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Carbon Bar

Drove past Carbon Bar (same owners as Nota Bene) and it seems to be open (yes it is according to their facebook page)..

According to sources they pumped 3 million into renovations in this place. It is 99 Queen St E just east of Church. And the place looks like they spent a ton of money in the photos on their site. It is not the most desirable area it will be interesting the crowd they attract, Nota Bene seems to be a suit crowd but not many offices at Queen and Church.

Here is a sample of their rmenu:

"From the wood fire pit"
everything from the pit

Plus the usual burger ($19) rest of the menu here: http://thecarbonbar.ca/menus

Will have to see how they stack up to the blooming BBQ scene in Toronto..





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    1. Looks interesting. Thanks for the report that it is open and the menu links

      1. "According to sources they pumped 3 million into renovations in this place."

        I call BS on this. Not a chance they could ever make that back. Not that I can tell anyway.


        23 Replies
        1. re: Davwud

          Maybe they bought the building.. and they are claiming that cost as part of the build cost?

          1. re: pourboi

            I guess if they bought the building and are leasing other parts out it may be possible.


            1. re: Davwud

              no disrespect but, 3M for that building incl renos? a 1000sqft condos downtown cost 750k.

              - khao san road

              1. re: Davwud

                Umm... its a two story building and their space is two stories high I am not sure what there is left to "rent out"? https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...

            2. re: Davwud

              i hear earls spends more than that on each location (as i understand it).

              I think Weslodge & Patria are in that same range too (im guessing).

              even an "unnamed" cafe costs 750k to open.

              (we did it on the extreme cheap :P)

              - khao san road

              1. re: KhaoSanRoad

                A friend opened a 75 seat restaurant (downtown Toronto) for less than 100k a year ago. That includes all material, labour, furniture & lighting. Kitchen and bathrooms were not touched as the were pre-existing but the complete interior was gutted down to the dry wall and redone. Now they did most of the work themselves except for electrical and bar plumbing. But it can be done.

                Anyone who spends $750k on a "cafe" (I am talking cafe with no kitchen) is not too bright IMHO...

                1. re: pourboi

                  Psst... I maybe wrong but I think you just told an experienced restaurateur is not too bright on their successful launch.

                  1. re: Nevy

                    OK Unless your cafe is say in a Federal controlled Airport where everything had to be union and you had to build all your own walls and put in all electrical plumbing etc.. needed architects and planning permission etc.. it may cost $750k..

                    But if you are like 90% of new cafes opening where you take go in a space in a building and just renovate and furnish run some extra plumbing and it cost you $750k then you are not too bright..

                    I bet Khao san road did not cost a million to open, did it? and it is more than a "cafe".

                  2. re: pourboi

                    fair enough.

                    i only know im in no position to question how Franco does business.

                    - khao san road

                    1. re: KhaoSanRoad

                      Franco is a smart man and always seems to look long term. He sees the value in real estate (that is why I have a feeling he may have bought that building). But when a place is a restaurant and only open for dinner in a "sketchy" area of town where his clientale will need to drive or cab too, it will take a lot of $19 burgers to make back $3million.

                      I wish him and David Lee the best of luck, but I think February will be a long month for them...

                      1. re: pourboi

                        Sketchy... umm two doors down from George and a very expensive women's club. Not so sketchy.

                          1. re: justsayn


                            Moss Park, on the eastern edge of the downtown, is ranked:

                            ■First for per capita drug charges.
                            ■Second for per capita assaults.
                            ■Fourth for per capita break-ins.
                            ■Seventh for per capita sexual assaults.

                            1. re: pourboi

                              I know all about it. Believe me you are more than safe and there isn't a hotel in town warning guests to not go there.

                              1. re: pourboi

                                Do you live in downtown Toronto? I walk home from downtown to Queen and Broadview every day and via Moss Park most often. Never once had an issue. Time to open your mind me thinks.

                                1. re: JennaBean

                                  Yes you walk through it but how many times do you stop and sit in a coffee shop for an hour in that area or leave your car parked for 4 or 5 hours after dark?

                                  As for warning not to go I agree they probably do not but has there ever been a reason to go except for George where, correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the restaurant does not face out onto the street? I think the kitchen guys are cooking in the front window. if it is such a great area why hide it from your guests when you have that long row of windows?

                                  I live at King & Church I do not avoid the Moss Park area I just have no reason to go there.

                                2. re: pourboi

                                  Hey pourboi, according to your stats the neighbourhood is improving!

                              2. re: pourboi

                                Franco owns countless properties in the city, and has for decades. The potential is there that he has been sitting on this space for years and renting it out. Probably bought it a long time ago for a dime. His knack for real estate is uncanny, and well documented.
                                There have been rumours about this new place floating around for a few years now. These guys are seasoned veterans, don't think they need to worry. Add to that the fact that David Lee is a very talented chef, I think they will do just fine.
                                I hope to check it out over the holidays.

                                1. re: phisherking

                                  Doesn't St Joseph Media (Toronto Life etc) own that building?

                                  1. re: MissBingBing

                                    St Joseph Communications bought the QRC (Queen Richmond Centre) building, renovated and moved most of their media business into it, and then sold it to Allied as a commercial property full of 10-year leases. I'm not sure how much of the block is actually under that property ownership though.

                            2. re: pourboi

                              "Kitchen and bathrooms were not touched" and "they did most of the work themselves" ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

                              Where do you think most of the money is spent in a new restaurant?? An ecologizer alone can easily cost $100,000.

                              1. re: CarNut

                                That is why you take over an existing restaurant after the original owner shuts down because he sunk a million dollars into a place and could not make enough to pay the bills.. tons of places for lease like that... Take a look at the "Restaurant Closing" section of this board... for each one closed usually another opens in that same spot for pennies on the dollar for the equipment that the first time owner bought brand new. A new ecolgizer may cost $100k but try to sell it used at an auction after you are bankrupt and see how much you get for it.

                            3. re: KhaoSanRoad

                              I know that all of the INK properties are well into the $2-3M range for their renos.

                              It is a good looking space but at the price point they will need to sell a lot of booze.

                          2. Crappy draught list for the most part. At least KBC got in there. *sigh*

                            1. we are getting off topic here and I dont want the chow police to delete this..

                              all I am saying is that that is a lot of money to spend on a "non-prime" location but I wish them the best and they may help gentrify the area. I look forward to trying their BBQ. If anyone tries their food let us know.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: pourboi

                                Yes, 25 posts and not a single review.
                                How is it - ANYONE?

                                1. re: estufarian

                                  Zagat has a review and some food pics... http://www.zagat.com/b/toronto/carbon...

                                  Not sure if that is the standard rib portion or just what they got for a photo-op / opening day sampler... but it looks quite small. The "Plate of Brisket & Ribs" seems to have two or three ribs and a couple of chunks of brisket.

                              2. Went tonight. Only there second night open. The main dining space holds almost 100 covers. It was early and there were apprx 20 ppl.

                                The room is fantastic. At one point in time it was the home to electric circus and they had a large neon electric sign made. Banquets are comfy and spacious.

                                We had the suckling pig and papusa to start and the big rib with collard greens.

                                The papusa was the best I've had in Canada but at $13 for one there was a bit of sticker shock.

                                The suckling pig was a bit dry and the hen egg is done sous vide (I believe) which I usually like but it was a bit under cooked for me.

                                The big rib was smoked but it didn't say that on the menu so we were a bit surprised. Again while it was heated with an au jus it too was a bit dry the colour was gray without even a hint of pink.

                                Dinner with two beers was $100 with tax but not tip.

                                It is early days so we will give then a try again this winter.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: JennaBean

                                  My friends in South Dakota would think that Toronto has gone mad.
                                  Maybe I should get friends from other places, but I can't think of any of the other places where I have lived that your "experience" would be appreciated.

                                  P.S. This is from their website.

                                  The Team from Nota Bene brings you
                                  The Carbon Bar:
                                  where fun-loving aficionado’s, gourmands and bon vivants meet to share un-pretentious snacks, plates and platters delivered with impeccable hospitality in a space inspired by the storied past of a rock’n’roll discotheque, an upstart TV station and a media giant’s studio.

                                  1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                    Because I'm willing to give a new spot a second try in a few month?

                                2. With the exception of one person, no one seems to have actually gone and there are tried the food. It seems ridiculous to make all kinds of assumptions and comments before at least trying the place. And does knowing how much the renovations cost add to our understanding and appreciation of the food and service. After all this is chowhound, not architectural digest. So, I was there on the first night. The place looks fantastic. It was packed. Nonetheless the service was stellar, which in my experience is incredibly unusual for a first night (really first night - no soft opening, no family and friends tryout). That's courageous and a really kudo to the Nota Bene staff, some of whom were there for the opening. I was with 2 friends, we probably tried most of the bbq items. Generally good (no misses), some outstanding items (ribs, brisket). Good cocktails at the bar. In other words, for a first nighter with a packed crowd, really amazing they pulled it off. And yes, prices are a bit steep, but the quality was there...as was the first class service. AAA bbq is just down the street with much cheaper prices if you don't mind the amateurish service and the often mia menu. Will post more detail later if anyone wants me to.

                                  1. I haven't really offered an in depth restaurant review before but seeing as how new this place is, and reading the often off topic conversation on this post ... one is needed. So here's my go:

                                    I went here on Saturday Dec 14 (their 2nd or 3rd night open) with my wife as a last minute change in plans, and a great change in plans it was.

                                    The snowy weather likely had an effect on the crowd, which meant we were able to walk in. It really was a fantastic experience.

                                    Very friendly and attentive. Obvious that they have been taken through every menu item already and have knowledge of the Chef's intention behind each dish. We took the manager up on his offer to be "shown around" after our meal - this may have just been luck of a slower night due to weather but it was a nice touch.

                                    We ordered our dishes one by one and shared. We started with the Cheese Croquettes which were good - the sauce was perfect for it and probably better than the actual croquettes. Next we had the Queso De Cabeza on our server's recommendation, which was fantastic - the flavours of the suckling pig, beans, and egg went together perfectly.
                                    As our "main" we ordered the Pork Ribs, an order of "Hot Mess" and collard greens. Again we were very pleased with everything. The ribs are dry rubbed but come with a side of a sour bbq sauce - they don't need the sauce, but the sauce is too good to pass up. Hot Mess was delicious but on the small side of what you might expect. We were too full for a full desert so my wife had the Carbon Chocolate bar which is a perfect sized little "taste" of sweet to cap off the meal.

                                    A great selection of signature and original cocktails but at $14 - $16 they're on the pricey side. I started with a Smokin' Manhattan, and followed it up with a Heart of Gold. I enjoyed them both. My wife (who is expecting) was very pleased that the bartender crafted a great virgin cocktail for her. So often she is just offered an orange San Pelegreno and a glass.

                                    I can't speak to how much money went into the renovation but I can say it looks amazing. They pay tribute to the old CITY TV building that was there with a "green room" and cat walk as a private dining experience, electric circus sign, baby blue logo ... high ceiling, open kitchen, different size booths and tables - wide open bar area ... it really looks great.

                                    Our total bill was just over $100 before tip and we left very satisfied. The menu is built perfectly for sharing. Portions aren't big - but they're packed with flavour. We'll be back.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: kets

                                      Considering I have no idea what "Hot Mess" is, I would have no idea what to expect.


                                        1. re: Davwud

                                          hot mess:

                                          When ones thoughts or appearance are in a state of disarray but they maintain an undeniable attractiveness or beauty.
                                          Although Nichole had just awaken, her boyfriend thought she was stunning - she was a hot mess.

                                          So think of dog's breakfast, but warmed up.

                                          dog's breakfast
                                          "dog's breakfast," which has been British slang for "a complete mess" since at least the 1930s. While no one took the time to write down the exact origin of the phrase, the allusion involved seems to be to a failed culinary effort, perhaps a burned or botched omelet, fit only for consumption by the mouth of last resort, Fido. As a vivid figure of speech meaning something so fouled up as to be utterly useless, "dog's breakfast" can cover anything from a play plagued by collapsing scenery to a space mission ruined by a mathematical error. "Dog's dinner," which seems to have appeared around the same time, means exactly the same sort of disaster, but has the advantage of being attractively alliterative. Both phrases are heard occasionally in the U.S., but are more common in the U.K. and Commonwealth countries.

                                          1. re: Davwud

                                            From the menu:

                                            “HOT MESS” $11 - sweet potato, cheese curds, crema, pickled jalapeno, chopped brisket

                                            1. re: Davwud

                                              right, sorry for the lack of description there. pourboi has now given the menu description. thanks.

                                              1. re: kets

                                                I am interested in how this was served? was it all separate or all mixed together?

                                                1. re: kets

                                                  never mind someone posted a picture of it: http://instagram.com/p/iANGpBwhFg/# seems to be a "loaded" sweet potato.

                                            2. wow, I can't wait to try this place. Hopefully it's better than electric mud bbq.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: brushfire

                                                From my one visit here and my handful of visits there so far Electric Mud gets my vote.

                                                1. re: JennaBean

                                                  NO WAY. NO. WAY. nowaynowaynowaynowaynoway. I don't believe it.

                                              2. Anybody out there enjoying this place?

                                                25 Replies
                                                  1. re: Michael N

                                                    Can anyone provide a link to a Chatto review that was critical (i.e. bad) - I only ever seem to see reviews where he praises places..

                                                    I visited Carbon Bar recently - it didn't seem to get busy until about 8:00, although maybe the cold temperature kept everybody at home.

                                                    Along with most reviewers, I found the portions smaller than the price might suggest, but the quality was certainly there in every dish I tried (main one being the ribs). Really liked the chicken skins too - but again, small portion.

                                                    Wine list was better than most and good selections by the glass (actually carafe - I REALLY liked the use of the carafe - shows you are getting a 'full' portion). Service was exceptional - well up to the levels I've experienced at Nota Bene, with full attention to water top-up (and wine - my glass was topped up several times from the carafe).
                                                    So, full thumbs-up for food and especially service; more hesitant on value for money, but I'd rather have small portions of excellent food than a plateful of less-accomplished cooking.

                                                    1. re: estufarian

                                                      I had a similar experience to Estufarian, but was awaiting a second return before I poster, to give them a chance to iron out the kinks.

                                                      Hen breast was cooked exceptionally well, brisket was perfect, Jalapeno sausage was flavourful but lacked seasoning. Most disappointing for my meal was the ribs - but from what I've heard since, my ribs were dis-typical for what they are serving. Service was a tad off, but I think this was due to some confusion as to who was serving our table. I found it odd that they didn't serve bread by default with the platter, and had to wait 10-15 mins to get 4 slices after receiving our mains.

                                                      $180 (including tip) for two was a bit on the steep side for BBQ. Will return in a couple of months.

                                                      Room is absolutely amazing and incredibly cool. Great place to stop by for drinks.

                                                      Has shout-outs to EC and Baby Blue era.

                                                      1. re: estufarian

                                                        Here you go... http://jameschatto.com/tag/parts-and-...

                                                        Could you describe more of the food that you had at Carbon? did you have the bbq platter or the ribs on its own? All of the pictures I am seeing now of the platter suggest I got ripped off now it seems to have smoked turkey as well as pork rinds included... and the last picture I saw there were two sausages. Not sure if it is standard or that they just give VIP's better platters then nobodys like me.. But maybe they have read the comments here and have tried to make it a better value...

                                                        1. re: pourboi

                                                          Considering they just opened, their menu is a work in progress - just like any restaurant when they first open. Pretty self-explanatory.

                                                          I didn't receive pork rinds when I went, or pulled pork, which others have had, and we only received a single sausage. I'm not complaining, and I don't think I've been slighted by the restaurant.

                                                          1. re: pourboi

                                                            Fair enough. By his standards a poor review (so they do exist).
                                                            I only had the ribs, chicken skin, dessert and wine (and tap water).
                                                            The table next to me had the platter, which looked good, but I don't know whether they ordered for 1 or 2. My recollection was that the platter was a minimum 2-person order (so I assume 2) - and I was single that night. They commented that the brisket was even better than the ribs (which they also liked).

                                                            1. re: estufarian

                                                              The Platter is only for two or more..

                                                              My brisket was too "mushy" for my liking but that could just be personal taste. I know others prefer it that way.

                                                              Do you recall the number of "bones" on your ribs? Also did it come with anything or just the ribs? Trying to find out if it is a bigger portion than what is given on the platter.

                                                              1. re: pourboi

                                                                Just the ribs - I think 4, but honestly don't recall.

                                                              2. re: estufarian

                                                                Similar experience to estufarian and justxpete as well. Thought the bbq was the best in town by a significant margin, with the brisket being the high point, a really great piece of meat, perfectly cooked, and the pulled pork being slightly dry. Ribs were good. We had a big group so split a platter for two in the middle.

                                                                Composed dishes, including the goat ribs, were very good, though the gumbo variation was a tad under-seasoned. Banana pie was absolutely top notch and not too sweet. Chicken skins were crisp and greaseless.

                                                                Wine list seemed to have a number of private imports (great) with fairly steep mark-ups (less great).

                                                                Service was professional and up to NB standards and the room looked great.

                                                                Thought the prices were expensive but fair. An excellent addition to the area, especially since they're only one month in.

                                                                1. re: BigBabyYeezuS

                                                                  "Thought the bbq was the best in town by a significant margin" - What other BBQ places have you been to in Toronto? There are quite a few that opened up in the past 18 months and several of them are very good and impressed me more than Carbon.

                                                                  Things like the "bland Jalapeno sausage" (those words should never be able to appear together in my mind!) and the high prices would rule out Carbon as "best in town" in my books.

                                                                  1. re: pourboi

                                                                    High prices can not rule out best taste. They are mutually exclusive.


                                                                    1. re: Davwud

                                                                      Actually they are NOT mutually exclusive. But they are orthogonal. :o)

                                                                      1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                        sigh. Can we just call this symantecs so I don't have to look ortho.... othro.....rothon... that word??


                                                                        1. re: Davwud

                                                                          Mutually exclusive means one can't exist with the other.

                                                                          Not mutually exclusive means both can exist together.

                                                                          So a bit more than semantics. :)

                                                                          Regardless, I knew what you were getting at!

                                                                          1. re: Davwud

                                                                            I knew what you meant, just clarifying. And I agree wholeheartedly. :o)

                                                                            Orthogonal simply means that taste and prices are unrelated factors.

                                                                        2. re: Davwud

                                                                          the quote was "bbq was best in town" not "Best tasting bbq in town" ... to me I take many thing into consideration when I say something is the "Best in town" and one of those things is price (as others have also noted in the Best Burger thread). Another is availability - if a place only serves BBQ one night a week is it the "Best BBQ in town"?..

                                                                          I know you can (and will) debate my criteria but that is the criteria that suits me... I look at a bunch of factors and rank each: price, availability, location, service, taste, texture, consistency etc..

                                                                          1. re: pourboi

                                                                            Based solely on the quality bbq, unrelated to price (it may not be the best value...) Thought it was better than Barque, Stockyards, Electric Mudd, Stack, Leslieville Pump, Phil's, etc. Been to most of those places multiple times. Thought Carbon Bar was operating at a higher level.

                                                                            1. re: BigBabyYeezuS

                                                                              Comparing Platter to Platter I prefer Barques as it had more smoky flavour throughout, more "tooth pull" to the ribs (plus more meaty) and more flavour (spice) to the sausage.

                                                                              1. re: pourboi

                                                                                I find Barque inconsistent (obviously, CB may be inconsistent as well, I've only been once). The ribs at Carbon Bar had plenty of tooth pull and the brisket was on another level.

                                                                                My last meal at Barque was outright bad, though I would have had it as the best in town before Carbon Bar.

                                                                2. re: estufarian

                                                                  James Chatto has class. He would never trash a restaurant and use it as a trophy piece.

                                                                  If he has a bad expeirence he will not post the review. That goes back to his Toronto Life days as well.

                                                                  1. re: luckfood

                                                                    So he's not a restaurant reviewer, only a restaurant promoter?

                                                                    1. re: estufarian

                                                                      He just has a blog now, he does not write reviews for magazines on a regular basis anymore. And for years he did mostly "profile" pieces not hardcore reviews. But I did link to a review he did for Parts & Labour which was about as negative as he gets...

                                                                      1. re: estufarian

                                                                        Back in his TL days, Chatto referred to himself as a food writer, not a reviewer. He has a gift for keeping his articles fair, leaving out the bitchy sarcasm that most other food writers tend to use. I'll gladly read what he writes over C.N.S. and Pataki any day.

                                                                          1. re: luckfood

                                                                            I agree too.
                                                                            Where I disagree is quoting him on this Board!

                                                              3. I went here last week...found the food to be quite bland...the dishes I liked best but didn't love were the chicken wings, cheese ball and the sea bass which was flavorful...the cheddar ice cream sandwich was ok at best
                                                                I disliked the gumbo (found it to be bland) and the hot mess....I didn't think the food lived up to the expectation I had when reading the menu

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: akhorasanee

                                                                  Was it busy when you went? People keep telling me how busy it is but when I ask for details they say they just walked by and saw lots of people at the bar. I am wondering how busy the dining room gets. The pictures I see on Twitter and such makes it seem like they are running at 50-60% capacity in the dining room but I have no idea if the pictures are from 5pm, 9pm or 11pm..

                                                                  1. re: pourboi

                                                                    It was quite busy... but the noise level (due to the open space) did not make it difficult to carry a conversation with my husband. I was surprised that the restaurant was almost full (our res was at 7 45pm) given how cold it was that evening!

                                                                2. Carbon Bar is much better than my first visit. Portions are much more generous as well.

                                                                  1. Platter looks amazing.

                                                                    Anything to avoid? We are going tonight.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: MeMeMe

                                                                      The "hot mess" is half of a sweet potato, for which they ask $11. I think that's the only thing I'd avoid. Everything else is pretty good.

                                                                    2. Four of us went for dinner recently.
                                                                      We particularly recommend:
                                                                      - Carolina Cross cocktail (Prosecco, Aperol, Gin, watermelon, jalapeno, cucumber, cilantro, lemon bitters): yummy, like spiked watermelon/cucumber juice
                                                                      - raw salad: delicious!! Lovely, light and crisp, many flavours and colours. (avocado, apple, watermelon radish, Asian pear, jicama, little sweet red peppers, tomatillo, coconut, coriander, lime vinaigrette)
                                                                      - chilled sweet corn soup: great flavour, a little thin, but lovely lobster chunks and hushpuppies
                                                                      - “Hot Mess”: higher appeal for the sweet potato fans among us, others could take it or leave it, but it would be my favourite way to have a small portion of beef brisket (sweet potato half with beef brisket, cheese, coriander, jalapeño)
                                                                      - pork ribs: marvellous! tasty, very meaty, not fatty, with a lovely tangy red sauce
                                                                      - beef brisket with espresso sauce: flavourful, very soft and tender, rich and very fatty though

                                                                      Also good:
                                                                      - shishito peppers with eggplant dip: peppers very nice but oily; and they were already well salted so the salty dip was not necessary
                                                                      - for dessert; roasted peaches with blueberry compote and sweet corn ice cream – did not detect the corn in the ice cream, thought it was vanilla, but the warm peach/blueberry combo was amazing and not too sweet
                                                                      - Carbon Chocolate Bar – nice! it really is one bite, but tasty and really cool-looking too

                                                                      Just OK:
                                                                      - cobrito papusa “masa pie”: sort of like a pupusa but with a flaky shell; with goat and a date glaze I thought it would be more interesting, but didn't have that much flavour
                                                                      - crisp chicken skin: loved the sweet chill vinegar that came with, but the skin itself was dripping with oil, a real turn-off, even though it was crisp and tasted good
                                                                      - fried chicken: skinless boneless and very moist dark meat, but a very heavy due to the thick and oil-soaked crust
                                                                      - fries: fine

                                                                      Service was good overall but we were a bit shocked to add two pieces of fried chicken to the platter for $20. Great-looking room, not too deafening although still required talking very loudly.
                                                                      We'd go back for the pork ribs (and raw salad) but would avoid the deep-fried things.

                                                                      1. Had a very, very good meal at Carbon bar last night. I think they've honed their game now to where a point that it's very good bbq. Ribs were perfectly tender and seasoned; brisket was as it should be, and their fried chicken was great as well. Coupled with some crispy chicken skins to start, and some really good, doughy bread with the ribs, I'm looking forward to returning. Really quite good. Still a bit on the expensive side, however, but I'd be willing to spend the money here again. Also, the banana pie was excessive, but incredibly gratifying.

                                                                        1. Just wanted to post about a terrific experience with a group of 14 this week - for $65/person (before tip and tax) we had GIANT amounts of food (in family-style platters) and it was all fantastic! Service was excellent too, really efficient and unobtrusive.
                                                                          For apps they brought us a dish of deep-fried oysters with dip, pork croquettes with spicy dip, shishito peppers (not too salty this time - the eggplant dip complemented nicely), goat pupusas cut in half, lovely fresh and lemony kale Caesar, and an absolutely amazing tangy tuna tartare with watermelon and Asian pear. Some of us were full at that point, and then they brought sea bass with cassava, and then the BBQ platter with collard greens, fries, and coleslaw (sprinkled with corn nuts).
                                                                          This time the brisket was the all-around favourite, ribs next (they weren't quite as tender and flavourful as the last time I was there), and then chicken (but I agree with justxpete, the chicken was WAY better than the last time I was there - less oily and with a thinner, crisp coating; very moist and tender meat, though I thought it was under-salted).
                                                                          And finally, for dessert, banana toffee pies (whoa - amazing) and cheddar-cheese-ice-cream sandwiches (not too strong on the cheese but a little sour, interesting and tasty, with a delightful thin crisp/flaky cookie). And both were not overwhelmingly sweet.
                                                                          We were all very impressed with the amount and quality of the food - highly recommend if you are looking for a dinner with a large(ish) group. The music/noise was pretty loud, not deafening, and did allow for conversation with the 4-5 people nearest ourselves.