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The Carbon Bar – Masters of the Pit

July 7, 2014

I had planned on taking my dad and his best friend out for a nice dinner downtown, but I knew I needed to pick somewhere special. After extensively looking over my extremely long list of restaurants that I wanted to try (I can’t keep up with you Toronto), I settled on The Carbon Bar (99 Queen Street East). I knew this would be the perfect choice, considering their love of BBQ, and my love of all things edible. I have been watching what the restaurant had been doing from afar for too long, and was ready to sample some of the delicious Southern fare that David Lee, Yannick Bigourdan, and Franco Prevedello (Nota Bene, Splendido) created. The restaurant was stunningly beautiful on the inside, with high ceilings, a beautiful centre bar, and open kitchen. Everything from the lighting down to the booths was very chic and oozed luxury, but in an inviting way. An enticing smell wafted through the air from the kitchen, and I knew we were in for a treat. One cannot go wrong when a wood-fire pit is involved. Considering it is very tough to get my family downtown to meet me for dinner, I was excited to show my dad and his friend a real taste of what Toronto has to offer.

What I drank:

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 The Deal Closer ($14): This was a delicious mix of tequila blanco, cardamom, ginger beer, grapefruit bitters, and campari. It was extremely refreshing, and light but with a kick. Great summer cocktail!

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 Shishito peppers ($8): Perfect sharing dish! Spicy, salty, tender. These peppers packed a nice little punch without overwhelming the palate. I loved the addition of the pit-fired eggplant dip. Any excuse to use the pit is a good one, and the eggplant dip was a great accompaniment to these gems.

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 Tunisian Octopus ($26): Anytime I see octopus on a menu, I must order it. After debating between the meat and this dish, I decided I would simply sample a few bites of off my dad’s brisket plate. What are fathers for, if not to share some brisket with their daughters. The dish came with a sizeable tentacle, cooked to perfection with a nice smoky flavour. It was tender with a bit of chew, which I liked. The fennel salad, candied cherry tomatoes, and lima beans helped to create well-balanced texture and flavour with each bite. I loved the chimichurri with the octopus! The hint of garlic and parsley really helped to enhance the flavour.

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 Brisket ($19): Both my dad and his friend ordered the brisket. Clearly I stole a slice of meat, and it was delicious! It was tender with just enough fat to make it juicy. You could really taste the smoky flavour from the wood-fire pit. I enjoyed the dry rub, and with just a small dip of their BBQ sauce we were in BBQ heaven. Both of the men loved it!

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 TCB Slaw ($4): The corn nuts added a nice bit of crunch to the slaw. Overall a nice classic take on cole slaw with a twist!

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 Collard greens ($5): The mix of collard greens and chipotle created a flavour combination I haven’t experienced before. These were delicious!

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 Banana Toffee Cream Pie ($16): Of course we had to finish off an incredible meal with dessert! I had read many things about this pie, and it did not disappoint! It was just sweet enough, without being overbearing. You could tell the whipped cream was freshly made, as it was perfectly fluffy and creamy. My favourite part was the crust and toffee. I could’ve taken this down myself, but of course we split it three ways.

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The Golden Rule: I am very happy I chose this place for my father/daughter/father BFF dinner! The atmosphere and food were amazing, and everyone left feeling satisfied. This is high-end BBQ done right. It has the perfect amount of sophistication and flavour, without the pretension. I would recommend this place for a nice occasion or a date (they will definitely be impressed). Our server was very attentive, always making sure that everything was going well, which made the experience even better. I plan on returning to order the pit master platter, and partake in many more of the dishes I did not get to try. Another great part of The Carbon Bar is their GBD (Golden, Brown, Delicious) Mondays, where they have soft shell crab po’ boys for $10 at present and quarts of Labatt 50 for $9. Sounds like my kind of Monday!

The Golden Scale: 8/10!

Twitter: @TheCarbonBar

Instagram: thecarbonbar

 

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