When I have the pleasure of spending time with good friends on Saturday evenings, this is the song that goes through my head:
Yesterday was Saturday, March 22 and I had the pleasure of meeting up with three of my former coworkers from my undergraduate days. We checked out the Bloor Street Diner located at 55 Bloor St W, all of us trying it for the very first time. Though the restaurant’s Yorkville location provoked assumptions of overpriced arugula salads and skimpy portions of goat cheese, the menu says something totally different. From bruschetta and fried calamari to lamb curry and lobster mac and cheese, the Bloor Street Diner has something for everyone at various prices. The trendy joint, which has a lounge-like but casual feel, also has a fixed price menu where hungry guests can order an appetizer, a main and a dessert all for just $28.50.
The servers, who are all dressed to the nines, are polite, efficient and friendly. Wearing cocktail dresses and dress shirts with ties, the servers carry cell phones from which they effortlessly submit all orders with the quick swipe of an index finger. Having eaten at Spring Sushi in Dundas Square, where restaurant goers use iPads to submit orders, barely even talking to the servers, I was worried there would be issues. An order gone wrong? A Stella instead of a Sleeman? Our table of four experienced nothing of the sort yesterday evening.
Three of us ordered a $30 pitcher of the Harvest Sangria to share. This drink consisted of white wine, spiced rum, orange liqueur, apples, pears, brown sugar and cinnamon and though it sounds like it would be a festive frenzy of flavours in your mouth all at the same time, it actually tasted like a mimosa infused McDonald’s apple pie. It also didn’t look as pretty as sangria normally looks (see photo above). All the cinnamon and orange-ness made the sangria look like browned apple juice. There also weren’t many apple or pear slices. Did it taste awful? No. Did I drink two glasses? Yes. Would I order it again? No. Definitely not.
To eat, two of us ordered the Chipotle BBQ Pulled Pork, one with fries and another with mixed greens, one friend ordered the Grilled 8oz Turkey Burger with fries and another chose to order off of the fixed price menu: A Caesar Salad to start, the Bavette Steak and the Bloor Street Cheesecake (Note: The restaurant ran out of the daily dessert special because it was just too good, so anyone who had ordered but did not receive could choose anything from the regular dessert menu, which is what happened here).
There were no complaints from the peanut gallery (also known as my friends) about their meals and I definitely have nothing but positive things to say about the pulled pork.
The pork was deliciously tender and flavourful. The creamy coleslaw coated the bottom half of the sandwich perfectly and the sauce wasn’t overly thick or pickled. Though the crispy onions could have used less fried and more actual onion taste, they added just the right amount of crunch. Now, I’ve never had a pretzel bun, probably because the Wendy’s commercial about the bacon cheeseburger kind of grosses me out, but in the case of the Chipotle BBQ Pulled Pork, I enjoyed every bite. The bun was dense on the outside and warm and soft on the inside. Mmm, perfect.
The mixed greens that came along with the sandwich were just what you’d expect: A handful or two of pre-washed boxed salad (credit to Earthbound Farm’s Spring Mix): A little bit of leafy red lettuce, some baby spinach, possibly some kale, a touch of romaine, et c’est tout. The dressing was just plain balsamic, which I enjoyed, though the ratio of dressing to leafy greens was quite low.
After finishing up dinner, my friends and I gleefully paid our bill, which the server kindly split four ways, and headed out for a night out on the town (a stop at the LCBO, catching up over a beer or two and ultimately ending up at Sneaky Dee’s at College and Bathurst Sts).
I’d definitely go back to the Bloor Street Diner. Now that I know the food is good, I’ll have to try something else! Next time, though, I will not be ordering the sangria.
What’s your favourite restaurant in Toronto?