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Kramer's - the former chef/owner from Folia Grill

I heard that the former owner of Folia Grill and his chef (steven?) have taken over Kramer's on Yonge and Davisville.
also heard that the food is great.
not sure if someone wants to make it their mission to go.

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  1. I checked the menu and didn't see any changes from the last 5 years!
    That was at least 6 months ago and there don't seem to have been recent changes either.
    Where did you hear the food was great?

    39 Replies
    1. re: estufarian

      estufarian, come ON! That's *your* beat. Take one for the team! Or read a couple of atomeyes posts, especially the ones relating to Folia, and decide for yourself.

      1. re: Googs

        Coincidentally I headed out to Folia Grill yesterday – but didn’t make it as I got distracted by Pizzeria Libretto which was almost empty. My first time there (and probably only my second pizza this year). I still like Folia under its current management.

        Kramer’s I have walked up to the door but turned away. I rarely drink beer and don’t eat burgers (yes I’m an alien from an alternate universe). And that was ‘almost’ all they had, together with a dreary, uninviting interior – or a patio which is wafted by the Yonge St traffic fumes, although that’s not an issue this month.
        Nevertheless, I just checked the on-line menu and ‘discovered’ they now have a new menu (which I don’t recall them publicizing outside the premises). One section particularly interested me – probably enough to warrant a visit. They now serve Hammeküche (albeit one contains fresh tomatoes, hardly a promising ingredient in December). I’m a great fan of Tarte Flambée and so, given the rarity in Toronto (the only other one I’m aware of is at Patisserie La Cigogne on Bayview; weekends only), I’m tempted – no, more than that – I’ll definitely give it a try.

        1. re: estufarian

          Estufarian, I noticed Das Gasthaus on Danforth has a tomato-free Flammkuchen listed on its online dinner menu. Not sure if it might also be available at their weekend brunch. I stilll haven't had a chance to visit. http://dasgasthaus.ca/?page_id=317

          1. re: prima

            My cup (or Flammkuchen) runneth over.
            Maybe 2014 will be the year of tarte flambée - and now I'm hoping someone will also do the dessert version. Much better than cronuts (OK I lied - never tried a cronut).

            1. re: estufarian

              Flammkuchen? I knoweth not this dish. Is it any relation to pfannkuchen? I ask because there are three pfannkuchen dishes - described as original German pancakes - on the menu of Pfannkuchen Koln, a recently-opened creperie and cafe on Yonge St., near Fairlawn Ave., about halfway between Lawrence Ave. and York Mills Rd. It's a cute little spot that I've walked by many times and have been meaning to try, though I hardly ever see any customers in there. Maybe the locals are having a difficult time pronouncing the name of the joint, so can't easily recommend it.

              Note: none of the pfannkuchen dishes seems to have tomatoes in the recipe.

              1. re: juno

                Flammkuchen is a thin crust Alsatian/German flatbread with toppings, (traditionally) baked in woodburning ovens (hence Flame kuchen). Same thing as Tarte Flambee, comes either savoury (often creme fraiche, onions, bacon) or sweet (apples, cinnamon, etc). http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarte_... The tomatoes wouldn't be a traditional topping in Alsace, Baden or in the Palatinate.

                Pfannkuchen (the word) is just German for pancake, although places in Canada calling their pancakes Pfannkuchen are usually serving something beyond regular pancakes.

                Thanks for the heads up re: Pfannkuchen Koeln- nice to see this place and Das Gasthaus serving Mitteleuro food, esp considering the decline of the Goulash Belt.

                1. re: prima

                  Thanks both Prima and Juno for your consideration of my tomato aversion/perhaps allergy.
                  Indeed I avoid all tomatoes and tomato-based sauces - hence my non-participation in the various pizza threads.
                  But, in concept, both Flammkuchen/Tarte Flambée (in my experience always made with crème fraîche, or alternative cream) and the Spanish Coca (which is usually baked and has various/multiple toppings, but rarely cheese) are cousins to Pizza. (And AmuseGirl makes a stunning Thai Pizza with the 'sauce' being peanut butter).
                  Of course, the Toronto versions rarely (if ever?) use the wood-fired ovens that one finds in Alsace/Germany. But I never (I hope) criticize for 'lack of authenticity' - the only issue for me is how good it tastes. Just because a dish 'doesn't taste like it does in Timbuktu' (substitute your own destination) seems, to me, totally irrelevant as an indication of quality (although can be a useful descriptor of style). Hence my occasional challenge of posts that CRITICIZE (not describe) restaurants for serving say, sliders, BBQ, burgers, pizza, and thousands of others that are not authentic (who judges anyway?).
                  Now, if only a 'Pizza Restaurant' would diversify and make a great Tarte Flambée (say) - they have the tools but maybe lack the imagination or inclination to interrupt the assembly line to think about the possibilities - apologies in advance to any pizza place that has tried this and abandoned it because it didn't sell.

                  I think all the Toronto versions of Tarte Flambée /Flammkuchen are oven-baked, not flame cooked, but as long as they taste good........

                  1. re: estufarian

                    I think Libretto might have some white pizza options. Bet they'd come up with a Tarte Flambee, if asked. They do have neat breakfast pizzas with eggs and Speck some weekends. They usually tweet their current special pizzas. A few of the tomato-free Buca flatbreads are also quite tasty.

                    1. re: prima

                      Agree on Buca.
                      Recently had the duck confit pizza at Libretto (no tomato). Certainly hit the spot and I liked the Pizza texture. However the quantity of toppings was remarkably small (OK it's an expensive ingredient - but do they really want me to leave being dissatisfied?).
                      Also found the 20-30 minute wait between my appetizer and the Pizza to be excessive (estimate I didn't use a stop-watch), given that the place was less than half full. They even apologised for the delay to the two young ladies at the table next to me - but I didn't get the equivalent apology (we had the same server - normally I'd consider it irrelevant, but the server was male; am I a second-class customer?).

                      1. re: estufarian

                        I hope PL will read this and remind their servers to be courteous to all their guests. I've almost always had good service, and don't remember waiting more than 15 minutes for a pizza, but at my birthday party held in their semi-private cellar space earlier this year, the bartender was great, but the server was a little green and/or a little flakey, failing to offer/serve the birthday girl any fried calamari over the course of almost 3 hours. Maybe you had the same server last week.

                        I've also had a duck and pear pizza at the pizza place on Roncy. Not worth crosstown traffic, but decent if you're already nearby.

            2. re: prima

              Not available at Brunch - I asked.

          2. re: Googs

            So I valiantly trekked (TTC'd) to the various Flammkuchen/etc places and now have a ranking. Thought I'd post before I make my New Year Resolutions to be nice to everybody.
            (Dramatic Pause).
            First, NONE of these are cooked in a flame oven - all appeared to be cooked in a regular oven, so authentic they weren't. However I'll judge on the quality delvered.

            EASILY the best (far & away) was the Flammkuchen at Das Gasthaus (über alles). Ingredients seemed authentic and the double-smoked bacon gave it a great smoky tang. Crust was very thin and crispy (although mild criticism, the parts nearer the centre were a bit more soggy).

            Runner-up was La Cigogne - competent but without exciting. Worth trying if you're in the area.

            And valiantly struggling to the finish line was Kramer's. Exceptionally greasy; crust was both hard and chewy; and overwhelming flavour of cheese (not crème fraiche).

            I won't be back.

            1. re: estufarian

              you want great Flammkuchen (comparable to what I usually have in my heimat hangouts in southern Hessen), made in a wood burning oven? So was gibt es hier doch: I have had it many times at Haisai.

              1. re: shekamoo

                I didn't know they served it. They only mention Pizza on their website - sort of a big omission, nein?

                Will you confirm that this is made with crème fraiche as the 'sauce'?

                  1. re: shekamoo

                    OK Close enough.
                    But (again) not listed on their website, so not sure how widely (until now) this was known.

                    So, given their lack of promotion/information, do they also do a dessert version? It would seem a natural to use Ontario apples to make a dessert Flammkuchen.

              2. re: estufarian

                Very cool! I must try the Flammekuchen at Das Gasthaus! My wife and I were just in Colmar, France last year and struggled to find one as good as the one at La Cigogne. Once again proving my theory that we can get almost anything here (and often better due to the touristy nature of some destinations)

                1. re: currycue

                  As I mentioned - it isn't 'flame-cooked', so isn't "authentic".
                  However, the Gasthaus version certainly pleased me more that the Cigogne effort. If Alsace is a 10, then I'd put Cigogne at about a 5 and Gasthaus at 7, with Kramer's around 2!

                  1. re: estufarian

                    Finally got around to trying the Flammkuchen at Das Gasthaus. Maybe they skimp on the toppings on 241 night but I wasn't too impressed. I had the bacon and onion and it was good , but didn't even come close to the one at La Cigogne. In fact La Cigogne outshone any of the ones we had in Colmar, France.

                    1. re: currycue

                      Clearly our experiences vary.
                      NOTHING tops Alsace for me.
                      LA Cigone was enjoyable, but lacked any wow factor.Just good eating but nothing memorable for me.

                      1. re: estufarian

                        Please tell me where you went in Alsace. I'm planning to return next fall. The only time we were there, we pretty much stuck to Colmar and Strasbourg. This time we plan to rent a car and go to the smaller towns in search of better and more authentic cusine.

                        1. re: currycue

                          Right. Because there's no authentic Alsatian cuisine in Strasbourg????

                          1. re: currycue

                            Be sure to search the France board and other online resources for Alsace tips before your trip. It's easy to end up at tourist traps in parts of France that attract more tourists (such as Alsace, Provence and Nice, in my experience), and much easier to avoid them if you've done your prep work before you've left home.

                            1. re: prima

                              Thanks. I did that before my last trip, ho
                              wever we weren't planning to travel to any of the smaller towns at that time. We ended up going to some places that were recommended in town and came back lacking the "wow" factor.

                              1. re: currycue

                                Oh, too bad. I've had that feeling after visiting Paris and Nice. There are some places in the country, in Alsace, that do wood-fired tartes flambees, and people eat outside, at picnic tables. I haven't done this, so I'm not sure exactly where the best ones are located.

                                Good luck on the next trip.

                                Maybe check out this site: http://confrerieduveritableflammekuec... and keep the places listed in this article in mind http://www.nytimes.com/1988/01/31/tra...:

                                1. re: prima

                                  Will do, thanks! From the threads I read before going to Alsace, the general consensus seemed to be that you needed to get out of the big towns for the really good stuff. As for La Cigogne, I think chef really deserves the praise for such a great tarte. I was reading that he (Thierry Schmitt) studied in Strasbourg and used to run a patisserie in Haugenau before moving to Canada in 1995.

                                  I'm often skeptical when people wax poetically about the food over in Paris or Italy, etc, because I feel that we have some really good restaurants here in Toronto and that some people tend to over romanticize their meals in Europe because of the beautiful backdrops of old buildings.

                                  1. re: currycue

                                    I'm skeptical, too, but I can tell you the kouign amann from a tourist trap pastry shop in Brittany was much better than any versions I've since eaten in NYC or Montreal!

                                    1. re: prima

                                      Oh wow, so we have a hater, anyway lol. The Kouign Amann at Nadege is pretty good. How does it compare?

                                      1. re: currycue

                                        I don't know. I have only tried one cannele and one macaron from Nadege, which didn't impress me much.

                                        1. re: prima

                                          I wasn't crazy about them either when they first opened, but they've definitely stepped up their game. I read an article a while ago saying that Nadege was having trouble converting the recipes she used in Lyon to using our lower fat content butter at first. Now she has been able to source a better butter and the pastries are quite good now.

                            2. re: currycue

                              I'm currently travelling and don't have access to my notes.
                              But I do recall the place was run by identical twin sisters (although) that probably won't help much!

                  1. re: atomeyes

                    I hope to find out for myself 'soon'.
                    I vaguely recall from prior threads that the 'new' owners at Kramer's still retain ownership of Folia. If so, that recommendation could potentially be biased!

                    1. re: estufarian

                      you're incorrect.
                      the old owner sold it months ago.not sure where you gleamed the info about the old owner retaining ownership of Folia.
                      it's now a bald, older gentleman and his wife who own Folia.

                      1. re: atomeyes

                        That probably explains why I couldn't find the reference!

                          1. re: atomeyes

                            Not humbug - here's the quote
                            "justxpete Jul 18, 2013 01:04 AM

                            I was told that the owner and him opened up/took over a bistro at Davisville and Yonge (I believe) called Kramer's. Haven't been yet."
                            NOTE: No mention of the selling of Folia.

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8342...

                            The above from the main Folia Grill thread

                2. His name is/was Steve. So you have it right.

                  DT

                  1. Has anyone tried the patty melt or wings at Kramer's lately? How were they? Interesting that they didn't include souvlaki or zucchini fries on the menu. I would've included them.
                    http://www.kramersbarandgrill.ca/menu...