Friday, January 13, 2012
Another Nice Dinner out In Leslieville - Leslie Jones
I have been wanting to check out Leslie Jones for ages but we always seem to go elsewhere. I don't know why because I have only heard great things about it, it's small and looks lovely and I understand that there is a really fabulous patio out back. Regardless, we constantly overlook it when we are going out so I was exited when a friend suggested the restaurant for dinner. There is no website for the restaurant but I did find a link to their menu here, if you are curious. This is when I admit that I assumed that the restaurant was named after the chef, Leslie Jones because I am an idiot. It is named Leslie Jones because it sits at 1182 Queen St East, smack dab between Leslie St and Jones Ave.
It's really quite small with a nice open kitchen (and it appears that the chefs work their magic on a stove that looks exactly like the stove in my own tiny kitchen). Our waitress was attentive and suggested a nice bottle of wine that we all enjoyed. I would love to share that Italian red with you but I am ashamed to say that I wasn't paying attention although I certainly drank my share and enjoyed it profusely. She was also very patient with The Kid as he quizzed her on exactly WHAT market vegetables go on the market vegetable pizza, on the merits of adding the dreaded mushroom to their daily risotto and various other important dining issues.
We shared the very tasty beet salad and grilled calamari - the calamari was not what we were expecting but it was delicious, none the less. It was more of a salad with some tiny bits of calamari in it than a side of grilled calamari and my only complaint would be that I would have liked to have known that because I wouldn't have ordered two salads with greens.
For mains, Shack had the mushroom risotto that The Kid had poo poo'd, The Kid had his market vegetable pizza sans market vegetables apart from the artichokes, our friend had a delicious beef brisket and I was strong armed into ordering the pulled pork with apples because Shack wanted to taste it but wanted to order risotto for himself. I was expecting something tasty but greasy and heavy, the way pulled pork often is and was pleasantly surprised to find that this was not the case. It was not overly saucy but it was not at all dry, it was not greasy and it was accompanied by really nicely prepared roasted potato and vegetables. It also came with a spicy yogurt sauce that reminded me of the sauce I made the night before for my paprika chicken and that made it even better. I am still enjoying a love affair with that chicken and would not have been disappointed to be served that dish again so the yogurt sauce fulfilled that desire. I finished my dinner without feeling too full or too heavy and since i have already revealed that I have no self control around delicious food, I can admit that this is important to me.
Everyone was very happy with their food, all plates were cleaned, we all tasted each other's dinners and every one of us would have been happy with any of these entrees. It pained me to admit that I was happy with my pulled pork because I didn't want to reward Shack for talking me into something I didn't think I wanted just so HE could taste it. Foiled again.
Homemade carrot cake and flourless chocolate cake made by the chef's wife were offered up as dessert options and although I wanted to taste the carrot cake, both of my men ordered the chocolate cake. I think it was very unfair that I took one for the team by ordering the pulled pork and neither of them could return the favour by ordering the carrot cake. I paid them back by eating half of each of their desserts, so HA! It was a really rich, creamy, fudgey cake with whipped cream and a welcome drizzle of caramel.
Pretty much all of the mains are under $20 and the wine list is not long but has a decent selection. I don't know why it didn't totally knock my socks off because everything was very good and it's a great neighbourhood spot that seems to constantly fly under the radar. Don't get me wrong, we all liked it very much and would love to go back some time but it just fell short of making me jump up and down although none of us could pin point what was missing.
I couldn't find a proper review of the place at any of my regular publications but I am sure that the regulars who eat here all the time are very happy about that. Leslieville has enough super trendy restaurants that get their share of the spotlight. With the great reviews and the throngs of people come long waits for tables and not enough elbow room to swing a cat and lets face it, every neighbourhood needs a few unsung little gems to call their very own, right?