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Apr 11, 2009 04:38 PM

Highway 61: I feel so ripped and dissed

I just took my family to Highway 61 on Bayview Avenue in Toronto to try some BBQ. I went to Memphis a couple weeks ago with another foodie just to tour restaurants (even skipped Graceland...)

2 out of the four of us ordered "The Beef Rib" - which is sold at $13.95. The menu states "The Flintstones never had it so good". The other person in our party ordered the Beef Brisket Plate which came in at $13.95.

The waiter assured us that even though the "Big beef Rib" was only a single rib, that it was the "size of his forearm" and was full of meat, and more than enough for a meal. Boy was he wrong. It was just a regular single beef rib, with one exception; it had a miraculous amount of fat on it. In fact, the two of us who ordered it filled an ENTIRE small stainless steel mixing bowl with just the fat from the two bones. After taking of the fat, there was some beef left, but we were still hungry of course. All it came with were some fries that were medicore. We felt like going for dinner all over again! When beef ribs sell at $1.99 wholesale a pound to 4.99 a pound at the best butchers, selling this single rib full of an abnormal amount of fat and very little beef as a "meal", no less, for $13.95, is outrageous.

The Beef brisket plate didnt fare much better. Same medicore fries, and a smallish portion of beef brisket, that left the diner hungry and wanting dinner..while still in the restaurant and having finished the $13.49 "Entree"....

It seemed like they were really selling entrees full of fries....

When we asked for the bill, we told the waiter, discreetly and kindly, that we were disappointed and asked if he could have the waiter come over to our table.

The waiter brought us the bill, ran our credit card through, and still no owner....So, we asked the waiter if the owner was coming, and he reluctantly agreed.

The owner came over, and we explained to him how we felt, and he said he was "sorry to hear that", glaring the entire time, and appeared to even be sarcastic, and said we were "the first people to ever complain" at his restaurant about the quality and portions...THIS IS HARD TO BELIEVE!!! So we said, ok, paid the bill, and left. In my entire life as a food lover and restaurant-goer, including 10 years as a waiter at several restaurants, all through school and university, I have NEVER stiffed a waiter ever, no matter how bad the food or service was, until, this very day. I was so appalled by the owner's attitude and unresponsiveness, the quality of the food, the rip-off prices, and the waiter's failure to even alert the owner when we expressly asked him to.

If this was the owner (a totally bald man) he appeared to not give a damn what we said and how we were feeling, aIl I can say is that if this business can survive with such prices, quality, and "service", I will be truly amazed. This was my worst Toronto restaurant experience ever. I feel so angry and ripped off...

I have attached photos of the "Big Beef Rib", the "Big Bowl of Fat", and the "Brisket Plate", fo you to see for yourself. The fuzzy picture of the bowl full of fat is about 10 inches wide and about 8 inches deep.

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  1. Sorry...I have now attached the beef rib photo, together with a photo of beef ribs at Bistro on avenue, for comparison. The first photo of the single rib from Hwy 61, is mostly FAT.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Teffub

      I'm sorry but I can't see any descriptive detail in these five photos, and I am unable to connect them to the review.

      1. re: jayt90

        Jayt, the first set of photographs in the original post consist of a picture of the beef brisket plate, followed by the big bowl of fat from 2 beef ribs), and then (in error) a repeat of the beef brisket plate. In the reply that I posted to my own original posting, I added the picture of the beef rib that was omitted inadvertently in the original post, and added a picture of a plate of ribs from Bistro, for comparisom...

        1. re: jayt90

          I think the point here is not so much if you can see the globs of fat in a crystal clear format, it's that it actually happened and that it was enough to fill a bowl. I can't see it that clearly either, but I can see the difference between the two rib plates. So this is not so much a problem for me.

          Teffub: it's too bad that the owner couldn't see it to properly satisfy your complaint and at least try to give you something complimentary to show, if anything, some good southern hospitality.

          Unfortunately (or fortunately) when I went there a couple of weeks ago, it was just to meet up with some friends and go somewhere else, so they were just finishing their meal. It was awful as well, but I don't have the detail. All they kept saying for the rest of the night was that they felt ill - not as in food poisoning ill - but just that queazy feeling after you've eaten something too fatty. The owners were there as well that night at the bar and didn't look too interested in talking to customers to find out if they enjoyed their meals. I don't know, some people just want to open restaurants for the fun of it, or because they're tired of working for others in another restaurant. But really, only few can do it with flair.

    2. Sounds terrible

      I've driven crazy distances for BBQ before (I live in Brampton, and have driven to Paris, ON to go to Camp 31) but I guess I made the right choice by bypassing this place from day 1. I had a bad feeling about this place right from the get-go when I saw their prices before the restauraunt even opened.. Sounds like I definitely made the right choice

      Sorry to hear about that, sounds terrible.

      3 Replies
      1. re: duckdown

        It is terrible actually. We've gone twice hoping for the best. The sauce is decent but the food is served with way too much fat. Both the beef ribs and pulled pork are served with gobs of fat. Because the prices are so high, it appears they purposely try to make the pulled pork portions look bigger by including so much fat, but the rib bone is just a joke on every level. Funny thing is that we commented to the waiter also - about how expensive the single beef rib is. Sorry to hear the owner is so uncaring about how the patrons feel but it makes sense when you think about how much fat he serves for so much money!

        Highway 61 = Highway Robbery!

        1. re: dianabanana

          Highway 61 is a joke. Horrible place. The worst on Bayview.

          1. re: Philip T

            I have to agree with you Philip. I, too, was very disappointed with my experience there.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. The original comment has been removed
          1. Actually I loved the food at this place. I have been 3 times. Nice size portions great service. Sometimes they run out of some stuff. But mostly top notch. It is one of my wife and kids favorate places.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Crispy skin

              I appreciate different viewpoints Crispy skin, but I dont think its possible to hold a different view point of the Big Bowl of Fat for $13.95> I am sure you wouldnt want to order that for yourself or kids...I did unfortunatly....and the owner couldnt have cared less about it....

              1. re: Teffub

                My family and I had dinner at Highway 61 last night and found the meal mediocre overall. We started off with the onion rings and fried green tomatoes, both of which were nice and crispy but very greasy. As we're not huge eaters we shared the Big Joe Turner platter, with sides of sweet potato & apple mash and beans. The pulled pork was decent, as were the ribs, the brisket somewhat dry and the chicken quite dry. The general feeling was everything lacked seasoning / flavour, with minimal smoke. The house BBQ sauce was definitely needed to add life to the meal. If Highway 61 is convenient, check it out but wouldn't recommend anyone drive across town.