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The County General - simple food, prepared beautifully

TorontoJo Oct 2, 2011 05:19 AM

I was at The County General for an early dinner on Friday with my DH and two friends. We ordered about 85% of the menu to share:

- deviled eggs
- frites
- bean and ham soup
- fried chicken thigh sandwich
- the county burger
- smoked pork belly steamed buns
- chicken fried two ways
- heirloom tomato sandwhich
- cupcake
- cookies
- apple pie

I suppose that at first glance, the menu comes off as simple home cooking or comfort food. But the quality of the ingredients and the execution raise the food to a wonderful level. First off, I'll say that I never order chicken out at restaurants because it's inevitably boring and dry. But The County General has chicken nailed -- flavourful, juicy, even a bit pink in the middle. The fried chicken thigh sandwich was one of the favourites of the night for all of us, but the chicken fried two ways deserves a mention as well. It's two enormous chicken breasts, each with a different preparation, deep fried, sliced and served with an array of fresh toppings and condiments and bibb lettuce to make lettuce wraps with.

Everything else was equally excellent. The soup was a perfect bowl on a cool fall day -- delicious and hearty and almost a meal unto itself. The deviled eggs were creamy and tasty and a deal at $1.50 for two halves (Origin is up to $6 or $7 now, I think). The county burger was cooked a beautiful medium -- totally pink and juicy with a great crust. Simple and beefy and delicious, said my DH (and at $12, including frites, probably the best "upscale" burger deal in town). The steamed pork buns were another tasty treat. 3 in an order, each with a different set of toppings: one with coleslaw, one with kimchi and one with avocado and cliantro (I think).

The star of the night, however, was the heirloom tomato sandwich. Gorgeous thick slickes of tomatoes with a white cheddar, mayo, avocado and fresh basil between two slices of rustic bread, oiled and grilled. The tomatoes were so perfectly ripe and tomato-y that you wonder why you ever bother with the nasty, mealy, out-of-season tomatoes from the store. It was like eating a cross between the perfect caprese salad and the perfect bruschetta in sandwich form. Sadly, Victor told us that they were getting their last shipment of tomatoes from the County today -- the County had frost the other night, so that is probably the end of tomato season. So if you love good tomatoes, go this week before they have to change the menu.

Desserts were equally homey and delicious. The salted caramel chocolate cupcake was easily my favourite cupcake I've had in Toronto in ages (I bought two to bring home with me). The chocolate cookies were really nice, too -- crisp and slightly chewy with a nice salt edge to it. The apple pie was a nice rendition -- good apples and not too sweet, with the crust perhaps not as flaky as my personal preference, but tasty nonetheless.

Cost for dinner for four: all of the above, plus a drink each and my to-go cupcakes came to $160, before tip. A pretty great deal, consider the sheer quantity of delicious food we ate and the provenance of the food (Vicky's Veggies, Cumbrae's meats) and the kitchen (Splendido).

I'm looking forward to going back and trying new items as the menu changes. But I really hope I get back there before the tomatoes are gone.

http://www.thecountygeneral.ca/

-----
Cumbrae's
481 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y, CA

  1. TorontoJo Oct 2, 2011 05:23 AM

    A couple of pics from dinner:

     
     
    2 Replies
    1. re: TorontoJo
      grandgourmand Oct 2, 2011 06:52 AM

      Is that a full-sized burger? In the picture, it looks more slider-sized.

      What's "the County"?

      Menu looks interesting. Thanks for the post/review.

      1. re: grandgourmand
        TorontoJo Oct 2, 2011 07:20 AM

        Oh, sorry, the burger didn't make it into the photos. The burger is an 8 oz. burger, ground on site I believe. And "the County" is Prince Edward County, where the restaurant is currently getting their produce from.

        The picture on the left is of the tomato sandwich. The picture on the right shows, clockwise from the left: the steamed pork buns, the fried chicken thigh sandwich and the chicken fried two ways.

    2. aser Oct 2, 2011 09:27 AM

      What the heck is a d.h.?

      This place looks very good, and being Splendido owned I'm sure the quality will be great.

      My only problem is that I'm getting tired of the "general store" feel for every new clothing store, restaurant and bar that's opening nowadays. Started blowing up in nyc and now everybody is doing it.

      Personal pet peeve, has very little to do w/ this place.

      3 Replies
      1. re: aser
        Splendid Wine Snob Oct 2, 2011 10:17 AM

        Completely agree RE: "general store" theme. I'm sure the food is delicious but the menu seems to be a take on Ssam/Noodle/Milk Bar. Nothing wrong with that, just doesn't excite me.

        1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
          TorontoJo Oct 2, 2011 02:47 PM

          Neither the theme or the menu's relationship (or lack thereof) to David Chang's restaurants bothered me one way or the other. Other than the preponderance of raw wood in the furniture and ceiling, there wasn't much that was "theme-y" or kitschy about the decor. And other than the steamed pork buns and the simple desserts, I didn't see a lot that overlapped between the restaurants. But like I said, it wouldn't bother me if he was inspired by Milk Bar or any Momofuku restaurant. If anything, the vibe I got from the place was "this is Victor Barry's playground, where he gets to have fun do all the home-style stuff that he can't really do at Splendido".

          Having said all that, I can understand not being excited by the menu, as it really doesn't read all that exciting. But I liked it. :)

        2. re: aser
          s
          szw Oct 2, 2011 03:19 PM

          DH is a term that women use to say "dearest husband" instead of just saying husband.

        3. d
          dubchild Oct 2, 2011 03:38 PM

          After my brunch at County I can't say I'll be going back. The room is small and tight. They have to get a curtain for the front entrance because when the temperature goes down a little more, that room will be freezing. Service seemed a little flustered even though the room can only get so busy.

          The food is adequate and nothing more. Portion sizes are small, when my burger arrived, my girlfriend asked if it was a slider. The burger, on their website, is listed as 8oz, it looked more like 4oz to me. The fries come in a just filled rocks glass. The meat to bun ratio is a little off and it needs a slightly bigger bun. The burger itself was juicy and flavouful but dead simple. I'm all for simple food, but with all the competition doing something extra, they need to step things up. There are several places I would put ahead in terms of burgers and all of them offer a larger portion. The burgers at the Harbord room and E11even are much juicier; Fanny Chadwick's, the Queen and Beaver and Gabardine's are more flavourful, have great bacon, and Fanny makes its own ketchup; Marben's burger is better thought out as far as the whole thing being rich and melting in your mouth.

          The omelet and apple pie were good but small. The pie is $5 but once you add ice cream it goes up to $8. The cupcake had a very good butter icing.

          My girlfriend and I each ordered a main, dessert and a cupcake in order to feel somewhat full. Brunch is usually a main and split a dessert affair. Maybe there is a lack of options in the area but I'm sure there other places were two can have brunch for less than $75 before tip. I know they have been open only a week, hopefully things improve.

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

          Harbord
          147 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1H1, CA

          Fanny Chadwick's
          268 Howland Ave, Toronto, ON M5R 3B5, CA

          1 Reply
          1. re: dubchild
            c
            cutehinano Oct 2, 2011 05:04 PM

            I had a similar experience at brunch with service issues (they forgot our coffee and tea a bunch of times) - but given that it was their first brunch service, we will probably still go back because the food was very good. The portion sizes were quite inconsistent though - hopefully things will improve.

          2. justsayn Oct 2, 2011 05:09 PM

            Thanks for the lengthy report. I am not sure where you are going for chicken, that it is always dried out/boring. Are you referring to churassco places? If so, I understand your complaint for the most part but have to say there are a million great places for juicy tasty chicken in the city! CG is not the only spot by a long shot!

            1 Reply
            1. re: justsayn
              prima Oct 3, 2011 10:42 AM

              justsayn, curious- what would be your top 3 chicken dishes or places for juicy, tasty chicken in the city? I don't want to hijack this thread- so I started a juicy, tasty chicken thread here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/810463

            2. c
              childofthestorm Oct 6, 2011 04:35 PM

              Oh man just had the fried chicken two ways for 2 at The County General and it was brilliant. For sure, a Momofuku ripoff, but equally delicious so who cares, really? Oh and the OP was right about the devilled eggs, not sure how that's only $1.50 but it's a great deal.

              4 Replies
              1. re: childofthestorm
                jlunar Oct 6, 2011 07:52 PM

                We were there tonight too and left just before 8p! I'm hoping my shots turned out better than my first visit.

                First visit faves were:
                - Tomato sandwich
                - Soup
                - Chicken sammy

                Second visit faves
                - Cupcake! Really good.

                If anyone has a chance, try their El Dorado flight. I really love the 21-year old and it's interesting to be able to taste the differences age makes.

                1. re: jlunar
                  s
                  szw Oct 6, 2011 09:49 PM

                  any lineup?

                  1. re: szw
                    TorontoJo Oct 7, 2011 03:32 AM

                    Not at 6, but by 6:30 there was a wait.

                2. re: childofthestorm
                  p
                  peppermint pate Nov 4, 2011 09:05 AM

                  "Oh man" is right - made it to County General the other night for the fried chicken 2 ways and it has got to be one of the tastiest and most fun dishes in the city right now.

                  One large breast of fried chicken, crispy fried and perfectly juicy inside, the second large crispy-skinned breast with a soy glaze and fresh red chilies, both served on a large wooden board and surrounded by ramekins with a selection of mix 'n match toppings - guacamole, kimchi, fresh ginger, fresh coriander, red chilies, pickled red onions, diced green onions, bbq sauce and chopped radish as well as a bunch of bibb lettuce leaves to roll it all up in. It was such fun to play and around with different options, my favourite being the fried chicken with guac, green onions, coriander, radish and kimchi. We started with a wedge salad - very large wedge of iceberg lettuce with creamy blue cheese dressing, some fried pork topping (pancetta maybe?), crumbled blue cheese and croutons. Really good and a very generous portion. Alongside a few beers, it was a perfect meal for 2 with a grand tally of $70. I agree with many that at first glance, the menu isn't too tempting but I would return in a heartbeat for this dish alone and the other sandwiches they were serving looked good as well. Large cocktail list, great tunes and super sweet waitress rounded out the package. It doesn't strike me as a place to linger for a long meal but for late night or early evening bites, or to satisfy some supreme fried chicken or tasty sammy cravings, it's spot on.

                3. f
                  fluffysouffle Oct 7, 2011 01:30 PM

                  Seems very meat heavy. Besides the tomato sandwich does anyone remember other good veggie options?

                  1. TorontoJo Oct 8, 2011 03:43 AM

                    I should note that the burger has gone from 8 oz. for $12 to 6 oz. for $15. Bummer. I suppose that is more in line with what other restaurants are charging, but I thought it was a pretty darn good deal before.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: TorontoJo
                      justsayn Oct 8, 2011 06:45 AM

                      Were these weights and matching prices actual noted somewhere or is this derived from your gauge?

                      1. re: justsayn
                        TorontoJo Oct 8, 2011 07:03 AM

                        They were noted right on the menu. jlunar even checked her photo of the original menu just in case my memory was wrong.

                        1. re: TorontoJo
                          justsayn Oct 8, 2011 11:37 AM

                          Thanks!

                      2. re: TorontoJo
                        prima Oct 8, 2011 09:09 AM

                        Less is more.

                        1. re: prima
                          j
                          jamesm Oct 8, 2011 08:22 PM

                          My girlfriend and I popped in there after the gym today around 6 o'clock and were promptly seated in a great seat right by the window. Service was friendly and attentive throughout. We both had a cocktail that was bourbon and jones cream soda. We both enjoyed it although we don't know why we ordered it since neither of us are big bourbon or cream soda fans. It was kind of a panic order. My girlfriend ordered the burger and I had the steamed pork buns. Each came with a different topping, avocado and cilantro, bbq sauce and kimchee. Each was delicious but I would have been happy if all three were bbq. The buns were amazing with an excellent texture. They also served a hot sauce in a small squeeze bottle that accompanied each bun nicely. I should point out that we both have a cold right now so our tastebuds are not running on full throttle. The burger was pink in the middle and the waitress did ask how she wanted it prepared. It was very juicy and despite our compromised taste buds it was very beefy. The bun was also very good but the bottom half didn't hold up well. The frites were excellent as well. Nicely seasoned and served with a nice house made ketchup. We finished with a couple of cappucinos. All in it was 75 bucks. The portions weren't huge but we both left full and satisfied. We're both looking forward to returning to try the rest of the menu.

                      3. y
                        ylsf Oct 8, 2011 09:05 PM

                        Some nice pics on BlogTO of the food and decor:

                        http://www.blogto.com/restaurants/the...

                        1. aser Oct 25, 2011 10:13 PM

                          Had lunch on the weekend, portions sizes are more like a snack than a meal. Probably best to order 1.5 dishes per person minimum.

                          Chicken sandwich is very moist, it lacked seasoning in both the chicken and the avocado chutney.

                          The burger had a very great aged taste, although requesting gluten free means you'll get bread instead of a bun. The bread breaks down due to the glorious meat juices saturating it. Would be nice if they could source a gf bun.

                          Fries are great, although I feel the glasses aren't the best vehicle for them. The bottom fries will get soggy because the glass traps moisture and heat. I plowed through the fries though to counter that.

                          I will return, this place has potential.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: aser
                            Splendid Wine Snob Oct 26, 2011 05:44 AM

                            How much was the bill for the snack?

                            1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                              aser Oct 26, 2011 11:41 AM

                              about $40 with tax/tip, two mains and an iced tea.

                              I would equate the fries size as about half of a reg wendy's container of fries.

                            2. re: aser
                              iMarilyn Oct 26, 2011 07:37 AM

                              @aser They serve them in a tumbler so you don't notice they're only a half portion.

                              1. re: iMarilyn
                                j
                                JennaBean Oct 26, 2011 07:46 AM

                                My friend and I actually commented to the server that we both thought it was the prefect portion size. I don't ever want a giant plate of fries. I'd much rather have a smaller serving of something that is better quality than the average.

                                1. re: iMarilyn
                                  j
                                  jamesm Oct 26, 2011 08:39 AM

                                  What is the standard universally accepted portion size for fries?

                                  My girlfriend and I had no issues with portion sizes.

                                  1. re: jamesm
                                    foodyDudey Oct 26, 2011 08:45 AM

                                    2 to 3 oz. is considered standard.

                                    1. re: foodyDudey
                                      j
                                      jamesm Oct 26, 2011 08:59 AM

                                      Well, in that case I received more than one ounce of fries.

                              2. j
                                JennaBean Oct 26, 2011 06:14 AM

                                Went last night with a girlfriend. We had two eggs, slaw, chicken thigh sandwich, "meat" ball, a slice of pie with ice cream and three drinks in total. $75 before tax and tip.

                                We loved the eggs, fries and chicken sandwich. Unlike Aser we didn't find the bottom of the fries soggy at all nor was the chicken under seasoned for us.

                                My friend really enjoyed the so called "meat" ball but for me as a person who really enjoys meat I wish it was more well meat-like in texture. The sauce and bread were great but I just didn't enjoy "meat" ball.

                                Service was really good and friendly without trying too hard. I think he was the only server on the floor and the tiny space was packed on a rainy Tuesday night.

                                Overall we were pleased and I know we will be back.

                                The pie was well, just pie. Nothing exciting or special.

                                In terms of our drinks the highlight was the Figgy but at $16 a drink it was a wee bit overpriced IMO. $14 would be much more suitable.

                                13 Replies
                                1. re: JennaBean
                                  jlunar Oct 26, 2011 07:17 AM

                                  Ignore the pie. It's all about that caramel chocolate cupcake.

                                  1. re: jlunar
                                    j
                                    JennaBean Oct 26, 2011 07:31 AM

                                    I don't like chocolate. :-)

                                    1. re: JennaBean
                                      TorontoJo Oct 26, 2011 08:17 AM

                                      *gasp*

                                      :)

                                      But I agree about the french fries -- I think the portion is just fine, and I don't find that they get soggy at the bottom.

                                      1. re: TorontoJo
                                        j
                                        JennaBean Oct 26, 2011 08:28 AM

                                        I know! Once in a blue mood I will crave some really great chocolate but for the most part it is my least fav sweet item and I'd almost always take cheese over something sweet for dessert! :-)

                                        1. re: JennaBean
                                          foodyDudey Oct 26, 2011 08:31 AM

                                          Why not eat both? That's what I would do. Cheese and Chocolate, that will really satisfy your C-spot!

                                          1. re: foodyDudey
                                            j
                                            JennaBean Oct 26, 2011 08:47 AM

                                            AHAHAHA if only I loved the chocolate. Maybe champagne and cheese for my C-spot! :-)

                                        2. re: TorontoJo
                                          aser Oct 26, 2011 11:47 AM

                                          If you eat them fast enough they don't, but if you're a slow eater, they'll get soggy at the bottom. Easily solved w/ another container, but it won't look as nice as the glass.

                                          I don't need the fries to be bigger, I wish the sandwiches were about 1/3 bigger though.

                                          1. re: aser
                                            TorontoJo Oct 26, 2011 11:57 AM

                                            I agree that the dishes are on the small side -- especially since they reduced the size of the burger. Overall, I find the price point/sizing reasonable compared to other places, but I think it works better if you are sharing with a couple of friends and order 1 more dish than there are people.

                                            1. re: aser
                                              j
                                              JennaBean Oct 26, 2011 12:00 PM

                                              We finished the fries last and really they were not at all soggy. We saved them to the end and ate the side salad we got with the meatball first b/c it was a little over dressed and we didn't want that to get soggy! The fries were crispy even when they were cold. Maybe your batch wasn't cooked enough but I'm pretty sure they cook them three times as part of the Spendido process which was brought into the CG.

                                              Maybe b/c we are girls and we had slaw and each had a full egg we were well full and didn't have room to finish our shared slice of pie...

                                              1. re: JennaBean
                                                aser Oct 26, 2011 12:35 PM

                                                Again as I said, mine weren't soggy because I ate them fast.

                                                It's just physics, vertical tall glass + hot steamy fries = heat/moisture trapped in the bottom. I'm basing it on that.

                                                As to portion size, they're in line with the market nowadays. Yes I wish they were bigger, but they're no different than the majority of their competition. Price points are kept lower to make the menu look more attractive, but portion size will be slimmed down as a result.

                                                I wouldn't mind paying a few dollars more for a bigger burger, like the portion/pricing at Harbord Room or Nota Bene.

                                                1. re: aser
                                                  j
                                                  JennaBean Oct 26, 2011 12:40 PM

                                                  Sorry my misunderstanding. So you've never had soggy fries there, you're just assuming they will be soggy.

                                                  As I said, we saved most of ours to the end. Cold and still, not soggy. I think the glass will be fine if the fries are cook well from a process perspective. And I do believe that they blanch, quick fry, finish fry so they should be just fine.

                                                  1. re: JennaBean
                                                    j
                                                    jamesm Oct 26, 2011 01:41 PM

                                                    I know we didn't exactly inhale our fries and we didn't notice any sogginess. Not sure how long it took us to eat them though.

                                          2. re: JennaBean
                                            jlunar Oct 26, 2011 09:26 AM

                                            I don't like chocolate desserts, but this was really good.
                                            Mind you, if you don't like chocolate at all, then uh... yeah (*gasp* indeed! XD ).

                                      2. s
                                        Smorgasbord Oct 26, 2011 07:06 PM

                                        Have been there for brunch- the food didn't really blow me away, but the service was warm and accommodating, and the room's got a nice vibe. People have commented on the price/size ratio of the food, but warning- the cocktails at brunch are WAY overpriced.

                                        1. w
                                          Whats_For_Dinner Nov 21, 2011 11:50 AM

                                          Was there very late Thursday (or should I say early Friday) and everything was exceptional -- among our group we had the kimchi pork bun (excellent), chicken sandwich (ridiculously moist, but the coating remained super crispy), burgers (deliciously juicy, fatty and beefy)... but the winner was he pig's head torchon -- a screaming hot deep-fried cube of what I assume to be headcheese/head terrine/whatever. Hot, crunchy, and exploding with pork fat, I would eat these for every meal until I keel over from cardiac arrest. At only four bucks a pop, the perfect late-night drunk snack. Will definitely go again, maybe not at 2:30am this time.

                                          10 Replies
                                          1. re: Whats_For_Dinner
                                            justsayn Nov 21, 2011 12:21 PM

                                            I just can't understand the fascination for this chicken sandwich. They have taken a good piece of fried chicken and failed to enhance it as a sandwich IMO.

                                            1. re: justsayn
                                              t
                                              themiguel Nov 21, 2011 01:25 PM

                                              People are fascinated with the fact that it's delicious.

                                              1. re: themiguel
                                                justsayn Nov 21, 2011 06:40 PM

                                                Yea no kidding, so let me re-phrase.

                                                I just can't understand what is so delicious about their chicken sandwich. They have taken a good piece of fried chicken and failed to enhance it as a sandwich IMO.

                                                1. re: justsayn
                                                  c
                                                  childofthestorm Nov 21, 2011 07:37 PM

                                                  Now maybe you can explain "failed to enhance it as a sandwich."

                                                  1. re: childofthestorm
                                                    justsayn Nov 21, 2011 07:52 PM

                                                    Sure. Without getting into too much detail. I would enjoy the chicken with a knife and fork and perfect accompanyments than to have more bread added to a bready piece of chicken slathered in avocado. Being dark meat it was on the greasy side (not juice) and didnt need that avocado! The cilantro was good but that isnt enough IMO. The toppings needed to bring some contrast to heighten the chicken or just let it be without all the junk. Without the mush, they could season the chicken more! Preferences you see....

                                                    1. re: justsayn
                                                      c
                                                      childofthestorm Nov 22, 2011 05:38 AM

                                                      Sure I get that. One of the things I liked best about the fried chicken two ways for 2 was the sheer number of accompaniments you could mix and match. Maybe they should shuttle some of those over to the sandwich plate as well.

                                                      1. re: justsayn
                                                        j
                                                        JennaBean Nov 22, 2011 07:04 AM

                                                        I LOVED all the avocado on it! But I can't think of anything that I don't like with a little extra avocado! My ick comes when with mayo. I really really don't like mayo and will take anything over mayo.

                                                        1. re: JennaBean
                                                          justsayn Nov 22, 2011 07:54 AM

                                                          : ) I agree on the avocado VS mayo 100%. Although I do like fine aiolis, flavoured or just garlicky...then there's tzatziki....

                                                          Like I said, it is all preferences but one thing for sure, the sandwich would completely suck if I asked to hold the avocado!

                                                          It's a good sandwich, but for me there is no excitement and nothing calling me back.

                                                          1. re: justsayn
                                                            m
                                                            magic Feb 18, 2012 08:57 PM

                                                            I agree with you, justsayn.

                                                            I certainly don't agree with the love for this chicken sandwich. Very plain tasting, lacked even basic seasoning. I had to flavour it with the scotch bonnet sauce from a friend's dish to give it some flavour. That should never happen. It should stand alone with no help, but for me at least, that was certainly not the case.

                                                            My main issue was it though was its size. It was INCREDIBLY small. 4 small bites. Done. It was ridiculous. $15 for a single slider is completely unacceptable. Never again.

                                                            Trio of pork buns - meh. The BBQ version was tasteless and dry, the avocado offering marginally better. The kimchi one was my fav, probably as it was the largest, most flavourful (but not burstingly so), and not dry. Milk buns were great.

                                                            Grilled chicory cesar was an utter bore, what waste of money that was. Boudin sausage special appetizer was fine, not memorable.

                                                            Two things that I liked: fries (a nice amount) were pretty good and housemade ketchup was lovely. Also, they removed the oxtail tacos from the menu and replaced it with pork shoulder tacos. The pork was supposedly smoked but I sure didn't get any of that smoke. Still, I had a bite of my friend's and it was fabulous. Two to an order and they were actually a reasonable enough size. I should've ordered that.

                                                            Happy I checked it out, and the service was nice, but I doubt I'll return.

                                                            1. re: magic
                                                              aser Feb 19, 2012 08:31 PM

                                                              Yup, too small imo. I rather they up the price and give a proper portion. It's becoming a common problem amongst new trendy restaurants I've hit of late.

                                            2. h
                                              hungryabbey Nov 21, 2011 05:59 PM

                                              Went by on Saturday for some cocktails and casual fare. Of the cocktails we tried, the fav was the Private's Order ( Havana 7yr, Basil, Pomegranate, Lemon and Angostura over ice). It was perfectly balanced, while I found the others a bit too strong for my tastes.
                                              In terms of food we tried:
                                              White Bean, Ham & Mustard Soup- This was probably the best thing I had all night. The pork was tender, the beans were perfectly cooked and I could have eaten those crispy crunchy croutons all night long. My only complaint was that it was a wee bit salty (which seemed to be the theme of the night).
                                              Vegan Potato Leek Soup-While I can't complain too much, because it WAS advertised as vegan, I definitely felt like this soup was missing something, likely butter or cream.
                                              Smoked Pork Belly & Steamed Buns: Kim Chi, Avocado Chutney, Green Apple Slaw- So this was pretty delicious, each pork belly-bun sandwich topped with a different condiment: one slaw, one kim chi, one chutney, the best of the bunch being the slaw in my opinion. Again, the pork was deliciously cooked, and the buns were light and fluffy.
                                              The General’s Reuben: Smoked Peppercorn Brisket, Braised Cabbage, Gruyere, Country Rye, County Dressing and Fries- A good sized main, but everything was really over seasoned. Even though the fries were cooked perfectly, all I could taste was salt, and while I only got a bite of the sandwich, it seemed to be suffering from the same misfortune.
                                              We opted not to go for dessert, as the offerings were not particularly exciting to me (cookies, cupcake and apple pie- meh). Having said that, I thought the meal was still pretty enjoyable, and I would return based on the appealing menu, and hopes that the salt issue was just an unusual happening.
                                              Has anyone else had oversalted food? Rarely is this something I would complain about because I kind of like things on the saltier end of the spectrum.. but this was pretty distracting.

                                              1. sloweater Nov 23, 2011 06:16 PM

                                                I had lunch at the County General a couple of weeks back.

                                                The positives: the food was decent, although it's a little pricey for what it is. We both started with the white bean soup which was pretty good (cilantro was nice but I would have preferred the leaves without the entire stem); I had the chicken thigh sandwich and my friend had the fish cakes, which we were both happy with, but the portions were too small. The music and overall vibe were great; there was a nice buzz to the room.

                                                The negatives: we ordered a bottle of Robyn's Block Chardonnay that was brought and opened at room temperature. When we commented, a bucket with ice was brought over, which we had to dump our water into so that it would cool the wine. The service was spotty, but friendly.

                                                Would I go back? If I'm in the neighbourhood, yes; otherwise, probably not.

                                                I had a better lunch at Bar Centrale for $50 less. The food was more interesting and better. The service was superior. The wine list was more interesting.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: sloweater
                                                  m
                                                  millygirl Dec 29, 2011 04:26 AM

                                                  We had an excellent lunch there yesterday. My chicken sandwich was so full of flavour. I'm not normally a big fan of cilantro but this was wonderful. Mr. MG loved his burger too. In fact so much so he's planning to take a buddy for a return visit.

                                                  We arrived at just the right time and got the last 2 at the bar. From there, the line up began so we were quite happy our stars aligned. It was a great lunch and I'm sure I'll be hankering to return.

                                                  It's funny because you mentioned Bar Centrale sloweater. We loved it our first time but went back about 2 weeks ago and were very disappointed. Both our meals arrived stone cold and lacking in flavours compared to our first visit which we loved. Mr. MG's steak and eggs were just room temp - the waitress offered to re do them but we were starving and in a hurry. How does this happen though? Pretty sure we won't be back.

                                                  1. re: millygirl
                                                    sloweater Dec 29, 2011 03:42 PM

                                                    Yikes! I'll keep that in mind the next time I'm back at Bar Centrale. I'd like to give it another shot, as the first experience was very positive.

                                                    I'm glad you enjoyed County General. I think I was a little down on the experience because the service was a little clueless (with regard to the wine), but I'll likely go back when I'm in that area next. Maybe I should have ordered a red instead ;-)

                                                2. l
                                                  LemonLauren Jun 4, 2012 08:10 AM

                                                  Any recent reports on CG? What is the wait on a Friday at 7pm?
                                                  Has anyone tried the fish tacos they're doing now?
                                                  Thanks!

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: LemonLauren
                                                    TorontoJo Jun 4, 2012 02:45 PM

                                                    Just noting that they take lunch reservations now. I think for weekdays only.

                                                    1. re: TorontoJo
                                                      j
                                                      JennaBean Jun 5, 2012 06:51 AM

                                                      That's correct and they said parties of six or less only.

                                                  2. chocabot Feb 2, 2013 06:55 AM

                                                    Went for lunch and the food was pretty bad. In the past I've tried a very good brunch, tasty mini pork sandwiches and a delicious serano gin and tonic. Maybe today was just not the day, maybe a lot has changed since I have not been since summer, however I won't be back for food until I hear otherwise.

                                                    The posole - not nearly as tasty as my favourite one at Tacos El Slavador. The meat was flavourless and overall just boring. I give them credit for hominy not from a can.

                                                    Pork sandwich with fries - Passable.Toasted bread with the same tasteless pork. Fries were soggy.

                                                    Big salad - I found it a bit overdressed/oily for my taste and the raw red onion overpowered even when pushed to the side. I liked the butter lettuce leaves and not finding any rotting spring mix (which is too often the case everywhere!) though the cheap flabby cheese made not sense and the radishes were watery without bite.

                                                    Overall sad.

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: chocabot
                                                      kwass Mar 26, 2013 04:38 PM

                                                      I don't think it was just an "off" day. When I went for lunch recently (my 1st time there), I was utterly disappointed! It made me wonder what all of the hype had been about.

                                                      1. re: kwass
                                                        Food Tourist Mar 26, 2013 04:40 PM

                                                        How recently?

                                                        1. re: Food Tourist
                                                          kwass Mar 26, 2013 04:41 PM

                                                          I guess it wasn't that recently. 2 months ago.

                                                          1. re: kwass
                                                            Food Tourist Mar 26, 2013 04:42 PM

                                                            Apparently they upgraded and updated their menu 6 weeks ago. It's really good now.

                                                            1. re: Food Tourist
                                                              kwass Mar 26, 2013 04:52 PM

                                                              Really? Ok. I'd consider giving it another try :)

                                                    2. Food Tourist Feb 8, 2013 06:06 AM

                                                      The County General seems to be in decline. Went for dinner a couple of nights ago on a weekday - mostly empty. Limited dinner menu now - maybe 5 "sharing" apps and 5 "mains" (mostly sandwiches) and one daily special sandwich. Ordered medium-rare burger topped with fried egg. and fries. Overseasoned on all counts. Burger has always been tiny (can't be more than 4 oz) but when it's not brunch, it just seems wrong. Won't be back.

                                                      For my $16 I'd still get the burger at The Harbord Room any day.

                                                      1. Food Tourist Mar 26, 2013 04:34 PM

                                                        I went back a bit reluctantly for dinner last night to use up a 20% off winterlicious coupon. Was pleasantly surprised that County General has stepped up their game and are really good for the most part. They have expanded their dinner menu to include "real food" like $40 for 10 pcs of Korean Fried Chicken. Also for 2: pork schnitzel, good beef, plus new sides, more apps/snacks, etc.

                                                        Frites are still horribly oversalted. Stay away! The big mac (pork belly on a steamed bun with thousand island dressing) is on the wrong track - should just be presented as a momofuku-style bun, minus the McDressing. Shrimp chips with dip are pedestrian.

                                                        However, brussels sprouts, even with mayo, are definitely worth ordering. Foie gras parfait is a bargain at $7. I liked the pairing with rhubarb though it's not a natural taste combo.

                                                        The KFC hoisin chicken is dramatically presented and really tasty with great texture and flavour. Generous serving (advertised for 2 people) easily feeds 3 people plus leftovers. Seriously, the chicken is Chow-worthy and worth a long drive.

                                                        Cocktails, beer and wine are decent. Service is casual, friendly but effective.

                                                        They redeemed themselves so I'd happily return.

                                                        8 Replies
                                                        1. re: Food Tourist
                                                          justxpete Mar 26, 2013 04:52 PM

                                                          Disagree re: the "lil Big Mac". I could eat hundreds of those things.

                                                          I enjoy the CG KFC more than I enjoyed the KFC at Galleria - the quality seems to be on a different level, although I'm not certain about relative authenticity.

                                                          Fries: There's a secret menu item of truffle fries.. ask for those next time. Topped with pecorino, they're highly addictive.

                                                          And you should have had the birthday cake...

                                                          1. re: justxpete
                                                            h
                                                            hungryabbey Mar 26, 2013 06:57 PM

                                                            can someone explain this bday cake?

                                                            1. re: hungryabbey
                                                              Food Tourist Mar 27, 2013 03:50 PM

                                                              Layered cake with a multitude of flavours and add-ons. Sounded amazingly delicious and decadent. Will try next visit!

                                                              1. re: Food Tourist
                                                                h
                                                                hungryabbey Mar 27, 2013 05:49 PM

                                                                mmm me too!!

                                                          2. re: Food Tourist
                                                            s
                                                            szw Mar 26, 2013 05:53 PM

                                                            I've had the KFC. Its generous for 2, but I wouldn't say it fed 3 unless you had some other dishes. I didn't think the chicken was that good though, both were overly salty (and I like salt) when I had them.

                                                            Try the wings at oddseoul.

                                                            1. re: szw
                                                              Food Tourist Mar 26, 2013 06:19 PM

                                                              KFC comes with 10 pieces. We did the math and decided that 3 pieces each was plenty - we also ordered sides/apps but didn't have room for birthday cake though it sounds amazing. Definitely NOT salty last night. I really hate too-salty food and the KFC wasn't salty.

                                                            2. re: Food Tourist
                                                              t
                                                              themiguel Mar 26, 2013 07:19 PM

                                                              I'm with JustxPete. I ate those Big Macs at the Slurp Noodle event and it blew my mind.

                                                              They are insanely good.

                                                              1. re: Food Tourist
                                                                j
                                                                JennaBean Mar 28, 2013 07:10 AM

                                                                I fully loved the fries the last time I was there in Feb. I don't find them oversalted at all but I will admit, I do enjoy a little maldon or fleur on just about anything!

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