Barque Binge

26 Oct

Not too long ago, I put up a post discussing the best BBQ in Toronto. It’s definitely a contentious debate, with each restaurant smoking and cooking things their own way, the “best” way. So far, the fried chicken at the Stockyards has been my favourite BBQ menu item and I’ve been anxiously awaiting a dinner at Barque Smokehouse. I’d heard nothing but raves from those who had been, some of whom had tried other places and some who had not.

A group of us opted to check out the ever-changing Sunday night family meal. The menu is different every week, offering up nine – that’s NINE – courses from appetizers through dessert. There are three seatings on Sunday: 5pm, 6:45 and 8:30. Just enough time for everyone to enjoy a sample of each dish from the large, family-style platters that arrive at your table. Our menu consisted of the following:

  • Celeriac Soup with Celery…

Normally not a huge fan of celeriac anything, this soup was warming and hearty with chunks of caramelized celery and I loved it. On a cold, winter day I would want an entire vat of it all to myself.

  • Lamb Antillidos…

So what is an “antillido?” Think Mexican wrap with shredded lamb. Everyone got a small portion of this appetizer that had a spicy kick to it. If this were featured on their regular menu, I would not hesitate to order it again.

Celeriac Soup & Lamb Antillidos

  • Tempura Vegetables with Soy Dipping Sauce…

Oh, lordy. There was a bit of a fight over these at our table. We had a couple of latecomers at our table who were very lucky to get any. The platter was filled with lightly battered taro root, eggplant and sweet potato chips. We could easily have polished off another plate of them, especially when accompanied by a fantastic soy-based dipping sauce.

Tempura Veggies

  • Smoked Chicken…

Not your average chicken. Everyone got a thigh and a leg rubbed with a curry powder concoction that was downright addictive. The chicken itself was a beautiful pink colour, taken on from the smoke. It was juicy, tender, smoky and truly finger-lickin’ good.

  • Honey Mustard Ribs…

The ribs did raise a few points of contention (as they are wont to do…). 90% of the table thought they were great and we even had one anti-rib convert! A couple of people at the table would have preferred a more fall-off-the-bone type rib, but there was no denying the flavour. Barque provides a container of their BBQ sauce that you can add as you wish with a brush. Most of us took advantage this great mixture of flavours and at least one diner had to restrain herself from chugging the BBQ sauce directly from the cup.

Ribbbbbbbbbs.

  • Sausage and Red Pepper Flatbreads…

Delicious little bites packed with flavour. Yet another hit at the table. Sausage and red pepper is a classic combination and they were great together on the crispy, but not overdone, flatbread. Luckily for us, there was enough for two pieces each…

Flatbread

  • Mixed Greens with Cucumbers and Cranberries…

Okay, so this wasn’t great. The greens were fresh, but more cranberries and definitely more dressing was needed. A salad is an excellent idea on a meat-heavy menu, but it seemed like a bit of an afterthought.

  • Crushed Potatoes…

Smashed chunks of potatoes accented with herbs, garlic and copious amounts of butter? Who wouldn’t like this dish? There was some debate as to whether or not tongs were the ideal serving tool but I dug it.

Smashed Potatoes

  • Cookies and Crumble…

There is a very good chance that of all the delectable things put in front of me on Sunday night, the apple crumble might have been the best. I like being surprised by a dish, especially a dish I know well. (My husband makes killer crumbles so I’m spoiled in this department.) I was fortunate enough to get one of my own and I must tell you that there wasn’t a morsel or drop of anything left when I was done. Don’t get me wrong: the chocolate chip and cappuccino cookies were really good, but that crumble was almost too good for words.

Dessert!

Salad aside, each bite of each item was excellent. The ambience and service in the restaurant were both excellent. Barque’s a cozy, cool place to have a great meal aided by prompt, friendly, fun service. I’m told that seats at the bar by the kitchen are great, as you can watch and chat with the chefs while they do their thing. If you go on a Sunday, don’t expect to linger: the line up for the next seating will begin early. But that’s okay: you won’t be able to eat any more anyway and Roncesvalles is a great neighbourhood to wander through afterwards!

 There is no question about whether or not I’ll be returning. It’s simply a matter of when.

Barque Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

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One Response to “Barque Binge”

  1. perudelights October 28, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    I would be eating everything… All the dishes look so appetizing. Wish I´d be there.

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