Lunch at Hardware Grill
The Hardware Grill is open for lunch again after being closed for a few years. I've gone a couple of times now and it is great. In fact, I think lunch now is even better than before. They've really put together a great looking and tasting menu.
Over the couple of visits I've tried a number of things and they have all been very good. The lamb shank was tender and flavourful with a nice side of cassoulet. The crab cakes were very tasty and seasoned well. The French onion soup was a little traditional, but good.
The country pate and charcuterie plate were wonderful. More restaurants should have a charcuterie plate on their menu (many in other cities do). Also great were the smoked salmon and duck confit. I can't wait to go back and try the pork schnitzel, liver & bacon, and truffled mac & cheese.
The Glenlivet-Butterscotch pudding was also amazing.
Nice to see that Hardware is again open for lunch and doing such a nice job. It was a little difficult eating lunch there in the past as the portions were so big, it was hard going back to work and staying awake. I wonder if they've updated their dinner menu as well?
They've also installed a couple of automatic wine dispensing systems. I believe that they are similar to the ones that the Vinomania wine store put in about a year ago. Great idea!
Interesting to hear from others who have been for both lunch and dinner recently.
I had dinner there just before xmas, and...well, I am not a fan. The food was mediocre - nothing specific I can remember being wrong with it a couple of months later, but that's because it was completely unmemorable. Whereas I can probably recall every course I had in the same week at Blue Pear and at Rush in Calgary (it was a busy week...).
What I do remember was the service was really bad! Our server was way too friendly...don't tell me what you like and dislike on the menu... And one of the items that he was trying to convince us to have, as he was bringing that dish to a nearby table, he actually brought us and showed us first - if I were the person who ordered it, I would be appalled! Apps came before the bottle of wine we ordered. Server couldn't get cork out of wine (said he had broken wrist a few years ago and it was hard for him) so he took it to the bartender! Food runners didn't know who ordered what (table of 4). 2 entres (the men's) came long before the other 2 (by long, I mean about 3 minutes, which is quite a while to sit and stare at your food waiting). My wife and I asked for a doggy-bag and all they put in was the meat, not the piles of leftover vegetables. But leftover dessert - ginger cake, the only thing that was actually really good - they added more sauce and whipped cream! Next day it was a mushy mess. Overall, very very amateur....
It was probalby my 5th time there in the past 5 or 6 years and part way through the meal we decided it would be the last.
re: Dan G
I had dinner there last week (and coincidently I also ate at blue pear and rush in the last few weeks). I'd agree blue pear and rush were better but I wasn't disappointed at all with hardware. We had the chef's table and service was a little slow initially but we were busy talking and it didn't bother us.
We had no issues with the service. One couple split a main course and they divided and plated the dish on two separate plates without us asking or expecting it. Hardware has ridiculously huge portion sizes so we took home doggy bags too and they packed everything in. All the dishes were great although I wish they would change up the dessert menu. It appears to be the same as when I was there over 2 years ago (at that visit we were told they would be changing the entire menu every few months, but most dishes are the same still).
For lunch they have decreased the portion sizes (we were there for lunch in Oct). Don't quote me but we were told the owner loves the huge portions (wants people to feel they got a lot for the money) but his wife thinks they are too big and as a compromise they decided on small portions for lunch.
I agree that the dinner portion sizes have been excessively large and I really haven't had a lot of great dinner experiences there. I haven't been for dinner in a while (for those very reasons), but was quite impressed with lunch. Was curious if the direction at lunch had also changed for the better.