NOW Magazine - Hot Summer Guide - - CONTENTS - By STEVEN DAVEY

Guess what’s new in the resto scene this sum­mer? Plus su­perb sum­mer beers.

Banh Mi Boys get lucky

Known as David, Phil and Peter Chau to their mom and dad, the Banh Mi Boys have come a long way in just two years.

Since first open­ing at Queen and Spad­ina, their two epony­mous take­aways are reg­u­larly found amongst the more vaunted spots on Toronto best o’ resto lists. Queues have been the norm from the get- go.

The brothers are about to strike gold for a third time with the launch of the 36-seat Lucky Red in Chi­na­town. June 5 is the pen­cilled-in date. And in­stead of Asian fu­sion fare like the mul­ti­c­ulti ta­cos and Saigon subs stuffed with duck con­fit that give BMB its con­sid­er­able rep, bao will be the main at­trac­tion.

“They’re noth­ing like the ones we sell now,” says David Chau. “For starters, the tops and bot­toms are sep­a­rate and not hinged like tra­di­tional bao. We’ll still be steam­ing them, but we’ll be bak­ing and deep-fry­ing them, too.”

Their new fill­ings are fa­mil­iar yet dif­fer­ent as well.

“We’ll be do­ing smoked beef tongue, but with caramelized onion and hot mus­tard like a lit­tle ham­burger. And there’ll be ra­men, too, only our ver­sion comes topped with bar­be­cued chicken wings.” Is Lucky Red the first of many? “Not nec­es­sar­ily,” says a cau­tious Chau. “Banh Mi Boys will al­ways be our pri­or­ity. We’ve checked out at least 10 other restau­rants in the down­town core as pos­si­ble lo­ca­tions, but none of them have worked out. I guess we’ll have to start look­ing up­town!” Lucky Red, 318 Spad­ina, at Dundas West, luck­yred­, @luck­yred­shop

Beach taco a no-go, but...

De­spite ear­lier re­ports, An­drew Rich­mond will not be launch­ing a sec­ond

La Car­nita in the Beach this sum­mer. His plan to open an east-side ver­sion of his in­sanely popular Col­lege Street ta­que­ria is now on hold.

“We had prob­lems with zon­ing and by­laws,” says Rich­mond of the store­front at 1953 Queen East. “It’s a great two-storey space, but it turned out there’s a limit to what we could do with it. The ca­pac­ity would’ve been re­ally, re­ally small, to the point that it didn’t make sense to go ahead. So I had to let it go.”

Rich­mond is not giv­ing up on the east side just yet. He’s al­ready come close to sign­ing a deal on a Les­lieville prop­erty. Could Chi­na­town East or Lit­tle In­dia be next? “We’ve got a cou­ple of spots we’re con­sid­er­ing, and we’re close to pulling the trig­ger on one. We’re hop­ing to be open by the end of Au­gust. We just need to find the right


The Bris­tol bites back

When Davy Love shut­tered his NOW Reader’s Poll-win­ning Bris­tol Yard last month, he an­nounced that the all- day brunch spot would soon resur­face as the Bris­tol and Bom­bay, a UK- cen­tric gas­tro-pub with an em­pha­sis on cur­ries. He didn’t ex­actly say where, though.

Since then, he’s fi­nally found a home in the short-lived Sa­muel J. Moore bistro. Oc­cu­py­ing the ground floor of Queen West’s Great Hall, the resto will run from lunch till late. He’s also short­ened the name to the Bris­tol.

“When peo­ple saw Bom­bay, they thought we were turn­ing into an In­dian restau­rant,” ex­plains the part­time DJ.

Oh, there’ll still be Brit-style cur­ries (onion bhaji Scotch eggs fol­lowed by a Bris­tol 2 Elec­tric Vin­daloo should do the trick), but they’ll share space with the Yard’s sig­na­ture old-school meat pies. Love’s crowd-pleas­ing brunch will now be served week­ends only. He’s even come up with an in­cen­di­ary ghost-pep­per sausage he’ll side with turmeric mash.

“If you can eat that, you can eat any­thing.”

The week after the Bris­tol’s sched­uled June 7 launch, Love cel­e­brates a cer­tain up­com­ing soc­cer tour­na­ment with what he calls the World Cup of Pies. “Say Ger­many is play­ing Italy that day. We’ll have a schnitzel pie and a cac­cia­tore pie, and which­ever sells the most wins the Cup!”

Lob­ster at­tacks east side

Rock Lob­ster’s Matt Dean Pet­tit is one hel­luva busy guy.

Be­sides re­cently launch­ing the Boots & Bour­bon sa­loon in River­side with part­ner Dar­ryl “Bovine Sex

Club” Fine, he’s just cre­ated a line of lob­ster-to- go prod­ucts for the Sobeys su­per­mar­ket chain and writ­ten a lob­ster cook­book that comes out in Oc­to­ber.

Hot on the heels of the orig­i­nal on Ossington and its se­quel on Queen West, Petit looks to un­veil a third Rock Lob­ster on Queen East any day now. Why Les­lieville?

“Right from the be­gin­ning we’ve had a lot of cus­tomers say we’ve got to come to the east side,” ex­plains Pet­tit. “It’s some­thing we’ve al­ways wanted to do, and the tim­ing seems right.”

The new RL won’t be a mere car­bon copy of its west-side sib­lings, though much of the lob­ster-mad carte re­mains. Think more fam­i­lyfriendly.

“We’re go­ing to have a kids’ menu for the first time, and we’re def­i­nitely do­ing brunch. I firmly be­lieve that you can’t just put a restau­rant into a neigh­bour­hood and hope it works. You have to work the restau­rant into the neigh­bour­hood. If that means des­ig­nated stroller park­ing on the pa­tio, we’ll do it!” Rock Lob­ster, 1192 Queen East, at Cur­zon, rock­lob­ster­, @Rock­Lob­ster­Food

Buca takes Yorkville

Rob Gen­tile doesn’t like to move quickly.

It took the ex­ec­u­tive chef of King West’s Buca – ar­guably down­town’s top Ital­ian trat – more than two years from the day it was first an­nounced to launch the Bar Buca spinoff on Port­land. The third pro­jected Buca – Buca

Osteria Enoteca, to be pre­cise – in Yorkville’s Four Sea­sons Ho­tel seems to be tak­ing even longer. What gives?

“The space wasn’t orig­i­nally de­signed to be a restau­rant,” says Gen­tile. “We’ve had to make a lot of up­grades and retrofits, ba­sic things like power and plumb­ing. We prob­a­bly went through 10 dif­fer­ent de­signs be­fore we got it the way we wanted.”

Now that con­struc­tion’s un­der way, what should we ex­pect when Buca 3.0 fi­nally opens come late July?

“It’ll be the same menu as King Street, but we’ll be re­plac­ing the meat sa­lumi el­e­ments with cured fish. The look will stay rus­tic in­dus­trial, but the front of the restau­rant will be more like Bar Buca.”

Run­ning a suc­cess­ful restau­rant can be very stress­ful. Is he up to the chal­lenge of three?

“That’s al­ways the ques­tion, but I think I’m pre­pared for it,” laughs Gen­tile. “I’ve got a very good team. And wait till you see the kitchen – it’s a beauty!” Buca Osteria Enoteca, 60 Yorkville, at Bay, 416-962-2822, buca. ca, @Bu­caToronto

Cut to the chase

Now that New York City su­per­star chef Scott Co­nant’s Scar­petta has scarpered back to the Big Ap­ple, the Thomp­son Ho­tel has brought in the team be­hind the wildly suc­cess­ful Chase to re­place its first­floor flag­ship resto. They’re call­ing it Col


“We wanted some­thing that rep­re­sented fem­i­nin­ity,” says Chase Hos­pi­tal­ity Group ex­ec­u­tive chef Michael Steh. “Some­thing light and del­i­cate like the food.” And so it’s goodbye to Scar­petta’s pricey spaghetti, and hello, ac­ces­si­ble French cui­sine. There’ll ac­tu­ally be two Co­lettes, one a more for­mal din­ing room, the other a ca­sual bak­ery café, not to men­tion a drop- dead gor­geous out­door ter­race com­plete with re­flect­ing pool and Space Nee­dle view. What can we ex­pect of the carte?

“If any­thing, I want Co­lette to be as far away from a typ­i­cal French brasserie or bistro as it can be. I’d de­scribe it as some­where be­tween Michel Bras and Alain Du­casse – mod­ern French but with clas­sic tech­nique.”

Sched­uled to launch in late June, Co­lette isn’t the only new restau­rant in Steh’s im­me­di­ate fu­ture. He’s about to con­vert the for­mer Fiore on the first floor of the Chase’s Tem­per­ance Street home into the slightly down­mar­ket Lit­tle Fin. Do we smell fish ta­cos?

“It’s one of the most ex­cit­ing projects we’ve ever done. And we’ve al­ready got another two Fins in the works. I re­ally be­lieve that down the road we’ll have five or six of the best restau­rants in Toronto.”

Co­lette, 550 Wellington West, at Bathurst, 647-348-7000 , co­let­te­, @Co­let­te­Toronto

Drake Devon­shire Inn

The Drake Ho­tel’s much-de­layed ex­pan­sion into Prince Ed­ward County has been in the cards for quite some time, but it looks like it’s fi­nally go­ing to hap­pen this sum­mer.

To cel­e­brate its im­mi­nent mid-July launch, the bou­tique ho­tel hosts a pre­view din­ner at Drake One Fifty on Mon­day ( June 2). The 13-room Inn’s head chef, Matt DeMille, spills the beans.

“We’re do­ing shrimp cock­tail but de­con­structed,” says the one-time Le Se­lect and Parts and Labour sous chef. “You grab some shrimp and some al­falfa sprouts and then you wrap it in let­tuce like a taco or a Korean ssam. I like re­gion­ally sourced food with ag­gres­sive flavours that pop in your mouth.”

And it doesn’t get any more lo­cal than Bay of Quinte pick­erel, es­pe­cially when sided with a pan­zanella bread salad thick with roasted corn from the farm down the road. There’s even a le­mon-tart milk­shake for dessert. Say what?

“You put a le­mon tart, some milk and some ice cream in a blender and that’s it. It’s awe­some. I call it the fine line be­tween cheesy and cheeky. I have no idea where the idea came from, but I swear I wasn’t high.”

Drake Devon­shire Inn, 24 Wharf, at Main, Wellington, 613-399-1851, drakede­von­, @the­drake­ho­tel

Elec­tric Muskoka

Not con­tent with own­ing two of the busiest canti­nas in town, Colin Tooke and Ian McGre­naghan of Grand Elec

tric and Elec­tric Mud are bring­ing ta­cos to Port Car­ling. How come?

“It sounds like fun,” laughs McGre­naghan. “We open restau­rants in ar­eas we en­joy, and we re­ally like the idea of do­ing some­thing in cot­tage coun­try. It’s beau­ti­ful up there. End of dis­cus­sion!”

The two have se­cured the lease on an old ma­rina right on the locks be­tween Lakes Muskoka and Rosseau. Look for the 10-foot fi­bre­glass shark with the gold tooth on the roof.

“On the top floor is a company that re­stores badass an­tique boats, and there’s a kayak club right be­side us. It’s pretty cool. You can drive your boat right up to the restau­rant.”

Sched­uled to launch June 5, the 50-seat resto, with a 70-seat pa­tio, is open Thurs­day to Satur­day from noon to 10 pm through the Thanks­giv­ing long week­end. Should we ex­pect Grand Elec­tric’s great­est hits?

“We’ll still have shrimp ta­cos, but there’ll also be a cou­ple of ce­viches and lots of oys­ters.”

Sur­rounded by all that wa­ter, will you be serv­ing any­thing fished from the lake?

“Only if we’re drunk enough!” Grand Elec­tric Muskoka, 2 James Bartle­man Way, at Joseph, Port Car­ling, 705-765- 0381, grand­elec­, @grand­elec­tricTO

The smoked meat steamed bao and oys­ter baked bao with XO sauce are on the card at Banh Mi Boys’ new Lucky Red.

An­drew Rich­mond has his eye on a lo­ca­tion in Les­lieville for an­other in­car­na­tion of La Car­nita.

Davy Love’s trans­form­ing the Bris­tol Yard into the Bris­tol and mov­ing the op­er­a­tion to the Great Hall in time for sum­mer.

A third lo­ca­tion for Rock Lob­ster is com­ing to Queen East.

Chef Rob Gen­tile is launch­ing his sec­ond Buca spinoff at the Four Sea­sons Ho­tel.

The soon-to- open Drake Devonshire Inn in Prince Ed­ward County will fea­ture lo­cally sourced grilled pick­erel with bread salad.

Co­lette is mov­ing into the Thomp­son Ho­tel with a mod­ern French menu.

Grand Elec­tric is bring­ing its crudo tostada to Port Car­ling.

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