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Nov 23, 2012 01:23 PM

Chowtrip to Toronto report

I was downtown for a couple of days and enjoyed chowing in your fair city (my home town once upon a time). I arrived at Porter terminal and the kind shuttle driver dropped me a couple of blocks from Khao Sarn Road where I enjoyed the khao soi, a thick version very rich with coconut milk and almost too much beef. A manager/owner(?) told me it was the chef's family version and different that the more soupy watery version that I've enjoyed elsewhere.

Later I ate at Caplanskys where a smoked beef sandwich and kishke were tasty but a little salty. The highlight was the smoked meat gravy that accompanied the kishke. The kishke itself was nice enough but could have been more plentiful for $10. The smoked meat wasn't anything special and did not compare favorably with Switzers corned beef or Schwarz' smoked meat of blessed memory or more current tastings of Katz' pastrami in NYC.

On the following day were a couple of nice midscale meals at the Hart House dining room (Pickerel on lentil salad) and a fettucine with tiger shrimp and bay scallops at Oliver and Bonacini. The latter was pretty standard North American bistro fare (close your eyes and you could be anywhere) but the pickerel was nice and not a fish one gets everywhere. I'd forgotten how nice this sweet firm fish can be.

The next day was chowish during the day. I noticed a crowd around Sansotei ramen on Dundas the night before and went there as they opened for tonkatsu ramen which was quite good. It would be at home in Tokyo and I didn't have to wait 2 hours like similar places that have recently opened in Boston. The fatty pork was especially good. Broth was great, noodles were almost right but the egg was a little underdone as the yolk was completely liquid. Then for lunch, Lai wah heen for a few choice dim sum. We don't have anything like this in Boston and it was enjoyable to have upscale Chinese albeit for a premium price. The Har gau was plumper and larger and justified the price but what I really enjoyed were the chef's unique items. The crystal purse shredded duck with rive spice powder was excellent. The emu stuffed woo gok was elegantly presented (dressed up like an emu) though I would be hard pressed to distinguish the meat. The sticky rice and foie gras shui mai didn;t integrate well but was interesting in concept. I stopped for some fries and gravy from the blue chip truck at City Hall for old times sake. The fact that Schnitzel Queen had run out and closed saved me from excess. All in all a nice sampling of some of the downtown places that i've read about on this board. Thanks for all your posts.

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  1. glad you had a successful eating trip! i think the khao soi at KSR is terrific, i just wish they'd expand their menu. (i really miss S&I thai!) you'll have to let me know next time you're in town -- a fair amount of chowing around to be had downtown.

    3 Replies
    1. re: autopi

      Hi Autopi: I thought of you as I was chowing alone one day near where you work. I realized I had no way to get in touch and didn't have cell or computer with me. What else do you like in the way of hidden gems downtown?

      1. re: gourmaniac

        There are 2 good dumpling houses -- Mother's Dumplings on Spadina & College, and Yummy Yummy Dumpling (yeah, I know, ridiculous name...) off of Dundas by Spadina. Also in that general area, Swatow has some nice noodle soups. Nothing earth shattering, but very nicely done. Rebozo's has opened up a new branch on College -- they're one of Toronto's better Mexican options. The Woodlot is great for mid-/upscale N American dinner, perhaps along the lines of 10 Tables. Tons of new ramen places too -- I like Kinton, have heard good things about Raijin and Santouka. Couple izakaya spots -- Guu is the most well-known. Well, I could go on, but you'll just have to let me know in advance next time you're here!

        1. re: autopi

          I've been to Mother's and Swatow and enjoyed both but Yummy Yummy is new to me. You have such a wealth of ramen and izakaya places in TO that I wish we could come close to in Boston. I was sorry not the make it to Schnitzel Queen as Hungarian is another strength here though not as impressive as the glory days on Bloor near Bathurst. Next time, I would like to hit up Indian and Jamaican/Trini and maybe make it to Maple Yip and Hopper Hut in the burbs. The Charles Yu chowdown sounded great. Autopi, I don't have your contact anymore. If you still have mine, please email to reconnect.

    2. Thanks for reporting back from Boston. It's always nice to hear the opinions of chow hounders from afar. I had a great visit to Boston and Cape Cod last summer thanks to your board.