EAST SIDE STYLES
The Broadview Hotel’s glassed-in eatery is all about grown-up bar eats for cool cats
Joanne Kates visits the cool Broadview Hotel
Taking an elevator to the 7th floor to get to a restaurant somehow feels glamorous. The big red Romanesque Revival brick pile at the corner of Queen and Broadview is the super cool new/old Broadview Hotel, and its rooftop resto/bar might have the best view in town.
The room is dark and noisy. Oldsters beware. Do all the women here except us have long straight blonde hair? If I go east of the Don River more often, will I look like that after a while? Will I be cool?
Because I sure feel cool here. The rooftop is a glass cube with a glorious view of downtown to the west. The tables are dark marble, the banquettes lush dark fabric divided by marble ledges, the bar long and curvy.
Erik Joyal and John Sinopoli, who’ve opened several restos together, are in charge of the food at the Broadview, a project of Streetcar Crowsnest, which put $26 million into a three-year reno of the old pile built in 1891 — now a boutique hotel with three restaurant/bar spaces. Bye bye Jilly’s strip club, hello hipsters. They’re calling it the Drake of the east end.
Joyal and Sinopoli recently opened the Gare de L’Est bistro inside Crow’s Theatre; they did Izakaya and Table 17; they have HiLo bar and Ascari Enoteca. And now they also have the Midas touch. Funny how years of experience and hard work bring luck. The Rooftop is jam-packed. The duo have sprinkled stardust east of the Don. I confess to loving it. The food isn’t the least bit fancy. It’s grown-up bar food very well executed. Not too much of the deep-fried dreck that bars tend to feature; best are sweet skinny frites that I could eat every day. And won’t. Self-control has to count for something.
Everybody in town is doing scallop ceviche these days, to which I say: Bring it on! What could be sexier than a super-fresh raw scallop sliced and dressed in lime and chili with pickled cucumber, crisped garlic, coriander and white sweet potato? We’re also pretty excited by the clove-scented jerk pork ribs served with unusually creamy corn bread. And wrapping up the minced lamb and beef kebab in a soft house-made pita with yogurt, pickled carrot spears and za’atar yogurt is a Middle Eastern dream come true.
For dessert they do a kick-ass ice cream sandwich — golden browniestyle cookies sandwiching housemade ice cream in strawberry cheesecake flavour.
Is this junk food? Bar food? A restaurant? A bar? Or maybe a delightful crossover. And way more delectable than the SUV van kind. Were this a decade ago, anybody old enough to vote would not seek out such a venue for dinner. Dinner — at least a quality one — meant white tablecloths and taking your coat and waiters intent on charming us slowly … and quiet. Big tables, small cool quotient. But since that sort of resto pretty much went out with French food, my device is to find ways to rejoice in the downscale new model of serious cooking. Take Hillary’s advice: Chardonnay helps.
Clockwise from left: the rooftop space, the new menu’s salmon ceviche, fried chicken with tamarind sauce
Joanne Kates trained at the Ecole Cordon Bleu de Cuisine in Paris. She has written articles for numerous publications, including the New York Times, Maclean’s and Chatelaine.