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Woodlot

miketoronto Nov 10, 2010 08:30 PM

Anyone been yet? Corey Mintz thought it was great. Enough for me to be curious.

  1. Notorious P.I.G. Nov 10, 2010 09:58 PM

    The Chef's got some incredible experience under his belt. Can't wait to try it out.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Notorious P.I.G.
      estufarian Nov 11, 2010 05:12 AM

      So, who is this chef with a big belt?

      1. re: estufarian
        b
        bytepusher Nov 11, 2010 09:30 AM

        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'

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

        1. re: bytepusher
          miketoronto Nov 11, 2010 01:24 PM

          I don't know, he's just telling his twitter followers that he likes the restaurant. Chowhounders and other food writing people also do much of the clustering.

          1. re: bytepusher
            foodyDudey Nov 27, 2010 04:54 PM

            Jeff Connell left St John's bakery in October and some of my favourite sourdough breads were no longer available, he didn't tell anyone there how they were made.

      2. Herb Nov 11, 2010 03:18 AM

        Googling "Woodlot" and "Corey Mintz" only finds this post. Any other info?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Herb
          m
          mikefly Nov 11, 2010 04:08 AM

          his tweet:
          Woodlot has 2 menus: Regular http://yfrog.com/86ygylj & Vegetarian http://yfrog.com/j0fczlj

          1. re: mikefly
            Herb Nov 11, 2010 05:24 AM

            Still doesn't tell us where it is or Is this one of those secret places?

        2. miketoronto Nov 11, 2010 05:31 AM

          via Taste T.O. :

          "Woodlot Bakery and Restaurant (293 Palmerston Avenue) is taking over the Little Italy spot that previously held Octapus Lounge [sic]."

          1. d
            dubchild Nov 13, 2010 07:03 AM

            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.

            1. r
              rapinista Nov 14, 2010 07:00 AM

              I am hoping to try Woodlot on Monday eve and can't find a number to call and see if they are even open. Help?

              2 Replies
              1. re: rapinista
                h
                hungryabbey Nov 16, 2010 04:52 PM

                yes does anyone know the hours?

                1. re: rapinista
                  a
                  arugula Nov 30, 2011 07:06 PM

                  They are closed Mondays, and bad with the phone. But when you're there, they're sweet as can be.

                2. ikapai Nov 15, 2010 04:39 PM

                  Heading there tomorrow night. Seen lots of buzz about it on twitter. Thought I might try it out before it gets so popular that I can't get in.

                  1. miketoronto Nov 15, 2010 06:49 PM

                    Yeah, Charlie's Burgers just tweeted about it, had a "very tasty" meal. The race is on. :)

                    -----
                    Charlie's Burgers
                    48 Holland E, Bradford, ON L3Z1X2, CA

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: miketoronto
                      j
                      j6p Nov 16, 2010 12:36 AM

                      David Haman is the chef and yes, he's one of the best chef I've ever met.

                    2. a
                      A flock of seagulls Nov 17, 2010 06:41 AM

                      I live around the corner from Woodlot and stopped in for the first time around lunch time on Saturday. I am a regular at Grace and was hoping for another good option in the neighborhood. There were four maybe five people cooking/baking/cleaning. A few glanced in my direction but after a few minutes of being ignored I just left. It really put me off.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: A flock of seagulls
                        Herb Nov 21, 2010 04:07 AM

                        I don't think they're open for lunch. Perhaps that explains the odd looks. ;}

                        1. re: Herb
                          a
                          A flock of seagulls Nov 26, 2010 10:27 AM

                          Hi, the cafe/bakery is open all day. I wanted to get a coffee and ask a few questions about dinner. Didn’t even get a hello. Very, very strange.

                      2. chocabot Nov 19, 2010 07:56 PM

                        Woodlot tonight.
                        Ridiculously friendly staff all round. Busy too.
                        It's a really good use of space with loft area and wasn't as noisy as I expected. From the open kitchen, they have a bit of a traffic issue bc the fridge and dishwashing is on the opposite side of the restaurant, through the bar.

                        Wild boar red fife papardelle was favourite for the thinnest pasta sheets ever... Onion soup was good and straight forward. Caraway rye croutons were a nice change though one slice would have been better than all the cubes...

                        Had the duck cabbage rolls. Soo cleverly interesting; The cabbage roll covering was boiled in water with oranges. The filling had wild rice, barley (though maybe it was less chewy israeli couscous?), prune and undetectable chestnuts. I liked that the filling was mostly duck and I suspect duck legs were roasted in the wood oven before being shredded. Cabbage under the rolls was like a mild saurkraut.

                        The venison pie got best points from presentation bc of the giant bone that looked like a pie vent. I thought it was a bit drier than I'd have liked but the vegetables were perfectly cooked.

                        Portions are generous that you'll likely have leftovers.
                        The bread is house baked.

                        I wish I had room to try the sides or dessert but the cider from Brittany was the best cider I had here or in Paris.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: chocabot
                          f
                          froglegs Nov 20, 2010 01:47 PM

                          Good review!
                          I am going....

                          Thank you !

                          1. re: froglegs
                            Non Doctor Nov 27, 2010 05:39 AM

                            We had a splendid meal at Woodlot last night.

                            The space has a really warm vibe to it... quite a clever design actually.

                            The service was extremely friendly and incredibly efficient... and sincere, which means a lot to me. Try to snag Crystal as your server if you get a chance... she's lovely.

                            The wine list was succinct, and very old world in focus, with some superb food-friendly French, Spanish, and Canadian offerings... probably one of the most food oriented lists I have seen in a while. Pricing was very reasonable also.

                            We started off with a large bottle of great Brittany Cider between the four of us... delicious... one can hardly taste the alcohol!

                            Which can be dangerous... so thankfully they brought us some of their in-house Red Fife bread... crusty and nuttily soaking up the booze.

                            With this we had the Smoked Whitefish and Potato Salad (with Maple Mustard, Arugula, and Herbs)... simple and yet delicious.

                            Next up was a bottle of Breton's "Trinch" Bourgueil, lovely easy drinking Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley.

                            Along with this we were served first the Baked Caramelised Onion Soup (with Gruyere Cheese and Caraway Bread) and then the Crudo of Grass-Finished Heritage Beef (with Olive Oil, Smoked Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Toast)

                            The soup was hearty as one would ever desire... the broth was amazingly good. I'm not a huge caraway fan, so the bread wasn't my favourite... although my GF loved it.

                            The crudo was so very simple and un-messed with... just as it should be... with nothing but the olive oil, salt, and pepper affecting the seriously tasty raw beef.

                            We were then served a great plate of Red Fife Wholewheat Pappardelle (with Wild Boar Ragu)... at this point I was beginning to feel rather full... but after a few glasses of the very inexpensive Cahors that they have on by the glass I was ready for some more!

                            Our shared mains were:

                            Chanterelle Lasagne (with Bechamel, Braised Greens, Caramelised Onion, and Ricotta) - A very generous dish... with lots going on... perfect bechamel!

                            Hunters Style Venison Pie (with Pancetta, Red Wine Gravy, Porcini, and Fall Roots) - Extremely filling but very tasty indeed. The root veggies were intensely flavoured and the pastry quick thick... but delicious... and almost more delicious the next day cold for breakfast!!! Cannot get enough this morning!!!

                            Chop of Whey-Fed Pork (with Caramelised Apple, Black Walnuts, and Sage) served on a wooden board... this finished me off! Crispy and fatty and meaty in all the right places. I wish that my pork chops at home turned out like this.

                            On the side we had more perfectly done root veggies and the crack cocaine of mashed potatoes...

                            MARROW MASH!!!

                            Arrrrrrrrgggggggggghhhhhh... so good.

                            A wonderful night was had by all... so we'll certainly be back.

                            Oh... all of this came to $267... which we all agreed was a steal for such a great ambiance, service, wine, and the most comforting of comfort food.

                            1. re: Non Doctor
                              m
                              mikefly Nov 27, 2010 02:46 PM

                              How many people in your party?

                              1. re: mikefly
                                Non Doctor Nov 27, 2010 03:29 PM

                                Four voracious eaters and lushes.

                              2. re: Non Doctor
                                h
                                hungryabbey Nov 27, 2010 04:25 PM

                                what is the approx price of apps and mains?

                            2. re: chocabot
                              h
                              hungryabbey Nov 26, 2010 04:49 PM

                              did you happen to notice their hours? ie. are they open on sunday nights?

                              1. re: hungryabbey
                                m
                                mochapj Nov 27, 2010 04:09 AM

                                Yes, I was told they open at 5 on Sundays

                                1. re: hungryabbey
                                  estufarian Nov 27, 2010 04:10 AM

                                  I wondered the same thing, so dropped by on my way home from the Black Hoof last Sunday. They were open, but I didn't go in.

                                  1. re: hungryabbey
                                    Herb Nov 27, 2010 08:56 AM

                                    Open 7 nights a week but the Now says they are currently open at 7 pm.

                                    http://www.nowtoronto.com/daily/food/...

                                    "So until we get organized, we’re only going to open for dinner nightly from 7 to 10 pm because I don’t want to compromise the quality of the food. We’ll keep running like this for at least a couple of weeks. Eventually we’ll start dinner service at 5 but I haven’t got the staff. "

                                2. Googs Nov 28, 2010 07:43 AM

                                  The one thing not mentioned by anyone is the greeting you get when you walk in the door. Before a single person could talk to us the aromas filled us. There was enough wood and blood in that scent I immediately thought of blood pudding. And immediately said "we have to eat here." So sexy, so seductive.

                                  We had stumbled across Woodlot quite by accident. Having been unable to dine where we wanted, the server there recommended we try it. I'm very glad to see it has this much buzz.

                                  Overall, I think Woodlot delivers great food, good value, terrific service, and the room has a happy vibe. The vibe is something that can only be achieved when people like what they're doing. Kudos to chef for instilling that in his staff.

                                  I want to offer what I hope are two points of constructive criticism, though from a most humble position. It would be nice if the house made bread wasn't served refrigerator cold. A little warmth would go a long way. While my friend's venison pie was perfection, my halibut and accompanying gnocchi with butter and sage could have benefited from a little less salt. They were otherwise balanced and flavourful so salt, aside from the slightest pass of the hand, was unnecessary.

                                  This is from one visit sampling 3 dishes on a Wednesday night, so take it for what it's worth. We only ordered 3 dishes between the two of us because we saw the portions that were hitting the tables around us. Appetizer notions were dropped. Another mark for value.

                                  That one visit was impressive enough, though, that I will definitely return.

                                  Here, I believe, is the Mintz piece being referred to here:
                                  http://porkosity.blogspot.com/2010/11...

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Googs
                                    dlw88 Nov 28, 2010 08:32 AM

                                    I was in last night with a group of friends and, for the most part, we all enjoyed our meals.

                                    Pastas and veg were salted with a heavy hand and were a bit oily. The lamb tart may have been my favourite dish of the night, with a perfect shell. The cabbage rolls were a tasty package of goodness, but the orange overpowered the duck, rather than cutting its richness.

                                    Bone marrow mash is now my official comfort food of winter 2010/11.

                                    I will be back for more...likely this week.

                                    1. re: Googs
                                      n
                                      neighborguy Dec 25, 2010 03:37 AM

                                      Great review, Googs. Especially your first paragraph. Of all the reviews here (and I only read posisitve) it makes me want to go check it out the most.

                                    2. sugarcube Nov 29, 2010 06:22 PM

                                      This place sounds delicious. Do they offer any other desserts aside from the lemon tart?

                                      http://theavidbaker.wordpress.com

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: sugarcube
                                        Jacquilynne Dec 8, 2010 06:55 PM

                                        There were three desserts on the menu -- an apple pie of such ethereal beauty (it glowed in the candle light!) that it was almost a shame to eat it (almost!), the lemon tart, and a chocolate pot de creme.

                                        1. re: Jacquilynne
                                          TorontoJo Dec 9, 2010 03:56 AM

                                          That apple pie was a tarte tatin and was the best rendition of a tarte tatin that I've ever had. There was a layer of honey brushed somewhere (maybe on the pastry?) that added a glorious layer of flavour. Really beautiful.

                                          1. re: TorontoJo
                                            Full tummy Dec 10, 2010 07:31 PM

                                            Sounds divine. Must get there soon...

                                      2. p
                                        peppermint pate Nov 29, 2010 06:37 PM

                                        This place sounds amazing. I want to add that marrow mash to the warming chow treat list and I haven't even tried it yet!! Thanks for all the early reports - I knew nothing about this place until I saw this thread. Where is it - Palmerston and...College?

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: peppermint pate
                                          Non Doctor Nov 30, 2010 04:39 AM

                                          Just behind Teatro on Palmerston at College.

                                          -----
                                          Teatro Restaurant
                                          505 College St, Toronto, ON M6G1A5, CA

                                        2. miketoronto Nov 30, 2010 06:43 PM

                                          Finally tried it tonight. The upstairs was fully booked for the whole night but they had space at the bar and at the communal table.

                                          Had the small red fife papardelle w wild boar ragu, wild mushroom and pine nut tart w mache lettuce and toscano as starters. Papardelle was perfect, boar ragu was nicely spiced, super tender, beautiful/rich dish. The tart was also surprisingly rich but very comfort food friendly.

                                          For mains, went with the board advice and had the braised duck cabbage rolls w prunes and chestnuts with a side of marrow mashed potatoes. My lady had the mushroom/bechamel veg lasagna. The duck tasted great, a bit heavy on the orange zest but it was a fun dish, never had anything like it before. Lasagna was enough to literally feed 4 people. Portions were almost too generous! Amazing though, bechamel was smooth and rich, mushrooms tasted great. Looking forward to having an above average lunch at work tomorrow. :)

                                          Wine list was a bit too small and obtuse for my liking, but we ended having a solid bottle, well priced @ 48. Left warm, stuffed, mellow, very happy. Amazing value for the money. Make a reso, showing up unannounced could be risky. And go soon before they jack up prices or give smaller portions!

                                          No heavy hand with salt with our dishes as reported by others. Was underwhelmed with the bread to be 100% honest, had high hopes given their day job. They could have given us half the amount given the portion sizes of the food itself as well, but no real complaints!

                                          1. s
                                            SMOG Dec 1, 2010 03:59 PM

                                            I assume no reservation policy? Can anyone guess the approx wait time for a Fri or Sat night at primetime?

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: SMOG
                                              p
                                              peppermint pate Dec 1, 2010 05:18 PM

                                              Based on hungryabbey's birthday thread, it looks like they do take reservations.

                                              1. re: peppermint pate
                                                h
                                                hungryabbey Dec 1, 2010 05:50 PM

                                                Yes they do.

                                              2. re: SMOG
                                                miketoronto Dec 1, 2010 06:40 PM

                                                If you don't have a reso on the weekend depending on the size of the party, it could be a long time. When I called last Friday afternoon for that evening, the earliest seating they had was 9:30.

                                              3. Jacquilynne Dec 8, 2010 06:32 PM

                                                I just got back from dinner at Woodlot, and I feel like I have to check in and say "Wow".

                                                Wow.

                                                A group of 7 of us placed this order:

                                                "We'd like everything on the main menu except the soup, the steak, and the gnocchi that's a side dish since we already have the gnocchi from the pasta menu. Plus the mushroom tart from the vegetarian menu."

                                                Our waitress, who was friendly and accommodating all night, thought our way of ordering was great.

                                                From start to finish, nearly everything was perfect. There was a really bad crust on the lemon tart (which was otherwise delicious), and a brussells sprout side dish that was kinda 'eh' (well prepared 'eh', but 'eh'), and everything else was excellent to rave-worthy. That's one dish with problems and one dish that just wasn't very exciting out of about 2 dozen, which is a ratio I can definitely live with.

                                                Asked if there were any favorites, just about every dish was named by someone. I loved the pork chop, the pappardelle with ragu and the venison pie, and the roasted potato side dish. Which isn't to say that I didn't also love everything else we were served, it's just that I loved those dishes a tiny bit more.

                                                Some of the portion sizes are a bit odd, so if you're not sure what you might be getting, it's worth asking. The fish dish was basically a one person entree on its own. The pork chop could readily have been shared along with a couple of side dishes, but a hungry carnivore could eat it and a side dish alone. The lasagna and venison pie were more food than any one person could possibly eat.

                                                We had a bottle of bubbly, plus all the desserts except the cheese course, and the total with tax and tip included was $55 per person. Which is basically insanely cheap for what we were served. In fact, we made TorontoJo do the calculation twice, because no one believed her the first time.

                                                And, did I mention?

                                                Wow.

                                                12 Replies
                                                1. re: Jacquilynne
                                                  TorontoJo Dec 9, 2010 04:17 AM

                                                  Dinner was fantastic. That was easily the best chowmeet dinner that I've been to in a looong time. The reasonable price was just a bonus (foodydudey couldnt believe that he paid the same price for his lame dinner at the new Indian place on the Danforth last week for a fraction the quantity and a fraction of the quality).

                                                  Working from memory (ascendance has the menu -- help!), we ordered:

                                                  APPS:
                                                  Smoked whitefish and potato salad
                                                  Mushroom and pinenut tart
                                                  Braised lamb tart
                                                  Beef crudo

                                                  MIDDLES:
                                                  Pappardelle w/wild boar ragu
                                                  Gnocchi in some creamy cheesy sauce
                                                  Spaghetti alla carbonara

                                                  MAINS:
                                                  Haddock in a cream sauce with proscuitto and hazelnuts
                                                  Whey-fed pork chop
                                                  Venison pie
                                                  Chanterelle mushroom lasagna
                                                  Braised duck cabbage rolls

                                                  SIDES:
                                                  Fingerling potatoes cooked in duck fat
                                                  Potato and bone marrow puree
                                                  Buttered brussels sprouts
                                                  Cauliflower and chickpea gratinee
                                                  Honey glazed root vegetables

                                                  DESSERTS:
                                                  Apple tarte tatin
                                                  Soma chocolate pot de creme w/sea salt
                                                  Lemon curd tart with blueberries and homemade marshmallow topping

                                                  My favourite dish of the night was the amazingly wonderful carbonara -- such a simple dish, so often done poorly. It was silky smooth, had a wonderful essence of pork in flavour and the pasta was cooked just right. I could have eaten a large bowl of that. The pappadelle was also fantastic. As was the bone marrow and potato puree. As was the... and on and on and on.

                                                  My least favourite dish of the night was the cabbage roll. I get they were going for a duck a l'orange flavour, but the orange was too strong for me. Not that it was bad, mind you, just not to my taste. And yeah, the brussels sprouts, normally one of my favourite veggies, were rather uninteresting.

                                                  I can't wait to go back! For those that haven't gone yet, I would caution you to keep in mind that this is not fine dining. The quality of the food is amazing, but think of it as brilliantly executed comfort food. It's perfect for the winter that has been so rudely foisted on us. But I hope that come next spring and summer, the menu lightens up.

                                                  Also, I can see how this would be a place best experienced with a group of friends. Ordering a bunch of items and sharing was so much fun, I think I would be disappointed in just having one or two items next time. And given that the lasagne and the venison pie would be enough for 3 or 4 people (yes, literally), I would want to share a bunch of apps and pastas (which have an app and a main size) and get one or two mains to share along with some sides.

                                                  We all agreed that Toronto needs more restaurants like this -- mid-priced, well executed food, friendly service. The other spot we agreed was like this is Sidecar. Totally different vibe and menu, but same category.

                                                  1. re: TorontoJo
                                                    pinstripeprincess Dec 9, 2010 04:40 AM

                                                    totally up my alley, absolutely convinced to make a trip out there asap.

                                                    1. re: TorontoJo
                                                      a
                                                      ascendance Dec 9, 2010 05:16 AM

                                                      Your memory is spot on, with the exception of the gnocchi. That was in a tomato sauce with Italian sausage. I'll try to post the pictures later this evening.

                                                      1. re: TorontoJo
                                                        f
                                                        fickle Dec 9, 2010 05:24 AM

                                                        Highlights for me were the whitefish & potato salad, the pappardelle, the venison pie and the fingerling potatoes. They were fantastic. Delicious and beautifully executed. I had debated re-ordering the pappardelle or the fingerling potatoes for my dessert when the chef surprised me with a lovely lactose free plate consisting of Soma dark chocolate chunks with a tasty compote of blueberries and nuts topped with homemade marshmallow that the kitchen had made up for me when I couldn't partake in the desserts the rest of the table had ordered. What a wonderful gesture. A special mention to our fantastic server Janelle who was super efficient, friendly and extremely helpful. I really appreciated the special attention she gave to my dietary issue. I will definitely be returning soon.

                                                        1. re: fickle
                                                          TorontoJo Dec 9, 2010 05:41 AM

                                                          Yes, a definite shout out to Janelle -- great service from her all night!

                                                          1. re: fickle
                                                            pinstripeprincess Dec 9, 2010 06:00 AM

                                                            now that's the kind of service i'm looking for! especially since i've heard a few stories swirling about with regards to one top ranked resto that makes a paltry effort when it comes to dietary restrictions.

                                                            1. re: fickle
                                                              a
                                                              ascendance Dec 10, 2010 04:35 PM

                                                              Here's the photo album of the meals.

                                                              http://picasaweb.google.com/ascendanc...

                                                              Not pictured: all three tarts, and the sides.

                                                              The two starter tarts (wild mushroom and lamb) were somewhat hidden under a lot of greenery, and I didn't think they would make interesting pictures. My opinion may have been biased by hunger, since they were the first two items to arrive.

                                                              The dessert tart was tucked into too quickly for me to snap a picture. I expect it was the lure of the home-made roasted marshmallow.

                                                              1. re: ascendance
                                                                s
                                                                somewhere4 Dec 10, 2010 06:46 PM

                                                                Looks great!

                                                                Hopefully they don't turn into one of those precious, only five portions of duck cabbage rolls before we run out (a la Stockyard), type establishments.

                                                            2. re: TorontoJo
                                                              Splendid Wine Snob Dec 9, 2010 06:48 AM

                                                              Sorry if I missed this already, but is there a bar area where one can dine at?

                                                              1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                                                                TorontoJo Dec 9, 2010 06:55 AM

                                                                Yes, on the first floor, to the right as you walk in. It's down a couple of steps and it's small and cozy looking.

                                                                1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                                                                  foodyDudey Dec 9, 2010 07:22 AM

                                                                  Don't go dressed as you are in your pic, as it's close to the door and it may get a bit cold in this weather.

                                                                  1. re: foodyDudey
                                                                    Splendid Wine Snob Dec 9, 2010 07:23 AM

                                                                    What if I wear my fur hat? Even then??? :(

                                                            3. aser Dec 24, 2010 08:31 AM

                                                              I don't remember the last time I've had an onion soup this good in Toronto, in a long long time. I'll revisit for that I'm sure.

                                                              Mains we had were the haddock and pork chop, both were solid. Although I suspect the best of the best lies in the pasta and pie.

                                                              One negative were the brusselsprouts, no caramelization at all.

                                                              The bar area is quite cramped for dining, I wouldn't recommend it unless you have no alternative.

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: aser
                                                                sweetie Dec 24, 2010 01:39 PM

                                                                You are absolutly right about the sprouts, they were one of the few things that I didn't really like at Woodlot. The carbonara was to die for.

                                                                1. re: sweetie
                                                                  TorontoJo Dec 24, 2010 01:47 PM

                                                                  I was back at Woodlot the other night and to my complete and utter disappointment, they have taken the carbonara off the menu! I was seriously bummed, as that was one of the dishes I was looking forward to hogging to myself. There is a tagliatelle dish in it's place that is reminiscent, but not quite as transcendent as the carbonara. Dinner was really, really good though. However, the desserts were not nearly as good as the first time -- the pot de creme was a bit too sweet and the tart tatin wasn't as ethereal. Janelle was our server again and was super, again. Next time, I will plan on skipping dessert altogether in order to devote more stomach space to the savoury dishes.

                                                                  1. re: TorontoJo
                                                                    AzulH Dec 26, 2010 02:34 PM

                                                                    Amusingly, I also went back again and had the same shock and horror about the Carbonara and the goose pie wasn't anything like as good as the venison and the Pappardelle w/wild boar ragu wasn't anything like as paper thin as when we were there. YET it was still a splendid meal. ( Janelle serving remembering us.)
                                                                    I have no idea how I am going to match that Chow meet.
                                                                    I am trying to persuade a small local establishmet to put on a special supper just for us...

                                                                    1. re: AzulH
                                                                      foodyDudey Dec 26, 2010 04:18 PM

                                                                      That was one great Chow meet and it will probably be quite awhile till we have another like that one. I haven't had a chance to go back yet but hope it's good as I've mentioned it to quite a few people. I'll be happy if it's even 80% as good as that day.

                                                              2. p
                                                                Pincus Dec 24, 2010 08:43 AM

                                                                This all sounds great. I wish their website had more info. It is very Spartan in design.

                                                                1. Charles Yu Dec 24, 2010 01:21 PM

                                                                  Pataki in today's Star gave it a big thumbs up for their vegetarian dishes but thumbs down for their meat ones!! Interesting?!!

                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Charles Yu
                                                                    aser Dec 24, 2010 02:30 PM

                                                                    She likes being the dissenting voice if she's late to the game at reviewing a place. It gets tiresome....

                                                                    1. re: aser
                                                                      Charles Yu Dec 24, 2010 02:44 PM

                                                                      She still gave it 31/2 stars out of 4!!

                                                                      1. re: Charles Yu
                                                                        Googs Dec 26, 2010 08:32 AM

                                                                        You forgot the Pataki Rule: Read, do opposite, enjoy. Works every time.

                                                                        1. re: Googs
                                                                          c
                                                                          childofthestorm Dec 26, 2010 12:43 PM

                                                                          But wait, what about the scintillating soup she enjoyed at Thai Express in the food court of Bayview Village last week? Not worth a special trip?

                                                                          1. re: childofthestorm
                                                                            Herb Dec 26, 2010 01:24 PM

                                                                            Or the Old Spaghetti Factory pasta dish she gave a thumbs-up to today in the Star.

                                                                            http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/...

                                                                            -----
                                                                            Old Spaghetti Factory
                                                                            56 The Espl, Toronto, ON M5G, CA

                                                                    2. re: Charles Yu
                                                                      t
                                                                      themiguel Dec 26, 2010 04:33 PM

                                                                      Ami Pataki is the worst reviewer in the city, that's pretty much an objective statement. I've eaten at woodlot a few times already and I would say their meat dishes are far better than the veggie ones, but the veggie dishes are more than fine still, especially their lasagna.

                                                                      You go there for the venison pie though.

                                                                      1. re: themiguel
                                                                        TorontoJo Dec 26, 2010 04:41 PM

                                                                        Sadly, the venison pie is no longer on the menu. It's been replaced by a goose and ham pie in a cream sauce. I didn't try it, so can't comment on it.

                                                                    3. pinstripeprincess Dec 27, 2010 05:09 AM

                                                                      i thought the food was really earnest and of great value, but just wasn't quite wowed the way others have been. unfortunately might not have also been in comfort food mode enough for that night. i didn't notice any marrow flavour in the mashed potatoes and found the pork chop a little tough for my liking.

                                                                      gotta ask though, what is up with their dessert pastry? didn't try the savoury pie so i'm not sure what it's like there but for the desserts it was tough as nails.

                                                                      they had dropped the carbonara (though kindly the server offered to see if they had the ingredients in the kitchen to do a special order), but i was pretty darn happy with the wild boar pappardelle and pretty damn amazed at the great flavour and texture of the red fife pasta. the smoked whitefish and potato salad was exactly what i wanted. would definitely go back though, especially to see someone order the massive savoury pie!

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: pinstripeprincess
                                                                        sugarcube Dec 30, 2010 07:15 PM

                                                                        Pinestripeprincess, the day we had the pie, it was with goose, hunks of ham, and root veggies. While the filling was creamy and delicious, the pastry nestled on top was limp (crust was too thick and had almost a gummy-chewy quality to it) and not nearly flaky enough.

                                                                        I wish I had the same experience as you did with the pappardelle. Our dish failed to impress. The broken pieces of pasta were not a welcome sight and they were far too undercooked and caused the noodles to be too stiff in texture. However, we also chose the gnocchi. This dish was an absolute win, the creamy, melt in your mouth potato dumplings were smothered with smoked mozzarella, tangy tomato sauce, and sprinkled with parm reggiano.

                                                                        In general, I'm not a fan of pork chops, but I appreciate how ours was cooked medium rare. The meat was tender and juicy. I also liked the interplay of the sweet fruit they used with the savoury meat (they used pieces of sauteed persimmons).

                                                                        The mashed potatoes were so soft and billowy. However, I agree with you, I didn't taste the bone marrow either. Maybe we're not supposed to? Perhaps it's only supposed to impart texture and give body to the potatoes.

                                                                        Dessert pastries are also hit and miss. Considering the praises given to the tarte tatin, the evening we had it, it didn't deliver the goods. The pastry was like cardboard and the caramel on the apples had an almost an acrid/burnt taste to it. However the fluffy marshmallow and blueberry-lemon tart was divine. We dove right into the dreamy item. Perfect marriage of crisp, buttery crust, tart-tangy filling and sweet topping.

                                                                        http://theavidbaker.wordpress.com

                                                                        1. re: sugarcube
                                                                          Herb Dec 31, 2010 04:41 AM

                                                                          Don't they cook everything in a wood-burning oven? Might be hard to regulate?

                                                                      2. a
                                                                        abigllama Dec 28, 2010 10:17 AM

                                                                        Called to make a reservation and recording says they've "gone ice fishing" and will be closed until January 4th.

                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                        1. re: abigllama
                                                                          k
                                                                          kosherdill Jan 23, 2011 11:08 AM

                                                                          We went to Woodlot last night after many weeks of trying to get in unsuccessfully. I have heard so much positive hype about this place, it was bound to be a bit underwhelming. The place itself is very unique and has a great vibe to it. Perfect spot for a fun dinner with a lively crowd.

                                                                          The food was very good, authentic and fresh, but it didn't blow me away. The fire roasted bread is delicious - I wish I hadn't had so many pieces before my meal! So, we were off to a great start and looking forward to our meal. I had the following:

                                                                          - French Onion Soup (or whatever they call it there). Outstanding and as good a French Onion as I've ever had. I enjoyed the rye bread mixed in for a unique twist.
                                                                          - Steak for my main. Was good, not great. I liked the flavour and the drizzling of oil and herbs on top to make it a bit more than a standard steak. But, it was rather fatty for a strip lion and it just didn't do much for me. The potato gratin was nice, but nothing special. I would have gone for something more adventurous, but the menu is really limited and way too many pork dishes. Would have liked a few more fish/meat options.
                                                                          - Potato Gnocchi side - really amazing - probably the highlight of the meal for me. Made me want to get the Gnocchi as my main. Maybe next time.

                                                                          Overall, I thought it was above average, but not the best meal of 2011 or anything. Prices were quite reasonable, but not cheap. The veggie menu is basically the same as the meat menu, but without the meat. I would love to see a bit more variety or perhaps a theme to the food. It seemed like a small menu of a bunch of very similar things (eg, Gnocchi as a main or side/veggie or not veggie). If you keep it small, I'd really like to have more variety.

                                                                          Might have to give it another shot and would recommend without over hyping...

                                                                          1. re: kosherdill
                                                                            miketoronto Jan 23, 2011 03:12 PM

                                                                            I agree - after looking back at my experience I would say that it was solid and nothing more. I'll definitely be back though to see how they've changed/improved after some more time.

                                                                            1. re: miketoronto
                                                                              k
                                                                              kosherdill Jan 23, 2011 04:34 PM

                                                                              Yes, it's worth another shot. But I think they need to update the menu before I return...

                                                                              1. re: kosherdill
                                                                                t
                                                                                table4onthefly Jan 23, 2011 04:47 PM

                                                                                I found the Crab Salad to be ridiculously salty, but the bread is fantastic. The Oxtail and Beef Tongue terrine they were running was superb as well.

                                                                                1. re: kosherdill
                                                                                  pinstripeprincess Jan 24, 2011 04:16 AM

                                                                                  based on the menu mentions below, that's already at least 3 menu changes/tweaks since they opened.

                                                                          2. b
                                                                            bellyhungry Jan 26, 2011 06:51 AM

                                                                            The boyfriend and I went in for an early dinner on Sunday. Not sure if anyone remembers but it was one of the coldest days so far this winter and just the day when their furnace stopped working. I had to keep my jacket on the entire time as it was quite drafty. It kin dof took away from the whole experience - the last thing I felt like was a glass of wine and I went for some hot mint tea instead. The servers were extra friendly though and I really felt bad - entirely not their fault and it must have been difficult for them to work in their jackets and thick sweaters and keep apologizing to people.

                                                                            Anyways, on to the food. We ordered the appetizer portion of the Wild boar red fife papardelle and the Gnocchi with parmesan and walnuts, the Chop of Whey-fed Pork from the Mains and the Lemon Tart for dessert.
                                                                            I may note that we went at 5pm and I wasn't too hunry - the appetizer portion of the "Middles" were HUGE. While the Gnocchi were just ok, the papardelle were great. The star of the night was the pork chop - so moist, just the right amount of fat, and the caramelized apples went perfectly with the medium-done meat. The lemon tart was a really refreshing end to the meal - not too heavy and just the right combination of sweet-tart.
                                                                            Will definitely go again, maybe when the weather gets a little warmer.

                                                                            1. r
                                                                              radiopolitic Jan 26, 2011 10:36 AM

                                                                              Ate here last Friday with a friend. Have been overseas since May so I thought I'd check out something new.

                                                                              We were a touch late due to my friend getting out of a meeting late and I really liked that they called us to make sure we were coming. I had been inside the location when it was the tentacle lounge many a time due a friend consistently DJ-ing there so no surprises there. Like what they've done with the place though.

                                                                              As we were a bit late they informed us the table had been rebooked for 2.5 hours later which was more than enough time. After we got seated we quickly decided on the ox tongue and oxtail rillette, red fife pappardelle with wild boar ragu, chicken and ham hock pie, and cabbage rolls with duck.

                                                                              Rillette was quite good. Liked the spices in it and the pistachios on top. Thought it was a successful dish.
                                                                              Pappardelle with wild boar ragu was the best dish of the night (my friend agreed).
                                                                              Pie was comforting but nothing particularly interesting. Hearty and on a cold night it hit the spot but was a bit devoid of flavour.
                                                                              Cabbage rolls were pedestrian in my opinion. Not bad but nothing special. I eat this type of thing fairly frequently and thought it could use some work. This particular rendition with the prunes reminded me of a certain grapevine leaf sarma that's fairly common in Anatolia.

                                                                              Had the lemon tart and the apple tarte tatin. Enjoyed those a fair bit. I prefered the lemon tart while my friend preferred the apple.

                                                                              Service was stellar. Attentive and knowledgeable without being pushy or hovering. Had a great wine with dinner that I later went and picked up a few bottles of from the LCBO. Definitely a keeper. Felt as though the starters and desserts were better than the mains - thought that seems to be a common trend these days. I would definitely return when I'm back in Toronto again to see some new items on the menu.

                                                                              1. s
                                                                                summersky Jan 31, 2011 11:09 AM

                                                                                I went there a few weeks ago and it was fantastic! The food was good, not out of this world, but what really impressed me was the friendly staff. They were so nice, and cared so much about the business and what they were doing. It made the experience so much better.

                                                                                The food was very good. They had listed a rabbit (?) rillette but didn't have it so we got the crab salad instead. I had the gnocchi with walnut sauce (over cooked slightly), the steak (pretty good), with potato gratin (amazing). It was good, but I'm not sure if I would go back for the menu. undecided.

                                                                                In between our pasta and our main, we asked the server to slow down the next course allowing time for us to chat more with the friendly staff. We were sitting there for 4 hours enjoying our food, taking our time.

                                                                                1. m
                                                                                  myriam5555 Feb 11, 2011 05:51 PM

                                                                                  What are the prices like? This place is in my neighbourhood, but I don't want to pay too much for comfort food.

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: myriam5555
                                                                                    f
                                                                                    froglegs Feb 12, 2011 06:57 AM

                                                                                    J Kates reviewed this place today in Globe & Mail.

                                                                                    1. re: myriam5555
                                                                                      foodyDudey Feb 12, 2011 08:40 AM

                                                                                      Prices were very reasonable in December, I assume they Are similar now.

                                                                                      1. re: myriam5555
                                                                                        ikapai Feb 13, 2011 09:48 AM

                                                                                        Spent approx $130 on dinner for two, but we shared a bottle of wine. Would be cheaper if you only had a glass or a half bottle.

                                                                                        1. re: myriam5555
                                                                                          Herb Feb 13, 2011 10:11 AM

                                                                                          Mains around $20 and HUGE!

                                                                                        2. b
                                                                                          bingobobsdong Feb 21, 2011 07:57 AM

                                                                                          Disappointed by my visit. All staff was friendly except our server, who ran hot and cold (mostly cold) and a bit surly. She actually came to the table, turned her back to my wife asked me "how is your food" and then walked away. Maybe it was a bad night for her, so whatever, I go out to eat not to be served. That said, I also thought the paper napkins were tacky.

                                                                                          Had a bourbon bullet that was tasty to start things off. We ordered from both the veg and 'regular' menus. Charred leak and potato salad was really nice. The endive & pear salad was ok, but nothing that hasn't been done a billion times.

                                                                                          For mains, the baked tofu didn't work at all. Texture of the tofu wasn't great and the two pieces were cooked differently, the barley was underwhelming flavour-wise.

                                                                                          My steak was 100% amazing, had a nice crust on it, cooked perfectly medium rare. Was a bit heavy and uneven on the seasoning in some places but I like salt. Only better beef I've had was at Craft Steak.

                                                                                          Desert, the lemon tart was good and the apple tatin was really nice, I think I preferred that to the tart.

                                                                                          All in all the food was good but not great. The services was ok but not great. With all the great reviews online I expected more.

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: bingobobsdong
                                                                                            jlunar Feb 21, 2011 01:44 PM

                                                                                            haven't gone for dinner, but have had that apple tatin (minus the ice cream they told me about). Thought the apples were amazing, the pastry less so. The pastry is just a minor note though, as the apples had this really deep complex taste from the caramelization of the fruit sugars.

                                                                                            1. re: jlunar
                                                                                              h
                                                                                              hungryabbey Feb 22, 2011 04:56 PM

                                                                                              I felt exactly the same way about the tatin.

                                                                                            2. re: bingobobsdong
                                                                                              m
                                                                                              Marumari Feb 22, 2011 06:05 PM

                                                                                              I had a similar experience, but with a dude server. In our case, the 3 of us sat at the communal table, with plenty of room around us for maneuvering. Our server came off as being a little aloof and uninterested in serving us. We had to pour our own water and wine, and getting the bill was a bit of a production.

                                                                                            3. s
                                                                                              stephamphetamine Mar 8, 2011 07:08 PM

                                                                                              Been dying to try Woodlot and decided this would be my birthday dinner selection this year. I called on Sunday leaving a message to make a reservation for this coming Saturday and nobody has returned my call. Called again today and nobody is picking up so I left another message and no response yet. Anybody else have a problem with this? Any suggestions besides physically making my way out there and banging on the door? Haha.

                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: stephamphetamine
                                                                                                p
                                                                                                piccola Mar 9, 2011 02:34 AM

                                                                                                I had the same problem with making reservations and found it's best to call during dinner service (I know it's bad form, but at least someone picks up).

                                                                                                That said, I scored some walk-in spots at the communal table a few weeks back and had an absolutely fantastic dinner with lovely service. I had the vegetarian cabbage rolls, a perfect dish for what was a very cold night. My friend had the pappardelle with boar and adored it. I tried a bite of her dessert, the tarte tatin, and we agreed it was one of the best restaurant desserts in a while. Our server was attentive without hovering. All in all, a great meal.

                                                                                                1. re: stephamphetamine
                                                                                                  d
                                                                                                  Degustation Mar 9, 2011 05:18 AM

                                                                                                  Perhaps it's just erratic as I didn't have that problem. They called me back promptly after each call to confirm my reservation.

                                                                                                  1. re: stephamphetamine
                                                                                                    l
                                                                                                    looosia Mar 9, 2011 09:34 AM

                                                                                                    Try email. I had to change the reservation twice to add more people, but each time they were prompt in returning my message through email and phone.

                                                                                                    chief@woodlotrestaurant.com

                                                                                                    1. re: looosia
                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                      stephamphetamine Mar 9, 2011 09:38 AM

                                                                                                      Thanks for the responses everyone!
                                                                                                      I did get a call back just now and the lady was very nice.

                                                                                                      Just a heads up for anybody looking to make reservations - their only time available on weekend evenings were all past 9:30 pm so I made a reservation for NEXT week Saturday and their only available times were early at like 5 pm. This is for a table of 5.
                                                                                                      So... make some early reservations! :)

                                                                                                      1. re: stephamphetamine
                                                                                                        ikapai Mar 14, 2011 08:56 AM

                                                                                                        Yep. If you're looking for a Friday or Saturday reservation around 7pm, it's best to make one several weeks in advance. Sundays and other days are easier to get spots!

                                                                                                      2. re: looosia
                                                                                                        dxs Mar 9, 2011 10:33 AM

                                                                                                        That's funny, I sent them an email weeks ago and never received any response.

                                                                                                        I don't get why leaving a voicemail or an email should be a crapshoot. Restaurants should have a policy of either responding to every single request for a reservation or of simply not taking reservations.

                                                                                                    2. s
                                                                                                      stephamphetamine Mar 19, 2011 06:21 PM

                                                                                                      Finally got to eat at Woodlot! Here's a rundown for those wondering:

                                                                                                      5 people - we had read about their "giant" portions and decided to order 2 appetizer sized dishes, 3 mains, 2 sides and 4 desserts. First things first - Woodlot just changed to their spring menu so I'm pretty sure things have changed... the portion size is NOT huge. We could have easily eaten a main plus shared some sides/appetizers. The side dish of mashed potatoes and turnips would be best shared by 2 people. Only their desserts were huge. Don't go in expecting a giant portion anymore.

                                                                                                      We would have ordered more but here's the negative: after serving us the two appetizer dishes in a normal amount of time, we waited an hour and a half for our mains to come. When we asked the waitress about our food after the hour mark, she went to ask the kitchen and said "they keep telling me 3 minutes..." Finally when our food came, she said they were going to take off all the entrees off of our bill. I am going to cross my fingers because they JUST started the spring menu so I hope things look better from here.

                                                                                                      The food: the pappardelle was delicious, as everybody has mentioned. GREAT egg noodle texture and the flavour was epic. The gnocchi was melt-in-your-mouth and the walnut sauce had a really complimentary sweet flavour.
                                                                                                      For mains we had the pork belly & duck, haddock, and snail & bacon with a fried polenta base.
                                                                                                      The best was the snail & bacon - absolutely great flavour with these perfectly cooked mushrooms in it and the fried polenta was so crispy. The haddock was perfectly cooked with these pasta-like tiny balls at the bottom (sorry, don't know what they are called) that were very interesting. The pork belly & duck was our least favourite - good flavour but didn't have as much depth. The duck meat was also quite dry at parts.
                                                                                                      We had the lemon and berry tart and the apple pie with burnt honey. Both were excellent. The tart was nice and sour and had a roasted marshmallow on top - we found that made it a bit too sweet. The apple with the burnt honey was genius.

                                                                                                      The service was pretty good - attentive servers who were friendly and helpful. We wish that they would have let us know that we didn't have enough food - we thought they had huge portions but it turned out not so. I mean, at the end with the desserts, we had enough to be full but during the meal we could have eaten more.

                                                                                                      I would definitely love to go back but I will wait until they get in their groove with this new menu.

                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: stephamphetamine
                                                                                                        Googs Mar 20, 2011 09:03 AM

                                                                                                        I'm actually rather happy thoe portion sizes have come down. Not that I want them to all tapas or anything. Beau and I lke to play 1-2-3 switch half through each course wherever we go so we can try more. At Woodlot, that was impossible without a doggie bag. Who wants to carry that around when there are so many good places for cocktails afterwards in that neighbourhood?

                                                                                                        1. re: stephamphetamine
                                                                                                          p
                                                                                                          peppermint pate Mar 21, 2011 09:17 AM

                                                                                                          I also finally got the chance to eat at Woodlot and it sits right there up with Beast as one of the most delicious, fun and satisfying meals in recent memory.

                                                                                                          I had tried to make reservations a few times but their weekend spots fill up too far in advance for my spontaneous needs - anyway, 2 of us chanced it with a walk-in on Saturday night and after a short glass of wine at a nearby restaurant, we were rewarded with a table upstairs.

                                                                                                          Cozy, dark, buzzy vibe - tables are close together but it adds to the fun atmosphere. Before we ordered, our waitress let us know that they were super busy that night and that service would be on the slower side - we weren't in a hurry and appreciated the heads up. As it turned out, the pacing between dishes was fine for us, though we overhead a few apologies about the timing at a nearby table and they ended up comping them their desserts and drinks. Any restaurant can get slammed on any given night and in my books, it's all in how you handle it - sincere apologies plus generous comps go a long way to erasing any pain in my books.

                                                                                                          Anyway, the food...we started off with hen of the woods mushrooms on a bed of wild rice topped with mache. Light, nutty, earthy, wonderful. Next up was a small order of the pasta - my DC can't have gluten and our waitress said they sometimes have gluten free pasta on the menu. Delighted by that little surprise, we ordered it - I'm forgetting the exact preparation (braised lamb? pecorino? brothy) - anyway, gluten or no gluten, it was one of the best pasta dishes either of us had ever had. Perfectly balanced, fresh earthy, rich flavours that already have me planning my next visit to make a meal of that dish on its own. Crazy good.

                                                                                                          We then shared the snails and bacon - can't remember the last time I ate snails - they were sauteed with mushrooms and some greens on a slab of crisped polenta in something that I'm recalling as a reduced red wine/balsamic sauce. Wow. We shared 2 sides - potato puree with marrow and rapini with anchovies. Each dish was outstanding on its own but together, the flavours perfectly complemented each other. Off the charts.

                                                                                                          Add to that a friendly, polished waitress with a great sense of humour and some friendly conversation with the table next to us and it is a dinner I won't soon forget. I loved everything about our evening there. Can't wait to go back.

                                                                                                          1. re: stephamphetamine
                                                                                                            aser Mar 21, 2011 09:52 PM

                                                                                                            I think the pasta-esque thingies are spatzle.

                                                                                                            Regarding portion size, I've only been once, with their first menu. Some of them were huge (ie venison pie), while others were typical sized (fish, pork chop, etc).

                                                                                                          2. l
                                                                                                            looosia Mar 22, 2011 01:28 PM

                                                                                                            Was there this weekend. The menu was in transition, I guess in reflection of the change in season?

                                                                                                            Anyways, their cabbage rolls no longer were made of boar but lamb instead. The vegetarian cabbage rolls had chestnuts. The pot pies were great, the meat version filled with creamy chicken, and the vegetarian version filled with a gravy-like tempeh and root vegetables.
                                                                                                            Loved both gnocchis available, the side version that was crunchy and reminiscent of home fries; the main version accompanied by a creamy walnut sauce. I echo everyone's sentiment about the French onion soup. It was piping hot, drenched with cheese on top, and bits of bread baked within the soup. I often find French onion soup too salty but this one was perfectly seasoned, the broth rich but not thick, and very smooth.

                                                                                                            Note, however, that should you come too early for your reservation you can't sit at the bar because they are reserved for dining so you just head around the corner and wait it out at Teatro. Service was also great, non-intrusive but the servers were available when you needed them. Loved the interior of the restaurant too; I can't believe this place used to be Ted's Wrecking Yard/The Octopus Lounge.

                                                                                                            -----
                                                                                                            Teatro Restaurant
                                                                                                            505 College St, Toronto, ON M6G1A5, CA

                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: looosia
                                                                                                              p
                                                                                                              piccola Mar 22, 2011 06:20 PM

                                                                                                              The veggie cabbage rolls have had chestnut all winter, so maybe the transition isn't over yet.

                                                                                                              That said, since their website doesn't include a menu, it would be great if people who go could post it in this thread. That way we could all keep up.

                                                                                                              1. re: piccola
                                                                                                                l
                                                                                                                looosia Mar 22, 2011 06:51 PM

                                                                                                                When I went, they said they were *just* transitioning into the new menu so some of the winter menu items remained such as the above-mentioned vegetarian cabbage rolls.

                                                                                                                Another dish that was sampled: the mashed potatoes with bone marrow. It was a side dish and it was very creamy, strongly flavoured with the stock so much so that it almost tasted like a smooth-tasting bone marrow dish rather than potatoes.

                                                                                                                Also, is it just me or do all Toronto restaurant hostess/hostesses always wear the big-rimmed hipster glasses? This is the third resto sporting this fashion, confirming that this is a trend. Anyways, food was good at Woodlot!

                                                                                                                1. re: looosia
                                                                                                                  Splendid Wine Snob Mar 22, 2011 08:17 PM

                                                                                                                  No, it's not just you- totally hate the ubiquitous big-rimmed hipster glasses!

                                                                                                                  Can anyone comment on some other recent vegetarian plates besides the cabbage rolls and pasta?

                                                                                                                  1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                                                                                                                    l
                                                                                                                    looosia Mar 22, 2011 08:29 PM

                                                                                                                    The vegetarian pot pie was really great. The filling was tempeh and root veggies--I couldn't identify all of them, but I'm pretty sure it included parsnip and carrots. The filling tempeh was molded into small dumplings in a creamy, dark brown gravy. The crust was perfectly browned with slightly flaky dough. My own qualm about the pot pies were that it seemed they could have been more generous with the filling so that it reached closer to the top of the crust. Can't recall what else was on the vegetarian menu other than the pastas, pie and cabbage roll, but I'm sure they would have changed it by now/soon for the new spring menu.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                                                                                                                      p
                                                                                                                      peppermint pate Mar 23, 2011 04:55 AM

                                                                                                                      The hen of the woods dish that we started with, as well as the rapini with anchovies, were on both menus and both delicious. I recall seeing a vegetarian version of the "snails and bacon" dish that actually sounded quite tempting - I believe they used tempeh and maybe tofu (or maybe something else) - anyway, cooked with a similar sauce and served on the crisped slab of polenta.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                                                                                                                        Googs Mar 23, 2011 05:17 AM

                                                                                                                        I'm with you SWS. Some day they'll look back at photos of themselves and wonder "why did I ruin all my pictures by putting those ugly things on my young, pretty face?"

                                                                                                                      2. re: looosia
                                                                                                                        p
                                                                                                                        piccola Mar 23, 2011 06:46 PM

                                                                                                                        Fair enough. I'm really curious to see what they'll do next. It's so nice to see someone put effort into the vegetarian menu.

                                                                                                                    2. re: looosia
                                                                                                                      Non Doctor Mar 23, 2011 06:13 AM

                                                                                                                      Was Ted's Wrecking Yard not around the corner?

                                                                                                                      1. re: Non Doctor
                                                                                                                        p
                                                                                                                        peppermint pate Mar 23, 2011 06:16 AM

                                                                                                                        Yes - on College. Maybe where Burrito Boyz is now (though I could be wrong - maybe Ted's is still there)?

                                                                                                                        1. re: peppermint pate
                                                                                                                          Herb Mar 23, 2011 06:43 AM

                                                                                                                          Wasn't Ted's Wrecking Yard where that hotel was supposed to happen but never did (still empty) on the south side west of Palmerston? Ted's Collision was further west.

                                                                                                                    3. t
                                                                                                                      table4onthefly Mar 22, 2011 09:00 PM

                                                                                                                      I can't wait for the Spring menu. I'm a ramp slut (am I allowed to say that on here?), so if he does anything with ramps, I'm SO there. I am praying specifically for a Ramp Pommes Dauphinoise, cooked to golden perfection in that beauty of a wood oven...

                                                                                                                      1. prima Apr 7, 2011 10:47 PM

                                                                                                                        Finally tried Woodlot tonight. Didn't love the hen of the woods mushrooms on wild rice salad- too sweet for me, in a way that didn't work for me, and while some bites of mushroom were delicious, one particular mouthful of mushroom was so earthy that it tasted more like earth (mud) than mushroom. Scallops were cooked nicely.The gnocchi and pappardelle with lamb and dandelion were too salty for my taste. Enjoyed the pot de creme and lemon tart, but found the apple tarte tatin almost bitter. Espresso was fine. Service was friendly enough, but not as polished or professional as I'd expect at this price point. Not likely to revisit.

                                                                                                                        1. j
                                                                                                                          JennaBean Apr 8, 2011 07:32 AM

                                                                                                                          Went to Woodlot as part of Telus Tuesday. The resto was full and had a great buzz in the air. We found the service friendly and professional.

                                                                                                                          The dishes we shared were potato salad, scallops, veg pappardelle, whey fed pork chop, and then we both had the apple tarte tatin.

                                                                                                                          The highlights were the veg papardelle and the pork chop. The potato salad was good but a bit under seasoned and the while the flavours of the scallops were lovely they lacked any kind of sear and were lukewarm on top of cold items.

                                                                                                                          The apple tatin pastry was heavenly but the apple a little too sweet for my personal pref.

                                                                                                                          With half a bottle of wine and two lattes our meal was $90 before tip and that is with having both of our apps and desserts for free!

                                                                                                                          While the food was a good solid 7.5 out of 10, I don't think at the full price of this meal there would be much value for money. This is homey comfort food done well but for me the regular price point is a bit too steep for a neighborhood resto IMO.

                                                                                                                          16 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: JennaBean
                                                                                                                            prima Apr 8, 2011 09:22 AM

                                                                                                                            Our scallops were described by our server as braised, so I forgave the lack of sear, since it's especially difficult to sear while braising. ;-) Ha ha. My one friend asked the server to cook her scallops further, as she likes her proteins cooked "well-done". After a little convincing, the server took her scallops back to the kitchen, and returned them a couple minutes later. It looked like the kitchen put the scallops under the Salamander, because they came back looking toasty. My friend was happy, and enjoyed the scallops.

                                                                                                                            I am happy the kitchen was willing to cook the scallops to my friend's taste, because I find it annoying when a restaurant in TO sticks to a "The Kitchen/Chef is always right" approach, and insists everyone eat their duck breast medium rare. It was nice to see that Woodlot is flexible when it comes to customer's requests.

                                                                                                                            My apple tatin's pastry wasn't heavenly. On the verge of heavy/almost soggy, maybe ;-) Not sure if there might be issues re: consistency.

                                                                                                                            While Grace seemed over-priced and under-portioned, all the food tasted good. Woodlot has more generous portions for the same type of price point, but I'd describe most of the food, apart from the lemon tart and pot de creme, as satisfactory.

                                                                                                                            1. re: prima
                                                                                                                              jlunar Apr 8, 2011 09:54 AM

                                                                                                                              random fyi: I didn't like the pastry on the tatin either. Just the apples!

                                                                                                                              1. re: jlunar
                                                                                                                                prima Apr 8, 2011 09:57 AM

                                                                                                                                I was going to ask you, "How do you like them apples?" Ha ha.

                                                                                                                                I didn't even like the apples, and I've been really liking apple-centric desserts lately. Maybe this is a sign I've become an apple dessert snob! Or maybe this means I don't know how to appreciate a revelationary apple dessert, and the Woodlot tatin was over my head!

                                                                                                                                1. re: prima
                                                                                                                                  jlunar Apr 8, 2011 10:00 AM

                                                                                                                                  Hmn.. I really liked the apples on the tatin and that caramelized-in-its-own-sugar taste. Wonder if it was different for you?

                                                                                                                                  ...not that we have to like the same things!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: jlunar
                                                                                                                                    prima Apr 8, 2011 10:03 AM

                                                                                                                                    I'm guessing it wasn't the quite the same tatin. You know, kind of like, how you can never step in the same stream twice? Could vary with the age of the apples, the variety of apples available, the person who made the tatin, the position of the moon, etc.

                                                                                                                                    Your taste in desserts is usually quite similar to my taste in desserts, as far as I can tell, jlunar, so I'm guessing that particular tatin has good days and bad days! ;-)

                                                                                                                                2. re: jlunar
                                                                                                                                  dlw88 Apr 8, 2011 10:03 AM

                                                                                                                                  Seems most of the dessert pastries were pretty firm and heavy that night, although cranking out three times what you usually do in a sitting can't be so easy.

                                                                                                                                  I also had the scallops, which I thought were well done except for the accompanying under-seasoned lentil salad. I think if the prosciutto had been seared and combined with the lentil, the dish could be taken to another level.

                                                                                                                                  I still enjoy all of my meals at Woodlot...just don't set your bar for comfort food too high.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: dlw88
                                                                                                                                    prima Apr 8, 2011 10:17 AM

                                                                                                                                    Point well taken.

                                                                                                                                3. re: prima
                                                                                                                                  h
                                                                                                                                  hungryabbey Apr 8, 2011 06:26 PM

                                                                                                                                  Ha, I didn like the pastry of the tarte either.. Mine was soggy.. and a bit burnt on bottom.. just not easy to eat.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: prima
                                                                                                                                    pinstripeprincess Apr 8, 2011 11:52 PM

                                                                                                                                    their dessert pastry is awful. i don't understand why. they make bread that people seem to like (i'm on the fence about it), yet no flakey tender texture in the desserts.

                                                                                                                                    i think i suffered from the same issue that you did. i was expecting comfort food, but with at least an interesting twist or element and that really just didn't happen for me at all. i think that there's still great value if you order the baked items (lasagna or pie) and i do enjoy their red fife pasta.... but nothing is made me crave.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: JennaBean
                                                                                                                                    m
                                                                                                                                    MeMeMe Apr 8, 2011 12:31 PM

                                                                                                                                    We were there on Tuesday as well. Our 2nd time at the resto and like the first time, we loved it. I had the onion soup (rivals best in the city) and the steak. Husband had polenta with snails and bacon. Wine and drinks and dessert - with two others - was such an amazing deal. Service is with a smile. Love the vibe - great music.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: JennaBean
                                                                                                                                      v
                                                                                                                                      vijayk416 Jun 26, 2011 03:40 PM

                                                                                                                                      I hit Woodlot last night with my gf and I agree with a number of of folks suggesting good food and overall experience but poor value for the money. Here's the short view from my end:

                                                                                                                                      the good: very well made food and a full veggie menu that overlaps with the main menu. GF had the papardelle with morels which was excellent as was my duck confit with maple glazed pork belly on white beans (attached), The starters were also very good.

                                                                                                                                      the bad: we had what appeared to be a $20-$25 2009 Beaujolais for $78, so the markups are not kind and no BYO, also lack of depth on the wine list despite a decent number of bottles on the list

                                                                                                                                      the ugly: they store their wine in the restaurant which has no a/c (at least not last night) - while they decanted the bottle for us I needed them to chill it in their fridge for close to 30 mins. It was probably ~ 22 Celcius when they brought it to us and by the time it had cooled enough we had finished our starters.

                                                                                                                                      I enjoyed myself last night but the overall pricetag was too high for a repeat. Unless they implement BYO I will not return to Woodlot.

                                                                                                                                      Food - 4 stars
                                                                                                                                      Wine / Cost - 2 stars
                                                                                                                                      Overall - 3 stars

                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                      1. re: vijayk416
                                                                                                                                        TorontoJo Jun 26, 2011 04:35 PM

                                                                                                                                        Not all of the alcohol is insanely marked up. I recall a nice bottle of hard cider going for a good price ($15?) and a reasonable sparkling wine for maybe $30.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: TorontoJo
                                                                                                                                          v
                                                                                                                                          vijayk416 Jun 26, 2011 04:53 PM

                                                                                                                                          Affordability is not what I am at odds with here. I could have afforded to buy a crap bottle of Malvoire Foch that was equally marked up but whose base cost is lower. 250% on top of a lower list price yields a lower total price. My point was that the markups as a percentage of the base cost of the bottle is too high.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: vijayk416
                                                                                                                                            d
                                                                                                                                            dubchild Jun 26, 2011 07:30 PM

                                                                                                                                            I haven't been in awhile, how much did you pay for the food?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: dubchild
                                                                                                                                              v
                                                                                                                                              vijayk416 Jun 27, 2011 04:35 AM

                                                                                                                                              My main was $27 and probably the most expensive main on the menu, hers was less as it was a pasta dish, I think ~$20, I can't remember how much the apps were. Our bill for two apps, two mains, two coffees, a shared dessert and the wine ($79 pre-tax) was roughly $190 after tax and pre-tip. I should clarify that I am not at odds on the cost of the food. It was quite good and worth it.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: vijayk416
                                                                                                                                                d
                                                                                                                                                dubchild Jun 27, 2011 05:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                I would have to take a look at their new menu, but it seems prices have crept up. This is not surprising as it is common for new restaurants to keep prices low in the beginning to draw people in. If prices have gone up, it's an indication that they're doing well. I imagine portion sizes have still remained generous.

                                                                                                                                                Sorry to hear about the wine. I don't have a problem with a 2.5-3 times increase if I feel they are putting the money back into their wine program, such as, providing good wine glasses, training, maintaining proper temperature, and having decanters. Even if this was a great Beaujolais it was closer to a 3-4 times increase, as a Moulin-a-vent or Morgon usually comes in at between $18-$25.

                                                                                                                                    2. p
                                                                                                                                      piccola Sep 23, 2011 06:02 PM

                                                                                                                                      Haven't been since last winter and curious how the menu's changed. Any updates?

                                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: piccola
                                                                                                                                        a
                                                                                                                                        autopi Sep 24, 2011 09:43 AM

                                                                                                                                        to our chagrin, they are no longer doing the morning pastry/bakery thing. i gather they still sell their breads, but no more breakfast type options. too bad, as their quiches were tremendous.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: piccola
                                                                                                                                          p
                                                                                                                                          piccola Sep 27, 2011 05:38 PM

                                                                                                                                          Went this weekend and was really glad to see I loved it as much as the first time. Split the grilled halloumi starter, then I had the BBQ tempeh main while my companions had the pappardelle (with hazelnuts and some kind of greens) and the fish (with fennel salad).

                                                                                                                                          The service was lovely and attentive, though there was a little lag between the starter and the mains. But overall a great meal, and they were really wonderful about accommodating a last-minute reservation.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: piccola
                                                                                                                                            Anita Nap Sep 30, 2011 01:40 PM

                                                                                                                                            Love woodlot better than:
                                                                                                                                            -cowbell
                                                                                                                                            -le select bistro
                                                                                                                                            -ortolan

                                                                                                                                            1. re: piccola
                                                                                                                                              p
                                                                                                                                              peppermint pate Oct 14, 2011 11:01 AM

                                                                                                                                              I went there again this week. Been there 5 times now and loved it each and every time.

                                                                                                                                              The current menu has a lot of appeal. We had crostini with grilled haloumi and chickpea spread, the crab salad with radicchio and apple and the steak with stunning chanterelle mushrooms. Sides consisted of roast brussels sprouts with bacon and crispy braised Jerusalem artichoke with a citrus ginger sauce. Lots of surprising little flavour hits throughout. In-house baked breads to start were delicious (and the butter was soft - oh bliss). We ogled the pork chop with grilled radicchio, sweetbreads and a few items off the vegetarian menu, including the tempeh kebabs and the stuffed squash. Cozy space, friendly service. Highly recommended.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: peppermint pate
                                                                                                                                                b
                                                                                                                                                bakersdelight Nov 1, 2011 08:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                I ducked in the other night to buy a loaf of bread. Very sweet staff member showed me a whole basket full of enticing loaves & told me the red fife was a variety of wheat native to Ontario. Took it home and was bowled over. The crumb! Fantastic. Enjoyed it very much.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: bakersdelight
                                                                                                                                                  prima Nov 2, 2011 06:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                  The sweet staff member sounds a little misinformed. While Red Fife is a heritage wheat, it isn't native to Ontario: http://www4.agr.gc.ca/AAFC-AAC/displa...

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: prima
                                                                                                                                                    b
                                                                                                                                                    bakersdelight Nov 2, 2011 11:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                    Wow!! That's quite a mythology for a little bitty grain. They do call the Ukraine 'the bread basket of Europe.' Thanks, prima. At any rate, it was amazing bread!! Their head baker, Jeff Connell, is a real artisan. Saw a video posted on http://www.torontostandard.com/?s=woo...

                                                                                                                                            2. c
                                                                                                                                              canadianbeaver Nov 17, 2011 07:04 AM

                                                                                                                                              Made it to Woodlot last night for dinner.

                                                                                                                                              The good: the room (loved the open kitchen concept - I would say I loved the overall ambiance but I really found it too dark in the room, I couldn't read any of the menus), the housemade pop (cream soda was superb!), the sweetbreads and bacon (although I've never had sweetbreads before so I can't compare it).

                                                                                                                                              The inbetween: the service was a little strange...., the phone calls I received reminding me of my reservation were very strange too (a random 647 number calling me on my cell phone and he chatted with me casually for a while before finally telling me who he was), the room temperature, the French onion soup (very salty, I've had better).

                                                                                                                                              Overall, I would say that the food was overpriced, which is a rare statement for me. I don't feel like I would go back again, which is another rare statement. I liked it, but it was just pretty "meh", as we like to say on here.

                                                                                                                                              1. a
                                                                                                                                                arugula Nov 30, 2011 07:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                The place is ridiculously small, but the food is great and the wine list is fabulous.

                                                                                                                                                Caveat emptor: My friend and I were seated at the bar. We got great recommendations from the bartender. We also fell in love with him. We split an appetizer, had two great mains, and split a really great dessert.

                                                                                                                                                The wine list had nothing familiar, but the bartender recommended a truly delicious wine at the low end of the price scale. The bread--and I'm not a breadee--was fabulous.

                                                                                                                                                Nicest place I've been in little italy.

                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: arugula
                                                                                                                                                  prima Dec 3, 2011 06:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                  You lost me at "caveat emptor". What does "caveat emptor" have to do with you falling in love with the bartender and/or your meal at Woodlot ?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: prima
                                                                                                                                                    Splendid Wine Snob Dec 3, 2011 07:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                    Buyer Beware of the hot bartender?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                                                                                                                                                      prima Dec 3, 2011 07:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Periculum!

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