Toronto Life - - Culture -

CON­TI­NEN­TAL What does the team be­hind Alo—still one of the tough­est ta­bles to book in all of Toronto—do for its en­core? Open a diminu­tive, no-reser­va­tions diner. But this is no or­di­nary lunch counter: the 38-seat space is straight from the pages of a Restora­tion Hard­ware cat­a­logue. The staff wear denim, bow ties and Adi­das sneak­ers. Gucci Mane plays in the back­ground. And the menu fea­tures com­fort-food classics with frills aplenty. The burger, served on a house­baked potato roll, sports a blan­ket of fried Beau­fort cheese and a base layer of sautéed onions; to­gether, they cre­ate an al­most polyrhyth­mic crunch. Matthew Betsch’s dishes jump through eras and con­ti­nents—ice­berg wedge salad, clams casino, charred chorizo with egg­plant and hal­loumi—but the re­sults are just as pol­ished as the stain­less steel spoons that stir the high­ball cock­tails, in­clud­ing one that blends Bur­dock’s Ver­mont ale with a splash of herbal China China. Both the tow­er­ing ap­ple pie par­fait and the brick of lemon meringue pie man­date the sav­ing of room for dessert. 163 Spad­ina Ave., 1st flr., 416-260-3444. $$$

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