TWO SIX ATE
Since 2012, chef Steve Harris and his partner/co-owner Emily Ienzi have helmed this small, modest spot.
In addition to adhering to a philosophy based around local, seasonal, sustainable, and nose-to-tail cooking, Two Six Ate also boasts an eclectic style. That style is evident in the decor (tastefully sparse) as well as their cocktails (Let’s Get Fizzical is an Earl Grey-infused bourbon with house bergamot bitters and soda) and their approach to brunch (Funky Brunch surprises guests with a three-course secret breakfast).
In approaching Harris’s nervy mix of low- and high-brow, one has to bring a sense of adventure: poutine comes with chicken confit, beef tartare with liverwurst mayo, deep-fried sweetbreads (like oh-so-tender chicken nuggets) are served alongside smashed peas and mint. And Italian sausages, from a recipe handed down to Ienzi from the Puglian side of her family, are accompanied by a roasted-tomato and squid-ink aïoli.
Presentation is light and playful. Some molecular gastronomy, yes, but it’s no biggie: “ash” is called simply “powder,” made in this case with hot sauce. Curious ingredients are pickled: sea beans (salicornia), favas, and blueberries.
At a restaurant that seems to take great care with every element on the plate, it’s notable that the only menu item over $20 is the cheese-and-charcuterie board.
Unlike the many Italian restaurants presenting timeless dishes from that part of the world, Two Six Ate’s fearlessness in being creative with Italian gastronomy makes it a special part of the neighbourhood.