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Home of the Brave: Classic American Comfort Food from La Carnita

kwass Jul 3, 2013 06:18 PM

The people behind La Carnita are opening a new restaurant, and it isn't going to be a taco place. Here is a link to Toronto Life article:


  1. kwass Jul 3, 2013 06:20 PM

    Here is the link to another article:


    1. y
      ylsf Jul 3, 2013 10:12 PM

      Yeah, saw a mention of it in the "twitterverse".... Curious to see how it goes... Always up for more food options.

      9 Replies
      1. re: ylsf
        kwass Jul 4, 2013 05:04 AM

        Me too :)

        1. re: kwass
          ylsf Jul 4, 2013 07:32 AM

          Based on the thread title people may think "ah, 2nd location" and not click.. A lot of people are bored with tacos me included :)

          1. re: ylsf
            kwass Jul 4, 2013 10:05 AM

            Bored with tacos...never :) But you're right! I tried to change the title, but they won't let me edit it.

            1. re: kwass
              ylsf Jul 4, 2013 11:25 AM

              You could "flag" the post and put a note in there for a mod to change it. Have had success with that before :)

              1. re: ylsf
                kwass Jul 4, 2013 12:01 PM

                Thanks ylsf! I'll try that.

                1. re: ylsf
                  kwass Jul 4, 2013 12:05 PM

                  Ok. Done. We'll see if they change it for me :)

              2. re: ylsf
                julesrules Jul 4, 2013 11:53 AM

                More bored with tacos than pulled pork?

                1. re: julesrules
                  ylsf Jul 4, 2013 01:09 PM

                  Most bored with pulled pork tacos...


                  I am not THAT bored with tacos.... just maybe tired of the people jumping on the bandwagon with mediocre results

                  1. re: ylsf
                    kwass Jul 4, 2013 01:16 PM

                    Thanks for the help earlier ylsf! As you can see, CH changed the title of the post for me.

          2. dannyboy Jul 4, 2013 08:40 AM

            Sounds like they're biting Playa Cabana's new place which is opening, Hacienda which is going to have a massive smoker and do a proper Tex Mex'ish thing...looking forward to that!!!

            1. y
              ylsf Aug 18, 2013 06:47 PM

              This opened on the weekend I think. Anyone go? Might go Wednesday night depending on what I hear.

              3 Replies
              1. re: ylsf
                kwass Aug 18, 2013 07:17 PM

                Haven't heard anything yet, but they've been posting some awesome pics on Instagram.

                1. re: kwass
                  Davwud Aug 19, 2013 06:38 AM


                  Forgot my lunch today and may just give this a go


                  1. re: Davwud
                    kwass Aug 19, 2013 11:54 AM

                    Here are the pics:






              2. KhaoSanRoad Aug 19, 2013 08:37 AM

                i hear they have nick liu as a consulting chef. he is very talented so i expect some good things.

                - khao san road

                2 Replies
                1. re: KhaoSanRoad
                  ylsf Aug 19, 2013 01:38 PM

                  Speaking of Nick, what happened to his own restaurant aspirations? Thought that was suppose to happen a while back.

                  1. re: ylsf
                    KhaoSanRoad Aug 19, 2013 03:37 PM

                    rumours: not really about this thread, but he had trouble finding a spot he liked. hes consulting now. but i hear he has plans of working on a new concept with a new partner. he may still have his own place as early as this fall.

                    - khao san road

                2. Kagemusha Aug 19, 2013 08:51 AM

                  You're kidding, right? Chili dogs???

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Kagemusha
                    Michael N Aug 19, 2013 10:07 AM

                    There aren't really any particularly good chili dogs to be had in Toronto (that I'm aware of), so I can see why you'd have that reaction. But I've had at least a couple of really great chili dogs in the States, so if this place can do them well, consider me interested.

                    1. re: Michael N
                      Kagemusha Aug 19, 2013 04:11 PM

                      My U.S. grade school cafeteria did great chili dogs, too. Right up there with grilled cheese sandwiches.

                      1. re: Kagemusha
                        Michael N Aug 20, 2013 07:58 AM

                        Yes, chili dogs are served in cafeterias, ergo all chili dogs are cafeteria quality. That's unshakable logic. Bulletproof argument.

                  2. b
                    bobbob911 Aug 19, 2013 08:54 AM

                    Regarding being bored with pulled pork and tacos - Man, what I wouldn't give to be bored with pulled pork with an *actual* smoke ring, that tastes even as good as the fast food take out in the Houston airport!

                    And what I wouldn't give to be bored with tacos al pastor that has actually been carved off a vertical broiler right onto your tortilla.....

                    14 Replies
                    1. re: bobbob911
                      julesrules Aug 19, 2013 09:01 AM

                      Yup. Those are different things entirely. But when a new authentic taco or BBQ place opens in Texas, it's not some hyped concept. It's just their food. I don't expect Toronto to do these foods as well as their regions of origin, but I'm getting a bit bored of crappy Toronto versions.

                      1. re: julesrules
                        bobbob911 Aug 19, 2013 09:08 AM

                        Right - when something interesting opens in Texas, it's some interesting twist or fusion. We're still learning the fundamentals up here.

                        I was just passing through Rochester NY recently and made sure to try Dinosaur BBQ. Every bit as good as further down south. You could smell the smokers going from a block away! Its really not that difficult to do good BBQ, it's simply takes time.

                        I don't understand why 90% of the taco places in Toronto are obsessed with breaded Baja fish tacos. We don't live by the sea! Our seafood is not that great!

                        1. re: bobbob911
                          Kagemusha Aug 19, 2013 09:22 AM

                          It's a long-standing problem with "Mexican" food in TO. No reference points, just shifting "hunches" about what it should be. Maybe when customers get over their "guac+chips" dependency, things will move along.

                          1. re: Kagemusha
                            bobbob911 Aug 19, 2013 09:45 AM

                            Latest example: El Catrin restaurant in the Distillery District. They are hyping that the chef is from Mexico City. Now if you know anything about Mexico City its that it too is not really anywhere near the coast. As such, the cuisine is not particularly seafood based.

                            So lets look at the menu:
                            - A full compliment of ceviches
                            - a taco menu that is 2/3rds seafood
                            - in general a menu heavy on swordfish and octopus, for some bizarre reason
                            - apropos of nothing: burritos! (never find that in DF)

                            So here we once again have an example where the chef should absolutely know better. I don't understand where the disconnect is.

                          2. re: bobbob911
                            justsayn Aug 19, 2013 09:24 AM

                            Don't always blame the chef. Torontonians LOVE ANYTHING fried, with flavoured mayo, guac, sour cream or bacon. Add cheese for a bonus. That makes up the majority of "awesome" quick eats in town. Easy money.

                            Porchetta and Co., Black Camel, Electric Mud are some of the rare treasures that way.

                            1. re: bobbob911
                              Davwud Aug 19, 2013 09:47 AM

                              Mrs. Sippi and I went to Dinosaur a few years ago. We were very underwhelmed. Not that it was bad but to say it was just as good as what I just had last week (Central Tn & N/C Al) based on what I had then is just wrong.

                              Great Mexican is coming but you'll always find guac and chips up here.
                              Made in Mexico in Newmarket, La Mexicanada in Bradford and Tenoch here in town are all as good as anything I've had in 'Bama.
                              My gold standard is Carolina's in Phoenix. It's awesome.

                              And for a city that's 2,000 miles from the nearest ocean, out seafood is outstanding. No, it's not fresh off the boat but a good fishmonger up here will give you some great stuff.

                              But it's probably easier to make another blanket "Everything in TO sucks" statement.


                              1. re: Davwud
                                bobbob911 Aug 19, 2013 10:08 AM

                                (Mrs. Sippi - nice! :) )

                                We could debate the quality of Dinosaur (I thought it was outstanding) but surely we could agree it meets the requirements of good BBQ - a smoke ring, nice bark, not soggy, pulled rather than shredded, etc etc. Not to mention the side dishes were also outstanding, and hardly an afterthought - a critical component of good BBQ!

                                Our seafood is not "bad", but I hardly see a reason to emphasize it. Same thing with food truck tacos - they usually have two choices, and one is always fish? Why? What is it about the Toronto Food Truck Experience that screams "I need marginal frozen-then-thawed seafood kept borderline-sanitarily"?

                                Now, if someone instead was offering up a plate of whole fresh catch grilled Tikin xic style, with a stack of tortillas on the side, that would be something!

                                BTW no knocks about guac-and-chips, but how about someone kick it up a notch with some chapulines? :)

                                1. re: bobbob911
                                  Davwud Aug 19, 2013 10:24 AM

                                  If you haven't been to Tenoch, give it a go. Lots of really good stuff. Family has only been in Canada 7 years


                                  1. re: Davwud
                                    Kagemusha Aug 19, 2013 02:19 PM

                                    Where are they from? Please don't say just "Mexico."

                                    1. re: Kagemusha
                                      Davwud Aug 19, 2013 04:21 PM

                                      Mexico City. If memory serves.


                                2. re: Davwud
                                  Googs Aug 20, 2013 05:15 PM

                                  Good, not great stuff. Let's not kid ourselves about the seafood quality here. I love it and, when well prepared, don't give a hoot about the distance it's traveled. But again, let's not pretend. Dine on seafood in Venice and then talk about the quality available here. It would make you weep.

                                  FWIW I love chips and guac. Shoot me. A little fun never hurt anyone.

                                  1. re: Googs
                                    Davwud Aug 21, 2013 04:08 AM

                                    All I can compare it to is stuff I've had in the states and ours is better. Much better.
                                    Heck, I can get better gulf shrimp in TO than in Huntsville, Al.

                                    Again, I said for a city 2,000 Miles (I should've said KM) from the nearest ocean. Venice is not that far. It's like saying I was comparing us to New Orleans or something like that.


                            2. re: bobbob911
                              themiguel Sep 10, 2013 07:29 AM

                              I have had tacos at the famed big star in Chicago and eaten at Rick Bayless's Frontera Grill.

                              Grand Electric is as good if not better than Big Star and Frontera Grill was a horrible disappointment wrapped up in a tacky ambiance. We are doing fine.

                              I have also had tons of tacos in Austin, and while some are amazing, most are around the same quality that we get at the new wave places. But by all means let's keep griping that all the mexican here sucks and no one in Toronto knows what they are doing.

                              1. re: themiguel
                                justxpete Sep 10, 2013 07:35 AM

                                I'm been to Frontera as well. Thought it was good, but not mind blowing, and not that much better than what we have in TO - but only slightly disappointing due to high expectations.

                                Definitely more complex, and flat out better flavours, however.

                            3. justsayn Aug 19, 2013 10:09 PM

                              Place is nicely set up! Tried a few things. Lots of potential here!

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: justsayn
                                kwass Aug 20, 2013 05:40 AM

                                Can you tell us what you tried?

                                1. re: kwass
                                  justsayn Aug 20, 2013 06:31 AM

                                  Fried Chicken, Ribs, Pork Belly, Potato thingys.

                                  1. re: justsayn
                                    kwass Aug 20, 2013 08:18 AM

                                    Sounds yummy! How would you rate the fried chicken?

                                    1. re: kwass
                                      justsayn Aug 21, 2013 07:14 AM

                                      Went back last night and it seems they are going in the right direction with food execution.

                                      1. re: justsayn
                                        num nums Aug 21, 2013 08:55 PM

                                        When around did you go and how busy was it? Was there a crazy lineup like at La Carnita?

                                        1. re: num nums
                                          justsayn Aug 21, 2013 09:43 PM

                                          We went in the evening and there were no lines. I have passed by many times at different times and there have been no lines. It is kind of hidden right now in that it lacks signage and can perhaps be mistaken as just being part of Lou Dawgs or even Wverst.

                                          La Carnita as you may recall was a crazy hyped up launch that stemmed from TUM. This is very different.

                                        2. re: justsayn
                                          justsayn Sep 17, 2013 05:48 AM

                                          Really great food last night! The ribs, fried chicken sandwich were fantastic. A friend had the lobster roll and enjoyed it. Person next to us was loving the beets. 20-30 minute wait for a table on a Monday at 8pm! We got the last seats at the bar right away. The flavours are evolving and the execution was spot on last night.

                                2. kwass Aug 20, 2013 04:39 PM

                                  Here's the latest write-up from Post City:


                                  1. y
                                    ylsf Aug 23, 2013 07:43 AM

                                    I went the other night and sat at the bar.

                                    Had the fried chicken sandwich and a rootbeer (they make it in house). Really enjoyed the spot, the fried chicken was really good. Think an super upscale version of a KFC sandwich (which includes shredded lettuce). The claw it attached to the side of the breast for nice presentation. The menu says it is $13 but I was charged a much more reasonable $9 (the other sandwiches were $9 also). I don't know if I would have it often at $13 but definitely would at $9 (no sides included at that price).

                                    It is a "louder" kind of spot but could see it being a fun spot to go with friends and it hasn't gotten supper busy yet but I am sure the word will spread!

                                    They are currently closed on Sundays, open from 5pm the other days until 11pm M-W and 2am Thursday, Fri, and Sat if I remember correctly.

                                    The guy I talked to was mentioning they are hoping to open for lunch down the road and offer take out as well.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: ylsf
                                      kwass Aug 23, 2013 07:52 AM

                                      Glad to hear that they're planning on opening for lunch down the road and that they intend to do take-out.

                                      BTW, did you eat the claw or pull it off? I must admit that the claw freaks me out a little bit.

                                      1. re: ylsf
                                        KhaoSanRoad Aug 23, 2013 08:07 AM

                                        how was the foot attached? was it cooked separately?

                                        - khao san road

                                        1. re: KhaoSanRoad
                                          ylsf Aug 23, 2013 08:57 AM

                                          It was connected together in a single "deep fried" layer I don' tknow if it was cooked seperately and then battered/fried together or what. I never had a claw before so don't know how much it would need to be "cooked" normally.

                                          I ripped it off, I ate the sandwich and then nibbled on the claw and ate some of the cartilage.

                                          Kwass - I think you should be OK. It is pretty dark in there so you won't be staring at this claw too much :)

                                          1. re: ylsf
                                            kwass Aug 23, 2013 09:49 AM

                                            Well as long as it's dark in there :)

                                      2. kwass Aug 29, 2013 12:34 PM

                                        Starting tonight, they're introducing a late-night menu from 11-1, and look what's on it...the most delicious looking fried chicken!


                                        ...and, yummy looking chicken wings


                                        9 Replies
                                        1. re: kwass
                                          ylsf Sep 4, 2013 08:10 AM

                                          Darn, that is going to be tempting after a TIFF film next week...

                                          1. re: ylsf
                                            justsayn Sep 4, 2013 08:28 AM


                                            1. re: justsayn
                                              ylsf Sep 4, 2013 01:26 PM

                                              Ha.. exactly... maybe training for my next meal at Au Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack... :)

                                          2. re: kwass
                                            prima Sep 4, 2013 10:29 AM

                                            Let me know what you think of their fried chicken, kwass.

                                            If any of you who have tried the Stockyards fried chicken try the Home of the Brave fried chicken, could you let me know if you found Home of the Brave's version juicier and/or more seasoned than the Stockyard's verison?

                                            1. re: prima
                                              kwass Sep 4, 2013 11:02 AM

                                              I absolutely will! I'm planning on going within the next few weeks :)

                                              1. re: prima
                                                lister Sep 4, 2013 11:11 AM

                                                The girlfriend had the chicken sandwich. She still much prefers Stockyards. So do I and I'm not a fried chicken fan.

                                                1. re: lister
                                                  prima Sep 4, 2013 11:16 AM

                                                  Thanks, lister.

                                                  1. re: lister
                                                    kwass Sep 4, 2013 11:42 AM

                                                    What else did you and your gf have lister?

                                                  2. re: prima
                                                    ylsf Sep 4, 2013 01:25 PM

                                                    I have only had the fried chicken in the sandwich version they have on their normal menu. It was good but hard to compare to Stockyards because it was presented in a totally different style...If I try the late night menu I will report back.

                                                2. c
                                                  c_snapper Sep 4, 2013 06:48 AM

                                                  went last night. super awesome food, it's straight up non pretentious comfort food.

                                                  the red velvet funnel cake that we didn't have room for looked sooooooo good.

                                                  just beware that the place is loud as FFFFFFFF

                                                  17 Replies
                                                  1. re: c_snapper
                                                    ramenramen Sep 4, 2013 07:39 AM

                                                    Was it loud because it was busy or because of music?

                                                    1. re: ramenramen
                                                      lister Sep 4, 2013 11:11 AM

                                                      Both. We were seated right at the window.

                                                      When the music was classic rock it was fine for me. At some point it switched over to R&B Hip-Hop type stuff and I wanted to leave as soon as possible. Just not my thing for music.

                                                      1. re: lister
                                                        prima Sep 4, 2013 11:23 AM

                                                        Wonder if they'd take requests? Or if they'd change the music back to what you didn't mind, if you made a request?

                                                        I'd be tempted to let them know their choice of music made you want to leave. Maybe they'd change their playlist, if they realized it made some customers want to leave. Although, it seems that some restaurants play music more to keep their bartenders/servers happy, rather than playing music to add to their customers' experience.

                                                        1. re: prima
                                                          jinxie Sep 4, 2013 01:05 PM

                                                          Really- you want to leave cause it's Hip Hop/R'nB as opposed to some other type of loud music?

                                                          Prima- your comment presupposes that their patron's DON'T want to hear that type of music- how do you know?

                                                          On a similar bent was this article from Torontolife:


                                                          such a dumb article. it's not mystifying....it's simply the type of music these chefs/owners want to play in THEIR restaurant. it's what they connect to. guess what- to the avg. millenial- that's what we listen to- it's good music. we came up with Wu Tang and Naughty by Nature. it's not trying to be "hard".

                                                          If it's too loud? Ok- maybe I understand. But if it's because it's not your taste- by all means, use the door.

                                                          1. re: jinxie
                                                            prima Sep 4, 2013 01:18 PM

                                                            Sure, it's their restaurant, but if I ran a restaurant, I would want to know if my choice of music, or my employees' choice of music, was turning some customers off, regardless of their age or generation.

                                                            If I absolutely detest the music, whatever it is, I will leave, or leave as soon as possible.

                                                            If I liked the food, but disliked the type of music/volume, I'll usually let the restaurant know, although I realize places like La Carnita and Home of the Brave seem to buy into the 'superloud makes it hip for our target clientele' business model.

                                                            If they're going to play superloud music, why not tell them when the superloud music is not only superloud but also not to your taste, even if the music might be to the taste of some other customers or the taste of the staff? We already let them know if/when the food isn't to our taste. I don't see why we shouldn't tell them if the music, the murals or the wallpaper isn't too our taste. Or tell a restaurant when we liked the music, so they might be more likely to play whatever type of music you liked. I know I've included comments about the music when I've liked the music played at various restaurants. Most recently, I remember commenting on the music at Habits Gastropub, which I really liked.

                                                            If it's just the volume I dislike,I'll bring earplugs on future visits.

                                                            PS to the HipHop lovers and/or Millennials who think I'm being an old geezer: I don't have an issue with HipHop or R&B as a genre- but I appreciate lister wanting to leave once the music, whatever type it was, was getting on his nerves. It's usually superloud house/trance/electronica/techno/dance music or badly amplified salsa that make me want to leave superloud restaurants. I can tolerate loud Classic Rock more than I can tolerate loud House or Salsa.

                                                            1. re: prima
                                                              atomeyes Sep 5, 2013 03:19 AM

                                                              i get what you're saying, but you kind of sound like a grandpa when you say it.

                                                              yeah, i don't dig hip-hop and i am not a fan of how every toronto restaurant seems to be blasting it nowadays. probably wouldn't deter me from eating at a restaurant, though.

                                                              bringing earplugs to a restaurant's a whole new level of "maybe i'm better off just eating at home"

                                                              1. re: atomeyes
                                                                prima Sep 5, 2013 04:48 AM

                                                                I tend to keep earplugs in my handbag, anyhow, along with tissues, Advil, hand sanitizer and a lint roller. I think it's more Mom-like than Grandpa-like, but whatever you say.

                                                                If I can't make conversation with anyone because it's so superloud I can't hear the server or the person sitting next to me, what difference does it make if I'm wearing earplugs, rather than tolerating noise that isn't adding to my experience?

                                                                Re: maybe I'm better off just eating at home.
                                                                Actually, I wish La Carnita offered take-out (although I realize their kitchen is probably too swamped to offer take-out). While I liked the food a lot, the volume has kept me from returning, and I'd be much likelier to return if they offered take-out. I'd rather eat their food at home or on a park bench than in their restaurant when the volume is full-blast.

                                                                1. re: prima
                                                                  kwass Sep 5, 2013 05:06 AM

                                                                  prima, you're the best...like a boy scout...prepared for anything!! I love that you keep earplugs in your purse...too funny!!

                                                                  1. re: prima
                                                                    Nevy Sep 7, 2013 10:53 AM

                                                                    Prima, I am in complete agreement with you. I much rather be mom like and still have my hearing than have issues for the rest of my life from excessive noise volumes.

                                                                    My friend who served at a closed trendy Asian fusion restaurant in the entertainment district has constant ringing in her ears and she's only 31 :(

                                                              2. re: jinxie
                                                                lister Sep 4, 2013 02:13 PM

                                                                The type of music that is played comes into play, for me, when it's really loud. If it's music I like, well, cool. If it's not then I'd prefer not to be there no matter how good the food or booze is. If the music was much lower I wouldn't have cared too much about what it was. Case in point: Grand Electric vs Electric Mud. Different food done equally well but a different sound. I prefer EM over GE. Some Jazz at HotB would have been cool. :-p What can I say, I'm a child of the '70s and 80s, I like rock music. I frequently go to Thirsty & Miserable. :-D

                                                                By all means the restaurant owners/staff should play whatever they feel like. Myself as a customer will decide if I want to be there. I wouldn't dare venture my opinion to the owner or staff on something like the music selection.

                                                                There's no judgement on my part on the "goodness" of whichever type of music. You like what you like.

                                                                I haven't fully decided on the food at HotB yet. When they open of lunch I may go back to see if the music switch was indeed what I thought it was, switching to R&B/Hip Hop later in the evening for a more current clubby/loungy feel.

                                                                1. re: lister
                                                                  prima Sep 4, 2013 02:21 PM

                                                                  I hope they read this, and start serving a Classic Rock/Early Bird special for anyone Gen X and up.

                                                                  1. re: prima
                                                                    lister Sep 5, 2013 06:46 AM

                                                                    HA HA! Might as well get something for getting older...

                                                                    They've gone for an idea that is somewhat unique but then ditch that later in the evening for music that everyone else is doing.

                                                                    I know, I know... "GET OFF MY LAWN!" :-)

                                                                    1. re: prima
                                                                      ylsf Sep 5, 2013 07:34 AM

                                                                      Personally I wouldn't go if they played classic rock a lot... It is my least favourite music :) (well, maybe tied with old school "country" music too)...

                                                                      I hope they launch the deep dish soon.

                                                                      As Atomeyes says, I think this place will continue to become more popular. Suggest going now before there are long lines.

                                                                2. re: prima
                                                                  ylsf Sep 4, 2013 01:24 PM

                                                                  I think the loud music is for the typical purpose to limiting conversation and increase turn over on the tables. When I went it was hip hop. I wasn't trying to talk to anyone so I didn't mind it (was just by myself) but definitely wouldn't go there for a quiet date :)

                                                                  1. re: prima
                                                                    msprnt Sep 4, 2013 02:06 PM

                                                                    when grand electric first opened (and i took my date there), i was really happy they played loud hip hop from my high school days. my date (and now gf) doesn't really like the genre, but she had no problems with it that night.

                                                                    bonus was that we had to sit and talk really close! we definitely spent longer than the usual pair at our spot that night because we hit it off. sometimes the "turnover strategy" might backfire! haha!

                                                              3. re: c_snapper
                                                                prima Sep 4, 2013 10:26 AM

                                                                Red velvet funnel cake doesn't sound like straight-up non-pretentious comfort food to this Chowhound. Sounds more like fancypants carnie food!

                                                                1. re: prima
                                                                  KhaoSanRoad Sep 4, 2013 11:41 AM

                                                                  hahaha! "fancypants carnie". im picturing a whole travelling circus of these guys.

                                                                  - khao san road

                                                              4. happycamper Sep 4, 2013 07:49 PM

                                                                I was there with a group tonight.
                                                                At 830, the music loud, the room was dark, the crowd was boisterous, and the food was not all that consistent, but fairly passable.

                                                                I thought the fried chicken was a bit dry - stockyard definitely has the upper hand here. The fried bologna sandwich was too salty for everybody at the table. The pork belly burger was the crowd pleaser. Tater tots were delicious. The dish I loved the most was the crab cake - light, panko fried crab cake, perfectly poached egg, on top of fresh green bean salad and hazelnuts - Yum!

                                                                I didn't have a huge issue with the music. It is definitely more tolerable than Grand Electric and La Carnita. Service was very friendly. I didn't understand the small (4oz?) water glasses - whats up with that? They carry Sam Adams on draft, that gives them bonus marks for sure.

                                                                I would return.

                                                                1. kwass Sep 4, 2013 07:55 PM

                                                                  You have to see this...look what they're adding to their menu:


                                                                  How delicious does that look?!!!!!!

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: kwass
                                                                    happycamper Sep 4, 2013 08:04 PM

                                                                    Very Badass!

                                                                    1. re: happycamper
                                                                      kwass Sep 4, 2013 08:09 PM

                                                                      Isn't it!

                                                                      1. re: kwass
                                                                        justsayn Sep 4, 2013 10:59 PM

                                                                        This changes everything!

                                                                  2. atomeyes Sep 5, 2013 03:26 AM

                                                                    We were there a week ago.

                                                                    Design: nice restaurant. Almost similar in style to La Carnita (duh!) but more subdued. Really love their branding. The water bottles that come to the table, the red neon snake on your way out of the restaurant...

                                                                    Music: yeah, it's loud. we started off at the bar and that was a mistake. 4 of us couldn't have a conversation. we were soon moved to a table and we had no problem eating and drinking and having fun.

                                                                    Overall impressions: everyone loved it. loved it. it is what it is, and it is fun and sloppy and dirty and lovely and fattening and delicious.

                                                                    Food: tater tots were killer. i'd eat the whole dish of it if i could. Ribs were sexellent. Chicken sandwich was nice. love the KFC-esque dressing and iceberg lettuce. Lobster rolls were great. I didn't try it (was too full) but the bologna sandwich was probably the hit at the table. the steak should also not be passed it. grilled to perfection, tasted excellent. huge slab o'meat.

                                                                    Banana split for dessert? um, ridiculous. house-made ice-cream, choco cookie-battered fried bananners. should i go on?

                                                                    Alcohol: beer list isn't bad. seeing Hennepin on tap is always nice. mixed drinks were good as well, but i still wouldn't mind if that game is upped slightly. above average, but 'average" in toronto in 2013 means nothing.

                                                                    if you don't go there, shame on you. if you complain about it, shame on you. You know all those dumb articles about the food at the CNE and we all ooh and ahhh and, for some inexplicable reason, run to the CNE to try crappy food made by miscellaneous vendors? Instead, spend your hard-earned papermoney at HOTB. it's fun, midway-like food without the disgustingness of the Ex and with actual talent behind the cooking.

                                                                    This is going to be one of the hotter restaurants in the city for the next 6 months. just watch.

                                                                    41 Replies
                                                                    1. re: atomeyes
                                                                      lister Sep 5, 2013 06:37 AM

                                                                      Seems you're complaining about the beer. ;-)

                                                                      I'd agree on that. On a positive note unlike many restaurants HotB is serving 20oz pints where appropriate instead of 16oz. I would have liked to have seen a few new to Ontario American private order beers. That would have been cool. I'm not expecting a Bar Hop or Volo level but something new and exclusive would have been good.

                                                                      We will be going again. I want to try the late night Philly sandwich.

                                                                      1. re: lister
                                                                        atomeyes Sep 6, 2013 07:25 PM

                                                                        i'm a beer geek. 99% of the city's restaurants have beer that doesn't meet my wants.

                                                                        HotB's beer list is well above average. but thanks to the LCBO's stupidity, that really doesn't mean it has excellent beer. it means it has good to decent beer.

                                                                      2. re: atomeyes
                                                                        disgusti Sep 7, 2013 12:28 AM

                                                                        fuck comfort food and fuck this place

                                                                        1. re: disgusti
                                                                          Davwud Sep 7, 2013 05:26 AM



                                                                          1. re: disgusti
                                                                            kwass Sep 7, 2013 05:32 AM

                                                                            Did something happen there to upset you?

                                                                            1. re: disgusti
                                                                              atomeyes Sep 7, 2013 07:37 AM


                                                                              um, wut?

                                                                              1. re: atomeyes
                                                                                disgusti Sep 7, 2013 10:47 AM

                                                                                i was a little drunk when i posted that at 430 in the morning but i stand by it - i realize this will be an unpopular opinion but i was asked by the moderators to qualify that post and so i will. i get absolutely nothing out of glorified carnival food served in a casual/upscale environment - this stuff represents damn near everything that is wrong with the way we consume and just because it's on king street instead of a midway doesn't mean i'd take it over the tainted cronut bacon waffle explosion or whatever. comfort food is synonymous, for me, with (overly) fatty, (unreasonably) salty, greasy, too big, unimaginative, unhealthy, uninteresting, and a litany of other unpleasant adjectives.
                                                                                it also doesn't help that i have a strong distaste for la carnita as a restaurant and on principle. it also doesn't help that this guy is the bartender http://www.blogto.com/listings/restau... (as a moustache wearing man myself i feel qualified to rip on a moustache as brutal as that one)

                                                                                1. re: disgusti
                                                                                  Googs Sep 7, 2013 01:45 PM

                                                                                  @disgusti: Funny. You know when another poster referred to the menu as "unpretentious" I nearly doubled over laughing.

                                                                                  1. re: disgusti
                                                                                    childofthestorm Sep 7, 2013 02:30 PM

                                                                                    Imma co-sign on disgusti's general sentiment. Getting pretty tired of this stupid trend. And yeah I'm also not a fan of La Carnita...seems like the team behind these spots, all of their try-hard offspring are spawned from an unholy marriage between an ad agency brief on urban millennial trendsetters and a piece on Williamsburg from the New York Times Style Section.

                                                                                    All my favourite newer restaurants aspire to do something better than pander to this notion that it's cool to see how many fat-based calories you can shove into your distended snackhole.

                                                                                    1. re: childofthestorm
                                                                                      Kagemusha Sep 7, 2013 03:10 PM

                                                                                      Maybe they'll add an in-house barber shop to round-out the image.

                                                                                      1. re: childofthestorm
                                                                                        atomeyes Sep 8, 2013 02:35 PM

                                                                                        have you bothered to eat there before opining? just wondering.

                                                                                        La Carnita is behind "all of these try-hard offspring". all 2 restaurants. with 2 different chefs. But Jamie Kennedy having the wine bar, gilead cafe and the Gardiner at one point is fine? Or Mcewan having a # of various restaurants is somehow fine?

                                                                                        Got news for you, kiddo: there's usually a positive correlation between fat and taste. There's a reason why fried chicken is hot and boiled chicken is not.

                                                                                      2. re: disgusti
                                                                                        grandgourmand Sep 7, 2013 04:35 PM

                                                                                        well said.

                                                                                        i only wish i could grow a moustache.

                                                                                        1. re: disgusti
                                                                                          justsayn Sep 7, 2013 05:23 PM

                                                                                          I really don't see how this menu is carny food at all. A couple of overly indulgent desserts does not make the menu carny.

                                                                                          I too am uninterested in salty, fatty, mayo this and guac that, especially when the food has absolutely no other merit. Lucky for me I don't care about a waiter's moustache when selecting a resto!

                                                                                          As I posted earlier they really need to work some things out and hopefully they will. The deep dish is a possible win if it is made with super fresh ingredients and a light hand on salt and sugars. Not a weekly meal but if done right, a great go-to treat!

                                                                                          Lastly, La Carnita was built honestly. They are serving an experience people enjoyed and wanted more of. Who cares if they were ad agency people, buskers, or bank tellers. Don't like it don't go. But they aren't ripping anyone off... they appear to be having fun and making money.

                                                                                          1. re: justsayn
                                                                                            prima Sep 7, 2013 05:28 PM

                                                                                            I called it fancypants carnie food because I'd read about the corn dogs, chili dogs and the red velvet funnel cake.

                                                                                            1. re: prima
                                                                                              justsayn Sep 7, 2013 05:35 PM

                                                                                              And if that were the case I would tend to agree with you. But I don't think they ever added the corn dog or chili dog originally spoken about. The funnel cake, yes. It's an interesting sounding unique slant on a cheap carny dessert.

                                                                                              1. re: prima
                                                                                                atomeyes Sep 8, 2013 02:37 PM

                                                                                                Eyes read.
                                                                                                Mouths taste.

                                                                                                If the menu doesn't appeal to you, don't go.

                                                                                                Fancy-pants carney food is the crap that Epic Burgers (who? oh yes, a corporation with a mission statement) was serving at the Ex. HotB is what food lovers and chefs put together over months and months of planning.

                                                                                                Parts and Labour is serving Pogos at the drake on Monday. guess you won't go. you know...carney food and all.

                                                                                                1. re: atomeyes
                                                                                                  Kagemusha Sep 8, 2013 05:49 PM

                                                                                                  Funny but for all the posing, La Carnita apparently wouldn't know a torta(much less a telera or a bolillo) if they bounced in and bit their arses. For that, I'm not buying the HOTB schtick.

                                                                                                  1. re: Kagemusha
                                                                                                    kwass Sep 8, 2013 05:53 PM

                                                                                                    What shtick? It's a restaurant for heaven's sake. It's not claiming to be anything more than that.

                                                                                                    1. re: kwass
                                                                                                      justxpete Sep 8, 2013 05:56 PM

                                                                                                      I don't get all the hate for La Carnita. It's comparable to Grand Electric to me.

                                                                                                      And Grant has what.. 3 restaurants now?

                                                                                                      1. re: justxpete
                                                                                                        kwass Sep 8, 2013 06:02 PM

                                                                                                        I don't get all the hate either.

                                                                                                        1. re: kwass
                                                                                                          Kagemusha Sep 10, 2013 04:31 AM

                                                                                                          Hate? C'mon. Ate too much of the real deal to take them seriously. Maybe if they did too their food would reflect it. Just another TO shot in the dark at "Mexican."

                                                                                              2. re: justsayn
                                                                                                kwass Sep 7, 2013 05:35 PM

                                                                                                Well said justsayn. It's funny how everyone loves a place until one person says something negative and then everyone crawls out of the woodwork and jumps on the bandwagon. I see this all the time on CH.

                                                                                                1. re: kwass
                                                                                                  justsayn Sep 7, 2013 05:56 PM

                                                                                                  Unfortunately people are biased against loud(er) music, hipster clients and servers, recent food trends and they want to bash the provider despite the overwhelming demand satisfied. And it's not the same issue as the shitty Hero Burger on every corner because these places are confined to a single location and not a blight on Toronto streets.

                                                                                                  Agreed Kwass always funny how many naysayers need a spark to start their fire! :-) So true. Further, Andrew is a great example of how you can build success honestly with hard work. He (and Hassel) should be an inspiration as to what's possible, not begrudged because it's not for you.

                                                                                                  1. re: kwass
                                                                                                    childofthestorm Sep 7, 2013 06:45 PM

                                                                                                    Woodwork? I'm here all the damn time hahaha.

                                                                                                    1. re: childofthestorm
                                                                                                      kwass Sep 7, 2013 08:27 PM

                                                                                                      When I said woodwork, I just meant, as justsayn so eloquently stated above, that nobody says anything negative until one person does, and then everyone piles on. It just seems odd. Why was nobody saying anything negative before disgusti made his comment?!

                                                                                                      1. re: kwass
                                                                                                        childofthestorm Sep 9, 2013 12:42 PM

                                                                                                        Well I have been pretty busy lately. But sometimes posts strike a chord and one is compelled to respond with thoughts of one's own?

                                                                                                    2. re: kwass
                                                                                                      disgusti Sep 9, 2013 04:10 PM

                                                                                                      seriously? no offence, but this is dopey. i could say "funny how someone says something good about a restaurant and then a bunch of other people do too!" and it would be saying the same thing you just said. yes, someone has to fire the first shot, but that doesn't mean that the people who are in agreement are mindless followers, it just means that someone else said it first. not everyone will like everything and i especially fucking hate this place

                                                                                                    3. re: justsayn
                                                                                                      justxpete Sep 7, 2013 06:18 PM

                                                                                                      I had 'haute' carny food (lol) at a Charlie's Burgers a few weeks ago. Eventually regretted almost every single bite.

                                                                                                      1. re: justxpete
                                                                                                        justsayn Sep 7, 2013 06:26 PM

                                                                                                        lol. Yes. I could see how that could suck you in though! Especially in a promising environment!

                                                                                                        1. re: justxpete
                                                                                                          JennaBean Sep 9, 2013 08:11 AM

                                                                                                          Slightly off topic but was that Matt and Ben's meal? I saw some pics from a friend. Not so impressive considering those two have some serious kitchen chops...

                                                                                                          1. re: JennaBean
                                                                                                            justxpete Sep 9, 2013 08:24 AM

                                                                                                            'Twas indeed. I was expecting much more. But everything was exactly as it stated on the menu, just a better version. Fun and playful, perhaps... Maybe? Lacking creativity? Definitely. Not what one would expect for the steep asking price.

                                                                                                            1. re: justxpete
                                                                                                              JennaBean Sep 9, 2013 08:32 AM

                                                                                                              Yeah I saw the price as well and was shaking my head a bit.

                                                                                                      2. re: disgusti
                                                                                                        justsayn Sep 8, 2013 07:07 AM

                                                                                                        Have you eaten there disgusti??? What exactly is it that you are calling glorified carny food? http://www.thehotb.com/

                                                                                                        How can it be possible that HOTB conjures up the cronut for you?

                                                                                                        What does La Carnita have to do with HOTB?

                                                                                                        Or the guys moustache?

                                                                                                        So yea Prima, somebody needs to speak up!

                                                                                                        1. re: justsayn
                                                                                                          childofthestorm Sep 9, 2013 12:53 PM

                                                                                                          I really did not enjoy La Carnita (well, the drinks were good and a few of the apps not bad), and given that there are only so many meals I can have out, and given my more general feelings about the hipster-fatso trend elucidated above, not sure I'll get to HOTB soon. La Carnita for me was a pretty contrived piece of trend-chasing with mediocre food and a room full of people I don't much want to be around, and nothing I've seen about HOTB makes me think this will be any different.

                                                                                                          If I get a chance to have a client dinner around King St. soon I'll try to eat there and see if my feelings are confirmed or dispelled. For the sake of everyone's feelings in this thread, if for no other reason.

                                                                                                          1. re: childofthestorm
                                                                                                            justsayn Sep 9, 2013 01:37 PM

                                                                                                            For what its worth...I wouldn't rush to HOTB given your circumstances. My few visits brought inconsistent highs a lows. That being said, they had just opened. We liked the place. The music was not loud when we went. The food showed lots of promise. I hope they achieve a higher standard, if they are not already. I plan to be back within the next week or so to take a run at the menu again. They seemed to really listen to feedback, so I will find out. The wedge salad for instance was the biggest rip off on earth, but I am hoping they've changed it up. Next visit will result in a proper review.

                                                                                                            1. re: childofthestorm
                                                                                                              ylsf Sep 9, 2013 09:26 PM

                                                                                                              I still suggest trying it, but, I personally wouldn't go their for a client dinner...

                                                                                                              1. re: ylsf
                                                                                                                childofthestorm Sep 10, 2013 06:49 AM

                                                                                                                I work in a pretty weird business. Taking people to loud crazy places is sort of expected of me. I think I did 4 client dinners at Grand Electric the first 3 months they were open.

                                                                                                                1. re: childofthestorm
                                                                                                                  ylsf Sep 10, 2013 08:53 AM

                                                                                                                  funny because I was going to say "unless you work in an odd business"... :) Yeah, well, sounds like this place would totally fit your needs then.

                                                                                                            2. re: justsayn
                                                                                                              disgusti Sep 9, 2013 04:12 PM

                                                                                                              Kentucky Fried Handshake Sandwich

                                                                                                              Fried Chicken, Mayo, Iceberg Lettuce, Louisiana Hot Sauce

                                                                                                              Fried Bologna Sandwich

                                                                                                              Bologna, House Made American Cheese,
                                                                                                              Toasted Pistachios, Spicy Sour Cream

                                                                                                              Smoked Pork Belly Sandwich

                                                                                                              Smoked Pork Belly, Smoked Pork Shoulder,
                                                                                                              Ranch Cabbage Coleslaw, Lemon Zest

                                                                                                              Bones in a Bucket

                                                                                                              Kansas City Rubbed Beef and Pork Ribs,
                                                                                                              Ranch Dressing, Celery, Carrot

                                                                                                              Broccoli & Grits

                                                                                                              Grits, Broccoli, Smoked Cheese Sauce,
                                                                                                              Old Milwaukee Mushroom Gravy, Green Onion

                                                                                                              Buffalo Cauliflower

                                                                                                              Beer Battered Cauliflower, Louisiana Hot Sauce,
                                                                                                              Ranch Dressing, Celery, Carrot

                                                                                                              1. re: disgusti
                                                                                                                atomeyes Sep 9, 2013 06:20 PM

                                                                                                                all sounds fucking delicious to me, captain.

                                                                                                                1. re: disgusti
                                                                                                                  icookgood Mar 27, 2014 08:17 AM

                                                                                                                  Sounds pretty disgusting to me.

                                                                                                      3. kwass Sep 12, 2013 05:07 PM

                                                                                                        The latest offering:


                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: kwass
                                                                                                          justsayn Sep 12, 2013 07:09 PM

                                                                                                          Those look promising!

                                                                                                          1. re: justsayn
                                                                                                            kwass Sep 12, 2013 07:14 PM

                                                                                                            Don't they?!

                                                                                                            1. re: kwass
                                                                                                              justxpete Sep 12, 2013 09:27 PM

                                                                                                              I dunno. Do they?

                                                                                                              1. re: justxpete
                                                                                                                kwass Sep 12, 2013 09:34 PM

                                                                                                                Totally! How can they go wrong with a homemade twinkie (yum) and a giant jelly doughnut (double yum)?!

                                                                                                                1. re: kwass
                                                                                                                  justxpete Sep 12, 2013 09:47 PM

                                                                                                                  I dunno. You think they can't?

                                                                                                                  1. re: justxpete
                                                                                                                    justsayn Sep 12, 2013 10:55 PM

                                                                                                                    Hard to screw up the Jelly but the twinkie could go either way. I prefer to hope for success like maybe a really good strawberry shortcake without the strawberry.

                                                                                                        2. redearth Oct 1, 2013 04:58 PM

                                                                                                          Place sucks. Wedge salad was an abominable travesty. The $12 they charged for it might as well have been stolen from me, it was that bad. The bologna sandwich? Overrated. The Buffalo Cauliflower? Hard little nuggets of something unrecognizable... Could've been cauliflower, I guess, but the too-heavily-floured batter created these crunchy little balls that completely overwhelmed what might have been within. The prices? F*@king ridiculous. I won't be back.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: redearth
                                                                                                            Michael N Oct 2, 2013 11:37 AM

                                                                                                            I guess it depends on what you order, because I was pleased with my one visit. I thought the fried chicken sandwich was above average, and their banana split was quite possibly the best version of that dessert I've ever had.

                                                                                                          2. kwass Oct 15, 2013 03:41 PM

                                                                                                            Fried Chicken and Waffles is coming to the menu:


                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: kwass
                                                                                                              LotteDempsey Oct 15, 2013 05:29 PM

                                                                                                              Can't wait!

                                                                                                            2. y
                                                                                                              ylsf Mar 27, 2014 07:36 AM

                                                                                                              According to BlogTo they are now serving lunch.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: ylsf
                                                                                                                kwass Mar 27, 2014 08:19 AM

                                                                                                                They're doing take out too as of Monday. As for lunch, I think they're offering a different menu, because he's been trying things out and showing pictures of the new menu items on Instagram.

                                                                                                                I'm actually going on Monday (for the 1st time, as I've been waiting for them to open for lunch), so I'll make sure to report back. I just hope they keep the fried chicken and waffles on the lunch menu :)

                                                                                                              2. kwass Mar 31, 2014 05:00 PM

                                                                                                                Well, I finally made it to Home of the Brave. They're open for lunch now, so I went for their 1st lunch service. OMG!! It was so good!! I had the tator tots...delish, the buttered popcorn onion rings...unreal, and the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich...ridiculous! In fact, it was probably one of the best sandwiches I've had. I might even go as far as saying that it was just as good, if not better than Brock Sandwich's Piri Piri Chicken Sandwich...which is very high praise for me.

                                                                                                                Oh...I almost forgot that I had the carrot cake ice cream sandwich, with cinnamon ice cream, which was heavenly :)

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