Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Eat here: Union

It looks like a Parisian bistro in small town Ontario: Beautiful, earthy, endearing.

We share a few dishes from chef/owner Teo Paul’s very tight menu at Union and all I can think is, finally, Toronto has a new chef-run restaurant that doesn't look like shit -- and tastes a whole lot better.

Great bevies to start, including foreign beer with topsy turvy glasses and a cocktail boasting honest ginger beer.

The elk sliders that everyone and his dog have been raving about are made from superlative meat and a hefty grind. But serving it on challah amounts to dishing out grandma Rosa’s giant meatballs on wee toast points.

Mains all come sided by dishes of super frites, potato salad and a fresh-from-the-farm seasonal veg – ours is Swiss chard and I could eat a bucket of it.

The meal (and probably menu) highlight is the shared dish of cote de boeuf – a massive rib steak: Juicy, fatty, well-seasoned meat cooked near perfect on the bone, then sliced for service.

Hot-from-the-oven personal pots of dessert elicit squeals from neighbouring tables. I too, am excited about this place.

The service is so enthusiastic it borders on mime, the room is warm and proud, and it's the exact sort of food I like to eat.

Plus, on a daytime walkabout down Ossington this week, I learned they're open at 9am for croissants and coffee, and have a nice lineup of cheap-o and delish-sounding lunches each day (like Thai beef salad), moving into charcuterie plates after 3pm, then on to dinner.

I think they should do very well indeed.

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