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Feb 13, 2011 03:26 PM


I noticed a coming soon sign for this place near Oyster Boy for a while now. This afternoon I walked by and noticed they have posted a full menu and their web address. The menu is rustic Italian. Seems very similar to very nearby Bar One. Interesting to see how it stacks up.

Does anyone have more info? Has anyone tried it yet?

Oyster Boy
872 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J1G3, CA

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  1. ChefDB lists the chef as Kendall Collingridge, who has experience at Crush Wine Bar, Buca, and Le Petit Castor.

    1. I went with a few friends last week. In short, not at all impressed. It's certainly the most disappointing meal I've had in recent memory. It wasn't inedible per se, but every single meal had a problem with it. From the overcooked octopus to the overly-friend artichokes to the dry, bland and burnt funghi pizza, I wish I could say one good thing about the food, but I honestly struggle.

      Perhaps the restaurant needs a few weeks under its belt in order to shine, but usually it's the service that is poor in the early days. To be sure, Parkette service suffers from the same. Our table's main server had a lack of knowledge about ingredients as well as blase recommendations (Q: "Would you recommend the radicchio salad?" A: "Yes, it's fine").

      The wine list was uninspiring. We tried two Italian reds and would not re-order either. They also didn't carry their one French sparkling wine by the glass, so if you desired just a bit of bubbly, you were out of luck. And if you're OCD in the slightest, the wine list is riddled with enough spelling and grammatical errors to make life seem unbearable.

      1. I went to Parkette last Saturday night for dinner with a few friends. We were cold and
        walking on Queen west and were attracted by the simple menu and the relaxed atmosphere.

        The place is fairly small and we were noticed right away and were seated at a cool long
        table that we shared with a few others. The high ceilings and exposed brick made it seem
        a lot bigger than about 30 seats.

        We started with the fried artichokes ($10) and the sardines ($11). My vegetarian friend
        had a margherita pizza ($12) and an arugula salad ($7), and I shared beef cheeks ($16),
        gnocchi ($14), and a grilled radicchio salad ($7) with another friend. The portions were
        perfect, and we left more than satisfied and didn't break the bank.

        Everything was really fresh tasting and full of flavour. It seemed like traditional
        Italian food with a spin...I've never seen duck ragu on pasta or braised pork on a pizza
        before and everything we had was delicious. It was also pretty cool that you could see
        right through to the kitchen and knew the food was coming right from the guys in the back.

        The service was also good, very relaxed, not pretentious or overwhelming.

        All in all a great experience, I'll definitely be back!

        5 Replies
        1. re: belardij

          where else have you gone for your italian fixes in TO? buca, one of my faves, has a braised pork pizza and considering the infatuation with pork the past couple years there are likely a lot of restaurants doing these "spins".

          same with the open or visible kitchen... almost surprised you haven't seen it more frequently!

          how was the pizza crust?

          1. Yes, this is my first post. I eat at many restaurants, work at an Italian restaurant in Yorkville and also go to a culinary school in Toronto. After I went to Parkette, I googled it and read the review and thought it was unfair after the pleasant experience I had. So thought I should say something to do it justice.

            I'm italian and have been eating "traditional" food my whole life and braised pork on pizza is not traditional even if Buca does do it too, I still thought it was interesting. I know many restaurants have open kitchens, every one I've worked at has had one, Its still nice!

            In response to your question, my friend seemed to like her pizza, the bite i had tasted like my nonna's pizza and personally I enjoyed it.

            1. re: belardij

              no one said braised pork on pizza is traditional, but considering there has been an obsession with bacon/pork in the food industry and personal kitchens i'm noting that it isn't uncommon these days to find such things and that there are other restaurants that offer the "spin" you find interesting that you might enjoy, but since you eat out at many restaurants i'm sure you'd be aware of that then. i'm not even sure how many "traditional" places exist considering how flexible cuisine is and even between grandma's of all kinds.

              i'm just looking for different information than you're offering. it's nice to know you enjoyed the open kitchen and the pizza but can you tell me specifically:
              - was it well seasoned?
              - what type of crust was it? cracker thin crust? neapolitan? (crisp vs soft)
              - was it a good rendition of this crust?
              - charred blisters? none? too charred?
              - too salty? i've been having issues with far too salty crusts on otherwise delightful pizzas.
              - can you compare it to any others in the city?

              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                I was just giving a general review. I had a very pleasant experience on a Saturday night. Like I said, I didn't order the pizza so I don't think I could give a fair response. Its only $12 though, so maybe try your own taste test!

                1. re: pinstripeprincess

                  For the funghi pizza specifically, I found that it was:
                  - decently seasoned
                  - a cross between a cracker thin crust and Terroni crispy-chewy (definitely not Libretto)
                  - like my home-made pizza crust, that is, not an expert rendition
                  - slightly burnt edges. Blisters would suggest some nice, lighter air pockets. This would have very very few.
                  - Shockingly, not salty enough, and I agree with pinstripeprincess that many crusts (such as Terroni) tend to be far too salty

                  It's not that the pizza was horrible, certainly not. I just was not impressed, particularly when you have some excellent pizza being made in the city these days.

            2. I went last week and would certainly recommend it as a decent neighbourhood place. I wouldn't cross town for it, but we had a well-executed meal that came in at $100 all-in for two courses each plus wine.

              Unlike vidkid, I was impressed with the grilling of the octopus, which was perfectly cooked. Though the accompanying bean puree was a bit bland. Pizza was decent (though not quite Libretto or Terroni). Oxtail gnocchi rich and delicious. Good portions.

              Service was friendly (much more so than some Queen West spots) though not particularly polished.

              1 Reply
              1. re: accordion

                I'll echo the friendly service comment. It wasn't pretentious in the slightest, but they're still ironing out their kinks, so perhaps I was unduly harsh. I feel like an ogre now.

              2. Had a lovely dinner at Parkette with two friends. I will disclose I know the chef and ADORE his gnocchi - it did not disappoint. Light, fluffy, delicious as always. I had the octopus to start and for me it was perfectly cooked but a little under seasoned. At the table there was also the grilled radicchio salad and the wild mushroom pizza. The highlight for me were the gnocchi and the AMAZING grilled radicchio. The smokiness from the grilling really paired so well with the pear and cheese. A great local spot at a good value for money price point.

                874 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1G3, CA

                2 Replies
                1. re: JennaBean

                  I was there a while back and had the octopus and the wild mushroom pizza. The octopus was just ok, kind of underwhelming as an overall dish. The pizza was pretty good (very tasty mushrooms!), but they used these gargantuan thyme leaves so that some bites were absolutely overwhelmed by the herb while others had none. Would have liked better integration of the thyme, and maybe some roasted garlic or caramelized onion or shallot to balance with some sweetness. Also had a ricotta-based cheesecake-type dessert that was pretty awesome. I'd say it's a decent neighborhood spot with some potential. I found the wine list odd, though - for an Italian menu, they seem to give a lot of space on their very short list to French and Ontario wines.

                  Maybe next time I try the gnocchi. :)

                  1. re: Wahooty

                    Picking up the thread, Joanne Kates raved about the pasta and salads, not so much about everything else in last weeks Globe & Mail