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Jul 5, 2009 06:21 PM

What to have at Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar?

What are your "Must Have" dish recommendations at JKWB?

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  1. They have an ever revolving menu. Dishes that were great a few weeks ago might not be present in current menu. Therefore best to check their website for current menu, identify a few dishes you fancy and then ask for fellow chowhounder's opinion! Even their regular staple item like poutines has ever changing toppings.

    1. i find they have a knack for finding great cheeses. I would suggest a cheese board or an item with cheese in it. With a paired wine of course!

      1. I too was interested in this restaurant on my planned visit to Toronto next week, until I saw a posting indicating that it was for sale. Is this not a concern?

        17 Replies
        1. re: Bill Greenberg

          It's an internal sale, with business as usual for the forseeable future.

          1. re: Non Doctor

            I went for lunch yesterday, and at 1 p.m. there were only 2 other diners. By the time we left about two hours later only 4 more people had rolled in - 2 of whom had never been before and were celarly puzzled about the emptiness of the place. Does everyone think this place has closed down? Or is there some stigma about eating in a financially troubled place? The food is not spectacular but it is good - if over salted. I have always loved this place as somwhere to take out of town guests to sample local produce, and I really love it as a place to eat when my schedule permits lunch at crazy times like 3 p.m. It will be a tremendous shame if the new owners can't sustain it. I'll keep going, but I hope they restrain the salt pourings.

            1. re: KitchenVoodoo

              Looking at the menu, how many dishes would one order for a full dinner?

              1. re: SMOG

                We made it there last Monday around 7:30pm and the place was packed. Food was mainly well-prepared tapas-y-ish: 2 of us shared: The fries (with just white vinegar rather than the touted "artisanal cider vinegar"; Charcuterie plate with a terrine, headcheese, pork rillettes and a chicken liver pate that had some strong seasoning that we didn't find pleasant -- these were accompanied with a thick, dark brown and very hard cracker-bread (and I mean very hard - not at all crunchy); Crab cake with a nice crust and unadulterated with filler (served hot and not at all greasy although the centre was strangely cold); Merguez sausage (probably our fave dish of the night); Grilled short rib (ok tasting, but I get 3 times as much in a T&T $3.99 lunch plate with another entree choice to boot); Caramel-Apple-Pecan cake (quite tasty and not overly sweet).

                1. re: tekkamaki

                  "(with just white vinegar rather than the touted "artisanal cider vinegar""

                  Nope... that was the artisanal cider vinegar... trust me.

                  1. re: Non Doctor

                    How does the artisanal cider vinegar at JKWB compare to the artisanal cider vinegar I can buy at T & T for 1/3 the price? ;)

                    Where is the artisanal cider vinegar coming from? PEC? Or Ile D'Orleans?

                2. re: SMOG

                  At least two dishes per person. I usually order whatever soup they have on because it's always delicious - and then I have the MOST "meaty" thing they have. I think portion size has increased a bit.

                  1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                    Am I reading this menu right? Looks like main dishes are $10-15. So for <$35, one can have a full meal with app+main+desert? That looks like a phenomenal deal. Seems too good to be true?

                    1. re: SMOG

                      JKWB serves share plates, rather than traditional apps and mains, but you could eat for less than $35, depending on which dishes you choose and the size of your appetite. Most men I know would not be full if they ate the equivalent of 2 share plates and 1 dessert each, but I think that amount of food would suit most women I know.

                      I find the food is reasonably priced, but I don't think I would call it a "phenomenal deal".

                      My friend and I shared 6 plates at brunch, which came closer to $50 each, including tax and tip. We ordered wine, coffee and fresh orange juice, in addition to the food. The brunch plates seemed to be more substantial than some of the dinner share plates I have tried in the past. The 6 brunch plates we chose ended up being too much food for us, but we didn't regret ordering what we did, because we wanted to try several dishes. Most men I know would have had no problem finishing what we ordered.

                      1. re: SMOG

                        no.. all items are app sized so you would need 3 plus dessert to get a "meal" in my opinion... some are larger / more filling then others

                        1. re: SMOG

                          I don't know if everyone will be satisfied with having just three dishes, as they are smaller serving sizes. Usually when I go with another person, we order 7-8 things plus a dessert and some wine; I find that I can still walk home and eat some more.

                          1. re: pinkprimp

                            So PinkPrimp 3 dishes for one person is not enough.. but 3.5 is?
                            (7 dishes / 2 people)

                            I think that is splitting hairs.. as I said some dishes are bigger and more filling I am sure you could be satified with three of teh larger heavier dishes or 5 of the light... depends what is on offer that night and what you order..

                            1. re: OnDaGo

                              I wrote 7-8 dishes AND dessert, so that comes out to about 3.5 +1 = 4.5 or 4 + 1 = 5 vs the app + 'main' + dessert = 3. To me, that extra 1-1.5 portion makes a difference. I am a hair splitter, but that is also why I am in accounting ;-)

                              1. re: pinkprimp

                                and i wrote: "3 plus dessert" = 4 :-)

                                1. re: OnDaGo

                                  And I was initially replying to smog's "So for <$35, one can have a full meal with app+main+desert? That looks like a phenomenal deal. Seems too good to be true?"

                                  :-) Have a good day!

                          2. re: SMOG

                            We just went to JKWB not too long ago - had the chacuterie and loved the chicken pate that tekkamaki didn't like - ah well. I would say we average out to two regular appetites, but we ordered quite a lot and we were really quite full. We have a full list and photos of what we ate so you can see how "hefty" some dishes are in the blog (second post from top). From a rough count, we had 10 dishes, (incl amuse) and two half glasses of wine, totaling to $150 tax and tip in.

                            For $35, you could have a light meal just fine, but not if you were hungry.

                   -- food. is. love.

                            1. re: jlunar

                              Wow, such an innocent question and so much controversy. I like it :). Pictures look great!

                3. the charcuterie and the cheese are the best things to order at the wine bar. the charcuterie is great if only for the chicken liver pate that is usually on it. what great is you can buy the chicken liver to go from hanks now, $3.50, a huge bargain


                  1. i realize tekkamaki has already gone to the wine bar, but i dropped by myself this past week and thought i'd share my experience should anyone hesitate going to the restaurant due to news of the sale.

                    the service, food and beverage are as good as ever and there is nothing happening to indicate that a sale is even occurring. the transition seems like it will be a smooth one with their attempts to keep it all in the family, in a sense of course since the patriarch will be disassociating with it, and will have very little bearing on current experiences i believe. the room was among the emptiest i've seen in all my visits but i suspect it's more to do with the dining public at large, i certainly had no troubles getting a table at black hoof the night after and could have easiliy picked one out for 6 or 8 at this trendy spot. i am curious though to see where the direction might head after the sale but all who work at jkwb seem to be on the same wavelength for the most part.

                    anyhow, the food. i've had salty experiences that were mostly restricted to tobey's time in the kitchen. the new chef they've had in place for nearly a year now (she left in june/july i recall) is much less liberal going so far as to have undersalted dishes as per my dining companions comments (they however love salt), i felt it was a fair amount. the best dishes on the current menu were definitely the pork pot pie (a nice flakey pastry filled with a very moist and almost bouncy textured ground meat), battered perch (fantastic crisp battering and fresh tasting fish), and the caramel walnut tart (just nearing the edge of too sweet and with a great balance of walnut and caramel).

                    i was less impressed with the scallops (overall a great dish but was surprised they were wet packed, came with a really beautiful barley and peas cooked like a lighter/thinner risotto), the rabbit (i think this is personal prejudice though as i tend to expect richly sauced dishes from jkwb and this had much brighter flavours from the lightly cooked tomato), and what appeared to be a slightly shrinking poutine.

                    overall i really enjoyed the experience with some fantastic and complex whites and was reminded again of why i am often so enthusiastic about the wine bar. the food is comforting, well thought out and quite delicious. it might not be outstandingly creative but the atmosphere always leaves me feeling as if i've been lingering at a friend's tasty dinner party.

                    oh and i missed a couple of dishes but we ate 6 savoury and 2 sweet between 2 of us and were quite comfortable.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: pinstripeprincess

                      the new chef quit about 2 weeks ago

                      1. re: j6p

                        ah, i wasn't aware of that turn over. my dining companions friend had mentioned their meal just after the switch from tobey wasn't overly salted at all and i had just assumed things were steady in the kitchen end. mr kennedy was in the restaurant that evening though and could have leant a hand to my meal.