Winterlicious is pretty much the best part of shitty ol’ winter in Toronto: I can wear a loose sweater to dinner and eat lots of high-end food for cheap prix-fixe prices all over the city for two weeks straight. I had to control myself on how many reservations I made this year considering we are going to Chicago next weekend, but The Saint Tavern was top of the list. I had been wanting to visit the Ossington watering hole and I was pumped to see fried chicken on their Winterlicious menu.
A warm host greeted us at the door and brought us over to one of the half-moon shaped leather booths that face the bar. Dimly lit with a 1940s style diner vibe, this pseudo-French-bistro-bar is adorned with globe lights, dark wood accents and white subway tile. Our dear friends Matt and Erin arrived a few minutes later, just long enough for us to order a cocktail, a Pimm’s Cup ($12) for me — delicious and fresh — and a La Fin du Monde ($8) for Adam.
The appetizers came quickly after Erin’s Ginnifer Connolly ($12) and Matt’s pint of Lowenbrau ($5). The Potato Soup was so creamy and flavourful with crispy cheesy bits that could have easily been mistaken for bacon they were so delicious and salty (Matt totally thought they were bacon bits).
Erin went with the Wedge Salad: this 1950’s dinner staple was jazzed up with pickled veg and bacon praline. In true typical carnivorous fashion, Adam chose the Grilled Beef Salami with hot mustard and pickled shallot.
For the mains, Erin and I went with the fried chicken and the boys went with burgers.
The Fried Chicken was served with smoked sweet potato puree that melted in your mouth, creamed collard greens and super sour pickled watermelon that added interesting texture to the dish.
The server shocked (and delighted) Adam by asking him how he wanted his burger cooked — the med-rare Saint Cheeseburger was served with a giant pile of fries and bone marrow aioli.
The Dark Chocolate Pudding with chili powder was devoured by three of us with a salted caramel waiting for us at the bottom of the bowl.
Matt went with the Raw Milk Cheddar to end his meal with toasted baguette and beet chutney.
If Winterlicious restaurant one was any indication of the deliciousness ahead of me this week, I am going to have to buy some bigger pants.