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May 17, 2010 08:57 AM

A quick review of Biff's

Went to Biff's for dinner Friday night with SO and we had a great time there. After having been to Auberge du Pommier, we were looking forward to seeing whether Biff's would also live up to the O&B brand.

We had a reservation at 7:30 but ran a little late and the place we fairly busy. We were told that our table is being prepared and it would take a couple of minutes. We were then seated and our water/beverage/bread arrived promptly. We got a dozen oysters to start at $1 a piece and they were from New Brunswick if I remember correctly. They were smaller in size but were delicious nonetheless. I was tempted to order another dozen but I knew we had more food coming.

We order a 2 course prix fixe for $29 that included chicken liver parfait and duck confit. We ordered another main - the lamb shank. All three dishes were above average and falvourful. The duck confit was melt in your mouth good and the portions sizes were good. The lamb shank was fairly well cooked and the accompanied eggplants were delicious as well.

The one thing of note was the level of service was just as good as that offered at Auberge du Pommier. The entire staff all carried themselves professionally and were warm and friendly and non pretentious. One wow moment occurred when I came back from the washroom and one of the waitresses was walking across the room. She stopped mid-stride and stepped back just so she would not be in my way and she said "after you" with a big smile. She easily could have finished her walk in front of me as she was not really in my way at all, but little things like that really showed how professional and courteous the staff is. Another instance I saw one of the waitresses squatting down to take orders for two senior diners which once again showed how attentive they were.

The bill came to $95 w/ tax a tip for dozen oysters, one appetizer, two mains and a pint of beer. We had a great time and will definitely return.

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  1. Useful review, with all the necessary info and not long-winded. Thank you!

    1. Has anyone else has noticed an improvement in the food at Biff's lately? My dinner at Biff's last week was very good.

      I ordered the beet salad, the Pickerel(perfectly cooked) in Smoked Haddock chowder, and the Medjool date cake. My friends ordered Caesar salad, escargots, fork-tender lamb shank, bouillabaise (not traditional- this one used salmon, mussels, clams) and profiteroles.

      Thought the meal was reasonably priced considering the high quality and the neighbourhood.

      Biff's Bistro
      4 Front St. E, Toronto, ON M5E 1B2, CA

      8 Replies
      1. re: phoenikia

        BIFF's has always been a good resto; it is the underappreciated sibling in the O & B empire. I wish I could go more often, but alas there are too many restos on my growing list.

        1. re: Dean Tudor

          While I agree Biff's has always been a good restaurant, my dinner last week was even more delicious than previous decent meals I've ordered at Biff's.

          1. re: phoenikia

            I was also at Biff's last week, and was happy with what I got for the price. We were mainly tempted by the $1 oysters after 5pm (as many as you want! I don't know how they can afford to keep it up!). My husband started with the fricasse of escargots, then had the boudin noir. Our friend had the beet salad then the lamb's tongue. I myself started with the bone marrow pudding, followed by the sweetbread. Not the best fried sweetbread I ever had, but the celeriac underneath was very enjoyable - if not a bit too runny. For desserts we had the profiteroles and my friend got the chocolate pot de creme which she absolutely loved. We brought our own bottle of wine, and wasn't met with any cold attitudes about it. In fact the sommelier (I assumed he was, because opening the bottle was the only time he served us) was really warm and started chatting to us about the winery because it's one of his favourites. It was a fantastic way to spend a Tuesday evening (and the restaurant was actually pretty busy for a Tuesday night). Actually, given the prices aren't too out of line with for example, Le Select or Coquine, and the welcoming service, I think I have found a new go-to spot when I'm craving French bistro food...

            Le Select
            432 Wellington St W, Toronto, ON M5V1E3, CA

            2075 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4S2A4, CA

        2. re: phoenikia

          I went a month ago and was disappointed in the service. The waiter was completely indifferent, he took my drink order and then left abruptly before taking my companion's. When he brought my drink he took off quickly before we could order the other one. We couldn't flag anyone down to refill our water. I had to get up 3 times myself to get the pitcher. The food was ok but I was expecting a higher level of service from an O&B restaurant

          1. re: plavka

            Sorry to hear you had a bad service experience, plavka.

            Our server was pleasant, professional and courteous, as was the hostess. Our water glasses were refilled countless times, so we never had to flag anyone down.

            While it sounds like service can be hit or miss at Biff's, I've lucked out with good to excellent service on all my visits.

            1. re: phoenikia

              I too am sorry to hear the bad experience. The reason why I started the thread was due to the excellent service I received. I've been to Auberge, Biff's and the new O&B Cafe Grill on Front and have never had an issue with service. Perhaps it was just bad luck.

              This definitely got me thinking about the buck a shuck again...

            2. re: plavka

              I have had good experiences at BIFF as well and would reccommend it. Plavka, did you BTW deduct the mandatory service charge? I think that wold have been the answer, then leave perhaps what you wanted (if anything) and explain why) After all, the tip is for service and if more diners did that, perhaps we would all benefit.

            3. re: phoenikia

              excellent service. tedde was attentive without hovering and provided warm friendly service through out. I don't know how Biff's Bistro manage to retain such incredible staff. and $1 oysters after 5pm!?! smart! will definitely come back for more!

            4. We had dinner at Biffs last night and were very impressed on all fronts. The Boudin Noir was just outstanding, as was the Boeuf Bourguiginon. Service was attentive and informed. (There was a good Cotes du Nuits @$77 in the wine list)

              1. Another thumbs up for Biff's. We found the food to be solid, reasonably prices, many interesting options on the menu and good service. I'm quite fond of the steak at Le Select, but I would place everything else we had above other French Bistros like Le Select, Batifole, Bodega, La Palette, or Le Paradis. The cooking is refined which can lack in other bistros. The only thing lacking is the room doesn't feel cosy. I thought the room looked much better when they used to use tablecloths.
                A quick note about service. There was three staff members on; two servers and a manager. No bartender, hostess, food runners etc.. There was a couple people in the bar and they had 10 tables in the dining room. Despite running a little thin, I never felt service suffered.

                744 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M1Y3, CA

                Le Paradis
                166 Bedford Road, Toronto, ON M5R 2K9, CA

                Le Select
                432 Wellington St W, Toronto, ON M5V1E3, CA

                La Palette
                492 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

                1. Another vote for Biff's this past week! My original plan was to slurp down a bunch of oysters and sip some cava alongside...but one thing led to another..2 dozen oysters, frites, an order of liver and a prix fixe for my eating partner /husband (ceasar salad, duck, chocolate torte) plus a couple of beers and man, we were happy, but full campers! Bill was 116.00 before tip. Service was professional, warm and polite. We sat in the lounge area and chatted a bit with other diners. I always get a little rush when staff offer me ice water, from the tap, up front (instead of pushing mineral water). Great spot for a mid-week date after work with hubby - we will definitely be back. I love a good bistro-licious liver and theirs was stellar! I may wait till post winterlicious for round two though...unless the oyster craving gets too great (which is possible). Only thing missing was a good dark beer on draft..