Against The Grain Urban Tavern
25 Dockside Dr
Toronto, ON M5A 1B5
Toronto, ON M5A 1B5
Well, today was a lovely day. The sun was out, the humid x was down, the breeze was high! And what a lovely day to have a girl's brunch by the water. Against the Grain Urban Tavern opened up a few months ago, and one of my girlfriends took charge and booked a table for 6 of us.
I got off the subway at union and walked from Queen's Quay (while my friends went south on Jervis), while on Queen's Quay, i was pretty concerned that the sewage smell would linger to the restaurant. Happy to report, that it did not! Toilet Smell Free!
I wanna say, that i was pretty excited to visit this place, their website boasts that their Beer Braised Short Rib Burger was featured in Toronto's NOW magazine as one of the top 15 deluxe burgers in Toronto. And THAT was the burger i was gonna order.
Beer Braised Short Rib Burger - all-natural Ontario Angus beef burger topped with pulled Cobblestone Stout Braised short ribs in a dark ale and molasses sauce, Blue Cheese, bacon, and fire roasted onions straws on Fred's Bread brioche bun - $17.00
THE REVIEW: OK. i'm usually not that harsh. Someone said that i could never be a reviewer cause i just like everything. but SURE, if it's worth it to like. I put up a caution sign, cause, you have to admit, it's a pretty hot picture. the fluffy brioche bun, crispy fried onions (which was the redeeming character of this tragedy), goblets of blue cheese, lots of meat. All the good stuff..... sadly. no. The ingredients are full of the right stuff, it's like reading the personals, and it's like "6'2", athletic, blonde hair blue eyed doctor fire fighter ambidextrous cobbler, loves rom coms, and dressing metrosexually" and failed to mention he's a nazi racist vapid kitten killer. My burger, just like the nazi racist vapid kitten killer, is a disgusting, dense, inedible piece of shit. AND unfortunate! cause i was so looking forward to the date!!!! I couldnt even finish it! It was so bad. I think i got lock jaw trying to chew that rubber piece of patty shoe. made of the finest old construction boots i bet! Nothing but the best for $17.00!!!
bleugh! back from where ye came from vile creature!!!!
EXPLANATION: So girlfriend next to me ordered this Stone Oven Baked Pizza, Barcelona: tomato, Chorizo sausage, green and Kalamata Olives, sun dried tomatoes, fresh Fior de Latte Cheese - $15.00. I'm pretty sure THIS wasn't what she envisioned when she ordered this. Is there a cheese shortage that they could only afford to spare 3 slices of cheese? Was this imported from italy by carrier pigeon and they could only carry 3 tiny pieces in their tiny little feet? Seriously WTF. She declined the pleasure of experiencing this cheese worth its weight in gold, probably. and made the third mistake, but ordering the horrid shoe burger I got. First mistake, was reservations.
Tavern Benny: poached eggs on Cheddar buttermilk biscuits and witbier marinated Canadian bacon topped with a citrus Hollandaise sauce, served with red-skinned potato hash browns and mixed greens - $12.00. This was apparently decent.
Pulled Pork Tacos: molasses and Tankhouse Ale braised pulled pork on soft flour tortillas with smoked Gouda, avocado creme fraice and pickled watermelon and radish salsa - $12.
This was apparently beyond OK. so good for you pulled pork.
Salmon Nicoise: roasted salmon salad on grilled herb flatbread with arugula, Roma tomatoes, fine beans and a black olive and caper ailoi - $15
This was apparently underwhelming but OK.
THE SITUATION: So we got there at 12:30, I think we ordered at around 1PM. At this point the drinks came in wrong. Girls who ordered iced americanos got the hot steaming kind. An additional Caesar (tho cheap! at $3.00) took about 20 minutes to mix.
This is actually a long ass story, so to summarize i'm going to quote miss Kristine.
-So slow they comp'ed all our drinks
-so bad they comp'ed our food
-so messed up our server had a meltdown
No i'm not coming up with my own material, you said it perfectly.
Our poor server, she was a cheerful upbeat lady, though i think the weight of an unorganized rusty machine collapsing over her head proved to be too much for her. I've never worked in the food industry, but we had 2 veterans at our table, who were disgusted by the way things were run. Chaotic, manic and disorganized, untrained staff was the general condenses. If you check out the reviews on Urban Spoon, pretty much sums up our experience today.
It was super slow getting anything out. We watched anxiously as tables who arrived later than us, all got their food. WHAT THE HELL. thankfully, the smarts in my head got a broccoli and cheese croissant at Union Station to prepare for my 1.5 km trek to the restaurant (i love how i know myself sometimes). The sever was totally apologetic, and said she involved the manager with the lateness of our food. Brought extra iced coffees to make up for those who got the wrong hot coffees.
When our food finally came, 45 minutes later. I know, cause there's a time stamp of 1:45PM of when i took a camera shot of my hot burger, all before tasting it, i was impressed, i was so eager, it looked HOT! oh. how looks can fool. As described above. it was crap. The manager came to ask us how things were, I dont complain unless i find a human body part somewhere, i'm very passive agressive (SEE: BLOG), so i let the people around me complain... a lot..... She said she'd take care of it, agreed the burger was dry upon looking at it, they were new, and for sure there were kinks they had to work out, appreciated feedback, she was very gracious.
Then things got weird. We were pretty much done eating/not eating our food, and the server came by and we asked her to clear the plates, she was totally emotional and abruptly grabbed the dishes and stated that after her shift she was going to quit. I thought she was going to cry, i'm pretty sure she was. I think all of us felt bad, (well some WITH HEARTS), i hope we didn't make her quit! We (THEY) weren't that bad? It was quite rational to not want sub par food and service, we are after all paying customers....
We got our bill. $88.75 of the food was comped (ok they even got the bill wrong but whatever....)
The manager came by with a stack of coupons to let us give it another chance. Promising a better experience.
Upon leaving, one of the food industry veterans wanted to let the manager know that our server was actually really nice and sweet, i mean, we did feel bad. BUT apparently it wasnt us, well, maybe a cumulative of things involved, the owners were there and had just given the whole staff a stern tongue lashing. OK seriously, maybe the owners watch too much Kitchen Nightmares or something and taking a page out of the Gordon Ramsey book, but verbally accosting your staff during service is totally demotivating and what good does that do really. I read some reviews and it's all the same, slow service, untrained scared shitless staff, cold food, crap food. It's a total shame cause this restaurant is on some hot real estate. If the owners can pull their heads out of their... and stop yelling at people...and if people can stop telling me they're being yelled at... and if i can just get food that didn't used to be a tire. or an old goat that ate a tire. But right now it's just glorified bad pub food with fancy window dressing.
Also. my rebuttal is to NOW magazine and their stupid deluxe review. Seriously? did you even EAT this burger? My bet is NO. pathetic.