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Lapse of reason

Went to Mr. Greenjeans in the Eaton Centre yesterday with the family. I don't know what else I was expecting, but it was among the worst meal I've been served. It was as inspired as a Hannah Montana album. My burger was overcooked and the bun was stale. My wife's salad seemed like a full pound of romaine with 6 black beans on it. Plus she had to ask several times for a refill of water that never arrived. Aside from the overpriced milkshake and the buffalo chips, it was easily the worst meal I've seen in a restaurant. All for the low cost of $60 for two adults and one 3.5 year old.
Again, I don't know what prompted going there nor do I know what else I should've expected. Even Chowhounds slip sometimes.

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  1. Sometimes.. there's just nothing else in the Eaton center to eat...


    1. I'm sure you aren't the only one here who has made a mistake like that. I can't remember the last time I did, but it was probably when I kept going back to Allen's, thinking the food and service was somehow going to get better. It didn't.

      I'd be interested to hear of other CH's lapses.

      7 Replies
      1. re: foodyDudey

        I was totally disgusted and embarrassed when I took my son to a local resto which seemed more like a drinking hangout, but I was trusting in a glowing write up in a local small paper called "Snap"which described the ribs as hickory smoked, etc. When the waitress said they boiled the ribs, I started to have doubts about whether the article was written about the place under previous owners, then when I bit into my "chicken-fried chicken"and oil oozed out and tasted the limp days-old veggies on the side, that completed my resolve to always rely on CH'rs if at all possible.

        1. re: Wiley

          I live in Durham Region and I would never trust any "review" found in SNAP or the Retail Pages. Their "reviews" might as well be marked "ADVERTORIAL" since that's what they are. In particular, SNAP Pickering seems to love to post glowing reviews (with lots of photos of smiling staff and customers) of Cora's and of any of the restaurants at the foot of Liverpool. Yeah, because those places are paid advertisers....

        2. re: foodyDudey

          I had a "remember to lower your expectations next time" feeling at Allen's on my last visit.

          I've had lapses at Sicilian Ice Cream Factory, Dolce, Caffe Demetre and Hollywood Gelato. I know some CHs love Hollywood, but whenever I start to eat one of their more unusual flavours of gelatos (actually, whenever I stray from lemon, chocolate or cappuccino at Hollywood) I think to myself remember not to order that flavour again! My serving of Hollywood's roasted marshmallow gelato ended up in the garbage last week.

          1. re: phoenikia

            Oh sad... I really like the roasted marshmallow flavour there. The creme caramel makes me happy, too.

            1. re: TorontoJo

              Maybe it's just me, TorontoJo. It was the first time I tried it- I wasn't fond of the mouthfeel, but maybe that's just the way the roasted marshmallow is at Hollywood. If you liked it before, quite possible it's still the same product.

              1. re: phoenikia

                Interesting point about the mouthfeel. That flavour definitely has a gumminess to it that the other flavours don't have. I've always chalked it up to the presence of marshmallows. The mouthfeel of the other flavours is markedly different.

                And on a related side note, it's interesting how the texture of gelato makes such a big difference to people's enjoyment. While I know that Il Gelatiere gets raves on this board (and I do love the grapefruit and the maria flavourts), I really, really don't care for the mouthfeel of their gelatos. I find them too airy, even almost foamy at times. I much prefer the denser feel at Hollywood.

                1. re: TorontoJo

                  i wouldn't trade the hollywood pistachio for the il gelatiere pistachio any day.

                  BUT for home consumption i find gelato fresco hits all the right buttons

        3. Highway 61 was one of the worst meals ever

          I ate at Hosu a couple times when I was REALLY lazy and didn't want to walk further to Sushiman, the sushi was so unfresh and disgusting I wanted to throw up afterward *cries*

          I had a horrible dinner at the Red Tomato on the tourist strip

          But...nothing TRULYbeats the awful dinner I had at the Westin Harbour castle

          3 Replies
          1. re: Muffin__Top

            Which restaurant at the Westin? in the lobby or Toula with the view?

            1. re: Teep

              In the lobby for CA's who just passed the UFE, in the PwC/Deloitte room if it makes a difference. There were THOUSANDS of people; insanely crowded!

            2. re: Muffin__Top

              I once had a meal at the Westin as part of a corporate event, and I thought it to be acceptable, especially given the size of the event (hundreds of people). Nothing blew my mind, but it was pleasant enough.

            3. Got a meal at the local 8 for 1 pizza place. (Well...you know the kind.) Lots of grease. Tasteless potato wedges. Sauceless pizza (almost). Over sweet wings.

              But I remembered why I don't go there.

              1. The night my husband proposed to me - we ended up eating at Mr. Greenjeans because he forgot to make a reservation. He made up for it by taking me to Splendido the next night... so i married him.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Apple

                  Awww that's really cute! I'm glad that Splendido has a place in your heart =)

                2. Maybe there should be a thread on where are they now, and why are they still there? Others on the list might be Ginsburg and Wong, Fran's, endless list to follow.....

                  I remember a fairly decent burger at Greenjeans (named after a children's television charactor in the days before aggressive IP protection).

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Snarf

                    The Mr. Greenjeans burgers were OK back in the early 70's, but I wonder how they survived so long.

                    1. re: Snarf

                      I still like Fran's and I'm not afraid to admit it!

                      1. re: Snarf

                        Mr Greenjeans had delicious food of its type back when it was still mainly a plant store with a resto at one end. I believe that was well over thirty years ago. It was already crap when they moved to the Eaton Centre.

                        1. re: Snarf

                          Always amazes me that Greenjean's is still there. How do people even find it, or am I just blind to that corner of the Eaton Centre? How did they manage to outlive Lime Rickey's? Magic Pan?

                        2. My lapse of judgement was definitely Toula at Westin Harbour. I don't know what posessed me, knowing what I know about hotel dining. Actually I know what posessed me, it was a write up somewhere about their Italian chef, as in straight from Italy. I thought, wow, great view, Italian chef, how bad could this be? Well, I'd rate a BBQ shack in Tennessee I once ate at as better than Toula. Not only was the food horrible, as in almost inedible, but the service was also atrocious. Never again.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: FoodyGirly

                            I know the food sucks now, but I have such fond memories of Greenjeans. In the early 80s, I was just old enought for my parents to let me go downtown with friends on the TTC (at an age that may be considered too young today??) We would walk down Yonge from Bloor and check out the bongs and sundry schlock in the store windows.

                            Our adventure would end at the eaton's centre to have lunch at Greenjeans and hang out. I don't remember if it was good or bad but I do remember devouring the fries/chips. But who cares about the food when you're finally free of the yoke of parental supervision.

                            1. re: acd123

                              Back in the early 80s, my family often went to Mr. Greenjeans. My parents enjoyed time to themselves between ordering and the food arriving, while my sister and I fed quarters into the video games in the arcade, or wandered through the store. I don't recall the food being spectacular, but we loved the monstrous ice cream sundae creations for dessert. It was a kid-oriented place, for sure. I can recall ordering a create-your-own peanut butter, banana and jam sandwich platter. What I'm saying is that I don't think Mr. Greenjeans was ever about the quality of the food. It was a place where families and kids went to have fun. Eating was secondary.

                              1. re: 1sweetpea

                                When my mom started dating my step-father in the early 80s the first time we all went out together we went to dinner at Greenjeans. I was 9 and ate so many buffalo chips that I puked on his shoes. A fact he reminds me of to this day...."They were suede too!"

                              2. re: acd123

                                Sounds like we both had the same 1980's experience. By the way, thanks for the reminder about the bongs. I may have to go for a walk to Jack Flash's and do some shopping. Then I really will be a chow hound.

                                1. re: acd123

                                  My memories, too. The shops on Yonge were only interesting to me for band paraphernalia, especially all the cheap buttons. Greenjeans was thrilling because of all the stickers; they had rolls and rolls of them on display (and nobody else did), at a time when sticker-collecting was the thing to do as a teenage girl...

                              3. Si where is a good place to dine within walking distance of the eaton Centre? My wife and I are staying at the Marriot there this weekend.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: rosyposy

                                  I really like Woo Buffet, it just opened up at Yonge and Dundas. Also good near that location is everything on Elm Street.

                                  1. re: rosyposy

                                    I would go to Terroni ..it is the closest to the Eaton centre that is decent. I used to go to baton rouge in the eaton center when I was there out of convinience because I found they had great baby back ribs but the last few times i found they were different and not as good

                                  2. Made plans to eat at Sushi on Bloor but to my dismay found a red health check sign on the door (since removed) and made my way to Mariko.
                                    I'd eaten there before and had never been impressed but this time I was pretty disappointed: the fish was a bit smelly and well... does there really need to be anything else said?

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: Yum2MyTum

                                      Forgot about Sushi on Bloor.

                                      Sushi on Bloor, Sushi Island on College and Katsu Sushi on the Danforth are all places where I've had lapses of reason- usually as a result of me trying to be not too finicky for non-chowish friends.

                                      1. re: Yum2MyTum

                                        Ah . . . Mariko. I grew up on Mariko (in the Carrot Common – Danforth and Chester).

                                        It used to be excellent (when it first opened). Really, really excellent.

                                        Then, the owner sold it to one of her chefs and moved on to other things. It was still good for a while. Better than you'd expect for the price and excellent sushi at the sushi bar – with a talented (and fresh from Japan) sushi chef.

                                        Then the new owner let go of the dedicated sushi chef.

                                        Then they introduced an all you can eat menu.

                                        Then they opened other locations. The food kept getting worse and worse. They began to pre-cut the fish, pre-roll the rolls, and serve salty, salty miso soup. They stopped putting wasabi on their nigiri, the shari got less and less seasoned, and they introduced more and more "fun" types of maki.

                                        Then the original location moved across the road and their kitchen shrank, their staff shrank, and their service plummeted. I gave them a couple final chances for cheap and decent – it had to still be better than Sushi on Bloor??

                                        No, it was worse. I haven't been back since.

                                        1. re: Atahualpa

                                          Did you go there when they were originally at Spadina and Bloor? think at that time they were the only place you can get brown rice sushi.

                                          When they first went to AYCE at the Carrot Common, it was still passable with the older Japanese couple. Now it seems like college kids are running the place.

                                          1. re: Teep

                                            And only college kids are eating there...

                                            1. re: Teep

                                              "Did you go there when they were originally at Spadina and Bloor?"

                                              No, that would be before my time. I was born in 1982. The Carrot Common expanded into the new construction in 1985/6 and that is when Mariko became a tenant. I think I was there within the first year or two. I can certainly remember the place from about the age of 5/6 and up.

                                              The original owner and the longest-serving waitress both used to make me paper cranes each time I went.

                                              "When they first went to AYCE at the Carrot Common, it was still passable with the older Japanese couple."

                                              True. It was indeed. In fact, they didn't fully lose my business until the move across the Danforth.

                                              FYI, the original owner of Mariko – who sold it well over a decade ago now – she was the same woman who opened Konnichiwa on Baldwin – which she subsequently sold as well.

                                              I bumped into her at Konnichiwa about a year ago with her husband, whom I also know (quite independently though), and she recognized me from all those years previous at Mariko!

                                        2. Lapse for me was actually listening to all the hype in here and elsewhere about Johnny's as being "the best burger in town" and stopping there as I was in the area. I know I'll probably get flamed to hell and back for it, but my last burger at Licks beat the overrated piece of garbage Johnny's served. It was disgusting. Never again, one visit was once too many.

                                          Other lapses: any visit to Boston Pizza, Mandarin, or any GTA "McSushi". Enough said.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: TexSquared

                                            Consider yourself lucky. At least your lapses were cheap. Mine was buying the hype about Splendido.

                                            BTW Agree about Johnny's. It's another classic example of the confusion between cheap and good. It's isn't bad or anything, it's just so-so. Disagree about Lick's. They are far worse and among the worst hamburgers in GTA. #1 fast food burger is Fire Pit, hands, down.

                                            1. re: evansl

                                              Yep, I fell for the Johnny's hype as well, and I agree with evansl wholeheartedly. Not that it's a terrible burger, it's just a cheap, pre-fab steakette. I can get one of those at my local burger joint for $2.44 Tuesdays.

                                              More recently it was Kim Kim Hakka Chinese in Scarborough. It's been taked up on a few boards I follow and it didn't live up to the hype at all.

                                              1. re: Dr Butcher

                                                I also got caught in the Johnny's hype. I grew up with Salisbury House 'NIPS' in Winnipeg so there rest of you Winterpeggers out there will agree that we know a good burger. On a scale of 1 - 10, I would give Johnny's a 5 at best...!

                                            2. re: TexSquared

                                              Agree about Johnny's. I always went to Mr Smiley's farther down Vic park until the landlord raised the rents, kicked everyone out and is now left with an empty lot.