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Ruby Watch Co.

m
millygirl Mar 24, 2010 02:49 PM

Apparently Lynn Crawford's new place on Queen East is now open. Just wondering if this is on anyone's radar.

Personally speaking, it's not on the TOP of my list, but it is close to home so I am slightly curious and interested to hear from others.

  1. s
    Shoops May 20, 2013 09:44 AM

    Went to Ruby Watch Co on Saturday, May 18th, 2013. $250 of my hard earned cash down the gullet. So mediocre it makes me cry when I think about it!! This Ms Crawford is what makes Toronto so sad when it comes to eating out. People who never leave Toronto think it is this great scene-y place with a celebrity chef. Do not be fooled! It is over-priced bland food that you have to plate yourself...avoid at all costs!
    We ordered our drinks (a $17 house vodka martini. Come on people - this ain't NYC!! and a $14 glass of ice with sangria in it) that came AFTER our salad arrived. A bowl of soggy lettuce with some beets in it. Nothing special. The bread rolls were good though. The tables are small and they have to put all of the plates of food THAT YOU SERVE YOURSELF on it. So we had to chug our expensive elixirs before we got to the soggy salad...ate the salad and then got our wine pairing of reds for the main course of beef that was apparently marinated in ginger and sesame. No hints of any of those flavors. Bland roasted fingerling potatoes and carrots. And asparagus. The wine was good ($15/glass). Cheese course was the best part! The one thing Crawford didn't actually make...quelle surprise! Dessert was good. I love chocolate! It was a very chocolatey pot de creme. Wrong pairing of dessert wine though.
    Service could be better (drinks were slow, like I said). Very loud atmosphere (why, Torontonians, are you there en masse??? I do not understand you!) and very over-priced, mediocre and bland food. Cannot comment on presentation as there is none! I think Lynn Crawford is a very lazy chef who has let the Canadian equivalency of 'fame' go to her head. How dare she call herself a chef and open a restaurant that offers not a single choice to her patrons? Pretentious and preposterous. If anyone knows a GOOD Toronto restaurant - please let me know!! Fave meals around NA include - Commonwealth in San Francisco. Amazing food, service and value; Hibiscus in London -Michelin stars at lunch time, again, amazing food and value; and 11 Madison BEFORE they went to their new menu. Ate there twice, once when 1 star and then a week after they got their 3rd star. AMAZING. Now - I hear it is not worth it...

    8 Replies
    1. re: Shoops
      Charles Yu May 20, 2013 11:20 AM

      First off! Regarding Ruby's mediocre food - I see your point! They are NOT the greatest!!
      For 'community/sharing type' of food, I'll head over to Edulis nowadays!

      "If anyone knows a GOOD Toronto restaurant - please let me know!!"

      The way you used restaurants in San Fran, London and NYC as your 'good food' example begs me to ask: Are you from out of town?! If so? Where?!
      If you would like to find Toronto establishments that are comparable to those Michelin star temples in say NYC like Daniel, Per Se, EMP, Jean George, Corton, Bouley, Atera, The Modern...etc. Then you are out of luck!
      IMHO, closest Michelin star caliber establishments in town would include a handful like Scaramouche, Canoe, Splendido, Chiado, Sushi Kaji, Shoto, Auberge du Pommier....?? On a given night, if the head chef is in and manning the kitchen, food can be amazing and Michelin Star-esque! I have no doubt about the skill of the chef but 'Consistency' of the entire kitchen is still the biggest unknown factor!!

      Lastly, example of some GOOD and Value-for-money restaurants are Grove, Grace or Frank's Kitchen.

      1. re: Charles Yu
        s
        Shoops May 20, 2013 05:21 PM

        Thank you for the recommendations. Will try some!

      2. re: Shoops
        MissBingBing May 20, 2013 11:31 AM

        Why did you chose to go there?

        1. re: MissBingBing
          l
          LexiFirefly May 20, 2013 05:13 PM

          That's what I was thinking, I haven't seen anything about it in months.

          1. re: MissBingBing
            s
            Shoops May 20, 2013 05:21 PM

            A friend suggested it....

          2. re: Shoops
            estufarian May 20, 2013 10:07 PM

            Hmm.
            I agree with you about Ruby Watchco - but also notice that you only seem to post 'bad' reviews (except one restaurant that has been praised several times).
            However, looking at your favourites, they feature two of the places where I have felt ripped-off the most (RHR, Hibiscus), so clearly I am confused as to what to recommend in Toronto.
            Going to Ruby Watchco without realizing it’s ‘family style’ suggests you haven’t been following this Board (or other sources), despite posting here for over 18 months. Criticizing it for what it’s ‘famous’ for – no choice and home style really doesn’t help. I don’t critique KFC for not serving steak!
            Maybe do the research here before you go. Nobody likes every restaurant, but at least you’ll get a balanced set of reviews and understand what you’re getting into. And the more you post with your likes (as well as dislikes) the more likely Hounds are to be able to tailor recommendations to your tastes.

            And FYI EMP is even better now than it was when it got three (or one) stars (at least for me). So not sure who you heard it from.
            And Commonwealth was excellent 3 years ago, but haven't been recently (and way behind, for example, Atelier Crenn).

            1. re: estufarian
              s
              Shoops May 21, 2013 03:45 AM

              RHR was IMHO opinion, an amazing experience all around. Impeccable service and food etc. I went about 5 years ago. Not sure if that matters...

              I went to Atelier Crenn same weekend as Commonwealth. Was really looking forward to AC (booked in advance). It was very good, but actually preferred Commonwealth (got a last minute table there). Maybe it's a taste thing? I did Hibiscus at lunch time set menu only, which I thought was amazing in taste and value. As for Ruby Watch Co - I wouldn't mind plating my own food if it actually had some flavours in it. Not a hint of ginger in beef. Not a hint of fennel in roasted potatoes, etc. I want food that tastes amazing and looks good! I just found RWC all hype and no substance.

              1. re: estufarian
                s
                Shoops May 21, 2013 03:53 AM

                And thanks for the tips. You are right - more research before I head out in TO. RWC was recommended by a friend, so we went in blindly!! And don't get me wrong - EMP was superb both times and I'm sure it still is! I'd go back!

            2. m
              MELCH Feb 6, 2012 04:31 PM

              Finally tried last week for the first time; it was ok, but nothing as good as what she makes on her TV show! The appetizer was a pork belly salad, but we each literally had a tiny piece of pork each, not bigger than the tip of my pinky! It was lacking flavor. The highlight was the main course of whitefish, mainly because it was extremely fresh. Couldn't really taste much of the "ginger miso" broth. I was wondering if my taste buds were turned off, but then tasted the black bean bok Choy, which was so overly spicy that I couldn't eat it. And I like spicy food. The baby shrimp rice was bland and had large shrimp sliced, not baby shrimp. The shiitake mushroom and kale side only gave us one mushroom each. The cheese portion was tiny and overpowered by the cabbage-maple jam, although the quantity of jam was up to me since it's on the side, but there was so much of that on the plate and I don't like to waste. Should have been less jam and more cheese! The citrus tart was quite boring and too sweet. The suggested wine pairings were nice. Considering the set menu concept and the simplicity of the food, the prices should be lower.

              In summary, the food definitely left much to be desired. I did nonetheless find it a worthwhile experience the set menu and not have to decide what to order for one night! Don't think I'll return, but was nice to try once

              8 Replies
              1. re: MELCH
                m
                millygirl Feb 7, 2012 03:18 AM

                That's exactly how we felt, nice to try but wouldn't return as I prefer to be in control of my food choices.

                And I gotta say, cabbage maple jam?? WTF!!! That truly sounds awful IMHO.

                1. re: MELCH
                  foodyDudey Feb 7, 2012 07:32 AM

                  You mention that all the courses were on the small side, that could be why the baby shrimp dish was named that way. I haven't eaten there in over a year, and even though I receive the menu every day, it has never enticed me to go back. It's very simple food. I found that in the past the servings were generous, but the food had a lot of fat in it. (mainly butter). I'm not sure how the place is still packed, it's not because the food is innovative.

                  1. re: foodyDudey
                    m
                    MELCH Feb 7, 2012 07:39 AM

                    The rice was "rice with baby shrimp"' so I don't think the baby was referring the portion size. And for the record, I don't mind small portions as I don't enjoy having to unbutton my pants at the end of a meal! But it's when the highlighted ingredients are barely there and plus not very tasty that I mind!

                    1. re: MELCH
                      foodyDudey Feb 7, 2012 07:58 AM

                      I was just putting a bit of a spin on the baby shrimp dish. But I'm surprised at the portion sizes as they used to serve much more than normal people should be eating. I wonder what some others who ate there recently think. If you check out all the menus like I have been doing, it's very repetitive and not once did I read a menu and think I have to go back.

                    2. re: foodyDudey
                      f
                      Flexitarian Feb 7, 2012 08:33 AM

                      I went a couple times a year ago and since then some friends of mine have gone too. We all had the same impression of the place. Yeah, there's 'buzz' in the place as it's loud, dimly lit, has tightly packed tables, is always full and the so-called 'celebrity chef' is in attendance walking around and may grace your table with a visit and a hello. But, the food itself is over-spiced, over-salted and full of fat. This is a sign of a chef that is trying to mask deficiencies in th preparation of food. Also, the food was unceremoniously 'dumped' on the table to be shared. It was nothing more than over-hyped comfort food and I have no desire to go back.

                      1. re: Flexitarian
                        humbert Feb 15, 2012 04:44 PM

                        Has anyone been and had candied olives? Are they black or green? Thanks

                        1. re: humbert
                          jlunar Feb 15, 2012 06:23 PM

                          black!

                          1. re: jlunar
                            h
                            Herne Jun 20, 2012 05:03 PM

                            Despite the varying views presented here i have no choice but to attend tomorrow. Where does one park if not on the street?

                  2. a
                    autopi Nov 13, 2011 12:15 PM

                    i went once a few months back, for the fried chicken. i thought the cooking was pretty good, but it didn't knock my socks off.

                    i felt gouged for the price, and have no plans to return unless the price drops by a good 25% or so.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: autopi
                      humbert Jan 24, 2012 12:36 PM

                      My cousin said they charge $6 for plain water, in a decanter.....is this correct?

                      1. re: humbert
                        sloweater Jan 24, 2012 02:38 PM

                        It's probably Q Water, which is tap water passed through a coconut filter. A lot of the larger places are using it now.

                        1. re: sloweater
                          t
                          TexSquared Jan 24, 2012 03:15 PM

                          Ouch, $6 for decanter of "Brita"? No thanks. This makes Harbour 60's 500% wine markup look like a Groupon deal.

                          The hype on their website was enough:

                          http://www.qwater.ca/qcard/

                          1. re: TexSquared
                            sloweater Jan 24, 2012 04:02 PM

                            There's a sucker born every minute...

                            1. re: sloweater
                              t
                              TexSquared Jan 24, 2012 04:35 PM

                              ...and I'm not one of them!

                            2. re: TexSquared
                              f
                              Flexitarian Jan 24, 2012 07:34 PM

                              I like Pizza Libretto's policy of offering large bottles of purified Toronto tap water for free. I wish more establishments would follow. Charging $6 (or anything really) for plain ole water, even though it's filtered, is plain gouging.

                              1. re: TexSquared
                                s
                                szw Jan 24, 2012 07:46 PM

                                I was at Barque for lunch and they offered Q water free of charge, either flat or carbonated. I thought it was a nice touch.

                                I remember seeing the qwater guys on Dragons Den a year back or so.

                                1. re: szw
                                  justsayn Jan 24, 2012 09:20 PM

                                  Yes. Love that about Barque.

                                2. re: TexSquared
                                  justsayn Jan 24, 2012 09:24 PM

                                  I agree Tex! I was sold on Q water the moment I read about how sensible it is for those needing filtered water! It's a breakthrough really!

                          2. n
                            Northforker Nov 13, 2011 06:04 AM

                            Went there last night with another couple for the first time. Having traveled North America extensively and having been raised on "comfort food", I've eaten homestyle and meat and potatoes from one end of the spectrum to the other, I must say that Lynn turned comfort food into gourmet food without making it exotic.

                            ICEBERG WEDGIE SALAD
                            The large chunks of smoked bacon and the lightly roasted tomatoes with a dressing that complimented yet did not overpower was a great start..

                            GRILLED FLANK STEAK WITH CARAMELIZED ONION JUS
                            The flanked steak was cooked perfectly, medium on the ends and closer to medium rare in the center, the family sized portion was GENEROUS. as a matter of fact it's the first time my good friend and I have allowed a steak entree to be cleared from the table unfinished. He is 6'-4", 300 and I'm 6'-5" 275, we usually don't let it slip away! LOL The jus was delicious.

                            Brown Butter Creamed Winter Greens,
                            This was kale served "al dente", still a little crunchy for my taste, but I'm sure it retained more nutrition than the southern style greens cooked well with bacon fat that I am accustomed to.

                            Roasted Butternut Squash with Pumpkin Seed Pesto,
                            The favorite side of the night by far! The squash was cut in thick slices and roasted well with a carmelized exterior. the thickness allowed the squash to remain firm instead of mushy and the pumpkin pesto drizzled over was very tasty!

                            Smashed Potato’s with Scallions, Blue Cheese & Herbs
                            Awesome! the blue cheese was added last and in chunks after the potatoes were smashed and seasoned, the heated softened the rich blue cheese chunks and was a delight on top of my tongue! .

                            ST. MAURE BY FROMAGERIE CHAPUT
                            Probably the least favorite course amongst the group for the night, some felt the cheese was over smoked and dry. .

                            RUBY’S CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CAKE

                            Incredibly rich, moist, and decadent. Perfect with a strong cup of black coffee.

                            It took six weeks of calling to get into Ruby Watchco on a Saturday, it was worth it, we will return.

                            BTW,
                            We read the noise complaints in the previous reviews prior to going, gotta say, I been to much noisier fine dining restauarants than this. Conversation was not a problem for a table of four.

                            PS,
                            Lynn is there to work, and man does she work, no table to table socializing, I get the impression that she personally inspects every dish before it leaves the kitchen.

                            -----
                            Ruby Watchco
                            730 Queen St E, Toronto, ON , CA

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Northforker
                              s
                              stephen Jan 30, 2012 12:31 PM

                              Went last Saturday night for the first time and was very impressed. Service was impeccable. And cocktails which I find a weak spot in most Torontonian spots were excellent. The dining room had a wonderful buzz and the good start become even better as they let us linger over the courses and wine pairings. Every course was delicious and portions were generous...very highly recommended!

                              -----
                              Ruby Watch Co.
                              730 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M, CA

                              1. re: stephen
                                t
                                toboggan3 Jan 31, 2012 01:05 AM

                                I went the day before you. Black kale stated on the menu was standard kale available at any No Frills. Organic BC salmon became Lake Erie whitefish. Someone in the kitchen didn't clean the arugula because there was grit in the dish. Kidney beans in the arugula salad were pointless. How about some shavings of parm-reg instead? Or some sauteed mushrooms? Cheese course was tasty but miniscule. Bring your microscope for the cheese course. Sugar tart was simple to the point of insulting. Some kind of garnish would be nice. Dumbed-down food, too expensive for the portion size. Loud room. Waiters were friendly. Hits and misses abound. Approach Ruby Watchco with caution.

                            2. r
                              Ransom5000 Feb 8, 2011 05:43 AM

                              Finally made it to Ruby Watchco, a sort of fun atmosphere - and very very loud. Relaxed as you don't have to bother reading a menu as long as you check before you make reservations to know what you are going to be served. However, in our case we were expecting a slow cooked pork and I suppose it was a last minute decision perhaps time based...that we didn't in fact get slow cooked pork but rather pork chops (not my fav) served with sausage (it was a lot of meat). The sides were all delish and the apple dessert was also very good. But not remarkable or memorable by any stretch. It did feel a bit like a cafeteria experience. We were hoping that Lynn would of been a bit like her TV personality - a bit more vivacious, friendly, inviting. All in all it was a good experience none-the-less. Yes we would go back in the future.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Ransom5000
                                s
                                sleuth Jun 21, 2011 09:04 PM

                                First night back in Toronto after a long time in Sydney (Aust) and London (Eng) - both cities where mid priced high calibre dining is good and accessible,-and we finally got to Ruby Watch Co - hmm and not a place I would rush back to. With a set menu and no choices I expected a bit of razzle dazzle - the starter of a salad with spicy chicken was a bit uninspiring. Next up was the dish of night, halibut in puttanesca sauce -well executed and a generous serve. A superb cheese followed, but required an expedition to get through the garnishes, most of which did little for the cheese. Last course, a sundae with caramellised banana. Hmmm, one scoop of good icecream, one scoop of poorly executed ice cream, topped by more cream, a handful of salted peanuts and two slivers of fresh banana...what a dud. Wine list is not great and bloody expensive - we left at $100 per head each and very very sober. It's popular but I expected better food and wine and this place just didn't deliver..the concept is a great deal for the proprietors, but on my experience, not so great for the diners'.

                                -----
                                Ruby Watch Co.
                                730 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M, CA

                                1. re: sleuth
                                  m
                                  millygirl Jun 22, 2011 03:15 AM

                                  I think Ransom5000 nailedit one up from you - not remarkable or memorable in any way save for the cost. Even the posts have all but stopped. I think the people that go there are going to see her (ie tourists and 905'ers).

                                  1. re: millygirl
                                    dxs Jun 22, 2011 06:28 AM

                                    Being neither a tourist nor a 905-er, I beg to differ. I've been to Ruby Watch Co. several times since it opened and barring a (very) minor misstep here or there I've always enjoyed the food and the convivial atmosphere. Some of the dishes I've had have been extremely memorable (I'm still craving the navy beans I had one night to accompany the delicious 16 hour brisket, and the lemon meringue pie that managed to eradicate all the horrible memories of it associated with English school lunches) . I've also never had an issue with oversalting.

                                    I'm sure that many of the customers are drawn by the 'celebrity chef' aspect, but for me it's definitely the food that brings me back and everyone I've taken there has enjoyed the experience. As mentioned, it's not exactly budget dining, but it's worth the occasional splurge in my opinion.

                                    -----
                                    Ruby Watch Co.
                                    730 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M, CA

                              2. f
                                Festesser Oct 20, 2010 08:54 AM

                                I have been there now twice, as it happened on a Tuesday, and Tuesday unfortunately is chicken day at Rubywatchco. Also on both days the star chef was missing, apparently on some filming mission.
                                Having followed the menu now for a few month I find very few high value products for the mains, mostly they serve less expensive fare, ranging from chicken, flank steaks, trouts, short ribs, etc, which then makes the menu price of $ 49++ look a bit on the high side.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Festesser
                                  f
                                  Flexitarian Oct 20, 2010 12:11 PM

                                  I would tend to agree with you on the $49 price, having watched the menus every day since they opened. You can get a great appetizer and main at a high end restaurant for $49 total and that makes more sense if you don't want dessert.

                                  I wouldn't say it's great value, but it's okay value. My big turn off with the place is that it's very loud and getting the same thing as everyone else doesn't make me feel that special.

                                  1. re: Festesser
                                    finelydiced Oct 20, 2010 01:44 PM

                                    I've been twice as well, and noise issues aside, the meal was decent. However, if you're going to adopt the same menu concept/price point as a place like Ad Hoc in Napa, you better be firing on all cylinders, and Ruby is not.

                                    1. re: finelydiced
                                      k
                                      KARREN67 Oct 21, 2010 11:36 AM

                                      I WENT THERE A LITTLE NOISY , BUT GOOD FOOD , , I WENT BACK TWICE

                                  2. y
                                    Yum2MyTum Aug 20, 2010 11:42 AM

                                    Went again to Ruby WatchCo. Very satisfied:
                                    Delicious burrata (creamy, salty inside) w/ savoury juicy heirloom tomatoes to start;

                                    fall off the bone tender beefy juicy beef ribs, with corn (simple but good), and perfectly al dente delicious new potatoes and a solid coleslaw;

                                    Finish: a delicious, safe and not particularly memorable cheese course involving honey and toast points, and a dessert that didn't impress me.

                                    Professional service, loud room, great value, excellent execution, wonderful ingredients. Will be back.

                                    1. f
                                      Flexitarian Aug 18, 2010 02:23 PM

                                      Well we finally went to Ruby Watchco last Friday. I don`t have too much to add to what has already been said. The portions were pretty generous, the wine seemed to be reasonably priced and the place was indeed quite loud and busy.

                                      The only thing I can say about the food is that they oversalted everything. They need to lay off the salt. I rarely have been in a restaurant where I`ve had this criticism.

                                      I`ll probably go back again in a few months.

                                      -----
                                      Ruby Watchco
                                      730 Queen St E, Toronto, ON , CA

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Flexitarian
                                        m
                                        millygirl Aug 18, 2010 03:10 PM

                                        Geez, I was hoping the salt issue had been rectified by now. We experienced the same thing on our visit over 2 months ago.

                                      2. s
                                        stet Jul 15, 2010 08:02 AM

                                        Went last night. Overall, the meal was decent, and there were some highlights, but there were also a few fundamental flaws.

                                        There were two of us and we were seated immediately (8:30 seating), which was nice. People around us were at various stages of their meals, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. It's not exactly an intimate setting, but despite the noise, it wasn't at all off-putting. I ordered the "East Side Iced Tea," with Bourbon, Avalon Sweet Tea and Mint, which was delicious. The mint wasn't so much a part of the drink as it was a garnish that added to the fragrance, which I thought showed excellent restraint, and ended up being one of the highlights of the meal.

                                        The first course was the golden beet and zucchini salad with pistachios and smoked goat cheese. I have to confess that normally, I cannot stand goat cheese. I find it overpowering and overused and it has ruined many dishes for me in the past. Here, though, it was mild and creamy -- used liberally, but not overpowering. The smokey tones were a nice addition, and they worked well with the dressing. The greens were peppery and flavourful and slightly crisp. I guess if I had one complaint it would be that at times, the dressing came across as salty, almost briny. The salad came with cheddar buttermilk biscuits, which were, of course, heavy and buttery and incomparable.

                                        This, though, is where one of my first issues arises. A dinner at Ruby Watch Co. is a lot of food. The salad was remarkable in size, and neither I nor my dining companion are very large people. In the end, though we enjoyed it, we left a third of what was on the plate because we didn't want to fill up before tasting the whole meal. It seems odd to some that "a lot of food" is a complaint, but I feel awful when I leave that much food on a plate, and the waitress even commented that she "hoped" we weren't done with it. But I insisted we were, and she cleared the plates and gave us new ones for the next course.

                                        The main consisted of grilled bone-in pork chops in an apricot chutney with balsamic reduction, a sweet-pea risotto with ricotta and pancetta, grilled broccoli in a garlic scape butter and a wild mushroom salad with frisée and parmesan. The chops were nice, but a little over-cooked for my taste (white through, with some pieces a little dry), though the chutney was an excellent tangy addition. The cocktail I had went well with the meat, which may have been why it stood out to me, and provided a sweet note to the acid in the sauce. The mushroom salad was nice, though the citrus-based dressing somewhat overpowered the more delicate of the mushrooms. I did find a large "tree" of clumped mushrooms in the bowl where the stems hadn't been separated. The risotto was creamy, and the ricotta luxurious, and the sweet peas provided a nice contrast to the texture, but the pancetta was underused and mostly crumbled on top. The broccoli was a disappointment, undercooked to the point of being difficult to cut and the butter barely hinting at having used garlic scapes. Again, this was an extreme amount of food. There was enough for the two of us to fill our plates and still have the same amount as seconds for every side-dish. We didn't finish again.

                                        The cheese course was a semi-soft cow's cheese marinated in cognac and with a marmalade. This is one of my points of contention with the resto's concept. That there is a cheese course every night and that everyone gets it might seem nice on paper, but in execution there's a major flaw. The minute we stepped through the doors, all we could smell was the thick, sour aroma of the rind. The cheese was incredibly odorous. Sure, some people like and even revel in the smell of a heady cheese. The issue, though, is that the smell is so strong that the whole evening, it was all I could smell. I could not smell my meal, and the only relief I got was when I drank and was able to enfold myself in the scent of mint (and maybe that's why I liked the cocktail so much). Even if the smell had appealed to me, which it didn't, overpowering the rest of the meal you're serving with that aroma doesn't make sense at all. The waitress even mentioned that she "loves this cheese" but she'd "been smelling it all night and there's a bit of a breaking point." I forgave her for her comment about not finishing our portions earlier because I really did feel bad for her. I thought our clothing would reek for weeks.

                                        The dessert was terrific. A raspberry shortcake with light and airy vanilla ice cream sounds simple, but it was a wonderful end to the evening. Another highlight for sure.

                                        So, there you have it. A few highlights, and a few disasters. Overall, it was nice and I'd recommend it to someone who hasn't been before -- but I don't think I'll be back.

                                        I simply am not built for Ruby Watch Co.

                                        -----
                                        Ruby Watch Co.
                                        730 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M, CA

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: stet
                                          d
                                          drjolt Jul 19, 2010 12:24 PM

                                          The amount of food was way too much for me as well. I think it would be regardless, but based on the reviews, I do suspect that the second seating gets more generous helpings if there is more food to be eaten - this seemed to be the case at our dinner, which was a second seating also, as the server almost seemed to push additional portions on us. Way too much food.

                                          And our biscuits were overcooked. Such a bummer, given that the biscuits seem to be the robust favorite among diners. Although good biscuits certainly don't carry that price tag on their own...

                                        2. h
                                          hungryabbey Jul 14, 2010 05:56 PM

                                          Pinkprimp and I checked out RubyWatchco last night, and were both very happy with the experience.
                                          We liked the room.. it was chic, young and not over done.
                                          The service was casual.. not incredibly professional, or knowledgeable, but friendly and attentive. I think thats probably what Lynn was going for... something to mimic her "home-style cooking". One thing we thought was a bit... strange, was that the cutlery was served with the knife facing up and the fork facing down. Next door to us, the diners had the knife facing left and the fork facing right. On purpose? Inconsistent? Just lazy? I'm not sure. These are the quirks that kind of make Ruby Watchco charming though (I guess?).
                                          We both both started with a lovely Niagara Riesling (bah- Pink can you help me out on the winery, I forgot already!) and later had a glass of their deliciously refreshing Sangria.
                                          Our menu was as follows:
                                          Tinsdall Farm's Broccoli and Crispy Prosciutto Salad: Heirloom Tomatoes, Endive, Pickled Red Onions, Green Goddess Avocado Dressing

                                          Broccoli a bit too soft.. prosciutto a bit too crispy and overcooked (we like the delicious texture of prosciutto which was lost here).. a regular bacon lardon would have been better here... really lovely dressing, but just a bit too much of it on the salad in general. This was served with some deliciously tender cheese biscuits and house churned butter. Our only complaint here is that they didn't give us enough butter!

                                          Ruby's BBQ Chicken Dinner: Coffee Porter Braised Beef Brisket Hash, Grilled Corn with Honey Smoked Paprika Butter, Summer Bean Salad, Creamy Lime Napa Slaw

                                          Loved the chicken, it really couldn't have been more juicy and tender for the breast. The brisket in the hash was a bit dry, but the root vegetables were so delicious and caramelized. The corn was a personal favourite of mine, it was a perfect balance of sweet, salty and spice. Napa slaw was another hit, great subtle lime flavour but a bit overdressed. Finally, the bean salad was simply okay, since we felt the endive kind of overpowered the beans and made it difficult to eat.

                                          Le Riopelle De I'sle: Black and Red Currant Jelly
                                          Lovely and a good portion of cheese and toasts. However, a bit more jelly might have helped.

                                          Warm Ontario Peach Crumble: Vanilla Bourdon Creme Anglaise
                                          Great brown sugar flavour, and really lovely peaches, but perhaps would have preferred a more traditional crispier crisp topping (it seemed like the oats had been shredded, so it didnt have the same crunchy effect).

                                          All in all, an incredible meal for the price (about $175 with tax, before tip for two). I think we are both excited to return, especially because the menu will always be different.
                                          There are some pics here, although they don't do the food justice.

                                          -----
                                          Ruby Watchco
                                          730 Queen St E, Toronto, ON , CA

                                           
                                           
                                           
                                           
                                           
                                           
                                           
                                           
                                          15 Replies
                                          1. re: hungryabbey
                                            Full tummy Jul 14, 2010 06:13 PM

                                            I need those biscuits!!! Looks like you had quite a bit of food... Yummy, too.

                                            1. re: hungryabbey
                                              pinkprimp Jul 14, 2010 10:53 PM

                                              I do believe the riesling was from Hinterland.

                                              I could have eaten those cheesy biscuits all night, they were SO good.

                                              1. re: pinkprimp
                                                h
                                                hungryabbey Jul 15, 2010 06:34 PM

                                                Yes, thats the one.

                                              2. re: hungryabbey
                                                estufarian Jul 15, 2010 08:02 AM

                                                I rarely post on meals I didn't attend - but AmuseGirl was there for the same meal as you and dropped about $280 for two (with a girlfriend). Included an aperitif wine (glass - same riesling) and a bottle.
                                                She raved about the cheese biscuits and.......!

                                                Fortunately I wasn't there - as I don't appreciate tomatoes, I wouldn't have had the salad or chicken!
                                                Same comment about the crumble - it wasn't a crumble - one of the other similar desserts (texture is a big deal for us).
                                                So, over $250 for two with a set menu - that gives me a lot of scope in Toronto to have a choice and decide on the spur of the moment where I'll eat.

                                                Good luck to all involved - obviously , as I haven't partaken myself, I can't comment further, and I do respect those who have commented. But even assuming I would order a more expensive wine (OK even a higher quantity), it seems that most people would go over $200(per couple).
                                                Is the quality SO good that it's worth it?

                                                ASIDE: The most expensive 3-course meal allowed under Summerlicious is $45. Choice is restricted and I generally avoid the Licious events. Why should I consider paying MORE here?

                                                1. re: estufarian
                                                  Charles Yu Jul 15, 2010 04:54 PM

                                                  Wow! Interesting!! Still trying to figure out how having a $49 prix fixe plus some Riesling can end up to cost $140 per person!! Unless the glass is a 1976 Bernkasteler Doktor?! Ha! Any idea the bottle they ordered?

                                                  1. re: Charles Yu
                                                    h
                                                    hungryabbey Jul 15, 2010 06:12 PM

                                                    No no.. it was about 170 total.. for both of us.. for the pre fix, 2 sangria, 2 riesling, 2 coffees.

                                                    1. re: Charles Yu
                                                      estufarian Jul 16, 2010 07:07 AM

                                                      It was certainly a Niagara bottling. Plus another glass of wine with dessert. So a bottle plus 3(or 4?) glasses.
                                                      And the total includes gratuity. hungryabbey was before gratuity.
                                                      So, abbey's would be close to $200 with gratuity - still a huge choice of places at that level.

                                                      1. re: estufarian
                                                        pinstripeprincess Jul 16, 2010 07:37 AM

                                                        i'm pretty sure the concept is to only have ontario wines... but this is from one look at their severely lacking information wine list.

                                                        the wines by the glass started at $12 and i know my ice wine had a mark-up of over 3x. having nothing to drink is the only way to get out of this place economically... that or go starving as the portions are quite generous and the lack of finesse can be made up with a full belly.

                                                        1. re: pinstripeprincess
                                                          pescatarian Jul 16, 2010 08:21 AM

                                                          Personally, I think wines by the glass starting at $12 is obscene.

                                                          1. re: pescatarian
                                                            pinstripeprincess Jul 16, 2010 12:31 PM

                                                            exactly why i didn't bother ordering it. well, until the stilton course. it really needed that late harvest gewurtz.... otherwise most of it would have been left on the plate.

                                                        2. re: estufarian
                                                          estufarian Jul 18, 2010 06:40 AM

                                                          It was the Megalomaniac Gewurz. Plus 4 glasses of wine.

                                                      2. re: estufarian
                                                        h
                                                        hungryabbey Jul 15, 2010 06:34 PM

                                                        I would say that the quality IS better than summerlicious (but I really am not a fan of SL).. but perhaps there are better meals to be had in the city for that price.

                                                      3. re: hungryabbey
                                                        pinkprimp Jul 15, 2010 08:30 PM

                                                        Thanks for posting the review and synthesizing our thoughts :-)

                                                        Just wanted to add that though I enjoyed the whole experience, those who dislike loud dining rooms should note that the volume does get quite high. At times, it was difficult to have a conversation, despite being seated less than two feet apart.

                                                        1. re: pinkprimp
                                                          m
                                                          millygirl Jul 16, 2010 04:53 AM

                                                          We thought the same thing. It seems especially loud there.

                                                          1. re: millygirl
                                                            h
                                                            hungryabbey Jul 17, 2010 05:56 PM

                                                            Yes. Totally agree, Pink. When I got home I realized I had practically lost my voice.

                                                      4. aser Jul 4, 2010 10:17 PM

                                                        They seem to be the most packed of the restaurants opened in 2010. Not that anyone needs to be reminded, but "celeb" chef culture sells.

                                                        I would like to go but alas I work the same days/hrs, so unless I play hooky.....

                                                        1. y
                                                          Yum2MyTum Jun 15, 2010 11:45 AM

                                                          Tried this place out for the first time last week. The room was fun and buzzing with energy. The service was professional and not very noticeable (good thing). The cooking phenomenal. I will be going back.

                                                          My dining companions and I enjoyed the following :

                                                          B.C ORGANIC SALMON NICIOSE SALAD, Haricots Vert, 6 Minute Hen Egg, Elmira Tomatoes, Confit Fingerling Potatoes, Olives, Kozlik’s Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette
                                                          SLOW ROASTED PORK LOIN WITH APPLE BACON SAURKRAUT, Beau’s Beer Braised Pork Sausages & Caramelized Onion Petals, Grilled Asparagus with Herb Butter, Smashed Mini Red Potatoes
                                                          CENDRE DES PRES, Garden Radishes & Fennel Slaw, Grilled Country Bread
                                                          ONTARIO STRAWBERRY LEMON TART, Vanilla Sweet Cream

                                                          I enjoyed so many aspects of the meal. What struck me most about this place?

                                                          1) skilled and delicious combinations of complementary flavours,
                                                          2) brilliant execution of every element of each dish (oh my who knew a 6-minute hen egg could be such a dream, and oh the sauerkraut... and the sausage!); and
                                                          3) the perfect ingredients.

                                                          I love the concept (whatever inspires the chef!) and I'm so glad that two skilled chefs, relying on their considerable reputations, have brought the idea of a reasonably-priced market menu to Toronto.

                                                          Value is a big deal to me and this place delivered. I felt like I had received great value for what I paid and I almost never feel that way in our city! (With some exceptions... Weezies and Sukhothai coming immediately to mind).

                                                          I plan to make many visits in the future and really can't recommend this place enough!.

                                                          -----
                                                          Weezie's
                                                          354 King St E, Toronto, ON M5A1K9, CA

                                                          Sukhothai
                                                          274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

                                                          Ruby Watch Co.
                                                          730 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M, CA

                                                          25 Replies
                                                          1. re: Yum2MyTum
                                                            t
                                                            torontofoodiegirl Jun 15, 2010 01:35 PM

                                                            I too recently had an enjoyable experience at Ruby WatchCo. The meal was a bit uneven, but both my husband and I were still very happy with it overall.

                                                            The appetizer was a salmon grovolx salad with potatoes, green veg, green goddess dressing and lots of dill. It was incredibly fresh, and was bursting with flavour and absolutely fabulous. If it wasn't a set menu, I would absolutely order it again if I went back.

                                                            The main was grilled flank steak in a soy-based marinade, accompanied by lobster/shitake fried rice, stir-fried bok choy and other green veg, and a bean sprout salad with coriander and chili. The steak was cooked perfectly medium rare, and the marinade was delicious without being overpowering. The bean sprout salad really hit the mark too (who knew bean sprouts could be so tasty?). The greens weren't really stir-fried, as promised; rather, they seemed to be more steamed (or maybe even braised) and were a bit insipid and overcooked, but they were okay. The "fried rice" (which didn't seem fried at all) was the really weak link. There was one chunk of overcooked lobster, and the rice tasted like Uncle Ben's with some soy sauce tossed in. The only good part of it was the shitakes.

                                                            The cheese course was a goat cheese (I forget where from) served on baguette with cherry compote. The cheese was fantastic, and the compote a lovely accompaniment.

                                                            I barely touched my dessert, partly because I was so full and partly because it wasn't my cup of tea. It was some kind of creamy, moussy concoction (I forget the finer details because it was over a week ago, and I didn't even eat it), which I found pretty boring. I should note, however, that I'm not crazy about moussy desserts, and I'm fussy about strawberries, so no matter how good it was, I probably wouldn't have loved it.

                                                            I should note that the portions were absolutely HUGE (and I can be a big eater, so I'm not exaggerating). I wondered whether this might have been due to the fact that we were the last seating (had a 9:45 reservation) and they needed to get rid of whatever they had left. Either way, the fact that there was no shortage of the yummy components of the meal left me a lot less unhappy with my not-so-great rice and dessert than I otherwise might have been.

                                                            I really enjoyed the shared plate service concept (which made it easier for me to eat less than my husband, which I often don't, even though I should!). I also love the set menu concept. Although not everything (eg. the dessert) would have been my first choice, sometimes I find it nice just putting myself in the chef's hands and not having to decide. Also, I think it helps keep the price reasonable for a great meal.

                                                            It's a great room (though a touch too loud) and service was excellent.

                                                            Even though my meal wasn't perfect, I really enjoyed the whole experience, and will definitely be back.

                                                            1. re: torontofoodiegirl
                                                              y
                                                              Yum2MyTum Jun 16, 2010 05:57 AM

                                                              You bring up an excellent point about portion size torontofoodiegirl - the servers happily offered (twice) to give our table of four a second helping of our pork main, which we gladly accepted.

                                                              1. re: Yum2MyTum
                                                                m
                                                                millygirl Jun 16, 2010 06:57 AM

                                                                We have a reservation for this Saturday night. Really looking forward to it.

                                                                By the way, in case you did not know, her website gives the menu for the entire week which is good for those that are not interested in the surprise element or have allergy concerns. Although this doesn't really help for now since you need to make reservations weeks in advance but at least you know what to expect.

                                                                Apparently on Saturday she will be serving a pork main, and the desert some type of chocolate peanut butter tart really has my attention.

                                                                1. re: millygirl
                                                                  pinstripeprincess Jun 16, 2010 07:17 AM

                                                                  ooooo.... thanks for the heads up on that link. i took a quick look at the website and didn't notice it before. good thing because i've got a friend with an allergy and it looks like we might run into a couple issues but it should be easy to adjust for.

                                                                  looks so delicious! i'm getting one of my top picks of the week's menu! it's chock full of every single craving i've had the past two weeks.

                                                                  1. re: pinstripeprincess
                                                                    Rabbit Jun 16, 2010 07:29 AM

                                                                    Another thanks for pointing out the menu, Millygirl. It is an excellent tool for those of us with food allergies and picky dinner companions. It's also excellent for appetite whetting. I'm really eager to try this place.

                                                                    1. re: Rabbit
                                                                      f
                                                                      Flexitarian Jun 16, 2010 08:45 AM

                                                                      I am wondering if the best thing for flexitarians like me (mostly vegetarian/fish with meat once in a very blue moon) is to just make a reservation for Ruby Watchco weeks in advance and then just cancel if the menu is mostly meat oriented?

                                                                      -----
                                                                      Ruby Watchco
                                                                      730 Queen St E, Toronto, ON , CA

                                                                      1. re: Flexitarian
                                                                        t
                                                                        torontofoodiegirl Jun 16, 2010 09:06 AM

                                                                        Thanks from me too for the heads-up about the full week menu (I also hadn't noticed).

                                                                        I should note that we actually managed to snag a last-minute reservation on the day of (a Saturday, no less), so it is possible to get in without booking weeks in advance. I think we got lucky though -- I doubt this happens all the time, but it can't hurt to try (especially on a meat day, as maybe Flexitarian will have cancelled!).

                                                                        1. re: Flexitarian
                                                                          m
                                                                          millygirl Jun 16, 2010 09:17 AM

                                                                          Flexitarian, I'm pretty certain they have something in place to accomodate vegetarians, allergies, etc. Lynn's no dummy. Why not just give them a call to ask how they handle these types of situations? I think it's a better option than to book and cancel. Although as torontofoodiegirl points out below, the reservation would get swooped up fast enough, but still.

                                                                          1. re: millygirl
                                                                            sloweater Jun 16, 2010 11:11 AM

                                                                            That's what I thought when I dined there a couple of weeks back. I called to make a reservation, mentioning that my guest was vegan, asking if that would be a problem. We played phone tag; each time I left a message, I repeated that my guest was a vegan.

                                                                            When we arrived, we were seated and the same menu was brought to each of us. I informed the waiter that my guest was vegan and it was apparent immediately that it was a surprise to her. Most dishes were worked around i.e. Benedictine Bleu was taken out of the first course salad and the cheese course was replaced with a grape compote on grilled bread. The two major letdowns, particularly for a kitchen of this calibre: the main course for my guest was overcooked and unseasoned couscous with sliced asparagus and cherry tomatoes; the dessert course was sliced orange and grapefruit with some other berries.

                                                                            Ordinarily, I don't post complaints online. In fact, I wasn't intending on posting about this experience at all, except that it is germane to the discussion. I know it is difficult for kitchens to prepare vegan meals. When I called (3 times), I gave them an out, asking if it was going to be a problem that my guest was vegan. Since they never indicated it would be a problem, my guest should have had a meal comparable in quality to mine, which was quite good.

                                                                            Take it for what you will. Based on my experience, I would return, but I don't have any dietary restrictions. I'm disappointed that a restaurant with this kind of pedigree couldn't handle a request, made days in advance, with greater professionalism, especially since I gave them the opportunity to say that they couldn't accommodate a vegan guest.

                                                                            1. re: sloweater
                                                                              m
                                                                              MargieEv Jun 16, 2010 01:53 PM

                                                                              I have been to Ruby twice and loved both experiences. I eat everything so love the element of surprise and freedom from having to choose.

                                                                              The first time was tandoori lamb which was delicious.

                                                                              The last time was pan seared ling cod with shrimp and tiny shell pasta, grilled broccoli with garlic scape pesto and a sweet corn, tomato and cucumber salad with a basil vinaigrette. Everything was excellent but the cod was absolutely fantastic.. Probably one of the best fish dishes I have ever had. Moist, flaky with a nice little crust. Wine was Coyote's Run Black Paw Chard. Perfect accompaniement

                                                                              I was also asked when I made the reservation about allergies etc and also by the server.

                                                                              Both times it was really busy but the service was superb.

                                                                              A definite "return to" in this house.

                                                                          2. re: Flexitarian
                                                                            d
                                                                            drjolt Jun 16, 2010 10:20 AM

                                                                            They asked us when we made our reservations and then again when we were seated about allergies/restrictions. I think they are very on top of it.

                                                                            1. re: drjolt
                                                                              w
                                                                              wontonfm Jun 18, 2010 07:09 PM

                                                                              I got asked three times. Once when I made the reservation. Once when I arrived. And finally when we sat down.

                                                                              WON
                                                                              http://whatsonmyplate.net

                                                                            2. re: Flexitarian
                                                                              t
                                                                              tuttebene Jun 16, 2010 05:38 PM

                                                                              If you check the menu on a regular basis you will notice that the mains are predominantly red meat (beef and pork mostly) with chicken and/or fish maybe a couple of times a week. I'm sure they try to meet all needs but I wouldn't call this place vegetarian friendly. And as for looking ahead at the posted menu, I have experienced a substitution from what was online once seated at the resto but it was no big deal - it was a roast instead of skirt or flank steak, can't recall exactly.

                                                                              1. re: tuttebene
                                                                                w
                                                                                wontonfm Jun 18, 2010 07:10 PM

                                                                                I think they have to offer some sort of meat/poultry/fish main so that people feel that they are getting their $49 worth. From what I understand they always have a vegetarian option on hand.

                                                                                WON
                                                                                http://whatsonmyplate.net

                                                                                1. re: wontonfm
                                                                                  m
                                                                                  millygirl Jun 20, 2010 09:05 AM

                                                                                  Went last night and loved the atmosphere, service and staff. Food for us was okay but our one complaint heard around our table was that everything was extremely salty! In fact still tasting the sea salt this morning.

                                                                                  The place was packed and OMG Lynn is quite the celebrity. It seemed everyone wanted either a picture of her or an autograph. Quite funny actually. She is very accomodating and pleasant, and seems to enjoy the bantor. Portions are huge, loved the cheese course, we had plenty of leftovers which they graciously packed up for us.

                                                                                  The salad was excellent, as were the biscuits. Our mains consisted of sweet potatoes, pork loin and a spicy pulled pork, dirty rice, and coleslaw. The food was tasty but again, very salty, and inconsistent. Lynn oversees every dish coming out, and does the final seasoning. It seemed some bites had a rather large amount of salt, while others were fine. At one point we watched a server add some salt to a dish, only to see Lynn turn around and not realizing it had already been taken care of, and BAM, she proceeded to salt again.

                                                                                  For me, the highlight was desert. A peanut butter chocolate tart. Not normally something that would interest me - it was excellent!!! Perfect balance of sweet and salty, and the whipped cream topping made it sing. Just lovely. Pastry was fabulous.

                                                                                  All in all it was a fun night. Cheri did an excellent job on the design of space. Loved all the red LeCreuest, and the chef's table all lite up is a wonderul focal point. We would return for a fun night out. However, if food was to be my main concern, I'd pick another spot. Refined cooking it ain't.

                                                                                  They nailed the atmosphere. It is very homey and the food compliments the style. You really do feel like you're sitting in someone's kitchen, eating comfort food.

                                                                                  I guess the idea of sweet potatoes and roasted, pulled pork is not generally something I'd plan to eat on a sweltering hot summer night. At least not last night. It's just not what I was in the mood for. On a cold winter's night probably a different story. So having a menu to peruse and options to choose from, is a lesson I've learned, is more my preference. Just saying.....

                                                                                  1. re: millygirl
                                                                                    pinstripeprincess Jun 20, 2010 02:18 PM

                                                                                    was there a different night and encountered the same over salting issue but perhaps not to the same degree, depending on the dish it would sink to the bottom and collect to become a very salty bite. nearly everything was sprinkled with large crystals of salt to finish, seems a bit excessive. did find the dessert rather sweet too. biscuits were great, could have been more moist but that would be a very specific nit pick... certainly didn't stop me from coveting my dining companion's biscuit.

                                                                                    all items were nicely prepared but missed... pizzazz. sometimes the "luxury" component seemed unnecessary. menu was slightly tweaked from what was posted online (more detail or components). i do think though that for the quality of ingredients and generous portions of food it is of fair value, but i don't think i'd consider it a destination restaurant. i would go again if someone asked me and i would send someone if they wanted something new, tasty and fun but i'm not rushing back.

                                                                                    the servers and owners were nice and friendly, but disorganized and often lacking finesse. with multiple people trying to deal with an allergy and little communication between all, we were asked about it with each course and sometimes inbetween. also did not like the "thunk"-ing down of fresh cutlery adding to a ridiculously loud space - i partially lost my voice by the end of the meal.

                                                                                    lastly, wrt to millygirl's last comment, i wonder if anyone has noticed if seafood night happens on fridays each week? it could be one effective way to get a, hopefully, lighter meal and satisfy flexitarians... or, you know, the religious beliefs that have influenced many a restaurant menu.

                                                                                    edit: i also really wished wines by the glass didn't start at $12.

                                                                                    1. re: millygirl
                                                                                      t
                                                                                      tuttebene Jun 20, 2010 04:01 PM

                                                                                      "Refined cooking it ain't"

                                                                                      Enjoyed your review but not sure your comment is fair given that RWC is clearly more bistro/comfort food than high end dining. It doesn't market itself to be anything but that and the online menus and family style service certainly speak to that. I do, however, agree that the menus of late have been heavy for summer dining. Looking forward to seeing what the summer menus will offer.

                                                                                      1. re: tuttebene
                                                                                        w
                                                                                        wontonfm Jun 20, 2010 05:01 PM

                                                                                        I would totally agree that the menus have been kind of heavy for summer dining. The night I went I had chicken cacciatore and truffled mac n cheese (among other things)... it kind of felt like a fall meal to me and it was one of the "lighter" meals on offer that week.

                                                                                        It was great nonetheless...

                                                                                        WON
                                                                                        http://whatsonmyplate.net

                                                                                        1. re: wontonfm
                                                                                          t
                                                                                          tuttebene Jul 3, 2010 03:34 PM

                                                                                          I think RWC is real Toronto gem. I just don't get all the banter about the single prix fixe menu, the family style service, the "what about food allergies" comments, etc. (especially from those who are merely speculating without having dined there). Lynn Crawford has street (or kitchen) cred. She and her partners have one of the best places that professes to use local ingredients, cooks it exceptionally well, provides very polished service and warm hospitatlity and seriously large portions of food, all for just $49 bucks!!!!!!! Based upon my experiences, I can't understand how anyone could have issues with either the menu or the service. It may not be "high end" cooking, but is it first class.

                                                                                          1. re: tuttebene
                                                                                            pinstripeprincess Jul 3, 2010 04:17 PM

                                                                                            can you describe the polished service? it was very confused and they seemed constantly overwhelmed on my one visit. timing for every element was very very very poor. at least they were all friendly (though sometimes a bit too much).

                                                                                            should also mention that i've been tracking the menu for a few weeks now... 4 weeks straight it's been fish on fridays. sometimes with meat in the salad.

                                                                                            1. re: pinstripeprincess
                                                                                              t
                                                                                              tuttebene Jul 4, 2010 07:55 AM

                                                                                              "should also mention that i've been tracking the menu for a few weeks now... 4 weeks straight it's been fish on fridays. sometimes with meat in the salad."

                                                                                              How this relates to food or service is unclear to me. Good observation on your part but I'm not sure that such minutia is relevant to the discussion. If it presented a real dilemma for religious reasons, you could mention it as part of your dietary preferences/restrictions that you are not able to consume meat - there's already been much discussed here on how really accommodating, gracious, and careful they are about such matters.

                                                                                              As for the service, what you describe as chaotic (on your one visit), I see as sufficiently staffed and perfectly choreographed as in many different servers with prompt, perfectly timed, attentive (yet not overly) service - they all had smiles, responded to every request with pleasure, including requests for more food! Water glasses always filled, cuttlery always replaced as required, plates removed appropriately, interruptions to conversation handled with skill and good timing, placement of dinner plates almost seamless. On each visit, the room was full and service didn't suffer. At the end of the meal, no akward exchanges such as "do you require change?". I've been greeted at the door by a very warm, personable host (Stinson) as well as provided with a parting exchange on the way out to ensure I enjoyed myself. I for one will shun a place that can't provide good service even if it means missing some great food, at any price point. Toronto seems to tolerate unskilled to surly service so when I find a place like RWC, it affirms for me that it is possible to run a resto with all guns firing: kitchen, service, decor. No gimmicks. No preferential treatment for the for the difficult clientele. No attempt to feed my ego. Just makes me feel welcome. That's what I mean by a gem in this city - such a place is rare. I am ever hopeful that citizens in this city would expect, no, demand better service from our establishments. And one last obeservation that I find impressive; this high standard was in place from the first moment this placed opened.

                                                                                              1. re: tuttebene
                                                                                                TorontoJo Jul 4, 2010 08:14 AM

                                                                                                I'm pretty sure that PSP was making the observation about fish for all the people who've been complaining that the menu is meat heavy.

                                                                                                1. re: tuttebene
                                                                                                  pinstripeprincess Jul 4, 2010 10:18 AM

                                                                                                  exactly as torontojo mentioned below. there is a reason why it's in a different paragraph.

                                                                                                  what i saw was disorganization, not going so far as chaos. i would have loved to have received what you described but that was not to be. multiple servers, fine no problem, it's done in the finest and highest quality restaurants. but it doesn't work when EVERY single one of them asks you about the allergy at the table before and during each course and has to reidentify the person with the allergy as well. it's also quite bad timing when it takes half an hour to get the mains out (or really main since we all ate from the same plates) with a half empty room. i'm even more jealous that your server was "attentive (yet not overly)" because we had several awkward moments where our server just stood there seemingly expecting us to continue chatting with them. maybe i got a green server, they didn't have any clue about the drinks (for a moment there thought ginger beer did have alcohol in it and was not informed about wine provenance). just not polished. perhaps this was an issue with a new server, but it still tells me that there isn't a high standard yet. it wasn't awful, but i can't count service as one of the main reasons i would ever go to ruby watchco.

                                                                                  2. re: Flexitarian
                                                                                    w
                                                                                    waterdownzoo Jul 3, 2010 02:20 PM

                                                                                    I'm a lacto-ovo vegetarian and they couldn't have been more accommodating. When I confirmed the reservations 2 days before, I reminded them. I was served a delicious risotto. Two big thumbs up - an absolutely incredible meal.

                                                                                    1. re: waterdownzoo
                                                                                      Dimbulb Jul 3, 2010 02:28 PM

                                                                                      What did they charge you?

                                                                      2. d
                                                                        drjolt Jun 5, 2010 08:59 AM

                                                                        Finally had my dinner at Ruby Watchco, after several failed attempts at making reservations and eventually resigning myself to making reservations several weeks out. The restaurant was packed. The atmosphere was charged the whole night - really high energy from the chefs and servers, very bustling feel, all consistent with the communal nature of the dining experience. As others have said, it was also loud. Go with DCs you feel comfortable yelling at (and sharing food with) and it works.

                                                                        Our menu started with a chef salad + biscuits, salmon and shrimp with eggplant, polenta, snap pea salad, cheese course, and lemon pound cake. Overall, the experience was pretty nice. It didn't blow me away, but I had fun and left full. The first course salad was really delicious with a light yet rich buttermilk ranch dressing and double-smoked bacon bits. The biscuits were overcooked, which was extremely disappointing as I LOVE biscuits and they're not exactly difficult to cook. The main course was good - salmon was rare, which was a bit surprising, but it had good flavor. The polenta was just okay - I expected a bit more depth than it delivered. The snap pea salad was refreshing and delicious. I have traumatic childhood memories of ratatouille which prevented me from getting behind the particular prep of the eggplant. The cheese course was fine, safe - nothing surprising or especially great. Same for the dessert.

                                                                        Service was okay - no real complaints, but then, how difficult can it be when you don't have to worry about anything other than drink orders to differentiate tables? Our server seemed a bit inexperienced, but he was quite nice and there was nothing really to complain about. You definitely miss any personalization of the experience, as different servers end up bringing you new dishes and cutlery and serving the food, so it feels a bit cafeteria style at times.

                                                                        Overall, it was fun and different. Ended up at $100 pp with 2 bottles of wine for a table of 4. I think I will go again, but won't be rushing back. Personally, I'd prefer Table 17 for my next nice dinner in the area, but maybe the Ruby Watchco model works better for some people.

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Table 17
                                                                        782 Queen St. East, Toronto, ON M4M 1H4, CA

                                                                        Ruby Watchco
                                                                        730 Queen St E, Toronto, ON , CA

                                                                        1. p
                                                                          peppermint pate Apr 21, 2010 07:23 AM

                                                                          Hmm - I tried calling about 10 times over a 3 hour period the other day and kept getting a message that the mailbox was full so to please hang up and try again. Then I sent an e-mail but no response. Now I just called again and the voicemail is full. I get it, you're busy but still, not even the courtesy of an e-mail or callback??

                                                                          14 Replies
                                                                          1. re: peppermint pate
                                                                            p
                                                                            Pincus Apr 21, 2010 07:43 AM

                                                                            Looks like e-mail is a waste of time for reservation-related info. But, they should clear out their voicemail if that's the only way they accept reservations.

                                                                            For Restaurant reservations please call 416 465-0100 Monday through Saturday, between 10:00 am and 9:30 pm.

                                                                            Please note that we do not accept reservations, cancellations or confirmations through the website, via email, or by fax.
                                                                            730 Queen Street East
                                                                            Toronto, ON
                                                                            M4M 1H2
                                                                            t. 416 465-0100
                                                                            f. 416-465-7119
                                                                            e. info@rubywatchco.ca

                                                                            1. re: Pincus
                                                                              p
                                                                              peppermint pate Apr 21, 2010 07:54 AM

                                                                              I did see the note on the website but after that many calls and in my hopes of trying to at least connect with a live body, I figured I'd try an email. I included my phone number and email. The daily menus are mouthwatering, the reviews have been great, I'd love to go and will understand if I can't get in for weeks but come on, call me back!!

                                                                            2. re: peppermint pate
                                                                              f
                                                                              Flexitarian Apr 21, 2010 08:03 AM

                                                                              Funny how some restaurants, regardless of how great the chef might be and what buzz they get, don't understand Business 101 (clean out your voice mail, answer the phone, change your outgoing message - do something). Returning calls and emails to people who want to give you money, which is what keeps you in business, should be a priority. Nothing irritates (prospective) diners more (other than bad food, of course) than bad service and dealing with people who want to place a reservation this way is simply bad service.

                                                                              Some diners would just get turned off being ignored like this and never try again. I think restaurants need to realize how valuable having an annuity of diners who try the restaurant initially and keep returning is worth.

                                                                              I was going to make a reservation for next week but after reading this I am thinking, why bother? But, I might try again in a few weeks, but if it's like that then, then that would be it. The buzz goes both ways. There's lots of other great new restaurants I can try, like Malena.

                                                                              1. re: Flexitarian
                                                                                p
                                                                                Pincus Apr 21, 2010 08:23 AM

                                                                                Well said. There are also plenty of outstanding existing restaurants to go to.

                                                                              2. re: peppermint pate
                                                                                t
                                                                                tuttebene Apr 21, 2010 05:02 PM

                                                                                I think it's just pure luck on when you call. Perhaps it was just a very busy day when you tried calling? 2 weeks ago I called around 1:30PM and got thru on the 1st try to make a reservation. Yesterday, I called around 11 AM and got thru on the 1st try to confirm my reservation for this Saturday. No problems here...

                                                                                1. re: tuttebene
                                                                                  p
                                                                                  parisodeon Apr 25, 2010 06:55 PM

                                                                                  My wife and I wanted to celebrate our 8th anniversary (Apr 20) and dropped our son at my sister-in-law's Riverdale home and drove down to Leslieville to see what's happening food wise. It was great to see lots of choice. It was early enough to catch some still open furniture stores. I knew that Ruby Watchco was open and we took a chance, walked in at 5:30 pm and voilà, we snagged bar seats for 6 pm (when it opens). I personally love to eat at the bar in most places (after an eye-opening experience at Union Square Cafe in NYC). The bar staff are usually cool.

                                                                                  OK, let's get to dinner. Yes, prix fixe. No problem, I love the balls it takes to say you eat what I want you to eat -- a trend started many years ago in France. And Lynn has balls. I also appreciate the $49 price that efficiency brings about. I don't remember the starter (sorry) but the main was slow roasted sirloin with braised short-rib gravy. The sauce was lovely. The sirloin was cooked to medium, much more done than I like. The accompanying mac n cheese was awesome. So too, the slow cooked button mushrooms. The asparagus (?) side was low key. The room was full and so were we. Before I go on about dessert. A short comment about the wine. The list is interestingly stocked with mostly Canadian, US and Northern Italian wine. Even if you order a glass, it comes in a handsome carafe. So we ordered a glass of wine each (PEC pinot noir) and it may as well as have been plonk because it was served at room temperature (25°C). I asked them to stash the carafes in the fridge and for a couple of ice cubes (the travesty, I know). The cool-down did justice to the wine. So I later order a Washington Syrah and lo behold it's too warm again. What? The first message didn't get through? Even chilled the wine was, blah. RW: please store and keep the wine in a wine cooler. Zoltan - sort them out, for cuss sakes. OK, back to dessert: cherry cheesecake. The cherries tasted OK but probably out of a can. The centre was more creamy than firm and not quite cheesy enough. The pastry base was too thick and hard. I left most of it. So for a restaurant open for one 1 month, it was very good. You'll feel like you've walked on the set of Restaurant Makeover with Lynn fussing at the pass and Cherie up front greeting guests. BTW, Cherie is more beautiful in person than on the show and a very warm host. Just don't tell my wife.

                                                                                  1. re: parisodeon
                                                                                    w
                                                                                    waxingdeep Apr 30, 2010 07:21 PM

                                                                                    My party of five had a mediocre experience at Ruby Watchco this evening.

                                                                                    My primary complaint is this: with the exception of dessert, the restaurant serves the food communally. This means that the protein and accompaniments are on serving platters placed between the diners who are left to split the food amongst themselves. Perhaps this is supposed to encourage conviviality, but for us it added a superfluous step in the serving process and left it to the individual to decide how to plate the food. These were minor frustrations. The kicker was that only a double serving of everything was brought for a table of five. Aside from the the main protein for which five individual servings were brought, all the food was as if four people were eating. Tables of two got exactly half of what our table of five received. At $50/person, that's not cool.

                                                                                    I'm sure it wasn't intentional, but it rubbed us the wrong way.

                                                                                    Our second complaint was the acoustics. This is not a restaurant where you can have a conversation amongst five people--it's loud and frustratingly so.

                                                                                    Our third complaint was the food: we expect greater precision at this pricepoint and especially when aspirations are decidedly homey. The salmon--farmed BC "organic"--was overcooked. An otherwise superb risotto was slightly overcooked. That said, roasted romaine with chorizo was excellent (if very simple), the creme anglaise that accompanied an utterly pedestrian bread pudding was luxuriously perfect, and buttermilk biscuits that accompanied a competent pork shoulder salad were delicious.

                                                                                    Mediocre value, underwhelming food, loud room, and a feeling of having been ripped off--we won't be rushing back.

                                                                                    -----
                                                                                    Ruby Watchco
                                                                                    730 Queen St E, Toronto, ON , CA

                                                                                    1. re: waxingdeep
                                                                                      JamieK May 1, 2010 04:37 AM

                                                                                      The Toronto Star review today says Ruby Watchco was designed intentionally to be loud. Excessive loudness is enough to put me off a restaurant.
                                                                                      http://tinyurl.com/2393o9e

                                                                                      -----
                                                                                      Ruby Watchco
                                                                                      730 Queen St E, Toronto, ON , CA

                                                                                      1. re: JamieK
                                                                                        f
                                                                                        Flexitarian May 1, 2010 09:24 AM

                                                                                        One of the two joys of going out for dinner is the food. The other is the conversation. Not being able to comfortably carry on a conversation really takes away from the experience, no matter how good the food is.

                                                                                        I haven't tried Ruby Watchco yet, but am going to in the coming weeks. Excessive loudness, if that is the case, will keep me away from returning.

                                                                                        -----
                                                                                        Ruby Watchco
                                                                                        730 Queen St E, Toronto, ON , CA

                                                                                      2. re: waxingdeep
                                                                                        p
                                                                                        Preliminaries May 1, 2010 08:03 AM

                                                                                        I also had dinner at Ruby Watchco last night and my experience was very different. The salad with braised pork was lovely with a dressing that didn't overpower the fresh and crisp veggies. Our salmon was perfectly cooked. The risotto really highlighted the fresh picked leeks. The zucchini side dish was OFF THE CHARTS!!! I thought the cheese course (which was essentially a play on a reuben sandwich) was delicious and a lot of fun. I thought everything was prepared with a gentle and careful hand. The bread pudding was excellent but unlike the previous courses it had a "damn the consequences" feel (they threw a bunch of yummy things into a bowl and topped it with perfect creme anglaise -- decadent). Great wine list, fun cocktails. The room did get increasingly loud as the evening wore on (a problem for us with hearing impairments).

                                                                                        -----
                                                                                        Ruby Watchco
                                                                                        730 Queen St E, Toronto, ON , CA

                                                                                        1. re: Preliminaries
                                                                                          mrbozo May 1, 2010 08:20 AM

                                                                                          How was the cheese course "a play on a Reuben sandwich"? Was it served with sauerkraut, Russian dressing and rye bread?

                                                                                          1. re: mrbozo
                                                                                            p
                                                                                            Preliminaries May 4, 2010 01:14 PM

                                                                                            Yup. It was great!

                                                                                            1. re: Preliminaries
                                                                                              mrbozo May 4, 2010 01:22 PM

                                                                                              So it wasn't a cheese course but a Reuben sandwich. Gotcha.

                                                                                              1. re: mrbozo
                                                                                                p
                                                                                                Pincus May 4, 2010 01:25 PM

                                                                                                A vegetarian Reuben, deconstructed, please. :)

                                                                                2. j
                                                                                  jgloverwork Mar 25, 2010 09:04 AM

                                                                                  I walked by the other morning on the way to work and they had the same menu posted in the window as was announced online somewhere earlier in the week (Toronto Life? Can't remember...). It was $49.00 for the prix-fixe menu described below:

                                                                                  Lynn Crawford’s Ruby Watchco opens tonight
                                                                                  After months of buzz on food blogs and Twitter feeds anticipating chef Lynn Crawford’s return to Toronto, her new restaurant, Ruby Watchco, will finally welcome its first diners tonight. Cherie Stinson of Restaurant Makeover, who is a partner with her husband Joey Skeir, has transformed the space formerly occupied by The Citizen into a dimly lit, autumn-toned dining room. Crawford will run the kitchen with Lora Kirk, who previously cooked at the Four Seasons.
                                                                                  Crawford tells martiniboys.com that the menu will change every night, but expect traditional app, main, cheese and dessert plates, along with a week-long prix-fixe menu.
                                                                                  Tonight’s maiden menu: caesar salad with butter-poached chicken, corn, garlic croutons and a poached egg to start, followed by a grilled flank steak with black pepper, smoked mushrooms and onions, parsnips, and creamed leeks and spinach. The cheese plate consists of a decade-old cheddar from Ottawa, balsamic onion chutney with honey, and raisin-walnut bread. And to end the night, a lemon tart.
                                                                                  Ruby Watchco, 730 Queen St. E., 416-465-0100, rubywatchco.ca.

                                                                                  -----
                                                                                  Ruby Watch Co.
                                                                                  730 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M, CA

                                                                                  1. foodyDudey Mar 24, 2010 02:54 PM

                                                                                    I'm going there on Friday night and may post a review on the weekend.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: foodyDudey
                                                                                      m
                                                                                      millygirl Mar 24, 2010 02:57 PM

                                                                                      You sure you don't wanna switch places with me at Marky's ;)

                                                                                      1. re: millygirl
                                                                                        foodyDudey Mar 24, 2010 03:51 PM

                                                                                        I can't find my beanie, so sorry I can't go. :-)

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