Friday, August 17, 2012

Urban Eats @ Riverside Public House - Toronto

Queen West, Ossington, King West, Gladstone Ave – notice how it’s all about the Westside of TO these days? Well, we headed to QUEEN EAST to celebrate the Grand Opening of Riverside Public House in Leslieville. 
The restaurant is the newest addition to the Queen and Broadview scene. Owners Nav Sangha and Mike Homewood had a vision to create an upscale gastropub that serves up great drinks, music, and high quality comfort food.

“Our goal? To be a community hub that appeals to everyone,” Nav Sangha said. “We’ve got a first-rate Chef who puts heart and soul into his work.”

The food tastes amazing, and no wonder – Chef Dustin Gallagher is a Top Chef Canada finalist. He’s also super humble despite being kind of a big deal.

“I just want to cook great food and have some fun,” Chef Gallagher said bashfully. “There’s a little something for everyone on the menu.”

Here’s the 411 on Riverside’s simple and masterful menu of Canadian comfort food:

The Country Fried Chicken ($14 for dinner portion) fulfilled this salt-a-holic’s fantasy with its crispy goodness. I was pleasantly surprised by the savoury and meaty centre of the wings, and it was mostly white meat. Served up with a delicious side creation – a bite-sized baked potato topped with sour cream, cheddar, bacon, and chives.

I'm a sucker for fish and chips. The Halibut and Crispy Vegetables ($20 for dinner portion) scored high points for its fresh and flaky fish with a tang of lemon tartar sauce. I also liked the deep-fried sweet potato and asparagus fries as an accompaniment – something different! This dish was a real treat and almost had me licking the wrapper.
Nothing says comfort food like Chicken & Porcini Mushroom Pot Pie ($18 for dinner portion), stuffed with veggies and lightly sprinkled with Parmesan. I’m salivating just thinking about biting into the crust!
Whoever invented sliders is a genius – and so is the Riverside Burger with Smoked Mozzarella & Fries ($14 for dinner portion). The beef patty was so tender and juicy, exploding with flavour from the secret sauce. Note: this dish is seriously filling – I couldn’t eat more than two sliders (even though I wanted to).
Mini Baked Potatoes
The Chef incorporates the local food market into the menu whenever possible. “It’s common sense to use ingredients from the neighbourhood,” Chef Gallagher said. Luckily, Leslieville is a hub for organic, local foods in Toronto.
You gotta balance the savoury with the sweet, right? Try La Paloma ($11) mixed with tequila blanco, fresh lime juice, and grapefruit soda. The cocktail hit the spot after the delightfully salty dishes. There’s also a generous wine and beer list available.

What I really liked about Riverside was its versatility – it’s the perfect venue for a chilled-out dinner or an upscale cocktail party. The vibe is very right now with its jet-black interior, live music, cozy booths, cathedral ceilings, and skylights. There’s also a dance floor if you want to shake it!

Nav & Mike
“It’s comfy, casual, and we do a bit of everything here,” Co-owner Mike Homewood said. “Plus we have a great cocktail list.”
I double dog dare you: head to Riverside Public House...before there’s a line-up out the door.

Riverside Public House
725 Queen St. East

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this looks so good! I am going to have to pay them a visit, then go for a looooong run :)