1) enter if you dare
I’ve been in Toronto this week and met up with the cousins last night to try what EnRoute Magazine deemed one of Canada’s Top 10 New Restaurants for 2012 – Hopgoods Foodliner. You can read the glowing reviews of this place here. Hopgoods’ is rated as number 6. But if this has been deemed the sixth best new restaurant in Canada, oh my gawd, the culinary scene in Canada is in a sorry state.
The bottom line measure of any restaurant is whether or not you’ll return. Period. But why would one return to this locale on Roncy Ave? Can I find one reason? For the far-too-loud music? No. For the fact they open at 6pm and do not permit the convenience of sitting at the tiny bar if you happen to arrive early and want a drink? No. For the fact they do not take American Express (incidentally the only card I use)? No. For the umpteen waiters who attend our table with varying degrees of disdain? No. For the food maybe then? Hmmmm … Chef Geoff Hopgood serves up ‘down East comfort food’. But do I want hand plucked Gaspe shrimp buried under a forest of accoutrement that tastes muddy (at best)? Or perhaps his crispy squid (which isn’t) served with potato puffs in a sauce reminiscent of standard Chinese restaurant fare? Or a wee ramekin of his grandma’s hot crab dip with (wait for it) Triscuits at $15 that was (sadly) the highlight in a series of mediocre dishes.
2) the cousins at coffee before dinner; 3) the restaurant
4) cocktail time; foreground my bourbon/St Germain, background Blee’s “Penicillin” (tasted like medicine); 5) the (in)famous Gaspe shrimp
But I digress. Back to the point, would I return? Hell no. Would I recommend it? Hell no.
We skipped dessert and headed, rather, to my Toronto home-away-from-home (even when I lived there) the King Edward Hotel to recline in the ever-so-lovely Consort Bar for nightcaps and desserts. The Consort Bar remains one of my most favourite places in the City of Toronto. Whiling away an afternoon there as the streetcars trundle by on King Street East with the dutiful staff attending to your needs with discretion and professionalism is perfection personified.
6) my summer scone with fruit and Chantilly cream at Consort Bar; 7) the cousins pose
Thanks for your honesty about the food. I have found out the Yelp review can be hit or miss. I especially have bad luck with believing yelp reviews of Chinese restaurants. The night cap yummy certainly looked very inviting.