The Saints Tavern – Trinity Bellwoods, TO

The Saint Tavern
Trinity Bellwoods, Toronto
http://www.thesainttavern.com/

NOTE: Unfortunately The Saint is now closed

I was on my way home when I saw a picture of the pierogi’s from The Saint Tavern; and, coincidentally my bus was on a short run and stopped just outside it. I took this opportunity to have an early dinner and catch the last of the Jays game.

The Saint Tavern labels itself as a gastropub, it boasts a casual vibe with a sleek and upscale tavern like interior, dimly lit and housing rows of tables and elegant leather booths all while having a couple of TV’s to keep it’s pub like name.

DSC04903

Onto the food, and their whole goddamn menu looks incredible; I knew I was getting the pierogi’s from the get go but the sheer choice of food made me question what else I should be eating; to name a few they had fried chicken, a bone marrow burger, duck nuggets; steak tartare and a whole bunch more.

I ordered the pierogi’s and their hanger steak done rare, an 8oz piece served with thyme butter and nothing else. It was early so the bartender and I got to talking and he threw in a free oyster as well; the freshness and flavour of the mignonette was great and a really good way to start the meal.

DSC04910

The food came out fairly promptly, I mean I was 1 of 4 people in the place that early, I started with the steak; a phenomenally charred and rare piece of grassfed beef, the hanger, known for being bolder in flavour while retaining a decent bite to it, was exactly that; a lovely meaty and beefy flavour profile with the tenderness being good for the cut.

DSC04918

The smokiness and saltiness were both liberal but not excessive while the butter atop added a final layer of creaminess. It also came with their house sauce which I don’t believe was need nor too my liking.

DSC04930

The pierogi’s were not only stuffed with cheese, cabbage and pork belly but also served with a herbed sour cream, caramelized onions and lardons. These were some next level pierogi’s, Thick cased multi ingredient fillies and grilled to perfection. The onions and lardons were exceptional on top; a hint of apple coming from the lardons making it pair so well with the richness of the dish. The waiter brought out some hot sauce for me to try with the pierogi’s, explaining to me it’s a butter based sauce, on it’s own I wasn’t its biggest fan but with the pierogi’s it was dynamite, a great tang to top off all the flavours present.

DSC04914

The Saint Tavern is definitely doing something special; a likable and inviting atmosphere with elegant, classic and affordable food, my whole dinner cost $34 before tip. I will be back and there will be an update to this post!

Flavour – 8.9

Tenderness – 5.7

How well it’s cooked – 8.8

Overall – 7.8

The Saint Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Miss Thing’s – Parkdale, TO

Miss Thing’s
Parkdale, Toronto
http://www.missthings.com/

DSC047671

Recently opened on Queen St just west of Dufferin, Miss Things is one of the new “it” places of summer.

Walking in you’re greeted by an elegant and chic French influenced wood grain bar coupled with a large mural of flowers transporting you to a somewhat tropical island, safe to say its ambiance reflects the menu, classic dishes with a pan-Asian/tropical influence.

DSC04759

We got quite carried away with talks of food, so much so that we hadn’t nailed down our order when our waitress came around. Given a couple more minutes to regroup we focused and classically over ordered. From start to finish we ordered the Lobster Bisque Ramen; the grilled squid; the fried chicken (of course), the Loco Moco and their signature, the pineapple fried rice.

DSC04786

It didn’t take long before the food started hitting the table; first out the lobster bisque ramen, it was tiny, a kids serving size, but then again lobster is about flavour not portion size. Unfortunately the flavour of this particular bisque lacked any sort of depth and was completely lack lustered, my positives mostly come from the amount of lobster in the small bowl.

DSC04794

Their Fried chicken, a spice dredged chicken served with a sweet Szechuan style dipping sauce and pickles was out next, reminiscent of an old school KFC coating, more about the flavour than the crunch it was an interesting take. The spices prominent but not over powering and their sauce was magnificent; a true balance of flavours, next time I order the fried chicken I want it tossed in the sauce because it took a good fried chicken to a great fried chicken. The only thing I didn’t like on the plate was the pickles, trying to maintain the pan-Asian concept they were soaked in various sauces which gave it a Kung pao chicken-esque flavour which didn’t match the rest of the dish.

DSC048061

The last three dishes came out together, I first reached for a hollowed out pineapple filled with fried rice and topped with pieces of what turned out to be jackfruit; I had thought we had ordered pork however my friend made a mistake when ordering. I was not at all upset about the jackfruit, it was made superbly and my only problem with the whole combination was the exceedingly predominant sugariness of both the jackfruit and pineapple together.

DSC04812

Next I tried the grilled squid, it was topped with spicy black bean and served with a green papaya and fennel slaw then finished with candied oranges. It was for me, the standout dish in terms of everything; the cooking was exquisite, the concept of sweet, tart and spicy altogether on a plate with the delicate squid was transcendent of simple but delightful cooking.

DSC04802

Last was the Loco Moco and unfortunately was another disappointment, if not the most disappointing. The egg and mushrooms were quite simple and the rice, while flavourful was simply coconut rice. Finally the steak, a very overcooked flank served with their homemade A1 sauce which lent a tangy and bold flavour but on its own the steak was as flavourful as cardboard.

DSC04815

Regrettably my meal at miss things was hit and miss; nevertheless I’ll be going back for the fried rice with pork and jackfruit together, I think the combination will be dynamite.

How well it’s cooked – 4.6

Flavour – 3.6

Tenderness – 4.8

Overall – 3.6

Miss Thing's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato