Chef: Chris Sanderson
Contact: 176 Dupont Street / 647-748-3287 (dinner reservations only) / roseandsons.ca
Hours: Brunch, Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dinner, Tuesday to Sunday, 6 to 11 p.m.
We made the trek out to Rose and Sons on a particularly frigid -30 evening in Toronto. On any other night the informal 1960’s diner chic look may not have appealed to me for a nice dinner, but on this freezing eve I welcomed the warmth emanating from the cozy shared seating. Rose and Sons is the 2nd of three restaurants that have opened in this area by ex-Drake Hotel co-owner Anthony Rose, who seems to be testing how many restaurants he can create from a hole in the wall. In spite of this, the food and the experience was indeed distracting enough for me to forget that I had been sitting on a hard wooden bench for hours.
The best value for the meal seems to be the Family Dinner at $50 per person for a four course meal. Some items are from the Rose and Sons menu, other dishes are from the sister restaurant Big Crow, or whatever the chef feels like throwing together for you. We are warned that the dinner will take a good 1.5-2 hours, but we are in no hurry to rush back out into the cold and so we prepare our bellies to feast.
While we wait in anticipation for our first course, I try the Sour Cherry Smash which is a delightful mix of bourbon, cherry, lime and soda; a boozy Dr. Pepper. I was quite happy with my choice until my boyfriend ordered the Extra-Vaganza – a fine looking vodka caesar. One look at the pickle and kabanosy sausage on top and as a loyal caesar drinker, I felt that it was my duty to try this extravagant drink. The caesar was a mix, but still packed a great kick, the sour pickle and smoked Polish sausage balanced the spice out nicely.
Our first course was a grilled romaine caesar salad with roasted squash. I’m usually not a fan of the “chop your own” salad presentation, but one bite of this smoky lettuce dripping in creamy anchovy dressing and fresh parmesan cheese – and I was hooked. The roasted squash seemed a bit of an after thought…but roasted squash on a chilly winter’s night is never something to complain about.
What really made our group swoon was the slice of grilled maple syrup and chili cornbread. Crispy on the outside, moist on the inside, the maple syrup brought out the sweetness in the corn, while the chili sauce balanced out the savory bite.
Next up was the red chile and pork stew with tostadas and homemade crema – the perfect dish to warm our souls. The rich, comforting broth is earthy and slightly sweet, and thick enough for dunking the crispy tostados, scooping up chunks of tender pork. Simple, fresh ingredients including a Mexican sour cream cool the bite.
The next dish is a deep fried whole sea bream topped with homemade pesto, lemon and arugula. The delicate fish flakes off into our salivating mouths.
Alongside the fish was a roasted brussel sprout, potato, chick pea and feta salad. The unique assembly of ingredients turned out to be one of my favourite dishes of the night. The creamy chick peas and crispy brussel sprouts are brought together nicely by the saltiness of the feta cheese.
Our ribeye was now accompanied by a puzzling amount of sweet potato fries and garlic aioli. The mountain of fries seemed excessive and unnecessarily overcompensating. While the steak was well cooked and flavourful, we barely touched the fries which was a waste.
We thought we could handle the innocent looking brownie, our final course. Until the waitress came along with a silver canister, popped it upside down and poured sweet globs of ice cream, chocolate syrup and peanuts. We still managed to devour dessert, as you can see.
Overall we left very full and satisfied, and I love the experience of a chef’s choice menu.
Rose and Sons strives to be the diner with elevated comfort food, but the inconsistent food presentations give the impression that they want to do this with as little effort as possible.