage helped to make up for that. Quite spicy, quite good.
Chocolate mousse & brownie a hit at dessert time. My husband however left a good part of his small serving of the apple dessert. It was ok but served cold, I think it would have been better warm or at least room temp especially on a cold night.
We all tasted the brownie/ice cream dessert and all detected a strong hit of bourbon.
Along with an order of fries - food for 4 plus 3-4 rounds of different beers each - the bill with tax & before tip was $200. That is probably around how much we would have spent on a non-licious night, the advantage being that we each got to try 3 courses. The service throughout the evening was excellent. I honestly cannot imagine a better experience on a regular night.