http://thecarbonbar.ca/ 416.947.7000 $$$ open dinner to late Mon-Sat
The front door opens into a sexy long dark hallway with a red light at the end of the tunnel. Turning the corner, the room is gorgeous: forty foot ceilings, grey fabric and exposed brick, large special almost planetary lighting (think solar system) yet still modern. Trendy tunes play while a sexy bartender creates a black carbon margarita – apparently the element is really good for your health.
Okay so when you come you have to order the Chicken skin $6, stretched to a fine paper and baked to a wafer thin savory delight – like nothing else in the city – I’m serious. When I took a bite of the scallops $14 I’m transported to a country fair in the middle of summer, the aromas of a field of nearby flower as I wipe the sweat off my forehead; the mustard cuts the scallops but doesn’t overwhelm, a delicate balance is made with brisket espuma, dill pickle, parsley, mustard, horseradish, caraway rye croutons.
Porcini ‘n’ Grits $19 sautéed with a deep fried egg yolk crisp bay kale sprinkled with a huitlacoche (corn smut) dust is a great combo of pepper and earth combine nicely for a great comforting meal on a cold day, grits smooth like the best smash. More of a midday thing for me, Queso de cabeza $13 – fried suckling pig, pork n beans, hens egg, spiced pickled beets – its filling so be prepared to eat and eat.
The Hot Mess $11 (don’t be fooled it’s not a sweet fries poutine) halved sweet potato, cheese curds, crema, and pickled jalapenos, a little heavy but taste good. Not a fan of the Hamachi tartare – pear, coriander, kombucha vinegar – instead of delicately diced fish, giant cubes of butchered under seasoned fish, arrive how very sad.
I do like this place, a lot. Especially Fridays nights where one can enjoy a rarity in Toronto, juicy, tender, Ontario goat ribs $18, get there early cause they do sellout.
Update: I came back on a Friday, 9pm and it was rammed, drinks took forever, food even longer. Or was it the other way around. Anyway you get my point. But this look is so sweet I don’t mind……that much.