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New Marben?

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Has anyone been? Thinking about going this weekend.

488 Wellington Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 1E5, CA

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  1. I just read the Toronto Star review by Amy Pataki in which she gave them a 3.5 out of 4 and was wondering the same thing. Anyone?

    I may give the Monday brunch a try. At least if disappointed, you can make up for it come dinner time.

    1. The Globe also gave them a favourable review. Am really interested in hearing some feedback in fellow hounds!

      4 Replies
      1. re: team_eater

        We had dinner at Marben recently.
        Nice space, and manageable Music.
        We very much enjoyed our Meal.
        DH had the Trout starter on a salad with white Beans and said that it was very good.
        I ordered the mushroom Starter which was excellent.
        Several types of Mushrooms with Miniature Spaetzle tiny crispy Croutons, bits of Parsley, which blended beautifully.
        One of the best dishes I have had in Toronto..
        For our Mains we shared the Duck Breast which was perfectly cooked, as well as the Roast Beef served quite rare (at our request).
        Perhaps we were lucky, but each dish was impressive and tasty.
        Competent and pleasant staff.
        I don't know exactly why, but the space and food remind me of the small Restaurants we like New York.
        I would return.

        488 Wellington Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 1E5, CA

        1. re: erly

          Thanks Erly for the heads up. Will definitely give it a try in the near future!

        2. re: team_eater

          My friend and I went for Monday brunch and we both had Michele's Benny, so I only tried that and the Pommes Kennedy, but I loved the benny. Our server was also very friendly and the complementary bread came with a nice strawberry jam. I wasn't sure what to expect when I went, I was bracing myself for it to be style over substance but I was impressed, I'd really like to go back and try out more menu items.

          The Pommes Kennedy we ordered seemed a bit strange to us, it wasn't what I thought it was going to be. They tasted good, just a bit awkward to eat. We took a photo of the Pommes Kennedy, they're like... french fry clusters? http://welovebrunch.blogspot.com/2010...

          We ate on the patio so I'm not sure what it would be like inside. The patio is really lovely though. It's a moderate size so there's quite a few tables out there but you don't feel cramped. Streetside, but Wellington isn't busy so it's still pleasant. There's a small bar area next to the sidewalk and a canopy above it that extends over probably about half the patio so it wasn't too hot.

          Overall, I think our experience was pretty consistent with erly's so it looks like you'd be fine going there for brunch or dinner :)

          1. re: ggom1

            Funny, I just drove past this spot a couple of weeks ago and wondered about it.

            I'm digging the references to a New York vibe and I LOVE the idea of Monday brunch since weekend brunches are virtually non-existent for me these days. Did you try the Stumptown coffee?

        3. I recently fell in love with the burger at DBGB in NYC. I wished Toronto had a similar restaurant. So I was a little excited when I heard that Marben had a new chef who had worked for Daniel Boulud and that they had a great burger. I had the burger for brunch and it costs a whopping $17. The plate looks small and comes with fries and coleslaw. The burger is stuffed with braised beef but somehow the burger at DBGB, which was a regular patty, had stronger beef flavour. Texturally everything is soft with no ingredients adding contrast. I also found the burger to be too sweet for my liking which could come from the toppings and the brioche bun. Despite all these criticisms I would gladly run back and pay for another. What makes this burger so appealing is exactly what makes the DBGB burger, its richness. The braised beef adds richness to the patty and the ground beef around it is nice and pink. With the soft texture the whole thing appears to melt in your mouth. Despite such a rich, moist burger, it doesn't come across as heavy or greasy and you aren't left with a pool of juice on the plate. The accompanying fries were thin cut and crispy, the coleslaw was shaved razor thin, even the mayo for the fries was intensely flavoured.
          Everything else I tried was equally well executed. The side of corned beef is easily competing with the Black Hoof's beef tongue as the best deli in the city. It was warm, intensely flavoured, moist with ample fat and not at all greasy. All in all it felt like I was back in NYC and I look forward going back for dinner. If they manage to maintain this consistency, it will easily move up people's list as one of the better restaurants in the city.

          488 Wellington Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 1E5, CA

          The Black Hoof
          928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

          1. Might as well add my two cents!

            Went recently, liked the food. Too loud if you go later on a Friday night as they make the change-over to club. I sort of didn't realize this when I went. Looking to check it out on a quieter night, as the noise-level from the speakers was just too loud to enjoy a meal.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jlunar

              Yeah I think it gets a bit noisy anytime the place is full. I went for my birthday and we ordered an assortment of platters for our group of about 12 people. We were seated upstairs but the place was full on a Wednesday night and it was a touch loud (there was also a private party downstairs). But definitely no complaints about the food - we also ordered a couple extra mains (burgers!) and dessert (ice cream sandwiches!) to share - everyone enjoyed the meal. My friend ordered one of the fish mains and I was amazed by how well the fish was cooked; ultra-crispy skin and very moist flesh. Oddly, the Pommes Kennedy we had this time were totally different to the time I went for Monday brunch. This time they matched up to the description the Star (?) had - stacked layers of thinly sliced potato. Really good! Much better than what we received at brunch.

              Has anyone gone for the chef's table?

            2. I love this place and would recommend it to anyone looking for great seasonal food. They really show what you can do with local ingredients and their prices are very reasonable. Best new restaurant in Toronto for 2010.

              488 Wellington Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 1E5, CA

              1 Reply
              1. re: shaZamm

                We ate at Marben about a month ago. The food was great. The atmosphere was just okay, though... The lighting was lousy, no candles on tables, very rustic. Felt like a pub even though the food was obviously much better than average pub fare. It also really bugged me that they didn't have a coat check.

                The service was well intentioned but didn't feel expert - had to keep asking for water etc, but the staff was really nice and you could tell they wanted you to enjoy yourself. Better than the indifferent, snooty service you get at so many places.

                If you are about great food this would be a great casual weeknight place, but I wouldn't recommend it for a big, special celebration.

                Didn't know they did brunch. Could be perfect...

                488 Wellington Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 1E5, CA

              2. Has anybody tried the "Fixie Monday Menu"?

                1. Had a great meal. It was prix fixe because of Valentine's Day so I can't comment on the usual menu, but between the three of us we tried both apps and each of the three mains. Highly recommend it.

                  488 Wellington Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 1E5, CA

                  1. Went to Marben lastnight in a group of 5. It was a Sunday night and it was rather slow. There only seemed to be a couple other groups there and the place was quiet except for the unfortunate music (someone was playing bad 90s dance music - backstreet boys, Eiffel 65 - at top volume, frequently skipping and mixing badly).

                    Some notes on what we ordered:

                    Trout salad was a highlight. Came with a bit of cured trout, one trout croquette, grapefruit, greens, and some sauces. A lot of dill flavor. When all mixed, it was light, complex, and lovely.

                    Charcuterie was just okay. I should stop ordering it anywhere but the Hoof, it's always a disappointment. Points for them for doing it in-house but it really was just okay. Came with 3 options, can only remember a smoked boar that tasted just like a very thick cut smoked ham.

                    The Sage and Brown Butter Gnocci was a big disappointment. Apparently it's featured in the LCBO mag at the moment, but there is zero flavor there, although the gnocci were perfectly textured.

                    Macaroni and cheese with rabbit croquettes was a hit. Extremely rich and creamy, topped with a fried croquette and plated with tender, delicious chunks of braised rabbit as well.

                    Boar Belly (apparently a confit) with mushrooms was a standout. Salty, crispy, juicy, fatty, amazing, with super flavorful and buttery mushrooms.

                    We ordered the large piece of meat (a mystery in description and price, on the menu), turned out to be a 42 oz dry-aged Cote de Boeuf, served with mushroom jus. This is listed on their current website menu as such, but was just listed as a mystery "large cut of meat" on the printed menu. They didn't ask how we'd like it done, which I took as a good sign. When it was finished cooking, the server brought it to show us, then it was taken back to the kitchen for 15 minutes of resting before being cut and served to us. It was perfectly done to medium rare, incredibly tender and juicy, well worth the price for 5. The accompanying mushroom jus was pitch-perfect, no complaints. Even our one diner who unfortunately prefers her steaks brown loved it.

                    We ordered fries (thin, skin on, salty, served with truffle mayo) and onion rings (bland and served with plain ketchup, skip them) on the side.

                    Tried the cheese selection (Petra's cheese), I believe it was a sheeps milk that day, it was pleasant with accompanying sweet chutneys and candied walnuts, pleasant enough.

                    We tried both desserts: a warm apple pudding with mascarpone (I thought it was a little heavy on texture and light on flavor but my boyfriend loved it), and a homemade ice cream sandwich (chocolate with chocolate cookie....tasty but nothing amazing).

                    With 3 bottles of wine, bill came to around 400 for 5 people. No complaints about the service; our server was a nice girl who had obviously studied up and made efforts to engage in conversation, and the owner stopped by a few times as well.

                    A much better incarnation than it's previous clubby style!

                    488 Wellington Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 1E5, CA

                    1. My husband and I had dinner at Marben this past Saturday, chosen in part for it's proximity to the Prince of Wales theater, which incidentally worked out great. A 5:30 reservation gave us plenty of time to have a nice dinner and walk to the theater in time for a 7:30 show.

                      At 5:30 on a Saturday night we were the only ones there. The service was good, just attentive enough and we were glad to be mostly left alone considering we were the only ones to wait on.

                      I had the roast beef, which I enjoyed but found the accompanying parsnips fairly tasteless and would have preferred just about anything else.

                      My husbands burger was lovely. Just the right size after a shared beet salad. I think the fries were good too but I can't say since my husband scarfed them all before I got a chance to try one.

                      We very much enjoyed the ice cream sandwich we shared for dessert.

                      Marben is a bit out of our usual neighborhood but we both agreed we'd be regulars if it was a little more convenient for us.

                      488 Wellington Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 1E5, CA

                      1. I went last Thursday night. Only had the mac & cheese, that came with rabbit. It was amazing. A bunch of people I was with ate burgers. All sang its praise. Will go back again soon to sample more. t was busy & service was great.

                        488 Wellington Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 1E5, CA

                        1. Sat at the Chef;s Table two months ago....No complaints at all....
                          Food was wonderful, kitchen staff were fun...Highly reccomend

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: mbolive

                            Planning to go to Marben in late June. Apparently one can not book a table on line for any Sunday in June . Anyone know what this is about? Also I have to drive. Any comments on parking Sunday mornings?

                            488 Wellington Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 1E5, CA

                            1. re: Herne

                              There is parking on the street and a large public lot across the street, just down the block a bit.

                              1. re: TorontoJo

                                Thanks TorontoJo. I guess the only question left is why no reservations on Saturday or Sunday but maybe they are not needed. Anyway the place should be open by now so I'll give them a call.