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Against the Grain Urban Tavern (opening early May 2011)

New Upscale Tavern opening up on the Harbourfront

http://www.atgurbantavern.ca/

Slated to open Beginning of May 2011...reno's still being done when we passed by it

Same owners of the Mill Street Brew Pub

NO menu up on website yet, but looks like the space is going to be huge

25 Dockside Drive, Corus Quay
Toronto, Ontario

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    1. Website says its owned by FAB Concepts. They own several other pubs, but not Mill Street. And there's several menus listed.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Herb

        According to this website, Mill St. is in fact part of the FAB brand, but perhaps this info is out-of-date: http://www.hcareers.ca/seeker/employe...

        Regardless, even if this new pub is not going to be a foodie mecca it is exciting to see something like this opening up down in the newly developed part of the waterfront. It will certainly make the heart-stopping hike down under the Gardiner more worthwhile in the summer with Sugar Beach and a pint of beer waiting at the other end!

        1. re: Gary

          The info about FAB owning the Mill Street Brewpub is correct.

          I'm not sure if they have any involvement in the Brewery (which is located in Scarborough, where main brewing operations moved when they outgrew the Distillery location), but they own and operate the Brewpub.

          1. re: gregclow

            I don't care who owns it, anything has to be better than La Prep. I'm welcoming anything else for lunch in the building other than that place.

            I just walked past it though and it looks a loooong way off from an early May opening.

      2. So apparently this place is open now: they put up a gallery of images on their website, and I have to admit that the space and the patio look quite impressive. This will be a great destination down by the new Sugar Beach and Sherbourne Common.

        The menu on their website is surprisingly constrained (aka short, especially for a pub) and though it's a little pricey ($13-15 burgers) what's on there sounds pretty good. The chef is a former sous chef at Beer Bistro. I'm really hoping this place turns out to be reasonably decent despite its corporate background. Anyone else brave it yet?

        -----
        Beer Bistro
        18 King St. E, Toronto, ON M5C 1C4, CA

        2 Replies
        1. re: Gary

          I was there for an apres work nosh yesterday and was pleasantly surprised. Even though there was some confusion as to whose section I was in, once that was ironed out, the service was excellent. Shared the pulled pork tacos, veg tempura and the Dockside pizza. All were delicious, with the possible exception that the bbq sauce on the pork was a bit too sweet for my tastes - but I still enjoyed the tacos. The pizza was really delish - their own cured proscuitto (not overly salty!), arugula, sweet roasted garlic cloves and ample chunks of parm.

          The patio and restaurant are very nicely appointed, with an unobstructed view of the harbour. The only detractor for me was the ongoing construction right next door - but apparently it hasn't been too big a factor, and the crews quit early in the day.

          I will definitely be going back again and again as ATG is a welcome addition to our nabe.

          1. re: lcorkery

            I haven't eaten there yet but i was surprised by the menu. It's a little more ambitious and creative than I was anticipating and the patio is lovely. I forgot all about the construction, since I work in the building it's just become background noise and barely notice it anymore but it could be an issue for others.

        2. This certainly isn't good news for me....the FAB/Mill Street people are one of the 'best' examples of a chain that spends great deals of cash to convert great old spaces into great new spaces but grinds out mediocre food with terrible service (albiet with short skirts).

          3 Replies
          1. re: ingloriouseater

            Friends went to the soft opening early this week and loved it. I didn't get much in the way of details except that they came home raving about the place and the food. The fact that it's on the water is an added bonus.

            1. re: ingloriouseater

              This one is bit different from other FAB locations, they smoke their own meats and make their own sauces and source local produce etc. Also, not a short skirt in sight!!!

              1. re: Pebbles

                Really? I work in the building and am pretty sure I saw some short skirts. The patio is huge and looks nice and so far the reports on the food have been positive from co-workers. It's a welcome addition to the building, even if by default because the other option, La Prep, is god awful. 3 people in line and it still takes 10 minutes to get a coffee from the confused counter help and the food tastes like hate.

            2. So, I took my mom to see Glee at the ACC today, and decided to stop by Against the Grain on the way home.
              So, the first downside to this spot is the parking situation. We found a spot on the street where we could park for free, but we got the last one... and the parking lot was a flat rate of 10$ from 9-6 pm, and $ 10 from 6-12. But we got there at 5:45 so it was so awkward and would have cost us way too much for the quality of the meal. I can see this place being a great spot to bike to on a nice day, and stop for lunch and a pint... but once this place begins to get a bit more business, its unlikely we would find another free parking spot.
              On the good side, the space is quite impressive. It is huge inside, with a nice looking bar (with large screen TVs.. even though they were playing infomercials..), and an even bigger outside patio that apparently have fire pits for night time, and lots of couches and lounge areas.
              The service was also good. This isn't fine dining at all, but our server was friendly and mature, which is apparently sometimes a lot to ask for in some Toronto pubs.
              Okay, so the food, we tried:
              Baja Spiced Chicken Nachos with salsa, guac and chili sour cream.
              These were pretty good nachos, but not the best I've had. While a bit skimpy on the chicken, the cheese was generous and perfect. It was still really stringy, but completely melted, and was layered throughout (we did ask for it on just half though so my mom, whos a cheese-o-phobe could have some, and they happily accomodated).

              Prime Rib Special with mashed potato, yorkshire pudding and veg
              Apparently every Sunday, the have a different roast special, and today was prime rib for $20 with potatoes, yorkshire pudd and veg. It was a very generous and surprisingly still tender piece of meat considering my mother insisted on it being well done. Potatoes were a bit bland but I am not a huge mashed fan.

              Pulled Pork Tacos with molasses and tankhouse ale pork, gouda, avocado creme fraiche, and pickled watermelon and radish salsa
              For pub food, I was pretty impressed. The pork was super juicy with a just hint of smoky sweetness, and I loved the watermelon salsa. This would be a really nice light lunch item.

              Daily Poutine with corn beef and a dijon gravy
              I wasn't sure how sharp the gravy was going to be, so I asked them to put it on the side, which is why they probably thought they needed to pop the cheese under the broiler to get it to melt. But after I tried the gravy, I was happy and disappointed. Happy because I liked it, but disappointed because I couldn't taste the dijon at all. It just tasted like basic gravy.

              Fish and Chips with pale ale battered Cape Capensis filet, served with fries, spicy beer ketchup and lemon tartar sauce
              Their fries are pretty good here, and the spicy beer ketchup was an interesting accompaniment. Actually, it was surprisingly spicy, and had an obvious beer undertone. The fish batter was also pretty good, very crispy and not greasy at all.

              So for 3 beers, 1 pop and the above, the total with tax and tip was about $120, not bad for a more interesting casual pub experience. There are quite a few other menu items that called my name (Duck Confit, Smoked Chicken Pot Pie, Short Rib Burger), so I'm sure I will be back on a nice night for the patio.

              3 Replies
              1. re: hungryabbey

                Thanks for your review hungryabbey! I always look forward to your perspective on pub fare.

                1. re: Manybears

                  Well, if you go you need you go remembering that its just that, a pub. Its definitely better quality than other options, like the other FAB establishments, but its also more pricey. And surely there are other options in TO for less money, with better food (ie. numerous ethnic spots, for example), but this was better than most in the pub dept. In summary, it was nothing incredibly noteworthy, but nothing offensive, and acceptable for the price if you are in the mood for pub food.

                  1. re: hungryabbey

                    but their beer list looks to be quite good.
                    i'd put it as an upper tier bottled beer bar.