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Jun 14, 2009 09:13 AM

Barberian's - The One and Only (long)

Wanting to have an intimate and yet wonderful meal, I went back to what I know is always best. Something tried, true and reliable.
My first venture into this venerable steak house was about 30 years ago. I had been a few times since, however there was a gap between this and the last time of at least a few years, I am sad to say.
This won't happen again, I can assure you.
We had reservations for 8PM last night and we arrived promptly. Barberian's was busy however we were seated immediately.
Our waiter arrived within seconds and offered us either mineral water or regular water and I felt like having the mineral water.
Within a few moments the mineral water arrived along with a glass on the side containing sliced limes to add if desired. I have to tell you the service was impeccable, you would have thought the bottle of water was a bottle of wine the way it was treated at table side..
We weren't decided on what we really wanted so we ordered a couple of mixed drinks while we mulled things over, we weren't rushed.
Shortly afterwards a basket of warm French bread arrived that was nicely done in garlic.
This, along with a dish of pickled veggies which I thought originally was crudités.
We knew we were going to be ordering a substantial meal so we opted to share an appetizer. We selected the Paté Maison. The Paté Maison arrived and I knew immediately that it was fresh. The plater had two portions of the Paté along with some bread, a jelly ( I can't recall which type, but I detected currant ) and some fresh diced tomato. It was exquisite, and yes, I confirmed they make the pate in house.
It had been years since I ordered a Chateaubriand ($88 for two). I had an idea I was going to order this and when I mentioned this to the Chef at the Hyatt where I work, he said this was so 70's and 80's. Well, yes, and there's nothing wrong with that, is there?
We ordered an inexpensive Cab-Sauv (Penfolds) from the top of list to accompany our meal and we ordered a side of mushrooms with the Chateaubriand and a baked potato.
Now, the Chateaubriand is a nice lean and tender cut of meat and not marbled so we did not want it overcooked. We ordered it medium rare.
The Chateaubriand arrived table side and was carved and served to our desire (outer pieces more cooked than inner).
As we both took our first bites of the Chateaubriand we found ourselves looking into each others eyes and knowing we were having the best. We both exclaimed that this was awesome. Flavour, tenderness, texture, you name it. There was a serving of Bearnaise sauce on the plate to have with your meat, however the flavour of the meat stood out on it's own. The baked potato was large (included with meal, unlike another establishment) and we were offered various toppings (sour cream, bacon bits, cheese etc. )There was garnish of asparagus, sweet potato puree etc., grape tomatoes very nice.
I had a bit of a sweet tooth at the end of the meal so we each ordered a Spanish coffee. We had no room for a dessert.
With all that we ordered above, I recall the cheque as being either $224 or $244 not including tip.
Service, Quality and Value, you can't beat it.

And oh, the Wine list is out of this world!

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  1. Thank you for sharing! I *love* dining old-school like this when I'm in the mood. Recently had a similar type experience at Keen's steakhouse in NY. Totally felt like I was in the 70s. I will have to try one of ours now, and it looks like Barberian's might be the one!

    1. It's a class place. Last time I was there Brit bad-girl pop star Lily Allen was there with her posse. She polished off a big steak, ate a hot fudge sundae for dessert, and I fell in love with both Lily and Barberians.

      1. The little lady that is the sommelier there really knows her stuff. Give her a budget and your dinner choice and let her go.

        Classic, old-world style is never out of fashion. Thank goodness for Arron Barberian. Toronto could use a little more wood and manners and a lot less glass and steel.

        1. Thanks for the review! Out of curiosity, did you enquire about what type of beef was the Chateaubriand? US Prime, Canadian/Alberta Prime, Black Angus, Wagyu.....etc?!

          3 Replies
          1. re: Charles Yu

            My recollection is US Prime (I think all his meat is) - but can't be sure.

            1. re: estufarian

              I went to Barberians last night after reading this post.
              They do not have the Waguy anymore. All of their beef is usda prime except for the filet which in Ontario.
              Had a very yummy meal. Service was excellent, especially Christine the sommelier who is a gem.
              Onion rings were too good.

            2. re: Charles Yu

              Are there any steakhouses using Canada prime, or Cumbrae's? (I don't think Stephen bothers with these ratings.)

            3. No wine by the glass, eh? Still, I have been meaning to go here sometime, as it is a dining institution.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Pincus

                It may not be on their online menu, but hubby and I have by-the-glassed at Barberian's.