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Caplansky's - You have got to be kidding me!

My wife and popped in 2 weeks ago on a Saturday night. I have been wanting to give it a try for sometime. I must say that without a doubt that this was the worst meal we have ever had anywhere period.

Do they have a contract with a salt mine? Everything is so salty, the fries, the meat?
it was just awful. How can anyone compare this to any other Jewish Deli? This was a joke!

The meat was so chewy that if you stretched it would snap like an elastic band.

I never write such negative reviews but I just could not hold back on this one. I am sorry but there is no way in the world that this place will be around for long. The staff was nice enough to give us another sandwich telling us that it would be better and less salty (a different part of the brisket). The texture was more moist (slightly) but it had all the salt of the original sandwich. This was one HUGE disappointing experience. Too bad really as we sure can use some additional Jewish deli's in Toronto.

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Caplansky's
356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

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  1. I cannot express my distaste for this place either in full, because it would get deleted. Beware though, you're one of the very odd few (besides myself) on this board who aren't head over heels infatuated with this place.

    The food is terrible now and hasn't been good since the Monarch when Zane was the one cooking. He cashed out after the articles about this place sent waves of customers at him and no longer spends any time in the kitchen as far as I can tell... That salt issue is always coming and going, I've had it happen before and then on a next visit it's been toned down. They have NO consistency at this place, and seem to be surviving off the blind sheep downtown who have no idea what a good deli is.

    You're about to get 300 responses in favor of this place now, watch

    Caplansky's defines overrated.. sorry you had the misfortune of eating there :(

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    Caplansky's
    356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

    10 Replies
    1. re: duckdown

      I have no opinion on this place really. Tried it. Not really my kind of food. I would like to make one little point though...if I am looking at a wall and it looks purple, but 300 people are standing behind me insisting that it is in fact green, I would book myself an eye exam. Seems more sensible than assuming everybody else is colour blind. Just sayin'...

      1. re: munchieHK

        Oh but you are forgetting about the bandwagon effect my friend.

        1. re: munchieHK

          Hey if thats your opinion, you're welcome to it. I am quite familiar with good smoked meat though from various trips to Montreal, one that I just returned from. If this is your idea of good deli, you're entitled to it.

          Just sayin'....

          1. re: munchieHK

            That's why I'm so confused about the fantastic reviews here about a Thai food restaurant on Parliament. Everyone raves about it yet I've not had one good takeout meal from there yet. I'm starting to wonder why everyone else sees gold there and I only see beige walls.

            1. re: foodyDudey

              Extremely nice owners (with an interesting background story) + decent thai food (for Toronto) probably account for the rave reviews.

              1. re: foodyDudey

                Also, my two best meals there were when Nuit was cooking "off menu" (which requires calling in advance to set up a meal). I realize that one should be able to judge a restaurant by the regular menu items, but her off menu stuff is really, really wonderful -- complex, layered flavours, while still being incredibly delicate on the palate. Amazing.

                1. re: TorontoJo

                  and that could also be because she has complete control over those items. from my understanding, they have had a hard time finding someone who would cook with the same quality control as she would for various reasons (lack of funds to pay, lack of skill and even lack of interest). i can tell when she has cooked my meal vs someone else in that kitchen.

                  and perhaps this is the same issue with caplansky's. he's relinquished control and quality is now highly variable.

                  1. re: TorontoJo

                    Well I hope someone will organise another event there so I can join in and try some of the good stuff.

              2. re: duckdown

                Finally tried Caplansky's for lunch today. I completely agree - it is most definitely overrated. Montreal smoked meat sandwich was fresh tasting but very stringy and tasteless. It had no saltiness whatsoever. Also, the sandwich was VERY small.
                I will not be back!

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                Caplansky's
                356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

              3. I've also heard of consistency issues as well but thankfully I've never had a bad meal there (I'm also quite sensitive to salt but never had a sandwich that I felt was oversalted for my taste). I'm not a blind sheep and I do know what good deli is (having eaten it extensively across NYC and Montreal). However, it is rather unfortunate that Zane is having problems keeping a consistently good product to deliver to his customers.

                SWS

                4 Replies
                1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                  You do not have to be sensitive salt. Just human. I cannot express my disappoint in this place. I was so very excited to try it and after a wonderful day out with my wife this place was not a fitting end. I don't really care if I get 300 positives for this place. we are not fussy people at all and I have had bad meals and never posted a review. I just could not let this one pass. I hope they work it out and turn it around. I want more Jewish deli choices in Toronto. One thing is for sure I will not be back!

                  1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                    while it wouldn't necessarily be called bad, have you noticed swings in his recipe? before (monarch days) his meat was quite aggressively smoked and it was toned down with the new location. i've given it a few goes and for the most part it has been the right texture (with one or two issues out of half a dozen visits) but at last visit it was much more light on smoke and the spicing seemed very different.... almost as if it were aiming to be more similar to goldin's. it wasn't bad but just not good enough to convince me to go back again.

                    i still appreciate what he is trying to do, but you'd think that as of 3 months ago there wouldn't be such wild differences in the flavour.

                    as for the salt... that always depended on how smart they were. i find the gravy to be quite salty and so they would have to remember not to salt your fires if it was going straight on top. otherwise i haven't had any salt issues, mostly texture.

                    1. re: pinstripeprincess

                      I've always had strongly smokey meat and never rubbery, dry or overly salty. I don't ever get gravy so I can't comment on the salt levels in it. I haven't been in about 6 weeks so I should head back to see if the spicing that you describe has changed.

                      It makes me sad to hear that he is still having consistency issues.

                      1. re: pinstripeprincess

                        I've definitely noticed this - and I used to be one of the ones baffled by the inconsistency complaints because I had ALWAYS gotten good, consistent sandwiches there. The meat is definitely tasting different (I miss the smokier version he started with), and my last visit was the first time I got genuinely poorly cut meat. That visit was actually pretty awful on all counts (they were clearly understaffed and overwhelmed by the crowd that day - both service and food suffered), so I can see why if someone's first visit were a day like that, they wouldn't be in a hurry to return.

                    2. Oh yes, the salt. Thankfully my sandwich was not salty, but the fries were relatively so. And the gravy was unbelievably salty!!! They definitely need to get control of it...

                      1. that really is a shame to hear. I am really debating making the effort to get down there to eat. If its so inconsistent I can't see myself going on purpose all the way there from Ajax. It would be a rare time when I'm actually in the area and would make an effort. Hmm. I'm conflicted now. I'd like to think I'm very open minded and should try it for myself and form an opinion, but geez this one is tough.

                        1. Just a couple of more thoughts. I really don't want be a hater and stir the emotions of all those that love the place. If you love it that's great. The staff were nice and we were not rude at all and mentioned to our server that we did not enjoy our meal. We said this to her only and that no other customers would hear us. I thought maybe we would get 1/2 off but again you order, it's your food and you should expect to pay but giving me another bad sandwich to take and a coupon for a later visit which will never happen is a little funny. The fries came loaded with salt, I think that in this day and age they should at least ask you if you want them salted or not. I had no idea that they would come loaded with salt. What the fries did was just confirm how salty the meat was because after the salty fries the meat still tasted salty to both of us. I wish the owner was there and the texture of the meat was just unbelievable. As I said to my wife after we left " I would have enjoyed a sandwich more from Druxy's than the one I had at Caplansky's" to be honest, I don't think I could offer a worse comment than that.

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                          Caplansky's
                          356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: bjinyyz

                            did you eat every single bite available to you before making the complaint?

                            1. re: pinstripeprincess

                              I think it is very safe to assume that we did not eat everything until we complained. I could not have ate this food no matter how hungry I was. I had 2 bites of my sandwich and some fries. My wife had one bite and none of her fries. She was not touching the fries when she saw how much salt was on them.

                              1. re: bjinyyz

                                it actually isn't clear in your post that that was the case and some people manage to eat a substantial amount before complaining. thanks for clarifying.

                                so they gave you a third sandwich to take? or were you referring to the better sandwich they offered to replace the one(s) you didn't like? if you didn't like the replacement then it is interesting they didn't do more to fix the situation, like perhaps offering something else off the menu. i'm surprised they didn't at least give you fresh fries without salt. but they do come across to me as a place that is more likely to give you a coupon or replace the food than comp it - which would obviously be to the chagrin of a diner like yourself who wouldn't necessarily intend to come back.

                                1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                  They gave us a third to take with in what I assume was an effort to save us a customer. I think it was crystal clear to them that we did not like what we ordered and they did not suggest a replacement item which is what I would have done. I have spent the last couple of days searching other sites and it seems that sadly my experience is not the exception. I wish I would known that ahead of time but the reality is I probably would have checked it on on my own. I wrote this review because the food was just plan the worst I have had. I wanted it to be good.