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Chowfind of the Century- Bistrot 92 Eglinton Ave West, French French

v
Vinnie Vidimangi Oct 22, 2013 12:13 PM

Bistrot 92
1885 Eglinton Ave West
416 519 6050 - call ahead
A block and a bit west of Dufferin
Ample parking across the street Green P
A plain but nice room. Comfy chairs , white tableclothes.
I think that I am in France and 20 years ago.

Just came out from lunch and don't have time for a fuller review. I am typing from in front of Tim Hortons across the street.

Lunch was a French cooking $10 buffet at the crossed knife and fork standard with of course cheaper ingredients.
Soup, salad, mixed veg, potatoes, rice, fish, chicken, beef. Everything, everything is excellent. And I came two and a half hours after it opened!

Chef Guy Dongue is from Paris, born in the Cameroons. French was spoken exclusively among the staff. One of his cooking stops was Tour d'Argent. Even if he peeled potatoes there, it's OK.

Run, don't walk, particularly so that you will be there shortly after he opens.

The supper menu looks appealing. Four courses for $27.

You can find some pics of his food on the internet. Will post link later.

  1. p
    pourboi Mar 6, 2014 04:51 PM

    Chowfind of the Century is looking like the ChowFail of the century...

    The restaurant is now listed for sale on Craigslist for $60k. You cant make a living serving one table a night.

    43 Replies
    1. re: pourboi
      Charles Yu Mar 6, 2014 05:24 PM

      What a pity :(
      May be with the proceed they can relocate to a 'better' location?

      1. re: Charles Yu
        atomeyes Mar 6, 2014 05:42 PM

        always kills me to see non-business minds opening businesses based on passions or hobbies.

        they're asking for $60 000. i wouldn't even pay $600 for the space. it's in the middle of a construction zone for the next 5 years.

        1. re: Charles Yu
          p
          pourboi Mar 6, 2014 05:44 PM

          There will be no proceeds.. even if he is lucky to get that amount of money (which is doubtful for that location) he will have to buy a new spot in a better location which will be double what he is asking (at least). Plus based on reports here I doubt he has had any real income since he opened which means his any savings he did have has been put into the rent and supplies for the restaurant plus his living expenses. Most new restaurateurs are leveraged to the teeth. I would assume he is as well.

          Best case scenario would be to sell cover as much of his debt as possible and get a chef job working for someone else getting a steady salary...

          1. re: pourboi
            barnes1852 Mar 7, 2014 07:57 AM

            wonder if an entrepreneur would be willing to take this guy under his wing and open a restau downtown with him as the chef. he'd probably come cheap now and if someone was gonna take care of the business, marketing, front of house stuff and just leave him to cook his food, it could be a win for both of them. if he can maintain his consistency (i've been a couple of times and the quality has varied) in the right location, he'd probably do very well. and the entrepreneur could make an absolute killing.

            1. re: barnes1852
              p
              pourboi Mar 7, 2014 08:05 AM

              He should talk to Chase they are opening a higher end French restaurant where Scarpetta is... of course the chef would just be an employee...

        2. re: pourboi
          p
          Pincus Mar 7, 2014 08:50 AM

          Sad to hear. Hope the schadenfreude can be kept to a minimum.

          1. re: pourboi
            foodyDudey Mar 12, 2014 10:36 AM

            I just went to the website and it appears to have had a major update, it looked quite different a few months ago. Vinnie, have you been eating there recently?

            http://www.bistrot92.com/index.html

            1. re: foodyDudey
              v
              Vinnie Vidimangi Mar 17, 2014 09:57 AM

              foodeydudey. For the past three months I have been enjoying summer half way around the world.

              I understand that the chef-owner is a half owner of a successful French African restaurant in Hull. In Toronto he is developing a catering business from the restaurant.
              I am sure that between the weather and the construction it has been a bad winter.

              He came from Ottawa- Hull. If he closes and returns it will be because the good restaurant sense that will work in every other city will not work in Toronto. He has not failed the customers. It is indeed hard to maintain the standard when business is slow.

              The location is quite OK as a neighbourhood and there is ample free or cheap parking.

              1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                p
                pourboi Mar 17, 2014 11:02 AM

                But most people in Toronto do not want to DRIVE to a restaurant and enjoy drinks and wine. They want to take transit or a quick cab ride from where they work or live. Maybe in Hull people drive that distance but the chef should have researched Toronto and realised that for French fine dining you need to be central ... and even then it is not easy as French food seems to not be what people are looking for these days (lots of french places closing).

                I do not think he failed his customers... I think he failed himself by assuming if "he builds it they will come".. Many people myself included when you first posted said that that location would be troublesome. And we were right.

                Just because his place in Hull works does not mean it had that same challenges as his place here. "Origin" works well on King & Church and their new Uptown location yet did not work in Liberty Village... yet all three are in Toronto serving pretty much the same food. BUT one location is not easily accessible and the people living in Liberty V were not enough to sustain the restaurant...

                1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                  f
                  frogsteak Mar 17, 2014 08:55 PM

                  vinnie as a believer why don't you step up and invest in your chef hero

                  1. re: frogsteak
                    v
                    Vinnie Vidimangi Mar 17, 2014 10:39 PM

                    I have been successful at the restaurant business for 40 years: I have managed to suppress the urge to own one and have stayed a customer.

                    I have gone into different businesses, but the restaurant business is not for me. I hate people in general and partners in particular. And a business in which I am in the partner's hands? I hate retail and in particular I hate being pleasant to customers such as you, let alone having any obligation to be so. My solution to a customer relationship problem has been to petition the customer into bankruptcy.

                    But I do think that the chef-owner is a superb and generous French chef and that the customers are failing him rather than vice versa. He wasn't familiar with Toronto and its special restaurant culture. The problem was manifest the moment that I lifted the cover of the first chafing dish when he had a lunch buffet.

                    1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                      f
                      frogsteak Mar 18, 2014 04:13 AM

                      It probably didn't help that his best customer turned him into a laughing stock on the internet.

                      1. re: frogsteak
                        p
                        pourboi Mar 18, 2014 04:39 AM

                        With this I disagree... I am the first to make fun of Vinnie but he got this place noticed and not in a bad way. He was even responsible for getting the restaurant mentioned positively in the press. The fact is that this place was killed by its location and nothing else..

                        1. re: frogsteak
                          T Long Mar 18, 2014 08:22 AM

                          To each their own. But regarding Vinnie as a CH contributor, I disagree with your sentiments. As a sometimes contributor, but mainly reader of CH, one of Vinnie's past recommendations has remained the most useful addition to my restaurant rotation. In general his insights, while they can be humorous (a good thing), are often spot on.....for this CH'er.

                          1. re: frogsteak
                            foodyDudey Mar 18, 2014 09:22 AM

                            "frogsteak" said while they sat on a lilypad: "It probably didn't help that his best customer turned him into a laughing stock on the internet"

                            Can you explain the rationale for your statement? I don't really follow it. And I am wondering if you have actually eaten at Bistrot 92, because I don't think it makes much sense to offer an opinion on a place that you have not eaten at. The main problem with this restaurant is the location. It's somewhere in the middle of nowhere, but the food is fine.

                            1. re: foodyDudey
                              justxpete Mar 18, 2014 11:14 AM

                              How does this food look to you, FD? Would you eat 'here'?

                               
                              1. re: justxpete
                                foodyDudey Mar 18, 2014 11:39 AM

                                Sure the food could be presented in a more appetising way, but it tastes just fine and that is what counts, as long as it does not look like a turd on a plate.

                                It seems to be good enough for Charles Yu and various other people here who were happy with it. If it was closer, like a few minutes from my house, I'd probably eat there. I like just walking up to Danforth Ave to eat lunch or dinner. Driving over to Dufferin and Eglinton takes about 30 minutes so I am not too interested in visiting again, but that's the only reason.

                                1. re: foodyDudey
                                  justxpete Mar 18, 2014 11:42 AM

                                  So you're saying it's possible to judge a restaurant by pictures of their food without actually going there?

                                  You seem to have dodged the question of "Would you eat here?" in reference to the picture I posted.

                                  1. re: justxpete
                                    m
                                    Michael N Mar 19, 2014 05:38 AM

                                    Um, read the rest of this thread (and FD's statement that he is "not too interested in visiting again" based on location) -- FD has already eaten there.

                                    1. re: Michael N
                                      justxpete Mar 19, 2014 07:15 AM

                                      The point escapes you.

                                      The picture I posted isn't from B92.

                                      (but it's still rather amusing that you think it is)

                                      1. re: justxpete
                                        m
                                        Michael N Mar 19, 2014 07:23 AM

                                        I thought that plate looked unappealing, even by B92's standards. Okay, so what is your point then? That the plating at B92 is so unappealing it can be confused with what appears to be airplane food?

                                        1. re: Michael N
                                          justxpete Mar 19, 2014 07:27 AM

                                          No, it's that you CAN judge a restaurant from pictures of their food. And, that the conclusions you come to during this process are most likely accurate.

                                          And yes, that's airplane food (see how you did that?).

                                          1. re: justxpete
                                            barnes1852 Mar 19, 2014 07:35 AM

                                            airplane food as in neil perry on QF, alain ducasse on AF, yamamoto on JAL, and heston blumenthal on BA?

                                            1. re: barnes1852
                                              justxpete Mar 19, 2014 07:36 AM

                                              Which one do you think it is?

                                            2. re: justxpete
                                              m
                                              Michael N Mar 19, 2014 07:37 AM

                                              Presentation is important, obviously, but the notion that you can tell what something tastes like without tasting it is crazy town. But I'm getting deja-vu -- pretty sure we've had this argument before.

                                              1. re: Michael N
                                                justxpete Mar 19, 2014 07:40 AM

                                                Yeah, I don't really think that's true by any means. And you were able to ascertain that that was airplane food, so Im guessing you've already made a fairly accurate judgement as to how it might taste.

                                                1. re: justxpete
                                                  The Chowhound Team Mar 19, 2014 09:40 AM

                                                  Folks, this sub-thread is getting pretty testy and starting to be more about the hounds participating in it than it is about the food at Bistrot 92. We've removed a few posts, and would ask that everyone let this particular part of the discussion go. Thanks.

                                            3. re: Michael N
                                              T Long Mar 19, 2014 07:32 AM

                                              I think he is trying to make the point that people can judge a place without actually dining at the place. He is right to a degree, and this kind of speculation happens often on CH. But I'm also annoyed by these observations....try the place, then comment!! Or at least clarify that you have not actually eaten there, but want to offer your thoughts.

                                              1. re: T Long
                                                justxpete Mar 19, 2014 07:41 AM

                                                Yeah, and I think if someone looks at something and decides they wouldnt like it, then that's their prerogative not to do so.

                                                1. re: justxpete
                                                  b
                                                  BigBabyYeezuS Mar 19, 2014 07:48 AM

                                                  This is all kind of beside the point.

                                                  When you're serving ugly looking food in an out of the way location in a space that has little character or design with the majority of your PR coming for an internet food message board, you haven't exactly set yourself up for success in any city at any time in human history even if your food tastes like Robuchon at Jamin in 1989.

                                                  1. re: BigBabyYeezuS
                                                    justxpete Mar 19, 2014 07:52 AM

                                                    Kind of, but FD was chastising FS for judging the place before visiting. I did as well. Totally justified and eventually validated.

                                                    Just proving a point.

                                                    1. re: justxpete
                                                      b
                                                      BigBabyYeezuS Mar 19, 2014 07:57 AM

                                                      I mean, you're right to a degree - 85% of the time my skepticism about a restaurant ends up being born out by what I experience when I eventually visit that place (whether that skepticism comes from knowledge of the chef, the restaurant group, the concept, or photos of the food) - but I've had plenty of ugly plates that turn out to taste good and vice versa. You can be surprised, and any prejudice should be hedged with that knowledge. That being said, there's a lot of info in a picture.

                                            4. re: justxpete
                                              s
                                              szw Mar 19, 2014 11:02 PM

                                              Oh... I was going to visit this place yesterday but cancelled my plans because of that pic you posted, which looked so bad. That was unfortunate...probably not going to get a chance to go again

                                              1. re: szw
                                                justxpete Mar 19, 2014 11:42 PM

                                                I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic, but at no time did I insinuate that that picture was from Bistro92. Just happened to be in the same thread where FD was attacking FS. Just wanted to prove a point.

                                                Anywho, sorry I inadvertently made you skip it. If people want to go, the more power to them. It's just not my thing.

                                                1. re: justxpete
                                                  s
                                                  szw Mar 20, 2014 07:26 PM

                                                  Not being sarcastic. I don't read every post in this thread, just saw your post. With no context, it definitely seemed to me that it was from this restaurant which this thread is about. Anyways, no worries, we eat every day generally.

                                2. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                                  p
                                  pourboi Mar 18, 2014 04:36 AM

                                  His customers did not fail him... as he has NO customers...

                                  1. re: pourboi
                                    f
                                    frogsteak Mar 18, 2014 05:44 AM

                                    'the press'

                                    1. re: frogsteak
                                      p
                                      pourboi Mar 18, 2014 06:39 AM

                                      yes "the press", you know like newspapers & magazines... in this case it was Toronto Life Magazine: http://www.torontolife.com/daily-dish...

                                      1. re: pourboi
                                        f
                                        frogsteak Mar 18, 2014 07:20 AM

                                        it says something about toronto life that their news article was based on a message board post.

                                        1. re: frogsteak
                                          Full tummy Mar 18, 2014 08:37 AM

                                          Would it be more legit if the writer got a tip from his/her neighbour, friend, in-law, or workout partner? That's how these things work. Whether the TL writer visited the venue, I have no idea. But people learn about all kinds of things from all kinds of sources, and then it's up to them to determine whether the info is correct.

                                          1. re: frogsteak
                                            Charles Yu Mar 18, 2014 03:19 PM

                                            Ah!! Toronto Life!! That 'mysterious outfit'??!!
                                            If what you said 'frogsteak' is true, then I don't understand why they keep on ignoring our Chowhounders' positive reviews and consistently giving 'BERO' just ONE lousy insulting star??!
                                            BTW, our 'Yelpers' cousins also have great things to say about BERO as well!!

                                            1. re: frogsteak
                                              v
                                              Vinnie Vidimangi Mar 18, 2014 08:05 PM

                                              I know that restaurant reviewers get their ideas in part from CH.

                                      2. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                                        p
                                        pakmode Mar 24, 2014 10:05 AM

                                        I gotta admit this post by VVM made me laugh out loud. He is too funny, even though he doesn't intend to be.

                              2. kwass Jan 31, 2014 05:00 PM

                                Bistrot 92 made Toronto Life's Power Ranking. They even say it's being called "The Chowfind of the Century"

                                http://www.torontolife.com/daily-dish...

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: kwass
                                  hal2010 Jan 31, 2014 07:11 PM

                                  They're even calling us "food nerds", too

                                  1. re: hal2010
                                    y
                                    Yongeman Feb 1, 2014 02:43 AM

                                    Ha ha, 'food nerds' is perfect! I love how they called it a "Briar Hill bistro". That adds a certain, je ne sais quoi, n'est-ce pas?

                                    1. re: hal2010
                                      foodyDudey Feb 1, 2014 03:49 AM

                                      I think they are getting VVM mixed up with justxpete! He had a famous website by that name.

                                    2. re: kwass
                                      p
                                      Pincus Feb 5, 2014 02:05 PM

                                      I guess it's nicer than food geeks.

                                      1. re: Pincus
                                        a
                                        alvino Feb 25, 2014 10:48 AM

                                        My wife and I were finally able to make it here this past Saturday evening. Like others who have commented in this chain, we were the only customers while we were there. Which is a shame as the food is very good and, for $30 prix fixe for 3 courses, amazing value. From an ambience point of view, we could have done without the wall-mounted TV, which, though, ran without sound. We would encourage others to give this restaurant a try, as the personable owner is trying very hard and offers high quality cuisine at a winning price.

                                        1. re: alvino
                                          Charles Yu Feb 25, 2014 11:00 AM

                                          One table! I can understand when its -20C outside and on a Thursday ( my visit).

                                          But, only one cover on a Saturday evening!! That's so sad to hear! I seriously doubt they can survive for long??!!

                                          Good food requires good fresh ingredients! The latter being mostly perishable would be tough to maintain if there's no business!! Sooner or latter quality would falter and once words get out, the end will follow soon! Sigh!!

                                    3. happycamper Jan 29, 2014 09:44 AM

                                      http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/01/...

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: happycamper
                                        kwass Jan 29, 2014 10:33 AM

                                        I can't believe that!! I bet that mention is all thanks to Vinnie :) See what one voice can do?

                                        1. re: kwass
                                          s
                                          smfan Jan 29, 2014 12:37 PM

                                          Are you writing this place off just because of Vinnie?

                                          1. re: smfan
                                            kwass Jan 29, 2014 12:45 PM

                                            No not at all! I love the fact that his voice has created such a buzz about this place. I doubt Bistrot 92 would have made that list if he hadn't started this thread! I don't think anyone would have even heard of it without him.

                                          2. re: kwass
                                            MissBingBing Jan 30, 2014 12:21 PM

                                            Look closer. They're just picking up anything on Twitter or Fl*cker with a torontorestaurant hashtag.

                                        2. v
                                          Vinnie Vidimangi Jan 27, 2014 10:07 AM

                                          Here is the Valentine's day menu- $55
                                          Velouté de champignons sauvages en cappuccino d’huile de truffe
                                          Cream of wild mushroom cappuccino with truffle oil

                                          Complicité de foie gras, l’un au torchon et l’autre en terrine, chutney de rhubarbe, brioche toastée
                                          Foie gras Duo (au torchon and pâté) Rhubarb Chutney, Toast Brioche
                                          Ou/Or
                                          Superposition en noir et blanc / Black and white combinaison
                                          Pétoncle géante saisi et boudin noir, mousseline de céleri rave aux éclats de truffes, émulsion vallée d’Auge.
                                          Giant scallop and black pudding, mashed celeriac with pieces of truffle emulsion Valley d’Auge

                                          Granité de pamplemousse ou Champagne Rosé/ Grapefruit Granita Champagne Rosé

                                          Filet de bar poêlé, beurre blanc au vermouth et vanille de Madagascar, riz vénéré et pointes d’asperges croquantes
                                          Seared Filet Sea Bass, beurre blanc vermouth, and Madagascar vanilla, black rice crunchy asparagus tips.
                                          Ou/Or
                                          Pavé de biche en croute de noisette, mousseline de topinambours,
                                          réduction de vin rouge aux épices douces et canneberges/ Deer Steak in a Hazelnut Crust,
                                          Jerusalem artichoke Mousseline, Red wine Reduction with Sweet Spices and Cranberries.

                                          Pour l’amour du chocolat/ For Chocolate Fans
                                          Moelleux au chocolat noir de Tanzanie en Cœur blanc fondant
                                          Chocolate Fondant of Tanzania Dark Chocolate in a Heart of White Fondant.

                                          RSVP: 416 519-6050
                                          $55

                                          Avoid Eglinton Ave if you go- construction. Eglinton is OK in the late evening.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                                            happycamper Jan 27, 2014 11:25 AM

                                            The Foie Gras Duo sounds enticing!

                                            Hope the wine menu will be posted soon before Valentines Day. Do they accept BYO? what about corkage?

                                            1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                                              Charles Yu Jan 27, 2014 11:49 AM

                                              Any idea when they kick off this Valentine's menu. Is it just a 'one day affair'?!

                                              1. re: Charles Yu
                                                n
                                                nogoro Jan 27, 2014 01:15 PM

                                                I was there couple weeks ago, and the Valentine's dinner menu was on each table... I had trouble communicating with the waitress but she seemed to suggest it was one day only...

                                                1. re: nogoro
                                                  v
                                                  Vinnie Vidimangi Jan 27, 2014 04:09 PM

                                                  Ah, the beautiful and charming French waitress! And I thought that she was being coy!

                                                  The Valentine's Day menu will be served Friday and Saturday. Reservations are of course a good idea, but walk- in may be possible.
                                                  Sunday, same menu, reservations only.

                                                  The same menu but smaller may be available Tuesday to Thursday of the week. The decision hasn't been made yet.

                                              2. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                                                v
                                                Vinnie Vidimangi Jan 30, 2014 10:48 AM

                                                B92's Valentine's Day menu dates are FRI14 and SAT15FEB14 and, for those who have forgotten and need to get out of deep doo doo, also FRI21 and SAT22FEB14.

                                              3. s
                                                smfan Jan 25, 2014 06:46 AM

                                                After reading Charle's review, my DH and I went last Sat night. They are licensed now. I enjoyed my duck confit with rice and crispy quinoa. Took the TTC Dufferin bus. 2 mins walk from Eglinton/Dufferin bus stop.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: smfan
                                                  j
                                                  julesrules Jan 27, 2014 10:20 AM

                                                  Licensed means my cheap, anti-hipster, drunkard girlfriends (love you gals!) might give this place a chance. Thanks!

                                                2. aser Jan 13, 2014 12:14 AM

                                                  This is hands down the best thread of 2013.

                                                  I would like to go eat there not for food reasons, but just because this thread encapsulates the best and worst of Chowhound.

                                                  That's gold Jerry!

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: aser
                                                    m
                                                    magic Jan 13, 2014 05:04 AM

                                                    "That's gold Jerry!".

                                                    !!! hahaha.

                                                    1. re: aser
                                                      f
                                                      FrankD Jan 13, 2014 05:10 PM

                                                      However, his soup is not a meal.

                                                    2. Charles Yu Jan 12, 2014 12:13 PM

                                                      Well! Time for me to chip in my 2 cents worth!

                                                      First off, even after a few positive feedbacks from fellow seasoned hounds, I was rather skeptical towards this supposedly 'good' and authentic French bistro located in a rather 'run-down culinary desert' corner of town.

                                                      After spending over 2 years living and working in Paris, not to mention using almost all the surrounding bistros as my daily luncheon and sometimes, dinner canteens. So, when it comes to French bistro food, my bar obviously is set fairly high!

                                                      My partner ( fellow hound Caneast ) and I arrived at this small, barren and cozy restaurant at around 6.30 pm to find the place absolutely empty and Freezing!! The reason being, a couple of repairmen was trying to fix the door lock, hence the door was wide open!

                                                      Our server and owner was most friendly and hospitable, profusely apologizing for the temporary freezing condition.

                                                      However, I was immediately warmed up when I heard Edith Piaf's song ' Non, Je ne regrette rien ' playing softly in the background. But when I noticed a photo hanging on the wall showing the apartment I used to live in Paris, all was forgiven!

                                                      For our meal, we had the $30 prix fix and selected the following:

                                                      - Amuse of 'Seared East Coast Diver Scallop on Celeric root salad'
                                                      - Appertizer of 'Escargots Casserole a la Provencel'.
                                                      - Entree of 'Braised Lamb Shank with EVOO whipped mashed potatoes, beans, carrota and bok-choy'.
                                                      - Dessert of 'Freshly baked French Apple Tart with Ice Cream'.
                                                      ( Caneast had a Seafood Supreme with Puff pastry and Duck Confit with Cranberry sauce ).

                                                      Question: How often does one find a perfectly seared jumbo diver scallop over celeric root salad drizzled with aged Balsamic as a complimentary amuse?! And as part of a mingy $30 Prix Fix dinner at that?! Are the chefs and owner deliberately trying to lose money?! An interesting start that comes with a 'wow' of another sort!

                                                      Compare to Estufarian's experence, my escargot was rather grit-less. Morsels were nicely cooked and chewy. The tomato, garlic and onion stew was indeed a touch mushy but was rather delicious though.

                                                      My lamb shank entree was nicely cooked. Tender and yet retaining the chewiness of the muscles. I too agree with Estufarian that the flavor was a bit lacking. A deeper flavored sauce reduction is definitely needed to enhance the dish. BTW, all vegetables were cooked perfectly al dente!

                                                      The high light of my meal must be that aromatic, flaky and buttery warm Apple tart!! Lovely pastry, perfectly sliced and cooked apples! Instantly propels me back to Paris!

                                                      Almost forgot! The super crunchy and crispy crusted warm bread was very good!!

                                                      Indeed, 3 courses plus a generous amuse for only $30 is nothing short of 'great value'! Food was not too bad either!! If this bistro is located in Mount Pleasant, I'm sure it will be packed like 'Simple Bistro' ever night. Unfortunately, I am sad to report that during our 2.5 hours there, we were the ONLY TABLE!! And it was a Saturday night!! Sigh!!

                                                      IMHO, it will need more than chowhounders' support and a miracle to keep this place going! I wish them good luck and success!!

                                                       
                                                       
                                                       
                                                       
                                                       
                                                       
                                                       
                                                       
                                                       
                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Charles Yu
                                                        foodyDudey Jan 12, 2014 12:44 PM

                                                        Hi Charles,
                                                        So the picture of the apartment was the exact same building you lived in? That is a real coincidence.

                                                        Your experience appears to be more like my own. I'm glad it was, some wowhounds probably didn't believe what I had written, or thought I am easily amused. I didn't order the escargot as didn't know where they were from, and didn't want canned snails from China.
                                                        Thanks for the pictures, I won't have to visit for a while as I can tell how the food smells and tastes just by looking at the pictures! hah! :-)

                                                        My post is in the other thread here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9240...

                                                        1. re: Charles Yu
                                                          s
                                                          smfan Jan 12, 2014 05:19 PM

                                                          Thanks. I hope he can stay in business.

                                                        2. l
                                                          lylaa Jan 11, 2014 06:17 PM

                                                          Mr. Lylaa and myself enjoyed a very nice lunch at Bistrot 92 this Saturday afternoon. We are not gastronomes but here are our impressions.

                                                          We both had the Table d'hôte,with Mr. Lylaa having a wonderful seafood risotto (lots of very nicely prepared seafood and a large perfectly seared scallop on top). A hot spicy sweet pepper soup as a starter. Homemade cheesecake with framboise finished the meal. I had the tasty and nicely presented avocado tartare as a starter and crêpes suzette Grand Marnier for dessert. My main course was an well-prepared onglet steak with vegetables were crisp and warm.

                                                          The service was formal and attentive.

                                                          French music – not too loud.

                                                          One other group of two came in while we were there. We parked on Eglinton, there was ample street parking.

                                                          Concluding thoughts from Mr. Lylaa: Be sure to support them, before they're gone. This is one place that deserves some business.

                                                          1. estufarian Jan 10, 2014 11:12 AM

                                                            So, back to the chow!

                                                            I finally checked this place out - now that several contributors have tried it and I can be reasonably assured of a balanced viewpoint.

                                                            Well, it's a respectable neighbourhood restaurant that's unlikely to still be around by the end of this year.

                                                            On my visit there wasn't a single other patron in the place throughout my evening meal - just not sustainable.
                                                            Maybe it deserves better, but that's not the point - it is badly located and is simply not worth a detour!

                                                            The meal was inconsistent - but still excellent value - but no more so than my other 'local' places that provide equivalent value (2 course for $25, 3 for $30) and probably exist all over the city.

                                                            An 'amuse' of scallop with risotto was a welcome surprise and of good (but not outstanding) quality.
                                                            My appetizer (escargots) was a mess. The escargots themselves were fine (well-cooked) but about 25% contained grit - either poor cleaning or poor supplier - and the vegetables were just mush - no texture or flavour.
                                                            My main of lamb shank was pretty good - not packed with flavour, but well-prepared and tender without being mushy. The vegetables (green beans and mushrooms) were not bad either - beans were good, mushrooms again lacking any flavour, but reasonable texture.
                                                            The dessert, apple tart, was outstanding. Flaky pastry, and beautifully presented tart (although mostly hidden by a so-so ice-cream - presumably vanilla, but no aromatics). If the tart was made in-house, the chef may have a career as a pastry supplier. If bought from outside - I'd like to know who made it! Vinnie?

                                                            All-in-all I got good value for money, as I would expect from a neighbourhood place.
                                                            But comparing it with my long-favoured bistro (which has a 2-course for $24.95) I can't really see any reason to change. As I'm sure someone will ask, it's Café Pleiade on Mount Pleasant.

                                                            Can't comment on lunch.

                                                            10 Replies
                                                            1. re: estufarian
                                                              m
                                                              magic Jan 10, 2014 11:41 AM

                                                              Thanks for the report, estufarian.

                                                              1. re: estufarian
                                                                TorontoJo Jan 10, 2014 11:44 AM

                                                                Thanks, estufarian. That sounds like what I was realistically expecting: a decent neighbourhood spot.

                                                                1. re: TorontoJo
                                                                  justxpete Jan 10, 2014 11:47 AM

                                                                  Thanks for posting, Estufarian.

                                                                  Also sounds like my summary was exactly correct - and imagine that, just from the pictures!

                                                                  "But, at $30pp, there's definitely a lot of value there, which is also something that VV would appreciate (can you say "coupon"???). So, everything kind of makes sense to me.

                                                                  /edit - I will say that the pastry looks pretty damn good."

                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9240...

                                                                2. re: estufarian
                                                                  atomeyes Jan 10, 2014 12:25 PM

                                                                  It's very sad to see restaurants fail.
                                                                  but you wonder why an owner would open a French bistro in the middle of Little Jamaica.
                                                                  the rich people who live in Upper FH village NEVER wander west of Eg West station, and the people who live west of Eg West station on Eg likely won't want a $30/person French meal when they're lining up down the block at Randy's on Twoonie Tuesday.

                                                                  while it is most profitable to be the 1st in Rome, you don't want to be ahead of a non-existent trend and open up in an area where you're destined to fail.

                                                                  1. re: atomeyes
                                                                    f
                                                                    FrankD Jan 10, 2014 12:51 PM

                                                                    I understand your feelings, but I think they are hoping that the cross-town gets finished sooner rather than later, and that it 1) solves current traffic problems, 2) makes it more convenient for others to visit, and 3) brings in a whole new boom of new development (look at Sheppard where the vestigial subway lies) that would translate into more business. I hope they can hang in.

                                                                    1. re: FrankD
                                                                      atomeyes Jan 10, 2014 08:53 PM

                                                                      ummm....
                                                                      it will be done in 2-4 years.

                                                                      1. re: atomeyes
                                                                        r
                                                                        radiopolitic Jan 10, 2014 09:36 PM

                                                                        Longer. 2020 at the earliest.

                                                                        1. re: radiopolitic
                                                                          Googs Jan 24, 2014 10:45 AM

                                                                          IF TTC estimates are accurate. Which they never are.

                                                                        2. re: atomeyes
                                                                          hal2010 Jan 10, 2014 09:37 PM

                                                                          Yeah. No new restaurant can wait years for customers, no matter how low the start-up costs.

                                                                      2. re: atomeyes
                                                                        d
                                                                        Degustation Jan 12, 2014 04:21 PM

                                                                        When I spoke with the owner chef in Nov, he acknowledged that this was a tough area to run this type of restaurant. He is hoping to eventually relocate to another area like St. Clair if he does well. I suspect budget had to do with him opening in this neighbourhood.

                                                                        There were three young men (16? 17?) enjoying the prix fixe lunch when I was there. They were sampling each other's dishes and commenting on the food. Appeared to be budding foodies, talking about trying restaurants in NY - don't think they were from the hood.

                                                                    2. s
                                                                      snoobie Jan 9, 2014 03:56 AM

                                                                      Bistrot 92 just reopened after Christmas break. We went last night with a friend and had an outstanding meal. We had three different entrees- the new York strip, the seafood pasta, and the mushroom pasta. We all loved our entrees. Last night the chef made a French onion soup. The broth was so rich - definitely one of the best soups I have ever eaten!!!!!! We had the apple tartin for dessert. Our friend had the chocolate mouse. Wow !!!!!!!

                                                                      22 Replies
                                                                      1. re: snoobie
                                                                        foodyDudey Jan 9, 2014 06:43 AM

                                                                        Almost nobody here will believe you and they don't care. I know the food tastes great. How was the presentation, did you take any pictures?

                                                                        1. re: foodyDudey
                                                                          m
                                                                          magic Jan 9, 2014 07:09 AM

                                                                          I'm sure there are plenty who are optimistic and encouraged, myself included.

                                                                          :)

                                                                          1. re: magic
                                                                            foodyDudey Jan 9, 2014 07:18 AM

                                                                            It would be nice to see reviews from those people, instead of the negative BS from a few others. I doubt anyone would be disappointed with their visit and I like to patronise small independent places instead of the ones that have $3M for a reno before they open.

                                                                            1. re: foodyDudey
                                                                              m
                                                                              magic Jan 9, 2014 07:24 AM

                                                                              It would be nice to see more reviews from CH "regulars", yes. But I guess it was closed over the holidays and people have been busy on top of that.

                                                                              I'm hopeful they will trickle in. I hope to get there shortly(ish) myself.

                                                                              1. re: foodyDudey
                                                                                TorontoJo Jan 9, 2014 07:40 AM

                                                                                Many of the popular restaurants discussed on this board are exactly the types of small, independent place you are talking about. Just because they are trendy or patronized by "hipsters" doesn't mean there isn't value in what they are doing. These are chef-driven restaurants with very few seats and pretty bare-bones "decor". There's a lot of skill and knowledge that goes into their cooking. If you look at places like Chantecler or any of the restaurants from the Group of 7 chefs, I can pretty much guarantee you that none of those guys had 3 million to put into their restaurants and none of them are exactly raking it in. Opening a restaurant is a labour of love, and we should respect the brave (and crazy) people who are willing to work long hours for shitty pay, regardless of how popular or trendy their place becomes.

                                                                                I have no doubt that the food at Bistrot 92 is prepared with skill. I, personally, am not that interested in classical French bistro food, so it simply isn't a draw for me. As for the negative tone you're complaining about, I think it's a pretty natural response to the hyperbole in the original post. Especially given the outright disdain that VVM has often expressed for many of the restaurants that other people clearly enjoy.

                                                                                1. re: TorontoJo
                                                                                  justxpete Jan 9, 2014 07:42 AM

                                                                                  I couldn't have said it better.

                                                                                  Slow Clap.

                                                                                  1. re: justxpete
                                                                                    m
                                                                                    magic Jan 9, 2014 08:06 AM

                                                                                    Haha, slow clap.

                                                                                    Love it.

                                                                                2. re: foodyDudey
                                                                                  justxpete Jan 9, 2014 07:43 AM

                                                                                  And really, FD, how do you want people to react when you paint this type of picture?

                                                                                  "But I agree it looks almost like a meal served on an airplane (when they served food). Just presenting the food in a better way would make it look more appetizing. Maybe they need a food stylist. But the fact is, it all tastes much better than any TV dinner. "

                                                                                  - FoodDudey

                                                                                  Mmmm... sounds... delcious???

                                                                                  Much better than a TV dinner? lol. C'mon.

                                                                                  I won't be rushing out any time soon.

                                                                                  1. re: justxpete
                                                                                    kwass Jan 9, 2014 07:57 AM

                                                                                    Maybe a chow meet should be set up to settle this once and for all :)

                                                                                    1. re: kwass
                                                                                      justxpete Jan 9, 2014 07:59 AM

                                                                                      That'd be hilarious.

                                                                                      1. re: justxpete
                                                                                        m
                                                                                        magic Jan 9, 2014 08:09 AM

                                                                                        Chef's hands would be shaking as he set your plate down.

                                                                                        1. re: magic
                                                                                          justxpete Jan 9, 2014 08:11 AM

                                                                                          That's ok, mine would be too.

                                                                                          lol.

                                                                                          1. re: justxpete
                                                                                            m
                                                                                            magic Jan 9, 2014 08:13 AM

                                                                                            !!!

                                                                                      2. re: kwass
                                                                                        m
                                                                                        magic Jan 9, 2014 08:09 AM

                                                                                        I'd go!

                                                                                        If only to hear VVM talk about 16th century European history. That would be sweet.

                                                                                        1. re: magic
                                                                                          j
                                                                                          JennaBean Jan 9, 2014 08:13 AM

                                                                                          I would as well just for the experience of meeting VVM IRL.

                                                                                          1. re: JennaBean
                                                                                            justxpete Jan 9, 2014 08:23 AM

                                                                                            Looks like Kwass has some organizing to do!

                                                                                            1. re: justxpete
                                                                                              kwass Jan 9, 2014 10:44 AM

                                                                                              Yikes! I wouldn't even know where to begin :0

                                                                                              1. re: kwass
                                                                                                l
                                                                                                lylaa Jan 9, 2014 11:00 AM

                                                                                                Not trying to steal anyone's thunder, but I am thinking of going for lunch there this Saturday. I just called, they confirmed they are serving lunch from 11:00 until 3:30, with a $12 3 course prix fixe and an à la carte menu. Anybody else going?

                                                                                                And I speak French,so I can help out if there any language issues!

                                                                                3. re: foodyDudey
                                                                                  y
                                                                                  Yongeman Jan 9, 2014 07:15 AM

                                                                                  Huhh? Why do you think that people won't believe snoobie? That's a curious comment foodyDudey.
                                                                                  I've never been to Bistrot 92, but I really want to--just haven't been able to yet. I agree that pictures would be nice, though.

                                                                                  1. re: Yongeman
                                                                                    foodyDudey Jan 9, 2014 08:21 AM

                                                                                    Yongeman, I didn't mean that literally, just trying to mention that some people only have negative things to say...
                                                                                    I had taken some pictures, I think they are in the other Bistro92 thread.

                                                                                    1. re: foodyDudey
                                                                                      y
                                                                                      Yongeman Jan 9, 2014 10:20 AM

                                                                                      Ok, cool. I guess I needed the 'tongue-in-cheek' icon to be displayed. ; )

                                                                                      I'm going to try to get there for lunch next week.

                                                                                  2. re: foodyDudey
                                                                                    The Chowhound Team Jan 9, 2014 09:18 AM

                                                                                    Folks, it's fine to share your own experiences with the place, but let's try not to make this a conversation about whether other people's opinions are okay or not. Thanks.

                                                                                4. n
                                                                                  nogoro Dec 8, 2013 07:43 PM

                                                                                  dropped by for sunday brunch.

                                                                                  it was a good deal at $10, egg benedict had 2 eggs, sausage (or bacon), risole (or salad), fruits. They also gave us juice and coffee or tea on the house.

                                                                                  while this meal was comparable to breakfasts elsewhere in town, unfortunately I don't think it allowed the chef to demonstrate all his skills. Hopefully have a chance to try a dinner in the future. No other customers there while we ate, and the waitress is still learning english. They are also now making charcoal roasted chicken $15 whole.

                                                                                  1. kerwintoronto Nov 30, 2013 07:50 AM

                                                                                    Thank you VV. Based on yours and other posters we did dinner here.

                                                                                    It was a thoroughly enjoyable meal. We did the prix fixe of course.

                                                                                    Carrot ginger soup

                                                                                    Escargot casserole
                                                                                    Crispy chevre salad

                                                                                    Duck confit with green beans and mushrooms
                                                                                    NY steak with mashed potatoes

                                                                                    Chocolate mousse w berry sauce (raspberry?)
                                                                                    Crêpes with Grand Marnier sauce

                                                                                    The escargot was a nice variation. The crisp chevre wrapped in phyllo/spring-roll and fried... terrific with the green salad. The soup was also a nice first course to warm up.

                                                                                    We enjoyed the entrées and the duck confit was very good. It was the crisped/fried style. Steak was cooked as ordered. Sides were excellent.

                                                                                    Dessert was a highlight for us. Crepe was perfect and the opinion on combining the chocolate mousse with it was spot on. Preferred the crêpes classically though.

                                                                                    1. f
                                                                                      FrankD Nov 29, 2013 06:09 AM

                                                                                      Based on Vinnie's understated endorsement, my GF and I tried the place last night.

                                                                                      We walked into a deserted room. There was an older gentleman tapping something into a laptop computer at a table near the bar, but he didn't seem to be eating or drinking. We were there for a few seconds before Chef Dongue came out to seat us. (I learned later that his assistant had not come into work that day.)

                                                                                      Prices have been raised slightly - now $30 prix fixe, still a bargain, IMHO. No liquor license yet (I don't drink, so no biggie) but all that was offered was water. No soft drinks or juices - no big deal, but thought I'd mention it.

                                                                                      We started with the chef's amuse of lobster risotto. It was wonderful, fragrant and creamy, with just the right bite to the rice.

                                                                                      From the menu, we chose escargots Provencal and seafood puff pastry as appetizers. I'm accustomed to escargot Bourguignonne, with all its garlic and butter, so the offered dish of snails in a medley of sautéed onions, tomato, etc. was a bit different. It was tasty, but I would have liked some more assertive spicing. The seafood in puff pastry included calamari, scallops, and mussels in a very nice cream sauce. We cleaned both our plates.

                                                                                      For mains, she had the salmon and I had the lamb shank. After Vinnie's comment, we inquired about how well the salmon would be done. Made me realize how difficult it is to specify the 'doneness' of fish! Like Vinnie, I like my salmon just barely cooked (warm enough that it's not sushi, but still limpid and glistening). GF likes her more cooked than that, but no one that I know wants dry, overcooked salmon. In the event, we managed to communicate something, and the fish came out almost perfect. Just the last few bites were a bit underdone to her taste (perfect for mine, though!) so I happily helped her finish. She had the green beans with mushrooms side, which were delicious.

                                                                                      The lamb shank was tasty and tender. Since I rarely eat spuds anymore, I indulged in the Yukon Gold fries which were fabulous. Both meals came with broccoflower, carrots, and bok choy as garnish. Again, plates came full to the table, and were taken away empty.

                                                                                      For dessert, the warm apple tart wasn't available, so we chose the chocolate mousse and the Grand Marnier crepes. The pairing of the slightly cold mousse and the warm orange crepes made for an excellent shared dessert, and catcalls of "get a room!" from the septuagenarian quartet seated next to us.

                                                                                      Total bill came to $67, which is an absolute steal for such fine quality fare, IMHO.

                                                                                      Which brings me to my final comment: When we left at 9:30 pm, there had been a total of 8 diners in the bistro. The chef assured us he was very busy on Friday and Saturday nights, but the room only seats 32, so his upside is limited. I do urge my fellow CH'ers to give this man a try during the holiday season. As others have noted, it's not the hippest part of town, and getting there with the Crosstown construction can be annoying, but it's worth it, and I'd like to see him rewarded with a bit more business.

                                                                                      Maybe not the find of the century, but definitely a place to add to your list. Thanks, Vinnie!

                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: FrankD
                                                                                        j
                                                                                        julesrules Dec 1, 2013 06:54 AM

                                                                                        Ok I just need them to get some wine so I can drag my cheapo, non-hipsters girlfriends there. It sounds like our kind of place.

                                                                                        1. re: julesrules
                                                                                          v
                                                                                          Vinnie Vidimangi Dec 1, 2013 10:00 AM

                                                                                          Bistrot92 now has a liquor licence. He has beers and some hard stuff. Wine will come at the beginning of the week.

                                                                                          Avoid Eglinton, whether you come from the east or west. Subway construction is causing road constrictions and huge delay. Take St Clair, Lawrence, Glencairn or Castlefield. to Dufferin, then turn west onto Eglinton.
                                                                                          No problem finding convenient parking.

                                                                                          1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                                                                                            kwass Dec 1, 2013 12:01 PM

                                                                                            Vinnie, your passion for this place is amazing!! I love hearing you talk about it, even if it's just helping people find the best route to get there :)

                                                                                            1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                                                                                              v
                                                                                              Vinnie Vidimangi Dec 1, 2013 12:16 PM

                                                                                              No, its WEST of Dufferin on Eglinton.

                                                                                              1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                                                                                                y
                                                                                                Yongeman Dec 1, 2013 03:48 PM

                                                                                                Who are you correcting? You said it was west. Do you know if it's open Mondays for lunch? Thinking I might go tomorrow.

                                                                                                1. re: Yongeman
                                                                                                  v
                                                                                                  Vinnie Vidimangi Dec 1, 2013 08:15 PM

                                                                                                  Not open Monday. It is always a good idea to call ahead to confirm that it is open and until when.

                                                                                                  1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                                                                                                    y
                                                                                                    Yongeman Dec 1, 2013 09:16 PM

                                                                                                    Thanks Vinnie. May go to Babos Donerpoint in the same area.

                                                                                        2. l
                                                                                          lylaa Nov 26, 2013 10:12 AM

                                                                                          For those of you who can read French (or find automated translations reliable), a just published article on the Bistro and its chef.
                                                                                          http://www.lexpress.to/archives/13394...

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: lylaa
                                                                                            Googs Nov 26, 2013 12:17 PM

                                                                                            The exciting part of the article is the launch of Tropical Gourmet in December of this year. I think we all know how good this place is by now either from being there or reading the two CH threads.

                                                                                            1. re: lylaa
                                                                                              y
                                                                                              Yongeman Nov 26, 2013 04:32 PM

                                                                                              Merci lylaa. Très interessant.

                                                                                            2. s
                                                                                              snoobie Nov 24, 2013 11:51 AM

                                                                                              The food at Bistrot is simply delicious. We had the $15 lunch special yesterday. Both appetizers, the carrot and ginger soup and the avocado tartare were excellent. The filet of sole in a cream and mushroom sauce we perfectly cooked. The accompanying vegetables were crisp. The dessert, coconut cream pie was outstanding. The value was terrific. I agree. ... Run don't walk to this gem of a restaurant.

                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: snoobie
                                                                                                foodyDudey Nov 24, 2013 01:33 PM

                                                                                                Don't be surprised if the average poster here dismisses the place due to it's location or coolness factor. They flock to the corner of Carlaw and Logan for pizza, but I bet not 5 posters ate at Aravind while it was open, and they served up some top notch Indian food like nothing else in Toronto. It's all about the glitter.

                                                                                                Did you sit at at Vinnie's table or was he occupying it?

                                                                                                1. re: foodyDudey
                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                  snoobie Nov 24, 2013 02:33 PM

                                                                                                  there were only three tables occupied. I am hoping that this chef does well. He was working very hard.

                                                                                                  1. re: foodyDudey
                                                                                                    MissBingBing Nov 26, 2013 02:31 PM

                                                                                                    "corner of Carlaw and Logan"?

                                                                                                    1. re: MissBingBing
                                                                                                      foodyDudey Nov 26, 2013 04:44 PM

                                                                                                      Correction, corner of Carlaw and Danforth. I was in a big rush when I wrote that as I had to leave to drive out of town.

                                                                                                2. e
                                                                                                  evansl Nov 5, 2013 03:50 PM

                                                                                                  Nonsense. You'd open a fusion tapas sushi place. That way you capture every gimmicky commercial food trend at the same time.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: evansl
                                                                                                    MissBingBing Nov 5, 2013 04:44 PM

                                                                                                    evans1 and Vinnie on the same thread!

                                                                                                    1. re: evansl
                                                                                                      p
                                                                                                      Pincus Nov 8, 2013 10:53 AM

                                                                                                      Don't forget the pork bone ramen Neopolitan pizza.

                                                                                                    2. f
                                                                                                      frogsteak Nov 4, 2013 10:21 AM

                                                                                                      Hi Vinnie, the pictures look good (at least for a $10 lunch special) but I noticed that there aren't many reviews online. Is this generally a busy restaurant?

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: frogsteak
                                                                                                        v
                                                                                                        Vinnie Vidimangi Nov 5, 2013 07:08 AM

                                                                                                        frogsteak. It's like this. If I wanted to have a successful "eatery" in Toronto I would open a
                                                                                                        (a) stupido burrito place
                                                                                                        (b) yucky burger joint
                                                                                                        (c) beer -chickenwings - TV screen garden, or
                                                                                                        (d) AYCE sushi, $12 lunch

                                                                                                        Note that French cooking isn't on the list. In fact
                                                                                                        French cooking isn't at all in fashion in Toronto. But there are two places come to mind and they are long established; they had me there three times the same trip. The first time, that time, and the last time. They are like a child playing dress up.
                                                                                                        So real French cooking is not in fashion in Toronto. There is even less demand for it from the locals at Eglinton west of Dufferin. As for the rest of Toronto, Toronto diners, unlike French diners, do not travel. Maybe to Clubland and the like.

                                                                                                        Chefs are notoriously bad at front of house; indeed there seems to be an inverse relationship. The chef-owner at Bistrot92 is a very good chef.
                                                                                                        An example of the discrepancy. He called his place Bistrot 92. Does the "92" mean anything to you?
                                                                                                        How about Bistrot with a "t"? Maybe the operator is a Mexcian reminiscing about the reign of Maximillian but not speaking French. (Maison del Casa de Bistrot House, see Calvin Trillin). There is a Mexican store next door.
                                                                                                        Bistro with a "t" of course is correct French, but guess what doesn't show up if you do what almost everyone in Toronto will do on Google, type in "Bistro 92" without a "t"?

                                                                                                        Bistrot 92 has been open only a few months and is still building up clientele.

                                                                                                        So the answer is, the place is not very busy even though it deserves lineups.

                                                                                                        1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                                                                                                          f
                                                                                                          frogsteak Nov 24, 2013 01:01 PM

                                                                                                          can't wait to try it

                                                                                                      2. v
                                                                                                        Vinnie Vidimangi Nov 3, 2013 03:31 PM

                                                                                                        Brief points from subsequent visits.

                                                                                                        For $10 at lunch I eat as if in France. So I go frequently.

                                                                                                        Highights from lunches subsequent to my first post were
                                                                                                        (a) onglet, tasty and remarkably tender, with sauteed onions
                                                                                                        (b) a very nice African influenced chicken dish with cassava
                                                                                                        (c) an excellent onion soup, done without cheese
                                                                                                        (d) spice infused rice (That I should go back for a second serving of white rice!)

                                                                                                        Sunday brunch $10.
                                                                                                        There are different eggs preparations with sausage, bacon, ham or smoked salmon; veg-herb omelette; and on the side - potatoes rissole´(hash brown potatoes, sort of) and a bit of mixed fruit, toast.

                                                                                                        I had a herb-veg omelette. Beautiful.

                                                                                                        Just for you sadistick, one night I had a pasta, the herb veg without the shrimp. It was a complete pleasure; I cannot recall having had a better pasta dish. The chef told me that he has had Italian cooking experience. So have had a lot of Italian ( and Albanians, and here Siri Lankans.) This was talent.

                                                                                                        Another night, lamb shank with a spiced sauce, different and delicious.

                                                                                                        But remember that the chef is a person and not a machine. One lunch was quite OK, but relatively mediocre. If you get unlucky on one trip, return.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                                                                                                          b
                                                                                                          brushfire Nov 4, 2013 08:27 AM

                                                                                                          Yes I agree! Everyone has their off days! It's nice you are so supportive of them Vinnie

                                                                                                        2. v
                                                                                                          Vinnie Vidimangi Oct 28, 2013 04:53 PM

                                                                                                          The link to 23 photos, mostly of the food-

                                                                                                          http://www.urbanspoon.com/rph/10/1758...

                                                                                                          Clicking on a small pic will expand it.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                                                                                                            c
                                                                                                            childofthestorm Oct 28, 2013 07:25 PM

                                                                                                            Ok that does look pretty damn good.

                                                                                                          2. v
                                                                                                            Vinnie Vidimangi Oct 27, 2013 05:58 AM

                                                                                                            Response to y'all
                                                                                                            Missbingbing, Juno. The century is still young, the reasons for gastronomic excitement in Toronto are so few. I do gush a bit when I find someone good.

                                                                                                            Sadistick. Virgin sauce is not a cream sauce. It is a literal but bad translation of "sauce virginale", which is a French cooking term, meaning in its own juices. Someone, correct me if I am wrong.

                                                                                                            brushfire. I ask a restaurant owner where he is from in order to get an idea of what the cooking is like.
                                                                                                            The chef at Bistrot92 is black. He is located on Eglinton west of Dufferin. I was reaching for a reason why he would locate a French restaurant there. I thought that he was seeking a clientele with an African food heritage and his cooking would be so influenced. I asked for the region; where he is from. My question was entirely gastronomic and not at all racist.

                                                                                                            My way of asking for the information may be obtuse in these times of great sensitivity, but the direct question comes naturally to me. I was born in Poland as were my parents and I have a Polish surname (Widimanzhidowicz). However, in Poland I am Jewish and not Polish even if I trace my ancestry in Poland back to the first Jews who came to Poland in 966.

                                                                                                            I should change the form of the question, though. I was on Lawrence East. The menu had Afghani, Iranian and "Lebanese" Items. I asked the question. The owner was really mad at me until I explained why I had asked.

                                                                                                            Strawberries are not in season, but they were tasty and not like sliced styrofoam. The salmon was correctly cooked, but you have to like it that way. I don't.

                                                                                                            I don't think that it was "balls" that caused the owner to choose the location. Homer nodded.

                                                                                                            Juno. The liquor licence is in process. I am told next month.

                                                                                                            JonasBrand and others. Why don't you try the place first? Even I do this before I condemn.

                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                                                                                                              TorontoJo Oct 27, 2013 07:37 AM

                                                                                                              Asking where someone is from is different than asking what someone's ethnic background is. This is not being sensitive, this is being accurate. I am and will always be from Chicago, no matter how many times you ask.

                                                                                                              1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                                                                                                                sweetie Oct 27, 2013 08:47 AM

                                                                                                                If you wanted to know why he choose that location why didn't you ask him that question? Or perhaps try asking what his culinary influences are. Demanding that he tell you where he is "really" from just seems a little rude.

                                                                                                                1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                                                                                                                  The Chowhound Team Oct 27, 2013 09:08 AM

                                                                                                                  Folks, could we not do a lesson in sensitivity training here, please. We get that people are annoyed by this, but Chowhound's really not the right place for that lesson. Thanks.

                                                                                                                2. p
                                                                                                                  Pincus Oct 24, 2013 01:10 PM

                                                                                                                  Sounds intriguing enough for me to cross town for. Thanks, Vinnie.

                                                                                                                  1. v
                                                                                                                    Vinnie Vidimangi Oct 24, 2013 07:47 AM

                                                                                                                    Two lunches and a dinner.

                                                                                                                    I asked Chef Dongue´ where he was from. He said Paris. I said, no, no, I mean originally and he gave the same answer. I said that I know that his family wasn't in Paris when the Romans conquered Gaul. He laughed and answered, Cameroon. I heard only French spoken by all who work in the restaurant. The cooking is as if in France. The dishes, the style, the standard. Allowing for the differences in the availability of ingredients at a reasonable price and the differences in the customers.

                                                                                                                    The background of the chef -proprietor as he told me. And as I understood: I speak with a pronounced accent. He trained at L'Ecole Rien de Grand in Paris.
                                                                                                                    From there he went to La Tour D'Argent for a year. (I never understood why "tower" is a feminine noun. At least "minaret" is masculine.)
                                                                                                                    Then he went to Bistro St. Ferdinand for about 10 years. BSF is rated 2 toques. (Gault Millau, which claims to rate solely on food).

                                                                                                                    He came to Canada in 2008.
                                                                                                                    He started at Hotel Place d' Armes in Montreal, then went to Casino Lac Lemeay in Gatineau which touts itself as offering "Games, fine dining or buffet, 5 star hotel and shows!"
                                                                                                                    From there he went to the Rivermede Golf Club in Aylmer PQ where he was Executive Chef.

                                                                                                                    He came to Toronto recently and opened a restaurant on Eglinton, second block west of Dufferin. Chef Dongue´ is of the view that it doesn't matter where you open as long as the food is good and the price is reasonable. He does have ample parking across the street in the Green P surface lot.

                                                                                                                    I had driven by a number of times and noticed the restaurant but was not lured in even though I bite easily. I thought that his overhead illuminated sign is not attractive nor alluring. Defiant is a better word.  Catering and take out were advertised and the lettering line is not level. Take out? Then he has three big stickers on the window and door advertising a dial- a-meal delivery service. With all this, what could I expect at Eglinton and Dufferin? I stopped finally - there was parking in front of the place, so what the hell. However he was closed for Thanksgiving. I saw the menu posted; it looked good. The chairs looked realIy comfy; maybe this guy does understand something. I saw chafing dishes through the window. Buffet! Hey! Gotta try! Not much to lose. And the posted menu did look good.

                                                                                                                    I think that Chef Dongue´ has been in a silver tower too long. He has always been in a places where he could assume that the customers would come, often for some reason other than the food and were even captive. Furthermore, in France a very good place in a cheap rent district is as if a shrine to which one goes on pilgrimage.
                                                                                                                    His job was the food and that was it. He works hard at the food and is good at it. As for the quiet decor and the bizarre sign, to put words into his mouth, we are here to cook and you are here to eat, so now let all of us enjoy. Ne worry pas tes brains (apologies) that I didn't borrow $500,000 to open. I certainly am not: no big loan, no terror.  As for you, patron, enjoy good food at low prices. And come back soon.
                                                                                                                    He must think that he is in some other city, any other city.

                                                                                                                    The ideal first date restaurant to take a woman who has even only a bit of a brain. Ambience is nice enough, food is excellent, service is gracious, prices are very reasonable (yes, the woman gets a menu with prices printed nowadays), chansons on the stereo. Impress her with your savoir -faire. And it's not too much of an investment. As for more, it is a test of her character how she does on the lack of glitz in location and decor.
                                                                                                                    Ideal to be a regular as well.  A comfortable, controlled elegance in the cooking. I had a desire to return the next day and did. I think that the chef can crank it up, but I don't want him to. My body can't take that kind of food often. Like the Horowitz in Moscow recording, how frequently can I listen to it?

                                                                                                                    Lunch buffet, $10
                                                                                                                    I uncovered the chafing dishes. I saw the beautifully diced vegetables on top of the fish. I said to myself- uh-hah….. I started with his soup, a hard squash ("pumpkin" in some countries). After the first spoonful I said, OH YEAH! Everything else followed consistently.

                                                                                                                    Soup. 
                                                                                                                    Puree of "pumpkin". An excellent soup and an excellent starter soup.  
                                                                                                                    Next day. A split yellow pea. Excellent but much more substantial. 
                                                                                                                    I took a second bowl both days.

                                                                                                                    Lettuce salad 
                                                                                                                    A simple green salad, with a bit of tomato, cucumber. Topped with julienned green apple or with sliced strawberries. Nothing wrong with the dressing, but not to my taste.

                                                                                                                    Beef 
                                                                                                                    One day a beef Provençal, generous with good black olives and pearl onions. Excellent
                                                                                                                    The next day a modified beef bourguignon. Good as a beef stew, pas de lardons and vegetables, but not the knock -out of the prior day's beef Provençal. 

                                                                                                                    Chicken 
                                                                                                                    Basque chicken, legs and thighs, both days. Chicken gone to heaven. I didn't need to bother with the other dishes in order to be satisfied. Lord, give me self- control, but not yet.

                                                                                                                    Fish 
                                                                                                                    Sea bass (I am told) one day, in a bit of sauce. "Bass" means all kinds of different fish in one country, let alone in another, so I don't know.  Next day, sole also in a bit of sauce. Very good compared to what you could expect, but fish doesn't hold well on buffet.

                                                                                                                    Sides
                                                                                                                    Mashed olive oil potatoes one day. Fie on all the potato pudding like mashes. Fie on the "pre- made" restauranteurs.
                                                                                                                    Next day a potato and sweet potato dauphinoise, adjusted for the fact of the sweet potato
                                                                                                                    I'm Polish, what can I say more than I had two helpings each day and I would have been happy if my meal were only potatoes and soup.

                                                                                                                    Mixed veg both days, but the pieces were large enough that they were to be enjoyed individually. Carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, baby shanghai cabbage. Delicious, as if individually made servings. I don't know how the chef managed to hold them in the chafing dish.

                                                                                                                    Rice first day. Good 

                                                                                                                    I went to supper one evening.
                                                                                                                    Prix fixe, five courses, $27

                                                                                                                    Hors d'oeuvres- chef's selection.
                                                                                                                    The chef had scallops and seafood that day. My family hasn't eaten shellfish for about 3,200 years. I got a bad reaction when I had thought myself smarter. Like, man, the world is coming to an end. So I passed.
                                                                                                                    I asked for some bread and the cranberry sauce from the duck leg dish. Delicious.

                                                                                                                    Appetizer
                                                                                                                    I got the green salad, same as lunch, julienned green apple top. But with a beautiful light oil, vinegar and salt dressing. Truly an appetizer.

                                                                                                                    Main
                                                                                                                    Salmon on a bed of veg.
                                                                                                                    The salmon was cooked solid with a crisp skin. Correctly cooked in a particular style, but I prefer salmon melting and glistening. What you might call undercooked. In any event, I thought that it needed a wet topping for anyone's taste- the diced tomato salad on the plate would have been ideal. Perhaps this is what the chef intended, but there should have been more of it and it should have been put on top of the dish so dumb me wouldn't have to figure it out.
                                                                                                                    I cannot remember having better veg than the veg bed. Green beans, with thinly sliced mushrooms and shallots. And lots of it. A small split carrot beside the fish. A couple of spoons of tomato salad- which was delicious of its own right - at the edge of the plate.

                                                                                                                    I would gladly have the dish again, but only if the fish were cooked my way. I don't care if I see skin and it is not crisp, indeed, I will eat it anyway. 
                                                                                                                    Otherwise, the veg with the leftover potatoes dauphinoise from lunch would be fine as a dish. I'm not a vegetarian; it's that the veg and potatoes were that good.

                                                                                                                    Dessert
                                                                                                                    My world's best mousse was a bitter chocolate cloud at a Michelin cited working mans brasserie- E´toile d'Auvergne- in Avignon. The one now was good and correct, but it went in the other direction. Been there, done that, lets try something else. But you may like it that way and rave the way I rave bout my fave.

                                                                                                                    The first time for lunch I went two and a half hours after the food had been put out. The food held very well.
                                                                                                                    The chef would be excellent for catering and private parties.
                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                    The place claims to be open seven days a week and have good hours. It has been closed some days for vacation. Call ahead. However staff is busy in the morning and the answering machine has been failing. If there is no return call, call in the late afternoon or evening. 

                                                                                                                    The buffet lunch is run Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday only, 12 to 3 pm.

                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                                                                                                                      b
                                                                                                                      brushfire Oct 24, 2013 08:45 AM

                                                                                                                      Sounds interesting....? Just reminded me of this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crAv5t...

                                                                                                                      1. re: brushfire
                                                                                                                        justxpete Oct 24, 2013 12:29 PM

                                                                                                                        Oh, mercy.

                                                                                                                        1. re: brushfire
                                                                                                                          jlunar Oct 24, 2013 12:55 PM

                                                                                                                          LOL exactly this.

                                                                                                                          1. re: brushfire
                                                                                                                            JonasBrand Oct 24, 2013 06:48 PM

                                                                                                                            Good one brushfire (best part of this thread by far).

                                                                                                                            1. re: JonasBrand
                                                                                                                              b
                                                                                                                              brushfire Oct 24, 2013 08:43 PM

                                                                                                                              But all jokes aside. I applaud the chef for having the balls to open a restaurant with such decor and location but really I don't think it's much of a "chowfind". Seasonal strawberries and overcooked salmon? I guess so if you plan on the first date being the last date...

                                                                                                                              1. re: brushfire
                                                                                                                                JonasBrand Oct 25, 2013 07:18 AM

                                                                                                                                Yeah... based on the description (a buffet no less) doesn't seem like a "Chowfind" (and certainly not "of the Century") in fact I initially thought the OP was a paid promo... de gustibus non est disputandum?

                                                                                                                                1. re: JonasBrand
                                                                                                                                  j
                                                                                                                                  juno Oct 25, 2013 07:53 AM

                                                                                                                                  I suspect the OP, in using the tongue-in-cheek phrase "Chowfind of the Century", was just being drolly over the top. It doesn't seem like something that'd interest me for lunch, but maybe worth a shot if I'm in the neighbourhood around dinner time - and perhaps be able to compare it to Le Paradis and other modestly-priced bistros. (You can eat quite well for $27 at Le Paradis, though you won't get five courses.) Alas, Bistrot 92 doesn't seem to have a liquor licence, though.

                                                                                                                        2. s
                                                                                                                          Sadistick Oct 23, 2013 09:22 AM

                                                                                                                          "Pan fried snapper fillet with its virgin sauce"

                                                                                                                          ...............

                                                                                                                          Sorry, when a 'French' place has this much pasta on its menu, I run the other direction.

                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: Sadistick
                                                                                                                            Googs Oct 24, 2013 09:48 AM

                                                                                                                            What menu are you looking at? I see two pasta dishes or one more than at Scaramouche.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Googs
                                                                                                                              s
                                                                                                                              Sadistick Oct 24, 2013 12:57 PM

                                                                                                                              Well first and foremost I would not classify Scaramouche as French (though not sure what Scaramouche has to do with this...).

                                                                                                                              Second, FWIW, have you ever had the pasta dish at Scaramouche? It is fantastic! Just from the pictures alone (I know, I know, book by its cover bla bla bla) I cannot guess the same for Bistrot.

                                                                                                                              Then again, that Virgin sauce sounds awfully tempting.......

                                                                                                                              1. re: Sadistick
                                                                                                                                Googs Oct 25, 2013 07:00 AM

                                                                                                                                What Scaramouche has to do with it is that it's classified as French without being constricted by the conventional menus of so many French in Toronto. To write a place off because it has 2 pasta dishes on the menu seems overly harsh. I don't understand the logic.

                                                                                                                                Personally, if VVm liked the place enough to go three times, I'd consider it worth a shot if i lived nearby or were in the neighbourhood. Three is sufficient experience to fairly rate a restaurant. I'll keep in mind that I like my salmon rare as VVm does and let staff know. Most people want and therefore most restaurants serve salmon I consider to be overcooked.

                                                                                                                          2. justxpete Oct 22, 2013 01:43 PM

                                                                                                                            mmmm... looks... delicious?

                                                                                                                            http://bistrot92.com/gallery.html

                                                                                                                            1. MissBingBing Oct 22, 2013 01:38 PM

                                                                                                                              Which century?

                                                                                                                              1. w
                                                                                                                                wylie1 Oct 22, 2013 01:24 PM

                                                                                                                                I love the menu,excellent choices and very reasonable prices. I hope he can manage to stay in business in that location which is a little dicey.

                                                                                                                                1. foodyDudey Oct 22, 2013 12:59 PM

                                                                                                                                  Any 2 for 1 coupons? Sorry, I just had to ask.

                                                                                                                                  Here is the website: http://bistrot92.com/

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: foodyDudey
                                                                                                                                    v
                                                                                                                                    Vinnie Vidimangi Oct 23, 2013 06:25 AM

                                                                                                                                    No, but it was OK. I ate twice as much as I wanted.
                                                                                                                                    Thanks for the site. The photos are not good. There are better photos on some other site.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                                                                                                                                      j
                                                                                                                                      Judith Gorman Nov 11, 2013 08:52 AM

                                                                                                                                      We tried Bistrot 92 based on Chowhound comments. I hope they manage to build up a clientele. They are really trying hard, and on the whole although the ambiance is lacking the food is better than Le Paradis. The amuse bouche was lobster risotto and would have been at home at Scaramouche. The best were the appetizers and sides. The mains were all good but not exceptional - but we are talking $30 for 4 courses. They are getting a liquor license at the end of the month, and I hope this helps them survive. In a more central location I think they would. The room is spartan, but I think they are doing what they can on a limited budget. With a few inventive tweeks Bistro 93 would be a destination place.

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