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The Gabardine

  • j

Anyone been? How is it? I am going tonight and haven't been before. What are some of the better menu items?

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  1. It's really good Canadian bistro food in one of the prettiest spaces in the financial district. The lobster roll (if they have it on special) and the shrimp po' boy are both excellent. The chicken pot pie is huge, chock full of chicken and totally delicious. There's usually a brined pork chop that can either be very good or slightly overcooked. The very simple sounding grilled cheese is worth getting (I like to order it as an app and share) -- it's aged white cheddar and an onion confit on sliced baguette. The pudim choumeur and the dessert that has the roasted marshmallow ice cream is always good. Pass on the whoopie pies, the other desserts are better.

    1 Reply
    1. re: TorontoJo

      Agreed. It's a surprisingly decent place with surprisingly good food at surprisingly reasonable prices. A keeper.

    2. I love it. It's comfortable, tasty, very well priced.

      Wasn't expecting it, but I find they do seafood very well. From the smoked trout salad to the sandwiches mentioned by TorontoJo and their incredibly filling fish pie. My latest favourite dessert was their pie of the day - banana cream. Just go with your mood and you're likely to be very satisfied.

      1. I go for lunch on a regular basis and I have rarely had a miss. There is nothing comparable in the King and Bay area. Note they are open Monday to Friday ... not Saturday or Sunday. If you are going for lunch then you need to arrive before 11:30 or you won't get in. They take reservations for dinner but they are definitely a must.

        1. Has anyone been lately and can comment on what to order?

          16 Replies
          1. re: hungryabbey

            my go to lunch place at least twice a week......

            devilled eggs – 4

            chicken liver paté with house pickles and toast – 7

            rabbit rillettes with sour cherry preserve and toast – 9

            terrine with house pickles, apple butter and toast – 9

            deep fried beer cheese croquettes with maple mustard – 9

            british style calf liver n’ onions
            with horseradish aioli & shoestring potatoes on toast- 14

            fish pie with clams, mussels, arctic char,
            smoked trout, mashed potato & a buttermilk biscuit – 20

            sautéed bc black cod with braised lentils and mushrooms – 24

            chicken pot pie with herbed pastry crust – 17

            1. re: ingloriouseater

              i find the deviled eggs a bit vinegary, and while the charcuterie is nice it's not exceptional.

              and i say that because they are surprisingly masters of seafood. anything with seafood is great there. the salads through the pies through the occasional lobster roll special. if you're going for dinner... always get the specials. graham is really excelling at playing with ethnic flavours right now. cannot rave enough. had some gorgeous duck and foie on a duck fat fried pancake and korean (though the flavours to me are much more japanese) chicken wings.

              the sandwiches are great. meant to but missed out on trying his pastry last time, the dessert menu looks really fun right now.

              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                Has anyone tried the phily cheese steak sandwich?

                1. re: hungryabbey

                  I love the phily cheese steak sandwich. It is rather large so I generally skip appetizers if I'm ordering it. Their burger is also excellent ... it is never over cooked and so is very juicy and the cheese is just perfect. The fries and the house ketchup are perfect compliments to both the sandwich and the burger but I often opt for a side salad instead.

                  1. re: hungryabbey

                    btw if you can't tell ... I'm a regular there at lunch. I have never eaten there for dinner.

                    1. re: ComerDemonio

                      Thank you Comer! I am excited and will report back.

                    2. re: hungryabbey

                      if you call it a steak sandwich i'd be fine with it. it is not a philly cheese.

                      1. re: pinstripeprincess

                        Point taken. Still a pretty satisfying sandwich.

                        1. re: pinstripeprincess

                          lol- whats your take on it, PSP? whats tastier- the "steak" sandwich or the chicken pot pie?

                          1. re: hungryabbey

                            that is hard to say... i'm not really a sandwich girl unless it is excellent. i'm not keen on bread.

                            while i do enjoy the chicken pot pie and do think it is a very generous portion of food. it is underseasoned for my liking. excellent pastry, but needs a little oomph.

                            if you need a pie and/or a sandwich - fish pie and/or shrimp po' boy. you CANNOT go wrong with seafood here.

                          2. re: pinstripeprincess

                            i went for lunch today and had the specials. Avocado, cucumber, cilantro, and butter milk soup ... nicely chilled and incredibly rich. Spicy fish sandwich (suddenly can't recall the flavouring) but the texture of the bread along with the crispy fish and the crunchy slaw was also to die for. I had to look at the menu to see if the steak sandwich was called a "Philly" steak sandwich ... it was. I had to look up the definition of Philly Cheesesteak on wikipedia and I think it actually fits the bill. How do you define it?

                            1. re: ComerDemonio

                              if you've had a cheesesteak in philadelphia, then you'd know that anything in TO that is served under that name is an incredibly poor fascimile of what is a simplistically beautiful sandwich.

                              a perogie isn't a northern chinese dumpling with some adjustments.

                              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                Checked it out on friday at around 8 PM. Long story short? Loved it.
                                The room is small, quaint with a good view of the kitchen and a bar up front. It was a bit loud in there for my liking but I loved the retro pub decor (in the washroom, they had an old 50's advertisement for Tampax- I really, REALLY, want that poster for my washroom at home). Service was friendly, and very casual. Our server divulged that he was really looking forward to drinks after work, which we totally could appreciate, especially given the excessive heat and the nature of his work (in and out of a hot kitchen and on his feet all day- oy vey, I say that cold one is well deserved, my friend!)
                                We started with a couple cocktails, one Boulevardier (maker's mark, campari, capano sweet vermouth) and a Classic Caesar (vodka, clamato, lea & p, tabasco, horseradish, celery salt, house pickled veg). The Boulevardier, though obviously pretty hard hitting, was surprisingly smooth. Definitely the type of drink that could creep up on you. And that Caesar? Well, I do love my Caesars, and this one was one of the better ones I have had lately. That horseradish added a really nice amount of heat that takes it so much further than just straight up tabasco. And those pickled veg were a nice "amuse" for the meal (note to bartenders: always give me delicious pickled veg or olives with my Caesar, the acidity is such a nice enhancer to the drink).
                                Alright, well although we may try sometimes, a gal cannot sustain herself on pickles alone, so w regards to food, we had:

                                Rabbit Rillettes with Sour Cherry Preserve and Toast- This was a lovely starter served in a very appropriate portion (especially given the large main dish servings to come). I loved the mild gamey flavour of the rillette with the bright sweet and sour preserve, and all of those smooth and chewy textures against the violent crunch of those salted toasts. Oh and G-d bless the chef at Gabardine, thank you for actually providing enough toasts to eat this dish. I find that way too often, terrines, charcuteries or cheese platters are served with FAR too few toasts, crackers or breads. This hardly costs the restaurant anything, and makes the experience of eating these foods far less anxiety provoking (you know what I mean. It's Friday, and I don't want to have to carefully plan and portion each smear of terrine between the limited "carriers"), so just give me enough damn toast! Rant over. Thank you Gabardine for taking this worry away.

                                Deep Fried Beer Cheese Croquettes with Maple Mustard- We got three thick, large cheese sticks prepared from a mixture of cheddar, mozzarella and provalone that were coated in seasoned breadcrumbs and fried to (literally, this is not just a colloquialism) golden perfection. Encased within that light crust, the cheese oozed and melted just enough to yield a creamy mouthfeel, but not make a big cheesy mess on my plate (or face). The cheese itself was mild and comforting with a wonderful hoppy, smokey flavour that paired beautifully with the maple mustard dipping sauce on the side. Oh and that sauce... it was thick, aromatic with an undertone of heat, that had been reduced down so thoroughly that it had chewy, preserve like characteristics reminiscent of stewed dried fruit. Loved it.

                                Tuna Melt on Rye with Aged Cheddar and Tomato with Potato Salad and Greens- I don't know if I have ever had a tuna melt outside of a road-side diner, but I would do it again if Gabardine made it. The tuna was moist and creamy, and contrasted nicely with the pungency of the cheese. And surprisingly, even though the whole thing was probably pretty mayo-heavy, the bread remained a sturdy base. We both enjoyed the creamy potato salad, especially when eaten together with the citrusy green salad.

                                Philly Cheese Steak with Caramelized Onions, Sautéed Button Mushrooms and Melted Provolone with Potato Salad and Greens- Another comfort food classic. While I have never been to Philadelphia, I could recognize that this is not "authentic". But I so do not believe in authenticity snobbery when the food tastes good. I loved the crusty, toasted bun that was moistened with a light smear of mayo, topped with a mountain of surprisingly tender beef and a generous layer of cheese. The only thing I was missing (which again, I know is not traditional), but is some kind of sweet or acidic component. The flavour, while delicious, and indulgent, was a bit one-note, especially because the provolone is not a particularly strong-flavoured cheese. Also, it was a bit difficult to eat, but with a fork and a knife, I was able to manage without any major bad etiquette offenses.

                                Goat "Icebox" Cheesecake with Rhubarb Jam, Graham Poppyseed Crumble, Honeycomb, Fresh Cherries and Strawberries - Wow. What a stunning example of how to celebrate summer in dessert. This uncooked cheesecake had a luscious smooth texture, with a much lighter consistency than the traditional cream cheese base. Perched upon a generous bed of graham cracker poppyseed crumbs, I loved the crunch and pop I felt as the cheese dissolved on my tongue. Having come from goats cheese, the cake had a pleasant savoury and tangy flavour that really helped balance all of the glorious summer sweet elements. The jam was bright and refreshing, the cherries and strawberries were seductively tender, and that honeycomb was like a nugget of sugary gold. Aromatic and sticky with a pleasing chewy bite, I savoured the moments before it melted in my mouth with the goat cheese. Right now, I'm really into making ice cream and I couldn't spot my mind from thinking of all the ways to incorporate these flavours into a batch at home. Delicious.

                                So, as you can see, we thoroughly enjoyed our meal, and the best part? We had all of the above (2 apps, 2 mains, 1 desserts, 3 cocktails) plus 2 (perfect) cappuccinos for $125 after tax and a generous tip. Will we be back? Yes. When? Hopefully soon.

                                www.abbeyskitchen.com

                        2. re: pinstripeprincess

                          I found the deviled eggs too salty! Also, the salads are most definitely SIDE salads (I had ordered the eggs and a salad as my main, but I was still pretty hungry).

                          1. re: emeats

                            the salads are generally in the apps section, so that doesn't surprise me. if you had ordered from the sandwiches/mains, you definitely would NOT be hungry. the pies feed two people easily.

                            1. re: pinstripeprincess

                              Yes. I thought the appetizer portions were perfect considering how big the mains were, and how good the dessert was (aka. i would not want to be "too full" to order dessert!)

                    3. The Gabardine's Ceasar Salad has been voted one of the best on BlogTO. Has anyone tried it? Also wondering if anyone's tried their eggplant parmesan sandwich?

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: kwass

                        I haven't tried the Ceasar (too much garlic at lunch is not office friendly) but the eggplant parmesan is surprisingly bland. I only tried it once so maybe it was me because I am rarely disappointed with the my selections and I eat there frequently.

                        1. re: ComerDemonio

                          Thanks CD. That's too bad about the eggplant parm. I'm always on the lookout for a good version.

                          1. re: kwass

                            Mercatto in the eaton centre has a good eggplant parm sammy

                            1. re: dubchild

                              I didn't even know that there was a Mercatto in the Eaton Centre. Thanks for the tip.

                              1. re: kwass

                                Strange...I just looked @ the menu and it doesn't list any sandwiches. Only apps, pizza, and pasta.

                                1. re: kwass

                                  I don't know why it is only listed on the lunch menu and not the dinner one, especially since I've only ever had it at dinner. I hope they haven't changed the menu.

                                  1. re: dubchild

                                    I didn't even see it on the lunch menu. I'll check again.

                                    1. re: kwass

                                      just to make matters even more confusing, Mercatto has a separate site specifically for the Eaton Centre location, trattoriamercatto.ca.

                                      1. re: dubchild

                                        Thanks dubchild. I'll check it out :)

                                        1. re: dubchild

                                          Now I see the eggplant parm sandwich. They must only have it @ the Eaton Centre location.

                        2. Still love this place. Went back last night for dinner for a second time - the deep fried beer cheese remains exactly as amazing as hungryabbey described it. Smoked trout app was also lovely, though we thought the slaw could have used a bit more acid to balance the creaminess of the dressing and richness of the fish.

                          Really wanted to try the shrimp po'boy but it was cod tonight, so opted for cod tacos for a main instead - they were nice if not remarkable, but strangely tiny for a main portion. Just two tacos with a cute little (tasty and fresh) green salad beside. I would think that dish should be listed under apps.
                          Fortunately our other main was the mac and cheese which was incredibly rich and filling. We had it with the giant cubes of melt-in-your-mouth smoked ham. We felt that if you like your mac and cheese super-buttery and creamy, then this is a really good version - lovely velvety texture, chewy noodles, a slight tang, a few cheesy strings… In general we tend to prefer more sharp cheesy flavour and less slaying richness, so it was a bit heavy for us; we also found ourselves wishing for a side of bitter rapini or something else green (and not rich).

                          The icebox goat cheesecake now comes with almond granola, apple-pear 'jam' and a smear of pumpkin - still fabulous, I just love that light, creamy, tangy cheesecake.
                          We also tried the "Queen Elizabeth cake", sort of a sticky toffee pudding idea - date/walnut cake with coconut topping, vanilla ice cream and a pool of butter sauce. It was nice but didn't strike us as particularly special.

                          Will definitely keep this on our list of favourite places to grab dinner when we're in the area!

                          EDIT: forgot to mention the cocktails. They had a very delicious special: blood orange and pomegranate whiskey sour with a cardamom salt rim - yum! Also had the "hot'n'stormy" - rum, lemon and ginger - which I thought could use more lemon and ginger, but still tasty.