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Mar 24, 2010 02:49 PM

Ruby Watch Co.

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.

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

    2 Replies
    1. re: foodyDudey

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

      1. re: millygirl

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

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. 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 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,

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

        1. 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

            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

            1. re: Pincus

              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

              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

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

              2. re: peppermint pate

                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

                  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

                    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

                      The Toronto Star review today says Ruby Watchco was designed intentionally to be loud. Excessive loudness is enough to put me off a restaurant.

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

                      1. re: JamieK

                        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

                        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

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

                            1. re: Preliminaries

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

                              1. re: mrbozo

                                A vegetarian Reuben, deconstructed, please. :)

                2. 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