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Black Hoof

After reading about this restaurant everywhere, I finally made it.
My friends met at 7:30 p.m. and unfortunately the patio was full outside, so
we grabbed a table near the back.
We were greeted by a friendly waitress and before long we were all enjoying
some great drinks.
We ordered:
a small cheese plate
a large charcuterie plate (no horse, no organs)
bone marrow (for me...as it was my childhood favorite)
a grouper ceviche.

We loved it ALL.
We loved the vibe of the room, the distinct flavors of each meat, the cheese paired with three unique jams, the bread...you name it, we loved it.

I swear our waitress came by six times to see how we enjoyed our food.
So no complaints regarding service.

Our only complaint was that the room seemed noisy...but we managed to just raise our voices a bit (just like everyone else). LOL.

I hope to be returning soon.

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  1. Thanks for the review, I have been wanting to try this place for a while now. Just a quick questions, did you have to pay for the bread? It seems that you did and I suppose it is reasonable as it is a main component of the meal here, where it is not at other restaurants.
    Could you just comment on that, and how much this costs, if you don't mind? Also, what kind of charcuterie was on the platter, and I am assuming that you are able to choose more or less what you like for the platter?

    5 Replies
    1. re: icey

      The bread is only $2/4 for the small/large plates.

      1. re: icey

        platter comes as they serve it as far as i'm aware, perhaps you could get a choice if you asked but i somehow doubt it.

        i highly suggest against the brain ravioli if it is on the menu as it's incredibly scant on the filling and it is also mixed with ricotta = not much brains! sweetbreads kinda tasted like fried chicken to me, not sure if it's the oils or how they season the batter, but really not appealing.

        i would suggest the nduja and smoked prawn, which is mostly superb for the prawn and the flavoured oil because the nduja is rather painful with all the spice. i really enjoyed my small charcuterie platter a couple weeks back over the large one had a few days ago. thought the pork belly pastrami was interesting but not spiced enough for me.. the texture was great though... love crisp skin.

        bread is thuet style and you get an ok amount for $2 considering how much a whole loaf costs otherwise. i prefer eating my charcuterie with my fingers for the most part anyway.

        1. re: pinstripeprincess

          Second the spicy nduja. Is the pork belly pastrami back? It was gone when i went a week ago.

          1. re: pinstripeprincess

            i was once sitting next to a couple who did ask to exclude certain items from their charcuterie plate and they were obliged - i think the kitchen is willing to accomodate some preferences by making substitutions. the charcuterie plates aren't exactly the same on any given evening, i've noticed differences between mine and what other table got, so the kitchen has a range of items to play with. i don't think, however, that they would be willing to assemble whatever you choose though.

            i liked the sweetbreads enough last time i was there, but it wasn't my favourite preparation. i liked them panfried rather than fried in a batter.

            i do have to say that i am impressed with their way around seafood - was not expecting it there, i must admit:)

            1. re: Kasia

              Everyone is correct...lol!!
              The bread price was accurate and we didnt mind paying for it at all.
              We did request not to include on the chacuterie plate: no horse and no organs and they were fine with our requests.
              Indeed I was also suprised that there was a grouper ceviche and the preparation was spectacular.

        2. I also finally made it to Black Hoof recently. It was a rainy Saturday night and they weren't that busy. We waited at the bar for about 30 mins before the hostess tried to seat a couple that came in after us - we stopped her and she apologized and seated us instead. That was the only mishap. At the bar we had glasses of a great white wine from California that was a very unusual varietal whose name escapes me.

          We sat in the new patio area which was just fine. We ordered:

          Charcuterie Platter
          Grouper Seviche
          Sweetbreads with Chanterelles and Peas
          Cheese Board
          Bread and Olives

          It was all fantastic. The charcuterie platter had about 7 different items, including a lovely liver pate, some chorizo like sausage, and a whole bunch of other things whose name escapes me but were super tasty. There was nothing "scary" from the standpoint of a squeamish eater.

          Grouper seviche was a huge portion - shocking big actually - of extremely fresh fish in a citrus dressing with edamame. A lovely counterpoint to the other rich dishes.

          The sweatbreads were basically deep fried - a bit too much coating but otherwise good. They were served with freshly sauteed chanterelles and peas. My only complaint was that there was a bit too much butter with the veg. Again the portion was large.

          The cheese board for $15 was three large pieces of interesting cheeses - all different. The price was much better than the cheese board I'd had the night before at Grace, where tiny pieces were served at a much higher price. Some accompanying savories to go with the cheese (nuts, etc.) were included.

          The bread was Thuet - wonderful and the olives were small and tasty - definitely not traditional deli or grocery store types.

          Service was extremely friendly and efficient.

          I would return in a heartbeat. One item to note is that it is cash or debit only - no credit cards.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Cat123

            Yeah, my wife and I can't get enough of that place. The food, the vibe, we love it all.

          2. thanks for the review! I have been wanting to go to this restaurant for awhile now.
            Did you try any of their desserts btw? I heard the lemon- lavendar tart was a popular item.

            7 Replies
            1. re: sugarcube

              i went for the first time recently and really enjoyed it. it seemed that there was only a dessert of the day on offer from their menu and the night i went it was a bacon chocolate bread pudding (4 pieces on a plate) topped with fresh whipped cream. a bit too many pieces of bacon and not enough chocolate for my taste (and i wasn't sure about the combo to begin with), but otherwise it would be have been tasty. wonder if they have some dessert items they offer more than others, i'd love to try a lemon tart on a later visit.

              1. re: auberginegal

                Was still serving this back in June (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlunar/3...


                Got it b/c it was interesting, as I usually don't get chocolate desserts, but they said caramel and then bacon made it intriguing. Thought it was pretty good for me (maybe the right balance of ingredients that night?).

                1. re: jlunar

                  mine looked to be slightly different, definitely no chocolate shavings, but the caramel sauce was really good. you can't see from this pic either, the pieces of bacon that are within


                  1. re: auberginegal

                    Interesting!! Foam vs cream and the set-up - while not completely un-similar - is remarkably different.

              2. re: sugarcube

                i had the bread pudding last week-was so-so, deconstructed pieces of bread with toffee, nuts and some pieces of bacon! I don't think dessert is a strong suit of theirs. but you should go, i have a great time every time i'm there. excellent cocktails, plenty of varied dishes. the pork belly pastriami is very delicious.

                1. re: deabot

                  Thanks for the info Auberginegal and Deabot! I hope there will more more choices aside from the bread pudding to try when I head there.
                  Mmm. but definitely looking forward to trying that pork belly pastrami...!

                  1. re: sugarcube

                    I think they only offer one dessert a day. When I went, it was the bread pudding described above.

              3. They don't take reservations. That kind of attitude kills any interest I might have had in them.

                3 Replies
                1. re: evansl

                  Ikea doesn't take reservations either.

                  1. re: tjr

                    Nor does MacDonalds. But what is the point of eliminating Black Hoof from consideration? They apparently don't want to be bothered with reserved tables and the problems that arise.
                    My life is not so orderly that I will go apoplectic if I arrive at Black Hoof and can't get in.
                    I'll return another day, and find something good on Ossington in the meantime.

                    1. re: jayt90

                      i agree. i also think that the lack of reservations adds to the casual atmosphere at black hoof. you could go there, eat a whole lot and hang out for 3 hours, or you could go for a drink and a snack and not feel obligated to have a full meal. if i made a reservation, i'd feel obligated to have a proper dinner (not to mention i'd have to plan it sometime in advance). which would mean much fewer visits for me, since so far, my Black Hoof visits have been almost all spontaneous, and often were late night meals.

                2. Every time Black Hoof comes up I get depressed about the rampant spread of vegetarianism among my friends.

                  1. This place is down the street from my house so I'm quite the regular. I have to say I love most things on their menu (especially the tongue sandwich and duck confit). But the charcuterie itself is tasteless and I don't think its a good selling point. But from what I see most people seem to enjoy it.

                    1. I'm also in the Black Hoof fan club (though I did find the food a bit too rich to make a meal of, or at least what we ate, more of a beer and heavy snack place for my palate).

                      Somebody told me that they might be opening up a Black Hoof cafe across the street. Has anybody heard anything about this?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: peppermint pate

                        Yep, they've posted about it on their blog:

                        It's a comin'! Looking forward to it.

                      2. For those who haven't heard, the Hoof is closing for a month. Not sure why, but I would guess that working on the new Cafe across the street might be part of the reason.

                        They're having a closing party tonight, 11 PM to 3 AM. "Come drink cocktails and get free leftovers", they said on Twitter.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: gregclow

                          Thank you! After all this talk I was planning a visit. I guess I will have to delay my cured meat adventure.

                          1. re: gregclow

                            And I'll add damn you. Where was this post when I needed it?????

                            1. re: Googs

                              didn't matter, they weren't handing anything out.

                          2. Just ate at the Black Hoof for the first time and I have to say, I enjoyed every last bit. I was disappointed that they didn't have the pork belly pastrami but other than that, it was great.

                            We had the large charcuterie plate, scallops with bone marrow sauce, some more bone marrow and foie gras pb&j. It was an all-meat, gluttonous extravaganza and it was wonderful. We didn't consume a single vegetable unless you consider the pickles a vegetable.

                            A few comments:
                            I didn't really enjoy waiting outside on the barren street and we felt a bit annoyed when the hostess hinted that we should not loiter in the doorway.
                            Also, I didn't love the lardo, not because of the fat 'cause I love fat but because of that rancid fat flavour that lardo just seems to have. I don't mean that it was bad, I'm sure it was very fresh but every time I've had it, once at Nota Bene and now here, it's had that flavour. The only way I can describe it is the distinctive flavour of Chinese preserved duck or sausage. A literal translation would be waxed duck or sausage. But I digress.
                            Finally, I wish they had a lighter dessert. The dessert that night was the bacon/chocolate bread pudding. Normally, not a problem. In fact, normally, bacon dessert - yum! But the problem was that I had eaten bread with every dish. Bread with the smoked foie gras and the other liver spread; bread to sop up the bone marrow sauce with the scallops; bread to spread the bone marrow upon; and bread with the foie pb&j. Too much bread. Bread pudding for dessert? No thanks! Maybe it was our choices and we inadvertently chose dishes that required bread accompaniment but a custard of some sort or something frozen (lemon sorbet?) would have been greatly appreciated.

                            All together a great dinner and definitely will return. If it's still on the menu, the scallops are a must!

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: chefhound

                              I tried it for the first time recently as well. The wait wasn't long at all and shorter than they said it would you. They take your cell #, so you don't have to wait on the street. There are plenty of bars to go to within a couple mins walk. When people complain about them not taking reservations, I think they don't realize that you don't have to stand in a line for an hour. You're free to go and have a drank and enjoy yourself! Just go expecting to have a couple beers or cocktails before dinner, it's really not so bad :).

                              I see your point on the bread pudding dessert. I found that I was most filled up on the bread, as opposed to everything else. Having said that, maybe that's a better thing than getting filled up on ultra fatty food. I really enjoyed the tongue on brioche. And the foie grase on the charcuterie plate was spectacular.

                              Overall, a good experience. Pleasant service, unique menu and fantastic atmosphere.

                              1. re: SMOG

                                Just to clarify, I wasn't complaining about the lack of reservations - I was commenting about the lack of a waiting area. It was pretty chilly that night and after they took my cell number, we walked around the block a bit. I don't know where the nearby bars you are talking about are located but we didn't encounter any while walking around. I had hoped to wait at the restaurant's bar but apparently it's used for eating, not for drinking and waiting for a table. So we ended up sitting on the church steps for a while and then shivering in some nearby shop doorways.
                                I'm not saying they should take reservations, just that it's unfortunate there's nowhere to wait.

                                1. re: chefhound

                                  Yep, I definitely know what you mean. Unfortunately, a lot of these new kinds of places are just very small. Even if there was room at the bar, I imagine it would have been filled up very quickly anyway. If you walk east, a bunch of spots emerge within a couple blocks. As you walk towards Ossington, you'll probably pass 4-5 places on the way. But generally, yes, it's not like being on Ossington where you can see a few spots within steps.

                                  1. re: chefhound

                                    This problem will be addressed when the Hoof Cafe opens up across the street, but in the meantime I always head just east to the Press Club for a beer or bourbon while waiting to get my table at the Hoof.

                              2. Went back to the Black Hoof again. Once again, a delightful experience. Just wanted to report on a delicious dish.

                                I had something they called testino? Basically, it's pig's face. I had recently read an article in Food & Wine (March 2009) about eating pig face - they called it careta. I was wondering where in Toronto one might find pig's face being served? Well, apparently, at the Black Hoof. Anyway, it was delicious! Crispy, fatty, kind of like bacon - yummy!

                                If you're going there, definitely try it - it's an opportunity to try something new, different and delicious. And the scallops with the bone marrow sauce are a must too!

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: chefhound

                                  i love testino there! that was actually the very first dish i had at the hoof, and decided this is the place for me:)

                                  which reminds me, haven't been there in a month - must go back!

                                  while you were there, did you get any info/update on how their cafe construction across the street is doing?

                                  1. re: Kasia

                                    I didn't specifically ask but my friend asked about buying the charcuterie and they said it would be available for sale at the cafe when it opened, which they hoped would be soon.

                                    1. re: chefhound

                                      thanks for the reply. i hope it is soon - it will solve a lot of the issues re: waiting etc, and that brunch sounds promising!

                                      1. re: chefhound

                                        I love the charcuterie at Black Hoof. It will have to be a regular shopping stop for me when they start putting it out for sale.

                                        Black Hoof
                                        928 Dundas St W, Toronto M6J, CA

                                  2. I went on Sunday and I loved it. Food Service, Price all amazing. We went on Sunday and did not wait for a table.

                                    The only complaint I have is that even for someone who knows eats charcuterie fairly often I still felt a bit out of my depth. They have a wide variety of dried, cured and salted meat prepared in a wide variety of ways which is good. I just with there was a bit more information about what the meats were and how they were prepared. We got their starter platter and the server was really good and explained what everything was but after the second one if I didn't recognize it I forgot what we were eating. It is harder because they don't have a printed menu that you can refer to and rely must rely on the chalk board.

                                    All that being said the staff were really good with our questions and we will be going back for more.

                                    1. To be honest, I love black hoof and the new hoof cafe, but after what I hope is an out-of-the-ordinary experience, I don't think I will be returning.

                                      Before the restaurant became ever so popular, I frequented black hoof very often. After all the rave reviews it became increasingly harder to grab a table. For months when we have planned to go in, we were greeted with a familiar smile but a "sorry, no room now, come back later."

                                      Saturday night, I know it's going to be busy, but I want to show the out-of-town family where I like to eat. We show up at 6:45pm and are told we will have to wait 1 1/2 hrs for a table for 4. We willingly agree and the hostess takes down my name and number. We go for a drink on Ossington. 1 1/2 hrs late we are trotting back to the restaurant, when my phone rings, the hostess informs me it will most likely be another 1/2 hour.

                                      We are close to black hoof so I tell the hostess we will see her shortly. So we go in, where the hostess indicates that the table where we are to sit is still finishing their wine and should be leaving promptly. I tell her that it seems the table is firmly planted in their seats and could possible be there for another hour or more. She tells us she will call us. She encourages us to go to the Hoof Cafe for a drink. "Try there!"

                                      Now at 7pm, we could have waited half the time or no time to get into any of the restaurants on ossignton and had a great time. But now it is 9pm and everywhere is full. All dressed up and no place to go.

                                      30 mins later, while looking for another restaurant, I get another phone call from the hostess who informs me that the table has in fact ordered ANOTHER round of drinks and will most likely be another hour. Defeated and shamed, we gave up our table and went to another restaurant up town where we waited 15 mins and were seated.

                                      Now, I get the whole no reservations at a small place, if a table doesn't show up, that's a large portion of the evenings profits gone. But reservations work for places that are busy and full, putting order back into the dining room. It is not uncommon to have seatings and to inform tables they have 2 hours when they sit for a meal. I agree that a table should enjoy their meal to the fullest and not be rushed, but it is disrespectful to constantly be pushing back wait times and expect patrons to wait over 2 1/2 hrs for a table.

                                      It makes me sad because Black Hoof is a place I felt welcomed and loved to go. After the huge display of lack of propriety, I would rather spend my money elsewhere.

                                      The Black Hoof
                                      928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                                      26 Replies
                                      1. re: summersky

                                        I simply don't go to restaurants anymore that are super-busy but don't want to take reservations, unless I feel like going well before or well after dinner hour. I have better things to do with my time.

                                        1. re: Flexitarian

                                          Agreed. But I've always believed in the flexible set up of many restaurants that have a "reservable" area and a bar space/tables that are strictly for walk ins. You have to be a busy place though, but seems like Black Hoof is....

                                        2. re: summersky

                                          I don't understand why you were waiting for that particular table. Shouldn't they have given you the first open table of 4 that opened up? I table of 4 is pretty common, so I must be missing something about this story.

                                          1. re: syoung

                                            the "problem" with the Hoof is that its small and the type of food and drinks they serve don't make it conducive to fast table turns. a diner is prone to slowly order more and more dishes and to sample more drinks.

                                            i'm not sure what one wants. the Hoof is a victim of its own success and we should be happy. if they opened a restaurant twice the size, we'd all complain that its no longer intimate.

                                            the solution? superearly dinner or superlate dinner. and don't go on a weekend.

                                            the lack of seats has lead us to "settle" for the Hoof Cafe for brunch, but only on weekdays and not during prime times. what can you do?

                                            1. re: atomeyes

                                              Hmm, I like the Hoof system actually, because I don't feel like I'll get rushed out and I don't wind up in a situation where I make a reservation but the restaurant still makes me wait. But yeah, the wait times are completely random since it just depends on when a table opens up.

                                              I agree with atomeyes, you just sort of have to work around the limitations. And realistically, extremely long wait times at places like Black Hoof or Guu are pretty well known - like Flexitarian said, just don't go if you don't want to wait.

                                              The Black Hoof
                                              928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                                              1. re: ggom1

                                                The hoof is what it is, and part of that is sometimes you have to wait, but realistically I think what summersky was really complaining about wasn't the waiting but the way it was doled out in creeping 1/2 hour increments. If they'd been a little less in denial at the start and said 2+ hours from the get go that probably would have been better for all concerned.

                                                Luckily it's a bit of a self limiting phenomenon, you string enough customers along by moving the goalposts 1/2 hour at a time for half the evening and pretty soon crowding won't be a problem any more no matter how amazing the food is.

                                                They could make some changes in the way they run the FOH and solve some of these "problems" but I think if would wind up changing the character of the place somewhat.

                                                1. re: bytepusher

                                                  funny, my experiences with wait times at the hoof have been quite opposite - several times I've been told 30-45 min, have gone across the street to the cafe for a drink, and was called much earlier. it's not a perfect system by any means, by i live with it, because its imperfections are really caused by the resto's interest in making sure everyone dining there will leave happy. hence, no rushing tables, allowing people to linger, change their minds on having one more dish or drink etc (i know i've been guilty of that - the vibe at the hoof is so comfy that it really often makes me stay a lot longer than i intended).

                                                  they also are totally okay with diners deciding they will stay at the cafe side even if they're on the waiting list. the snacks there are pretty damn good, and i bet quite a few people end up cancelling their place in line (i did just this past friday).

                                                  1. re: Kasia

                                                    I have no problem with their policy at all. Leave a number, grab a drink at any number of great little bars and wait in an interesting neighbourhood for some amazing food. If eating at a certain time is imperative to your evening then there are plenty of restaurants that take reservations. They do the best they can to accomodate people based on the type of experience it is. The fact is if it was in New York or San Francisco people would say it's part of the charm and complain that there's nothing like it in Toronto.

                                                    1. re: jamesm

                                                      If the '"problem" with the Hoof is that its small and the type of food and drinks they serve don't make it conducive to fast table turns', as atomeyes says above, then they shouldn't be promising what they can't deliver, which is an expected wait time. They should just tell people they don't know. This is because they have no way to know when a current diner is going to leave.

                                                      jamesm: summersky isn't saying that it was 'imperative' that they eat at a certain time, but that they eat within a reasonable window of the time they were told they would have to wait. Methinks that Amercians, especially New Yorkers and Sf'ers, are far less willing to endure long and unexpected waits at restaurants than we Canadians, who are thought to be more docile. And, in any event, if being strung along at the Hoof in 1/2 hour increments for two hours like those people were is now called 'charm', then count me out.

                                                      The Hoof could easily have reservations if they wanted to like other restaurants. They don't because they know they are popular right now and can pack the restaurant all evening from walk-ins. So, they feel "Why should we take reservations as it will result in empty slots and lower revenue?" So, the customers bear the burden of waiting and the Hoof is the beneficiary of this. For a lot of people that does not make them feel like they are valued customers. Luckily for the Hoof, the diners that get upset because their wait time was longer than was promised are more than outnumbered by the ones that walk in and are seated withiin a reasonable time.

                                                      But, this won't last forever.

                                                      1. re: Flexitarian

                                                        Saying people are being "strung along" is disingenuous. It's simply a reality of their business model. There is nothing underhanded as you are implying. It's the same business model that allows the people inside to have a leisurely and relaxing experience without being pressured or rushed. It's the trade-off and one many are obvioulsy happily willing to make. As for the charm, it's referring to the fact that it's a busy place but will take your number and you can enjoy the neighbourhood in the meantime. But read whatever you want to read.

                                                        And there are loads of examples of places in New York where the wait and unpredictability are heralded as part of the charm and experience. 2 hour line-ups for a slice of pizza?

                                                        1. re: jamesm

                                                          I did not mean to imply they were being underhanded. Being 'strung along' does not necessarily mean their has to be an intent on the other side to be underhanded. As you said, it's a 'reality of their business model'. That does't mean we have to accept it as customers, which was the point of their post on here.

                                                          Actually, after enduring an extremely long brunch wait one day, I too decided to take my business elsewhere.

                                                          1. re: Flexitarian

                                                            I think the bottom line is that people who know this restaurant also know their policies, which they make no attempt to gloss over. Whether the customer then chooses to patronise the restaurant is up to them. I don't see the owners holding a gun to anyone's head. Dining at the Black Hoof is not compulsory. I suggest we let the proprietors run their business as they see fit and we schedule our evenings as we see fit. Everybody's happy.

                                                            The Black Hoof
                                                            928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                                                            1. re: munchieHK

                                                              I think you are missing the point (so I will stop beating the dead horse after this post). It does not follow that knowing their policy of not accepting reservations before going there for a first visit means that you have to accept that they are clueless, yet promise otherwise, about when you will be seated. When I go to other restaurants the wait time is usually what they promise or less, not more.

                                                              1. re: Flexitarian

                                                                Then I suggest a Zen approach. Go into the situation with no expectations. Do not ask when the table will be open...let the table open itself to you. Om.

                                                                1. re: munchieHK

                                                                  Well said. Unless a restaurant has a timed seating policy, how can the servers give you an exact time? A vague, ball park figure maybe. I find Torontonians to be impatient and a little spoiled when it comes to waiting in line (I'm a born and bread native here). When I'm in other cities I see people waiting in lines at the best places and there is a very joyful vibe because they know what awaits them is going to be something truly magical.
                                                                  Even though I have no interest in dining at the Black Hoof due to the fact that their dinners are what I consider to be lunch I am grateful to them. I am grateful to them because they are making Torontonians stop and smell the roses. I am happy to see a couple of guys who were slugging it away in the kitchen, scrape together a little money to open up a place on such a shoestring budget and it got chosen as the top new restaurant for last year in Toronto Life (the 2 million dollar project that is Nota Bene got 2nd). Furthermore, I've heard no complaints about them from friends. To the staff and management at the Black Hoof all I have to say is, respect.

                                                                  Nota Bene
                                                                  180 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2A1, CA

                                                                  The Black Hoof
                                                                  928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                                                                2. re: Flexitarian

                                                                  They don't promise anything. They give an estimate with the caveat that it isn't guaranteed. So you're missing the point. HENCE, taking your number to call you. But you haven't even been so I'm not sure what this strong opinion is based on. I've been a handful of times and never waited more than 45 minutes or so. It's not a regular occurrence to wait two hours longer then the estimated time.

                                                                  1. re: jamesm

                                                                    This is what I was wondering-- if it was habit or the exception to the rule. I assume they normally try to appropriately manage their customers' expectations by guessing a little high on the wait time for a table, but nobody can predict this correctly 100% of the time.

                                                                    1. re: Manybears

                                                                      Not based on my experience. As mentioned I've waited no longer than 45 minutes or so and once was able to be seated immediately. I did arrive fairly early though. They do their best to give an estimate and certainly don't deliberately mislead you or "string you along." It's a busy place that is designed for a slow lingering dining experience and drinks so unfortuantely there are waits. Fortunately they are worth it.

                                                                    2. re: jamesm

                                                                      I have been there (once) as I said in my posts above and was treated the same as the other poster. That's where my opinion comes from.

                                                                      1. re: Flexitarian

                                                                        You went to the Black Hoof for brunch? I can see how that would be a long wait.

                                                                        The Black Hoof
                                                                        928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                                                                        1. re: jamesm

                                                                          not to prolong the debate, but in response to Manybears, I don't think the OP's experience is typical. Living in the neighbourhood, I am a fairly frequent diner at BH and either have not waited at all, or have been called with a table ready before the estimated time that was given (as mentioned in my post above). On occasion, situations such as OP's can happen if diners decide to extend their stay beyond the average. This in no way can be predicted by the host. But again, on average I'd say the estimated time is fairly close to the real wait time.

                                                                3. re: Flexitarian

                                                                  The Black Hoof doesn't do brunch...Marimba!

                                                                  The Black Hoof
                                                                  928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                                                                  1. re: Marimba

                                                                    Flexitarian edited the original. Originally they said they went to the black hoof for brunch and recieved poor treatment which is obviously impossible since they don't do brunch. Just adding this to make sense of Marimba's post above.

                                                                    Also the wait times at the Black Hoof cafe are much less since people don't tend to stick around for drinks and linger as long as they would in the black hoof proper. There is a wait but not much longer than most good brunch places in the city. And a wait well worth it.

                                                                    The Black Hoof
                                                                    928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                                                                    1. re: jamesm

                                                                      wow, what a discussion. it's great to hear what everyone's experiences have been.

                                                                      I couple of times before my big 2 hour wait I dropped in and was told it would be 1 1/2 hours, so I know they do have longer wait times.I agree you shouldn't rush customers, but there is still an issue with waiting so long for tables, 45 mins I'm good with but more then an 1 1/2hrs is not cool. I get that it's their "thing" and I was happy to buy into it, but not when my meal time is progressively pushed back.

                                                                      Perhaps my situation was totally a fluke, but if that's happening to several tables a night, then perhaps the system needs to change. There is nothing wrong with improvement. Change can be good.

                                                                      Maybe I'll go back in a few months after I've licked all the salt out of my wounds.

                                                                      1. re: jamesm

                                                                        I didn't edit anything actually, but now I realize why there'd be a long wait time if I went there for brunch. I had confused the Hoof with the Black Hoof! Me bad. I think they are the same owners and across the road from each other or something like that.


                                                                        Moderators - remove my posts regarding the Black Hoof wait times as I have been describing some place else.

                                                                        The Black Hoof
                                                                        928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                                                    2. re: syoung

                                                      right before we came back at 8:30pm three other tables of 4 had just been seated. the whole back had just been seated (they were on the waiting list before us) and the table we were going to get was taking longer then the estimated dining time.

                                                      we were next on the waiting list.

                                                  2. yum! I also had a great experience @ Black Hoof.
                                                    The Foie Gras was the best I've had in Toronto. The horse meat sandwich was *fantastic*. I couldn't get enough! I am definitely getting it again on my next visit.
                                                    The tongue sandwich was very tender, and this was the first time I have ever tried bone marrow. I was in carnivore heaven :)
                                                    I got there at 7pm, and managed to get the table by the window - we were in a group of 6. The cocktails were good, the bread was fresh, and I'm definitely going back for brunch!
                                                    Here are some of my pictures:

                                                    The Black Hoof
                                                    928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                                                    7 Replies
                                                    1. re: ekim256

                                                      Were you there last thursday (Apr 22)? Because I was waiting for a table and saw a group of people by the window taking pictures of their food.

                                                      Also I can see the foie gras pate in your pictures and that was possible the greatest thing I've ever tasted ever.

                                                      1. re: trane

                                                        haha yup that was me taking the pictures!
                                                        The foie gras was amazing!!

                                                        1. re: ekim256

                                                          Oh interesting! They changed the presentation of that Wild Boar Belly with Rhubarb jelly and pistachios dish. I had gone on Monday (26th) and they'd done it up in chunks and stuff.

                                                          (photo some where down the post) http://www.bit.ly/a3yopl

                                                          I reaaaally liked it. So much so, I ordered a second one for dessert. Great mix of salty, sweet, smokey, crunchy, chewy, and toasty!!

                                                          1. re: jlunar

                                                            That dish sounds amazing. I may have to get my charcuterie on this weekend.

                                                            1. re: jamesm

                                                              how is the horse meat prepared for the sandwich? it looks almost like tartare....

                                                              1. re: chrisfernando100

                                                                it is done as a tartare (first pic, click on that for a larger version):

                                                                Had it again just recently and it was quite enjoyable. But I really like tartare. And yolk. And spicy mustard. And onions. :)

                                                                1. re: jlunar

                                                                  it looked good....i'm gonna have to try that sometime soon....

                                                    2. I must try this place. The reviews put me in mind of Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal, which is entirely a good thing.

                                                      9 Replies
                                                      1. re: mrbozo

                                                        There's a loose similarity in that both chef's clearly love their meats and there is a casual vibe at both places but on the plate they are actually quite different. It's entirely practical for example for a party of 4 to share plates and eat all the way through the Black Hoof's menu, trying that at PDC would be suicide.

                                                        The Black Hoof
                                                        928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                                                        1. re: bytepusher

                                                          What, no death by foie gras at the Hoof? ;)

                                                          What would you recommend that two people with hearty appetites and no fear of organ meats share at the Hoof?

                                                          1. re: mrbozo

                                                            We've gotten their crostini's every time we've gone. They change frequently and the best one was still the foie gras with caramelized onion.

                                                            Their horse sandwich is a classic on their menu. Really nice, a little spicy, with that creamy hit from the yolk.

                                                            Another classic (and good sharing dish) is the bone marrow. Tasty.

                                                            They have a boar belly dish that should still be on the menu that I had a couple weeks ago that I thought was perfect for a dessert or savoury-dessert (inter-mezzo ahahahah)!

                                                            I quite enjoy their wild nunavut tubot ceviche. A lighter contrast to heavy dishes.

                                                            Their sticky toffee pudding is really quite good.

                                                            The southern-fried sweetbreads are interesting, but the flavours are very strong, so the the sweetbreads are all about texture at that point. If you have a choice, see if you can order the fried coxcombs. I thought these were super tasty and I think more successful overall than the sweetbreads.

                                                            Here's the meal I ate (with one other person) and we were stuuuuufffed. I also consider this one of my best meals recently (even over other Hoof visits). Everything was pretty much awesome that night.

                                                            1. re: jlunar

                                                              Thanks for the comprehensive review here and in your blog. Beautiful photos. I'll have to check out the entire blog.

                                                            2. re: mrbozo

                                                              The menu changes enough that there's no easy answer to that question. It is tapas inspired (Black Hoof refers to a specific breed of Iberico pig) so the portions, even those they position as mains are not exactly large (it works well in this case as you get more variety that way and if you specially like something, just order more). I've never had an outright dud there so you're pretty safe ordering anything that sounds appropriately disgusting. Personally I really liked the southern-fried sweetbreads that others don't seem to care for.

                                                              1. re: bytepusher

                                                                Sat at the Bar on Sunday night and had the "Sunday Surprise" : calf's brain ravioli w/ artichokes and parm shavings. Absolutely delish - though perhaps not for the squemish...

                                                                Also, the horse heart and tongue dish wonderful, and pretty much filled my iron requirement for the month! Apparently they confit the tongue in horse fat, which makes it extra rich and tender.

                                                                1. re: clairelizabeth

                                                                  Please tell me that they cook their fries in horse fat!

                                                                  1. re: mrbozo

                                                                    Fries are thrice fried in horse fat. completely delicious!

                                                          2. Just went last night. Delicious but I read too much hype. Monday nights are an awesome time to go, it's their Friday night, I saw Bob Blumer, and there were tables free until 7 or 7:30.

                                                            Had the standards - Beef Tongue on Brioche (tasted remarkably like a much improved Buddig pastrami yeah?), southern fried sweetbreads (best sweetbreads I've ever had), large charcuterie, and roast bone marrow.

                                                            I'm missing a few, but charcuterie as far as I can remember was:
                                                            - lamb rillette
                                                            - blueberry salami
                                                            - caraway salami
                                                            - fennel salami
                                                            - chorizo (amazing)
                                                            - spicy calabrese
                                                            - duck breast proscuitto
                                                            - pancetta (nicely spiced)
                                                            - foie mousse
                                                            - horse mortadella
                                                            There was a rabbit one that reminded me of a mild kielbasa, and one more salami.

                                                            Some of the best service I've ever received in this city. Thank you Black Hoof!

                                                            The Black Hoof
                                                            928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                                                            1. Well since I already bumped this thread up *and* The Black Hoof is re-surfacing I might as well post what I tried. I know of a few people who are going for their first time this weekend, and I'm looking forward to hearing if there are any new additions to their menu!

                                                              Pics: http://cookiesandtomatoes.blogspot.co...
                                                              Pics: http://cookiesandtomatoes.blogspot.co...

                                                              Visit #1
                                                              Charcuterie Platter ($16 small/$25 large) & Thuet Bread ($2 small/$4 large
                                                              )This is a wonderful introduction for those who have never tried charcuterie. Basically, charcuterie is a series of meaty products (cured, whipped & other preparation techniques) served on a wooden platter.
                                                              All offered with a pile of full-seeded mustard, a dish of teeny-tiny pickled vegetables, and we ordered Thuet Bread on the side. The Thuet bread was soft & fresh - a great accompaniment.
                                                              The star was the foie gras mousse - whipped to perfection, it just melts in your mouth.

                                                              Roasted Bone Marrow ($9)
                                                              Hollowed with a little spoon & sprinkled with a bit of coarse salt on top of warm, smoky bread, this was tasty and good for the immune system. I reminded myself of the health benefits as I savoured each bit of fatty, rich, comforting flavour.

                                                              Tongue in Brioche ($13)
                                                              The sandwich was a ridiculously generous portion of thinly sliced beef tongue between two plump slices of fragrant brioche, all held together with a skewered cornichons. A healthy (hah!) dose of mustard and tarragon mayo drizzled all over made my heart skip - whether it was in fear or excitement, I'm still not sure.
                                                              Incredibly soft and tender, prior to this delight I didn't know that tongue could be this delectable. While I prefer the buttery & decadent Tongue Grilled Cheese at Hoof Cafe, I would never turn down this sandwich.

                                                              Raw Horse Sammy w/ Hot Sauce ($22)
                                                              Fresh bread topped with horse tartar with a raw egg yolk & shallots on one slice, and a liberal helping of hot sauce on the other. The "HORSE" spelled out in sauce was a fun touch. I couldn't believe how tasty the raw horse meat was - I tried it with and without the hot sauce & bread to get a sense of the true flavour.

                                                              Visit #2
                                                              Crispy Pig Ear Salad
                                                              Strips of breaded & deep-fried pig ears over radishes, carrots, edible flowers with a lime buttermilk dressing
                                                              I liked the pig ears, but I found the dressing too buttery and generous on the salad. As someone who prefers light, acidic dressing (or none at all with the right greens!) it was unappetizing. However, I was at the Black Hoof so this was to be expected.
                                                              The pig ears were crispy as advertised, and full of fatty-flavour with each bite. A dining companion claims that Buca does a better version...

                                                              Fluke Crudo
                                                              Fluke along with charred fava beans, avocado cream, sliced chili, pancetta, herbs & cilantro dressing.
                                                              I really liked the avocado cream and fava beans. A little heavy on the dressing (but again, it's Hoof!) but the combination of the sliced chili & cilantro was delightful with the fish. Love the plating :)

                                                              N'Duja & Corn Tagliatelle
                                                              House tagliatelle noodles with charred corn, charred cherry tomatoes, and the n'duja which is a spicy calabrese salami melted into the pan. Garnished with a green onion salad on top.
                                                              Mmm. I realy enjoyed this - house pasta was al dente and the creamy sauce blended very well with the charred corn and tomatoes. I still have trouble pronouncing it, but the n'duja was quite tasty with a bit of heat and I would happily order this dish again. Creamy, spicy, & corny goodness. I love sweet corn!

                                                              Pork Belly, Squid,& Melon
                                                              Baby squid, Berkshire pork belly & chunks of melon in a watermelon glaze with turmeric, cumin. Flaxseed, Vietnamese cilantro, mint, & basil also riddle this succulent dish.
                                                              While the pork belly and the squid were both well done and delicious, the pairing did not do much for each other. They were enjoyed separately with the watermelon glaze. I must have gotten a good chunk of watermelon, as a dining partner-in-crime said she didn't taste the melon but I certainly did. As usual, the pork belly made me pause to fully enjoy the flavour. So decadent and perfectly pan-cooked.

                                                              Calf's Brain Ravioli
                                                              House ravioli in sage, brown sugar, & butter sauce with Parmesan shavings
                                                              So...It was an oily mess, and I was very glum as a result. From the poor presentation, meagre calf brain filling, blah pasta, and too-sharp cheese I reluctantly ate all 5 raviolis wondering why I was even bothering with each bite. It was cooked al dente, just like the tasty tagliatelle, but I don't think that that is the best way to cook ravioli. Sigh. A fellow diner sampled a bit of my dish and agreed that it was simply not good. Darn it. But that's 1 bad dish out of so many amazing ones...so all is forgiven =)

                                                              Pics: http://cookiesandtomatoes.blogspot.co...
                                                              Pics: http://cookiesandtomatoes.blogspot.co...


                                                              609 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

                                                              604 King St. West, Toronto, ON M5V 1M6, CA

                                                              The Black Hoof
                                                              928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                                                              1. Bumping this up again with a report of my recent trip. I haven't gone for dinner in like a year (on and off for brunch when I can) so I was excited to see what had changed in the menu since then.

                                                                Went in with a friend of mine, we ordered 3 dishes at the cafe and 2 dishes + a large charcuterie when we actually got in. In hindsight, that was a bit ambitious and way too much food for two people. Halfway through the charcuterie board and it was just all way too rich for my friend. I had to pick up the slack and eating should never feel like a chore...

                                                                Anyway. At the Cafe, we ordered pork belly (sousvide with sous vide apple in a pork reduction with hazelnuts and a puree of some sort which I forgot, our fave out of the three), bbq pork ribs (battered and forgettable), and the special for the night (bc sockeye seared skin side, raw on the other + kimchi, brussels sprout leaves, and bacon, felt that the salmon would have been better off raw, seared on just the skin side still managed to cook it more than I would have liked, kimchi overpowered everything but it could have been worse, I still liked this)

                                                                We were actually kind of in a rush and made a sudden decision to walk down the street to Libretto after hearing it might be another half hour wait after the 45 minute wait we just had.. but right at the moment we were getting the receipt, we got the call from across the street so away we went.

                                                                The charcuterie board had fois gras parfait, genovese sausage, prosciutto, blueberry and bison, a terrine of tongue and... walnuts(?), duck breast prosciutto, wild boar lardo, wild boar and fennel salami, horse mortadella, smoked summer sausage, and chorizo. I won't comment much on it except that I think I'll stick to getting the large in a bigger group... our fault for ruining our enjoyment of it.

                                                                The other two dishes we got were a seared duck heart with foraged mushrooms (our favourite out of the entire night, heart was tasty, tender and the mushrooms were great) and the tongue on brioche (do I really need to say anything about this?)

                                                                For those who want to know what's on the menu at the moment: I didn't really catch what's on at the cafe but at black hoof, the menu currently has a smoked mackerel salad, turbot crudo, tongue on brioche, duck heart + foraged mushrooms, pappardelle + giblet sauce, tripe + merguez, roasted bone marrow and their raw horse sandwich. I may be missing a few items (something with boudin noir? and.. something else?) but that's the bulk of it..

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: PhilH

                                                                  thanks for the update phil
                                                                  I've been following their twitter, they're foraging their own mushrooms which has been fun to keep up with. Can't wait to go try the duck hearts, sounds great!


                                                                  1. re: PhilH

                                                                    They also have a blood sausage and foie gras with some sort of puree, which I really enjoyed, probably my favourite dish of the night. We also tried the turbot crudo and was pleasantly surprised by how well it was put together considering I've never thought of the hoof for fish.

                                                                    1. re: Santeria

                                                                      The blood sausage dish was excellent. i liked the flavour pairing more than my wife did.
                                                                      Blood sausage plus rutabaga puree plus fois gras, served on brioche.
                                                                      the combination all worked incredibly well.

                                                                      also wanted to mention that, at the Cafe, i had the perogies and the fried chicken dinner among other foods. i think the $25 for the chicken dinner is a little too steep for what you get. the biscuits weren't well received at the table and, while tasty, i didn't find enough about the dish to make it deserving a price higher than $15-18.

                                                                      the perogies are also unremarkable. they kind of taste neutral with a neutral filling.

                                                                      while mentioning negatives (sorry to be a downer), the beet salad is ok. not great, but ok.

                                                                      the pasta and sausage dish, though, is great. changes frequently, but we had a really tasty one and would order it again.

                                                                    2. re: PhilH

                                                                      Woo, thanks for the update! Haven't been since they left for vacay and I've been feelin' the itch. Duck hearts! Mushrooms and pap! oohhh... so good.

                                                                      And I guess they didn't take the horse sammy off the menu - good!

                                                                      1. re: PhilH

                                                                        I don't have a report as such, but just wanted to say thanks to the people on here that recommended Black Hoof as somewhere not to miss on a trip to Toronto. I scoured through Chowhound before flying out there in mid-September, and it was by far one of the best meals we had on our trip.

                                                                        Went to both the cafe and the restaurant and enjoyed both. After driving back from the states it was refreshing to find somewhere that knows what cheese is.

                                                                        The Black Hoof
                                                                        928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA