IT’S YOUR SOUVLAKI DAY
MODERN GREEK CUISINE COMES TO 16TH & YONGE
GOING FOR GREEK
When Alicja Fredericks saw the opportunity to open up a Greek spot in the 905, she jumped on it. Richmond Hill’s Mediterranean options are slim to none, so expanding her modern Greek restaurant, Krystos, further north was a bit of a no-brainer.
Restaurateur Fredericks, along with her husband Paul, co-owns the miniature chain in addition to their more fine dining establishment, Trappers, at Yonge and Lawrence.
“We’ve been in the food business for a long time,” notes Fredericks, speaking of her knowledge of Greek cuisine. “We wanted to serve the community and we live close by.”
The first-born Krystos, located on Dufferin Street, provides the menu blueprint for the younger sibling. Both spaces favour the souvlaki and moussaka, touted as the specialties. The Mennonite chicken souvlaki ($15) is done on the charcoal grill, much like the Angus beef rib-eye ($25). Meanwhile, the moussaka is a Greek staff member’s family recipe and layers eggplant, ground beef and potatoes with homemade béchamel ($15).
For those trying to cut back on their meat intake, a veg version sees the potatoes and eggplant joined by zucchini and mushrooms for an equally hearty take ($15). Dessertwise, the house baklava is the most authentic pick ($6).
Krystos, 9218 Yonge St., Richmond Hill, 905-771-9800
PETER PAN SYNDROME
Through its 37-year run, the iconic Peter Pan Bistro on Queen West has witnessed many of the twists and turns the city’s culinary journey has taken. It reached diners with an approachable menu rooted in Italian and Mediterranean cooking, and the kitchen was a stepping stone for a list of notable cooks.
Susur Lee is the most illustrious alumnus of the original Peter Pan, opening Lotus, his first restaurant, shortly after leaving in 1987.
Last spring, long-time owner Mary Jackman announced she was ready to retire. Quite quickly, she found the right match with fatherand-son duo Marty and Noah Goldberg. Noah’s girlfriend, Jessica Ingwersen, has also joined the team as a partner and leads the redesign.
The trio purchased the building with the intention of a major renovation. “We wanted to respect the tradition and history that this restaurant had in the city,” Noah says, pointing to the original neon restaurant sign, which still stands.
Inside, the cosy booths — another signature — remain, albeit slightly tweaked. Fresh additions include a series of tapestry pieces on the walls boasting heads of various fauna.
“It’s very Canadian,” Noah says. “It’s a cheeky way for me to have taxidermy in the restaurant.”
Menu-wise, the old Peter Pan served up part-Mediterranean, partItalian plates and with a few Asian influences. Noah is shifting away from this, instead focusing on the ingredients. He will purchase whole animals from Ontario farms, whenever possible, and break the animals down in the basement butchery room.
“It’s a traditional menu featuring starters, mains, desserts,” says Noah. We’ll have a cheese program here with a cart that we roll around for tableside service. It’s more about that old school dining and this notion that can be this romantic, choreographed show.” Trendy snack plates be gone.
The launch menu includes a roulade of salmon cooked sous vide with dill and served with a medley of pickled vegetables, pumpernickel blinis, crème fraîche and pickled elderberries. Another dish plays homage to Peter Pan’s popular pasta dish: brined cow tongue braised and served with fettuccine, oven-roasted tomatoes, crispy shallots and parm.
Peter Pan Bistro, 373 Queen St. W., 416-792-3838
GET YOUR JUNK ON
Whether or not we care to admit it, junk food is undeniably delicious. Fat, sugar and carbohydrates are key ingredients in nearly every edible indulgence, and the next Double Down is only an imaginative deepfryer session away. Vince Farago and Brian McKilligan, two vets of the restaurant and bar scene, based Junked Food Co. on the mania for social media’s favourite friend: food porn.
“We thought to ourselves, why is there no full-time CNE in Toronto,” says McKilligan. “We wanted to do a menu that would be playful and new. This was the perfect way to push the boundaries.”
Doritos Smash Bags are sure to become a hot ticket item — bags of Doritos bursting with taco-style toppings ($6 to $8) — and Chill-E Tots are the Junked version of a Coney Island poutine, with dark chocolate chicken chili and sour cream loaded onto tater tots ($8). On the sweeter side, they’ve got hot Oreo-infused waffles and the C Cup. The latter is a cup filled with layers of icing and cake topped with candy that comes in several flavour combos ($6). Simply put, Junked is food mashups gone wild, and you just might love it, even if your dietician doesn’t.
Junked Food Co., 1256 Dundas St. W., 647-343-5326
Although famed Moe Pancer’s Deli closed in February, fans weren’t giving up that easily. “After getting numerous voice mails and messages, we felt we needed to reopen this place,” notes Lorne Pancer, grandkid to the original Moe. He struck a deal with the landlord of the North York spot. Now Lorne, along with brother Michael and nephew Julian, are freshening the space up and reopening, with Julian stepping in as head chef. “It’s still very much a family-owned and operated restaurant,” says Lorne.
There is a new Me Va Me location opening at 169 Enterprise Blvd. in Markham. Its generous falafel laffa wraps are bound to keep the lunch crowd happy.
Before Torontonians lined up for tacos, it was the chicken karaage and
udon carbonara at Guu that had us waiting for hours. The hyper-popular chain of izakayas plans to open in North York’s Hullmark Centre by the end of April. Guu North York will have 80 seats inside and an additional 70 on a patio, making it the biggest T.O. location.
Hawker Bar, Ossington’s popular snack shop, recently expanded with a second floor dining room and new menu items. When the eatery first opened, the team focused primarily on Malay and Singaporean street food, but the kitchen has expanded to include some Thai preparations and Chinese influences.
The Chase Hospitality Group is expanding, again, with Kasa Moto, a large-scale Japanese restaurant they plan to open in Yorkville.
Speaking of oversized Japanese restaurants, Iron Chef Morimoto is reportedly opening a restaurant in Brad Lamb’s Theatre Park condo development on King West.
Nadège’s jewel-like Parisian treats are now available in the PATH thanks to a new boutique. Glass cases display an array of macarons, flavoured croissants, brioche buns and petit choux for those in need of an afternoon pick-me-up.
More sugary confections are to be found at Roselle Desserts, 362 King St. E., Corktown. Look out for the banana cream pie eclair and a rotating selection of crepes.
Levetto, a new group of casual Italian restaurants, has opened a second location at 940 College St. Pizzas and, yes, pastas are the name of the game. Sadly, Queen West mainstay the
Swan is closing shop after an amazing 17 years. The Trinity Bellwoods brunch crowd is sure to miss the cosy spot. Following a solid six-year run, Le
Petit Castor, which opened during the economic doom and gloom of 2008–09, has shuttered its doors.
From top: Watermelon salad from Peoples Eatery; grilled romaine hearts at Farmer’s Daughter Eatery From top: Peter Pan’s salmon roulade dish; indulgent C cups at Junked; and Krystos’s moussaka with homemade béchamel