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Union vs Bohmer

m
missp58 Apr 14, 2010 06:19 AM

We are trying to decide which one to go to. Has anyone been to both? Which one did you prefer taking into consideration food , price, ambiance
and wine selection by the glass?
Thanks!

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Boehmer
93 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

  1. y
    Yum2MyTum May 7, 2010 07:04 AM

    Tried Bohmer last night with two friends. The menu can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid...

    We shared a bottle of a Henry of Pelham merlot (I wish I liked it) and had the venison tartare starter, the scallop / dungeness crab main, rabbit/bacon main, and the Mexican chocolate pot de creme, pain perdu and panna cotta to finish.

    First the good: the food was delicious. The tartare was picant, with barely any game taste. The scallops were fresh, and the tarragon sauce, which was used sparingly, was a tasty accompaniment. I really enjoyed the rabbit roulades, which were sided with crisp fiddleheads. Wouldn't change a thing: my favourite part was the marrow filling. Mmmmm marrow. The desserts were excellent: I loooved the pain perdu but I always love pain perdu. For me the real standout was the spicy chocolate pot au creme. I loved it - high quality chocolate, and a no-nonsense bite of spiciness. So good. The panna cotta was perfectly textured, and had a nice citrusy note.

    Service was friendly, and very professional. The room is beautiful: high ceilings, striking light fixture. The chef kindly brought our tables cocktails after our meal - those were absolutely delicious. I believe they were called 12-mile... something... and they were the perfect conclusion to an excellent meal.

    The not so good: the menu description of the scallop ("Atlantic scallops - British Columbia Dungeness crab - tarragon sauce") dish led me to believe that there would be more crab than there was. I'd say the sauce was infused with crab flavour, and there were shreds of crab in it but I would not call it a scallop and crab dish (I realize this might just be a drafting issue rather than an intention to mislead). Also, I would have preferred the scallops with a bit more caramelization - but that's a personal preference. Finally, one or two more toast points with the tartare would have assisted.

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    Boehmer
    93 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

    4 Replies
    1. re: Yum2MyTum
      pinstripeprincess May 7, 2010 07:42 AM

      i found the tartare to taste overtly of ground pepper, virtually negating any flavour from the venison since it isn't gamey at all. the rabbit was compeltely overwhelmed with the saltiness from the bacon to also render that virtually undetectable as well except for the excellent med/rare texture. also glad to hear about the panna cotta, it was stiffer than those chinese jello cubes you get at the end of banquet meals.... sounds like they've tweaked and improved since my visit a few weeks ago. good on them.

      btw, if you ask they will bring you extra toast points for the tartare at no extra charge (not that there should be).

      1. re: pinstripeprincess
        y
        Yum2MyTum May 7, 2010 07:52 AM

        I actually read your review before ordering and kept it in mind throughout the meal. I didn't taste too much ground pepper in the venison tartare though it was peppery. And the rabbit was not particularly salty. Perhaps they've tweaked everything? Since they're 8 weeks in now, that wouldn't shock me. There was definitely no stiffness in the panna cotta.

        1. re: pinstripeprincess
          t
          tartytatin May 7, 2010 08:12 AM

          I have been to both of these restaurants, Union a few times, Bohmer only once. I really enjoyed the food at Bohmer for many of the reasons already mentioned. I too had the venison tartare, and it was almost as fabulous as Le Club Chasse et Peche in Montreal (but missing the drizzle of truffle oil that is so yummy). I also asked for extra toast and was happily accommodated. The service was very professional, with just the right amount of attention. My only complaint about Bohmer is the noise. I was there on a Thursday night around 8pm and I couldn't hear the people across from me at the table. It was so noisy I had a headache when I left. Perhaps there are other tables that are less noisy (I sat in the window)? I was planning to do my husband's upcoming birthday dinner at Bohmer but I won't now because of the noise.

          Union is a totally different vibe. It's intimate to the point of being cramped. I find the food hit- and-miss, but I've had my best experiences sitting at the bar( the front bar, not the Chef's bar). For some reason the servers behind the bar always seem more on-the-ball than the ones in the restaurant. On more than one occasion, when I've eaten in the restaurant, I've had to wait an extraordinarily long time for someone to bring menus and take drink orders.

          I actually prefer Paramour to both of these restaurants. It might not have the Ossington "scene" going on (and the art is atrocious) but the food is always very good and Adly makes sure that your service is impeccable. On top of that you can actually talk to the person across from you. Now that's good value!

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          Boehmer
          93 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

        2. re: Yum2MyTum
          m
          MeMeMe May 7, 2010 08:05 AM

          I tried to go to Boehmer on a Monday night - the place had a few folks in it. Gorgeous room. However, there was not one vegetarian option on the menu (i was with a Vegan) so we passed and headed to the Drake rooftop for a great meal. I really can't fathom why restaurants completely ignore people who don't eat meat or fish! We were a slam dunk for many drinks and dinner, but all they could offer were steamed veggies.

        3. m
          mrbluemeanie Apr 14, 2010 11:01 AM

          I've weighed in on both restos here before, to little fanfare. That being said, my choice would be Union. I've cold visited Union on a about a half dozen occasions, and got seating three of the six times. Once you get past the usual hums and haws from the host staff about their seat availability, the service and atmosphere really warms on you. I enjoy the food at Union thoroughly - creative, generous and very tasty. On the flip side, I've only been to Bohmer once, and was overall disappointed. I will try again, as many have posted positive comments, but the dishes we ordered all lacked quality, originality and flavour. In my opinion, you are far better off going to union. Keep in mind that they have two seating times, so get there early, or after 8, if you're not making reservations. If you try Bohmer, let us know what you thought - I'd love to be wrong about them, and wright off my experience as opening week jitters. Both restaurants have decent wine lists.

          estragon, the only bad revues that I've read regarding Paramour are related to the decor. Which I don't personally get. I've been there a number of times, and will continue to go back.

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          Boehmer
          93 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

          1 Reply
          1. re: mrbluemeanie
            m
            missp58 Apr 14, 2010 12:14 PM

            thank you mrbluemeanie! I'll let everyone know what we thought.

          2. e
            estragon Apr 14, 2010 07:40 AM

            I'd be inerested in hearing about Paramour in this comparison as well. Having been unable to secure a reservation to Union on the appropriate night, I have to decide between the other two.

            1 Reply
            1. re: estragon
              m
              missp58 Apr 14, 2010 10:28 AM

              I guess I got lucky regarding a reservation at Union. I left a message around noon and they got back to me just after 1. Added bonus I got in on Sat. I would still love to hear from a fellow chowhounder who has eaten there.

            2. ezrider4428 Apr 14, 2010 06:41 AM

              We went to Bohmer and the food and service were exceptional, even sitting at the bar. The Venison tartare was properly seasoned, and the Veal cheeks dish was GIANT, almost enough for two hungry people.

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              Boehmer
              93 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

              12 Replies
              1. re: ezrider4428
                m
                missp58 Apr 14, 2010 07:10 AM

                Sounds yummy. I read a review that gave the Veal cheeks a thumbs up. How were the wine prices?
                Have you ever been to Union?

                1. re: missp58
                  j
                  jamesm Apr 14, 2010 07:42 AM

                  I called to make a reservation at Union yesterday and haven't heard back. On the message it says "Please understand your reservation isn't confirmed unless you hear from us."

                  Does this mean that they only call if your reservation is avaliable, and won't call if they can't accomodate you? I don't feel like sitting around waiting to hear back to find out that my reservation is no good and have it be too late to go somehwere else.

                  Anyone have any experience with the reservation system there?

                  1. re: jamesm
                    e
                    estragon Apr 14, 2010 08:06 AM

                    I called last week to book a week in advance and was told the manager would call me back. Called the next day to inquire, and was told the same thing. I still haven't heard back. I've moved on -- am taking my business elsewhere.

                    1. re: estragon
                      j
                      jamesm Apr 14, 2010 08:34 AM

                      The manager had to call you back? That's weird. I'm going to give them until this afternoon and call back if I don't get a returned call or a live person on the phone I'll be going somewhere else.

                      1. re: jamesm
                        f
                        Flexitarian Apr 14, 2010 10:08 AM

                        It's restaurants like this that later (when all the hoopla has died down about them being new and hot and the in place) end up begging for customers and having to close down due to lack of.

                        I wonder if the investors in this restaurant realize their potential customers are being treated thi way. Returning a phone call pretty basic. I was going to go to Union, but have now decide never to.

                        1. re: Flexitarian
                          j
                          jamesm Apr 14, 2010 10:24 AM

                          Might be a little premature to write them off at this point. I just received a message from Christopher who is a partner and the sommalier at Union. He left a friendly message providing me with 3 options based on my request and was very accomodating.

                          Does anyone have any experience with the Chef's Bar? I love watching the kitchen so I went with that option over a seating even though I recall someone mentioning that the chef bar seating arrangement is a little awkward.

                          1. re: jamesm
                            v
                            vidkid Apr 14, 2010 10:51 AM

                            I've eaten at the Chef's Bar at Union twice and didn't like it either time. The under-counter is too close to your legs so you're forced to either sit sideways or somewhat away from the bar. I do not recommend it unless you're doing a light dinner with drinks and are curious to see the kitchen in action (which is always kinda neat).

                            1. re: jamesm
                              e
                              estragon Apr 14, 2010 11:59 AM

                              Funny, I just got a very apologetic phone call from Christopher as well, who said they'd misplaced my message and offered the table I had requested. I accept the explanation that a message got lost, but I still don't appreciate having to wait for a call back from the manager when I've called for a reservation and reached a live person. I think all restaurants that require a reservation should be on Open Table. That makes things easy and transparent.

                              1. re: jamesm
                                y
                                Yum2MyTum Apr 14, 2010 01:05 PM

                                I've eaten at the chef bar once. The seating was a bit awkward, but I got a big kick out of watching the staff at work. Definitely made for an interesting culinary outing - plus made me and my dining companion more likely to be adventurous with ordering, as we could see what we were ordering right before our very eyes!

                                1. re: Yum2MyTum
                                  j
                                  jamesm Apr 14, 2010 01:10 PM

                                  That's what I'm hoping. I know I'll sacrifice a little comfort to watch a kitchen in action and I think it might be fun for my girlfriend too.

                        2. re: jamesm
                          g
                          Georgia65 Apr 29, 2010 05:36 PM

                          This is still an issue. I called last Thursday and left a message. I called again Tuesday of this week and left another message. I was looking for a reservation in mid-May. I've now moved on...

                        3. re: missp58
                          ezrider4428 Apr 14, 2010 08:03 AM

                          Never been to Union, we tried to get a table there but couldn't so we went to Bohmer.
                          Wine prices were decent ranging from 8-13 per glass. The mark up is around 1.5x lcbo prices for most bottles.
                          We also had the Scallops, they were perfectly cooked, the tarragon sauce could have had more tarragon flavour in it.

                          -----
                          Boehmer
                          93 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

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