A second visit to the Beverley Hotel was warranted since the first time I went it was quite early in the restaurant’s existence. Since then the menu has expanded but continues to mix modern food trends with some old style go-to dishes.
Last time I dropped by for a late lunch, sat in the front and did the burger and kale ceasar salad. Both are still available although slightly modified, likely based on seasonal availability (for example watermelon has diappeared from the burger likely since it is a little more palatable in later summer vs late autumn). This time I dropped by for dinner and a couple of cocktails and was seated in the back. I really like the Beverley’s ambiance. There is ample seating and table space within a classy yet trendy ambiance. I was quickly greeted by a pixie of a waitress; a friendly lass who buzzed around the room like a colourful hummingbird. As the night went on there were a few times I thought she flew away though because she was a bit absent. She offered a cocktail from a list ranging from $12-14. Since gin is usually my poison of choice and I can’t turn anything with any part of an egg in it, the “Jane Doe, I loved you so”seemed the obvious choice with gin, brûléed pear, honey-ginger num-num, fresh lemon juice,egg white and orange bitters. It sounded fancier than it tasted but still hit the spot.
Perhaps the waitress had put me in the mood to luau because I was partial to the seared ahi tuna poke. It was quite the Hawaiian adventure from the coconut cream to the pineapple to the taro chips. The only thing missing was a lei and a witty line from Scott Caan. For $12, it was a nice snack. The tuna had a good sear and the supporting ingredients provided a blend of heat and acid and an array of textures.
The week before I went here I was in Montreal indulging on Chuck Hughes’ iron chef winning lobster poutine so I couldn’t help but be intrigued by Beverley’s surf and turf offering. It violated the standard rules of poutine; hollandaise instead of gravy and the normally gooey cheese curd was fried to a crisp amongst the mound of potatoes. There was lots of surf and even more turf in the form of chunky lobster claw and tender beef short rib respectively. It was a mess…..a yummy, tasty mess. The fries, often overlooked in favour of the supporting ingredients may have been dug out of a magic garden (watered daily by my waitress no doubt) because they were golden delicious.
I love pork,I love beans,I love fried eggs and I love sausage so the pork and beans were an easy choice. Pork and beans are one of those dishes that can be so simple but so easy to screw up. The pork belly was terrific…check. The beans were tender…check. The egg, although a little crispy around the edges, had a soft, runny yolk which just makes magic. The sausage was decent although not really necessary. The sauce passed the test although it seemed a bit heavy on the cumin (a fact I don’t really mind).
The big pasta was…well…a big bowl of pasta. I’ll be the first to admit I would fail an aptitude test involving matching pasta shapes to their names and couldn’t get the image of a smurf hunting wizard out of my head when I read garganelle. So, I did what every other self-righteous blogger would do and googled it while pretending to check the weather forecast for the walk back to the hotel (hey..admitting it is the first step). Anyway, garganelle look like huge penne. Visually, the big pasta was a big mess. Taste wise, it was decent. The meatball was tasty and the Sunday gravy (an Italian chunky tomato sauce not to be mistaken with my British Isles understanding of Sunday gravy as being lumps of flour mixed with what little liquid is left after a horribly overcooked cut of roast) was a little sweet. The pasta flirted with being overdone but passed the test. In the end, it was tasty but just a little limp.
During the meal I had to succumb to rather dapper barkeep’s power of persuasion. Stout, cognac and egg white have no business being combined in the same drink. No wonder it’s called Weird Dreams. Although I can’t say it lived up to it’s promise, it was an oddly tasty concoction.
I finished the night doing something I rarely do…sip an ounce of gin. The waitress had asked if I’ve tried Dillon’s gin which is the product of a small distillery in the Niagara region. I hadn’t heard of it but was curious to see how it would stack up against the gin makers from the same country that scarred my love for Sunday gravy. It was an incredibly smooth gin. Last year there was a bottle of Bombay under the tree for me…this year I’m hoping for Dillon’s. Perhaps I can speak to my waitress because I’m pretty sure she works at Santa’s workshop on her day off.
The Beverley hotel promises to fill the void between the wild, wild Queen Street West and the stuffy confines of the Yonge Street strip and for the most part it succeeds. Like the decor, it has a menu that’s classy but trendy. I still remain fascinated by the staff who have all the attributes to star in a good sitcom. On this particular night, the Phoebe Buffay of the cast was more than happy to make sure my water glass was full. She was sweet but a bit scattered….kind of like the big pasta doused in Sunday gravy.