|This is NOT a dinosaur - It's the Beef Rib ($8)|
The last time I visited Barque, I had just returned from my Maple Syrup Feast in Montreal and went vegetarian for a week just to detox from all that maple-y meat. So when the end of my tofu and soy-filled week rolled around, there was only one place I wanted to go - Barque Smokehouse in Toronto for their down home Southern BBQ. It's sort of the best place to fill your meat craving. Barque refers to that caramelized golden crust on the outer layer of barbeque meat. Trust.
The Beef Brisket ($8, a la carte) came out nice and fatty. It was still tender and juicy after hanging out in a smoker for 12 hours or so. Our friend Nelia swears by the brisket here and has been to the restaurant at least 16+ times and she's from Texas. I have nothing to compare it to, she says its just like home - so it must be pretty damn good.
The Spinach Spaetzle is an absolute MUST. It has the chewy texture of pasta with a nice light sauce, sauteed mushrooms and some Parmasean crisps on top. This dish bypassed all my expectations and was a quite a fancy side that I would consider eating on its very own. Hey - I can also claim that I ate something green.
The signature BBQ sauces
Of course you're going to need a paintbrush to properly get your sauce on! I did not hold back and slathered it on every bite. Ps - don't plan on wearing anything white or silk. In fact, something with an elastic waistband is probably best.
A side of charred Cuban Corn (above). All sides are ($4) or are included with the sampler platters. Choices also include fries, Greek or Caesar salad, smoked asparagus, a pickled platter or mixed vegetables.
Instead of bread, Barque serves up a bucket of complimentary popcorn that is seasoned with the house vegetable rub. It's not spicy at all - just really savoury and makes you want to drink more.
On my second visit, I returned with Hip + Urban Husband and we ordered The Barque Sampler For Two ($42) which includes your choice of three meats and three sides. Was it enough food? Oh yes - and then some.
Since I'm a sucker for donuts and apparently don't have an off button, I ordered the Lemon Coconut Duo ($8, above). Believe me, I was stuffed but I passed on the pre-dinner cocktail just so I could have dessert. Yes, this is how the 'girl mind' works. Liquid calories are for the weekend, gimme my sugar people! On the right is a nice light coconut panna cotta. It's friend on the right are lemon curd stuffed beignets. I loved the donuts, but discovered that I was not much of a lemon curd fan in the end. Still, the presentation was beautiful and the dessert was easy to share.
So hop it on over to the west side and check out Barque. Fridays and Saturdays are a little crazy still with a line-up out the door. For your best bet, try a slower night like a Monday or Tuesday and you'll be seated pretty quickly. The side patio is now open too, which means even more availability.
Barque Smokehouse BBQ - Toronto
299 Roncesvalles Avenue
For resevations - (416) 532-7700
Photo credits also go out to: Barque Smokehouse