- miketoronto Nov 10, 2010 08:30 PM
Anyone been yet? Corey Mintz thought it was great. Enough for me to be curious.
As far as I can tell someone named Connell, possibly Jeff, can find nothing about this person other than that they were affiliated with St. John's Bakery at some point in some capacity.
You all know what happened the last time that his Mintzness got everybody whipped into a frenzy over a restaurant just opened? The cluster**** also known as Caplansky's. Just Sayin'
356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA
via Taste T.O. :
"Woodlot Bakery and Restaurant (293 Palmerston Avenue) is taking over the Little Italy spot that previously held Octapus Lounge [sic]."
Farmhouse chic has been used to describe the restaurant Grace. If Grace is the refined farmhouse dining room, Woodlot is the more rustic barn. Similar menu approach, aesthetic and approximity will beg comparison between the two restaurants. In the beginning even Grace's pricing was similar, and time will tell if the pricing at Woodlot will increase.
It may seem unfair to review a restaurant within its first weeks of being open, so take this only as a report of where they are at now. As we have seen two menus are offered, regular and vegetarian. Many crowd pleasing options and the pastas are all offered as mains or apps. Surprisingly, a salad, the most ordered menu item, is not on the menu.
The french onion soup is solid and it's nice to see a regular soup rather than some daily offering which is usually left in the hands of the lowest man on the totem pole. The lamb tart has good braised lamb flavour and is topped with greens. Pastas are made fresh in house. The carbonara is perfect, the pancetta used provides intense flavour and the sauce is silky rather than scrambled eggs with cream. The gnocchi dumplings are solid, but the sauces need some work. The chestnut squash cream tastes thin, the chestnut draws away from the sweetness of the squash but also manages to get lost in the mix. The roast sausge provides texture rather than flavour. The portion sizes are large, the gnocchi app is the same size as the gnocchi main at Grace. Also be aware the gnocchi is offered as both vegetarian and meat and as a side, so be clear with the server which gnocchi you want. The side portion of gnocchi is a decent size and a steal at $5.
Roasted porchetta and baked beans is just that. The porchetta is 50% crackling, which for some is heaven, but there is nothing to provide relief from the heaviness. The baked beans come in an enamel crock and are perfect on their own but doesn't easily lend itself for mixing with the pork. I wished there was mustard or something acidic on the dish to help with the pork. A beverage is needed to wash down the dish. The potato and bone marrow puree, which sounds interesting, can only be described as gloopy. The lemon tart comes topped with roasted marshmallow and is fine.
All the mains, except for the steak, are under $20. If you order strategically and make one of the sides a course, the bill can be kept quite low. If they want to become a neighbourhood regular, than this pricing may work. But considering the limited seating, I imagine with time the prices will go up.
At this point Woodlot feels like Grace's less refined younger sibling. What is left to see is if it will grow up to become a restaurant people will go across town for or if it will remain a good value destination spot.