Thursday, 15 May 2008

The Loose Moose - Toronto

I have often walked by this restaurant and thought about going in. The patio at a nearby restaurant was jammed on this first really beautiful day of the new Patio season, so I figured that the restaurants without patios should be fairly quiet - and the Loose Moose was only somewhat busy nearest the open windows.

What are your expectations of a bar that clearly caters to, and probably does a lot of business from the tourist sports crowd on their way to a Blue Jays or Maple Leafs game? This place is about what you'd expect.

Trouble is, just meeting expectations isn't even the entry level for restaurants these days. I'm not in any way criticizing the place, and hey, if they're kick-ass busy most of the time, who cares what one guy's expectations are for creativity and great food?

The thing is, sometimes I go into a pub for lunch and the food is surprisingly outstanding. This was surprisingly banal. It wasn't bad, it wasn't all that good.

I had the Cobb Salad, which was a boring mix of ingredients readily available in the kitchen for other menu items. Romaine lettuce (iceberg in a Cobb makes more sense), chopped tomatoes, chopped green onions, shredded cheese and a dollop of guacamole (hunnh?). These double as fajita/nacho/texmex ingredients, no doubt. Bacon bits, sliced egg (not chopped?) and cucumber spears finished Cobb. Boring and unimaginative, and it could have been a refreshing summer salad.

Good - the young lady who served me was keeping an eye on her section quite nicely, and there seemed to be some teamwork in getting meals out to the tables.
Great - I bet a nice cold beer and some wings during the playoffs would go down very well in this place.
Room for Growth - don't treat lunch as the necessary cost of being open for evening bar biz. Clean the place up, and present a unique and different menu.

The Ultimate Comment Card Question, the only one that matters: Based on this visit, would I return? Not on purpose. Don't get me wrong - the place was OK. But for the same price within a half mile radius you can get better than OK in easily a dozen other pubs.

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