Review of my Toronto visit last week
- Sleepy Adam
I just spent several days in Toronto after reading through many posts. I'm from Boston, lived in New York City and now am living in Chicago (so you can understand my reference point). I've never been to Toronto before.
I didn't realize how Anglophile the city is. Funny, I couldn't even tell that from the Time Out guide. Go figure!
Lucky for me, I love fish and chips. I killed three birds with one stone by riding the 501 Queen. [As a transit professional (I was in Toronto to visit TTC staff) I have to say, what a great (and long!) streetcar line.] I went to White Prothers (Queen / Beech) but it was closed! It opens at 4PM. Too bad. I went to another place across the street, which was fine. Then I hit Ed's Real Scoop and had the pumpkin pie ice cream, which I enjjoyed very much. All the way on the other side of the city, I went to Mr. Chippy's (893 Queen west). It was pretty good. Neither place I went was as good as Fryer's Delight in London, but you can't go there from here every time you have a hankering for it.
I went to Lai Wah Heen. I should have found someone to go with, rather than by myself--so I could try more than one thing. I got one of the emphasized specials. I got minced pork with shrimps, which was like a more upscale version of the American shrimp with lobster sauce. It was very good. Appetizer was a dim-sum-like deep-fried crab leg. Dessert, a leechee ice cream, was very good. I'd go back, but only with a group.
I went to Nataraj and had a great Indian meal. The butter chicken was the best out of the three dishes I had. I had aloo gobi, which was as good as at any good Indian restaurant. I also had a shrimp curry with coconut paste that reminded me of a good Madhur Jaffrey recipe. The basmati rice was quite good, spiced with cardomom, cinnamon and cloves. I would go back.
Lastly, my best meal of all was at Barberian's steak house. I love steak houses with professional old man waiters. I started with shrimp cocktail, tomatoes and onions with blue cheese, and had the rib steak for dinner. Getting fries with a steak surprised me, and the fries weren't that good. The steak was very tasty, with a definite grilled flavor. Pleasurable, though you can get that flavor at home too.
I ordered a half-bottle of 1995 Pommard, for $120 CN, the producer of which I can't remember, and honestly I don't think I did well with that choice. It's hard to get a good Burgundy in a restaurant, and this is proof. But I guess that puts Barberian's on a par equal to or better than most Manhattan steakhouses.
Honestly, I got more pleasure out of my Barberian's experience, owing both to food and atmo, than the original Palm in NYC of some other steakhouses.
A few reasons, none of which were food-related except the fish and chips...
First, the infrastructure names--streets (including crescents), squares, churches, etc. And I can't forget the two TTC subway station copies of London Underground stations.
Second, some people still have accents--I heard varying ones including Scottish. I heard many middle-aged women with a strange accent that seemed to me a mix of upper class British and Canadian accents.