The Bowery 416-901-2332 http://www.thebowery.ca/ closed Sundays
The interior of this dimly lit room could be described as turn of the century industrial, but with soft edges. Stuffed pheasants help to break up the stark interior. The staff are all wearing suspenders that make them look playful but serious – unlike the crowd. All of the Bowery’s meat is grilled over a hardwood charcoal grill, situated in an open kitchen, behind the lively bar. The kitchen is open late Thursday to Saturday. It’s too bad their wait staff is oblivious to the menu. With no help available from the servers, I had a go at it myself and ordered “stuff with stuff”, a selection of “goodies” and accompaniments. Tonight the “goodies” were crab cakes, mustard chips, chicken roulade, prosciutto, and house made chorizo. They were accompanied by grainy mustard, pickled cauliflower and red onion. The roulade tasted similar to the kind of soft tortilla wrap you find at your 24 hr. grocery store – stuffed with minced chicken and disappointment. And the house made chorizo looked like sliced baloney and tasted of sliced baloney. Not Chorizo. I also tried the grilled octopus salad. It wasn’t really a salad at all. The pea sprouts, red pepper and nicoise olives were plated to one end. The grilled octopus was in the centre of the plate, piled atop a chickpea panisse. And some pickled vegetables were on the other end. It was more of a deconstructed appetizer than a salad. I did however love the texture of the grilled octopus. So tender you could cut it with a spoon, and, it melts in your mouth like butter! Marinating the octopus beforehand ensured the meat to be tender and full of amazing flavour. Despite the Bowery’s other shortcomings, it was so fantastic that I will be returning just to have it again.