Monday, April 25, 2011

Barque Smokehouse

*check out Barque's updated menus here*

Thursday night I discovered my favourite new restaurant: Barque Smokehouse, a brand-new BBQ place located at 299 Roncesvalles.

Now, I’m not a foodie, in fact I’m one of the pickiest eaters out there, so I’m not going to detail out every flavour I tasted. But I will tell you that this place has the best chicken tenders I have ever eaten and I have had a lot of chicken tenders in my time (I said I was a picky eater) They were amazingly moist and covered in a crunchy batter that was both sweet and a bit spicy.

I also had an order of fries and they were almost as good as the chicken due to being covered in some kind of tasty spice and being just the right thickness.

The other three people at my table tried a wider variety of items including the pork ribs, the brisket, the chicken thighs, the pickle plate, the asparagus, the side Caesar and the spinach and cheese ravioli. Everyone loved everything though my one friend did comment that the meat could have been fattier.

We also all loved the portion sizes. To paraphrase my one friend, the portions were big but not so big that you felt ill after eating everything.

And as you can see from this copy of the menu, the prices are also completely lovable. Really, given the excellent quality of the food and its generous portion sizes, eating here is a bargain.

From Barque's Facebook page
However, while the food might be amazing, there are some areas that could use improvement. For example, we ordered two pickle plates but both contained different items, which we found a bit odd. And the service could have been a bit more attentive, particularly since it did take a while for our food to come out (thankfully they start you out with some popcorn).

Barque did run out of items, which, considering we were there on the second day, isn’t shocking. By the time we ordered just before 8 pm, it was out of the dry-rub ribs and soon after, they were out of ribs period. Of course, the Stockyards runs out of ribs on a regular basis so I guess the lesson here is that if you want good ribs in Toronto, go early.

One thing that really impressed me about Barque is that the chef, Dave Neinstein, (read more about him and Barque here), come over to our table both before and after our meal to chat with us. On his second trip over, he actively encouraged our feedback and my one friend did say that she felt the meat could have been fattier, a comment he accepted with grace. He also gave us all coupons for a free appetizer so yeah to that.

But even if I didn’t have a coupon, I would still be headed back to Barque. Besides the food, it has a comfortable, casual but classy atmosphere that’s really just the icing on the cake.

I know that some people out there find heading out to Roncesvalles a bit of a challenge but trust me, Barque’s worth the trek. (Thankfully I live within walking distance!)

Would I buy this again: Yes, maybe even this weekend.
Should you buy it: Yes!

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