Hole in the Wall and 3030 Dundas West, Junction, Toronto
Going to Hole in the Wall for dinner tonight because 3030 is fully booked. The Junction seems to be a great new destination what with Playa Cabana opening (they take online reservations!) and more. Any reviews of Junction chowfinds? I've really only eaten at The Beet which is always consistently good.
The food and atmosphere at Hole in the Wall is outstanding. Excellent west coast oysters (Beach Angels) from Oyster Boy for $2.50 each are fresh, fresh, fresh. Phenomenal! Fried spicy calamari ($9) is very enjoyable. But the stand-out treat was crab cakes in fennel and lettuce wraps ($9). Although the crab cakes look tiny, they are chock-full of crab and no filler. The lettuce is amazing, either Boston or mache; I can never tell the difference. I also sampled my friends' halumi cheese and pulled pork sliders - both were very tasty. They really know what they're doing in the kitchen! They also have plenty of bourbons -- the 7 year old is a must-drink.
Service was spotty but overall decent.
Hole in the Wall also had a CASK beer on tap about a week ago. Don't know if this is a regular thing for them, but it sure was tasty !
Still like Curry Twist at 3040 Dundas W. They just assume new customers can't take the heat, so insist they crank up that Curry ! Ask for "Indian Hot", then give them a wry smile and a nod. It'll be good.
There's a thread about the Junction here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/776433 though it doesn't necessarily cover all of the new stuff that's been opening recently.
My feeling (based on only one meal, so ymmv) on 3030 was that their reach exceeded their grasp. They were trying to be innovative and cool in what they were serving but the food didn't necessarily actually work. Some of it was quite good and some of it was quite bad. I also really hate their ordering system, since you order your food at the bar and eventually it's delivered but you have to take your drinks with you, and if they're not at this bar then you have to go to the other bar to get them, and bah, too much like work.
I liked the food at the Indie Ale House better, as it's not trying nearly as hard to be special. It's more consistently decent.
I haven't tried Playa Cabana, but it is getting fairly shitty comments about the service on the FB group for my condo, and those people go out of their way to love every local business, so I have to assume that service is really, really, really shitty. They haven't said much about the food, and I haven't tried it. It's on my list.
Easily my favorite (semi-)recent meal in the area was at Farmhouse Tavern, which is just a block or two off Dundas on Dupont. That was long enough ago that we sat on the patio, so summer? early fall? Fantastic gnocchi, friendly, funny service, great atmosphere.
I'm curious about Hole in the Wall, so will be interested to hear your report back.