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"Valdez" by Steve Gonzalez opening.. in a month?

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Probably more like "soon", but...

http://www.thegridto.com/blog-post/fo...

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  1. Congrats to him. Hate to say this, that 2 yr delay didn't do him any favours. The landscape has changed a lot in that time.

    Also glad he ditched the generic hipster "Bushwick" name.

    Looking forward to eating his food. I wish him the best of luck

    1. That is a giant resto for your first solo gig. His overhead is going to be really significant. That's a go big or go home move for sure!

      And +1 on the new name. Bushwick was terrible IMO.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JennaBean

        I am wondering what kind of arrangement they have because the "Uniq Lifestyle Entertainment Group" is involved in this new restaurant and they owned Cheval before. I was thinking the same thing that it is quiet a large space. I am guessing they might be hoping to turn it into a restaurant/event space and end up having a lot of private parties in here (especially during TIFF/Fashion Week/etc).

        I saw Bushwick at some Pop-ups before and I had no desire to ever try any of their food, largely in part to the name :) Had no idea someone from Top Chef Canada Season 1 was involved with it either.

        Funny how things change, in this article he was talking about a 50 seat place, no partners, etc:

        http://www.thestar.com/life/food_wine...

        Excited to see what he makes of the new place though.

      2. Looks like it is open:
        http://www.blogto.com/restaurants/val...

        2 Replies
        1. re: ylsf

          It's been open for a couple of weeks. Tried it out when it opened and had to walk out. All of the (available?) 2-tops were barstool seating and my companion has a back problem and needs a 'proper' seat, which they couldn't provide. Went to Beast instead and had an excellent meal there.

          1. re: estufarian

            Blah, that is annoying... I like places with proper seats too.

        2. So, how come their website can't say anything about the menu or anything about the resto? http://www.valdezrestaurant.com/

          2 Replies
          1. re: stevedominic

            You just have to try it!!

            Seriously though has anyone been? The Yelps are coming in pretty favourably, on the balance.

            1. re: stevedominic

              With some places the menu changes so often, it's a pain to keep it up-to-date. This may be the case.

            2. Went here Saturday night, the place has a great ambience..the food was okay but nothing exceptional. Would I mind returning? probably not but would I be in a hurry to reserve again... not really. We ordered:
              - the shrimp ceviche ( it was pretty good but we had eaten the ceviche at seven lives earlier in the day so we could not help feeling a little undershelmed)
              - the chicken croquettes (weakest dish of the night)
              - chimichurri beef skewers (for me this was the dish of the night because the meet was very succulent)
              - the empanadas (these were a good snack)
              -duck confit fried rice (good flavours but a little bland)
              My cousin thought the food overall was lacking a little salt and I thought it could have had more spice or a kick to it....the bill with 4 glasses of wine was 108 (excluding tip) which I thought was decent for an eatery in that neighborhood.

              2 Replies
              1. re: akhorasanee

                Yea never bothered writing on this place because it was too new, but I wrote them off as no potential. The food was so BLAND, and the place had no energy, I just wrote them off! Decent execution and fair pricing but most everything lacked flavour - through and through. Sorry to see this is still mostly the case. Sounds like the vibe picked up.

                Has anyone tried the rooftop bbq on the weekends?
                Anybody have a great meal there?

                1. re: justsayn

                  I stopped there for a drink and a bit of food a while back... I didn't like the stool style seats... and we felt like we were being rushed out... The waiter came way too often asking if we wanted to order more/etc. Got pretty annoying... At the same time no refill on water glass. There were seats available too, it wasn't like there was a line of people waiting to get in. That turned me off the place.

                  I am curious about the rooftop BBQ though and curious to hear more as I have seen it mention on BlogTo, etc

              2. Any updates on Valdez?

                I noticed the duck was mentioned on the "best eaten" discussion so I wondered if there is other good news about the menu and/or service?

                Thanks!

                3 Replies
                1. re: justsayn

                  I went a month ago or so, and everything was great. Value was exceptional. Looking forward to returning when the opportunity arises.

                  1. re: justsayn

                    Yes, I'm curious too. I made reservations but then started reading Yelp reviews which do not make it sound promising, then again Yelp reviews I take with a grain of salt.

                    1. re: justsayn

                      We've been to Valdez a few times now, because we are in the hood. I LOVE the duck confit rice. It's heavy, but it has such interesting flavours and textures. I don't know Latin American food, so I don't know if it's "authentic" but if it's a tasty concoction, I don't care. The ceviches are also very good, in particular the tuna with passion fruit. We sit at the bar and watch them prepare it. They seem to really care about details and our servers have always been helpful with recommendations and information. The space near the back of the main level seems to be a decent place for a semi-private event. Looking forward to summer so we can hang out on the rooftop! (well, OK, maybe just looking forward to summer at this stage!)

                    2. I had dinner here last night (a Friday), Open table had only 6:15 as only time available for reservations even though when we arrived it was pretty much empty and did not fill up until around 9pm.

                      The waitress (south American I think) was very knowledgeable and helpful without being pushy. I know very little about the food from south America so did not know what to expect or order. I was debating whether to go safe and order short rib & mashed potatoes or throw caution to the wind..

                      We ended up throwing caution to the wind... started with a couple of their ceviches (which were great, nice little bites). We then ordered what was basically a south American mac & Cheese and a dish that reminded me of Bim Bop with a fried egg on top and rice. (Sorry I do not remember the names of the dishes), These were large portions for the price as apps. But Like others have said not much seasoning. The Mac & cheese had a bit of spice to it but the other dish was just a bowl of mush.

                      We did not finish these as they were just too filling. My friend had originally ordered the Seafood pot pie but at this point felt too full to eat that so she got it to go and just ordered 3 more assorted cheviches.

                      I ordered the special of the night which was Pork belly with duck tamales. The pork belly was cooked then compressed and then fried which made it into something like bacon but 5 times as thick. The fat part was ok but the meat became hard as a rick and could not be cut with a knife. I had never had Tamales before but I could not find or taste any duck in them and it reminded me of too moist Christmas stuffing but very bland and no difference in textures.

                      I really would not go back for the food. It could be that is the way their cuisine is made but it was not something that I really enjoyed.

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: pourboi

                        I think I'm going to cancel my reservation on the basis of these reviews and of the yelp reviews.

                        I was excited, loved the aesthetic of the place/website.

                        1. re: sufficientlybuttered

                          That would be a mistake.

                          1. re: sufficientlybuttered

                            Agree that this is a mistake. The ceviches are great. The duck fried rice is absolutely fantastic. The mixed grill plate is awesome. The chorizo app is amazing.

                            Really. Go.

                            1. re: Wino In Training

                              I agree the ceviches were great, my date loved the Seafood pot pie (even though she only ate it the next day). I have heard great things about the duck fried rice (and should have ordered it but went for the special as it also had duck in it - but it was a disapointment).

                              Did not see the mix grill plate...

                              The prices were reasonable. And the waitress was super! (If I was younger I would go back just for her smile!)...

                              If you stay away from the starchy (rice, mac & Cheese, etc) heavy dishes as apps I think you will be fine.. We tried not to play it safe and it bit us in the behind because we did not know really what we were ordering.

                              1. re: pourboi

                                I think the issue with your visit, was, admittedly, that you "know very little about the food from south America so did not know what to expect or order."

                                The Chaufa was off the hook, as was the steamed whole fish (I can't remember which fish we had, however).

                                Also, the feature pork-belly fajitas were insane.

                                1. re: justxpete

                                  Agreed... to a point.. as for pork belly we had two dishes with it and in both it was described as "compressed & fried pork belly" by the waitress.. not sure if it is the same in the fajitas but I found in both dishes the pork was so hard it was inedible. Again not sure if it was supposed to be like that or if what we had was over fried.. but I would not order either again.

                                  Also I was expecting some spice (not nessacarily heat but some spice) all of our dishes except the ceviche were very bland.

                                  1. re: pourboi

                                    If the pork belly was that hard, I would have sent it back.

                                    1. re: justxpete

                                      Before ordering we specifically asked the waitress if it is soft pork belly and she said "no it is compressed and fried like bacon but thick" and since it was the same on both dishes I figured that it was supposed to be like that. "A bit like a jerky" was what popped into my head.. I chewed through half of it and left the rest. Dishes were not expensive and we were full anyway so I just chalked it up to experience and paid my bill...

                                      1. re: pourboi

                                        It's supposed to be fairly crispy and fried, but not inedibly hard...

                                  2. re: justxpete

                                    We found the 'stools' ridiculously uncomfortable and left before ordering.
                                    Has anyone else had this issue? (None of the bench seats were available).

                                    1. re: estufarian

                                      I sat on bench seats so we didn't have the displeasure of sitting on the bar seats. On a side note, I find the front bar-style stools at BestEllen to be extremely unfriendly.