Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Review: Allen's

After some do-gooding went awry, the Webber and I found ourselves looking for dinner in Toronto's Dark Territory (east of Yonge). Allen's (143 Danforth at Broadview) displays a promising selection of whiskies behind a rough-hewn pine bar, rare in an age of over-varnished Fionn McCools/Firkin/Molly Blooms mahogany.

The meal started poorly when our waiter, let's call him "Chip" to be nasty, delighted in rejecting our Coors Light order because Allen's refuses to carry Labatt or Molson products. Alright then, how about a Schlitz, jackass? The best they could do was Amsterdam Light.

A startlingly pricey menu makes the audacious claim to have Toronto's best burgers, blood in the water for a pair of junk food warhorses. The burger is adequate. The thick, moist patty would make a good meat loaf. As with most gourmet burgers, however, the cook doesn't understand that a burger is all in the dressing, which at Allen's is left to the diner. If we wanted to dress a burger on our own, we'd do it at home.

Allen's is supposedly the owner's shrine to the Irish-American bars of a bygone New York. My guess is that, back then, two burgers and a couple of drinks would not have cost $80. Allen's is really just part of a snotty trend in over-priced faux-Irish pubs that has swept most cities. If you want genuine, go to the Old Sod in the Kingsway. If you want burgers, go to the Wheat Sheaf.

On a go/no-go scale, I give Allen's a "no-go".


Webber said...

Let us not forget Chip totally ignoring us as we waited to be seated. Which, by the way, is very odd. Since when did Pub's employ Hosts?

Pocket Bay Lurker said...

I don't know. Any establishment that refuses to stock Molson or Labatt products shows a lot of promise. What can be more depressing than sitting down in a so-called pub only to find that Rickard's Red is the only alternative to Golden/Ex/Blue?

David said...

Dad, honestly... Golden?

Paul said...

I have to agree with pocket bay lurker. If you want a Coors Light, you should probably twist one open in the back yard over the BBQ you are employing to grill your own burgers. Why you would comment on the "promising selection of whiskies" and then order a bottle of diluted horse urine is beyond me. I also have to say that anyone eating at a pub and looking for "gourmet" food is a little bit naive - regardless of what the establishment boasts about its own menu.

I've been in Allen's. Didn't eat there, and as I recall, was somewhat less than impressed with the bar service as well, but then again, I was there for the company of those good friends I met up with there, not a culinary experience.

David said...

I completely agree with you that gourmet food has no place in a bar and I am deeply suspicious of places, like Allen’s, that put dishes like capon wings on the menu.

Regarding the drinks - I guess one man’s horse urine is another man’s American "fine light beer".

Paul said...

The words "fine light beer" don't belong in the same sentence together, but when you add the word "American" to the front of that, it clearly becomes a very funnny joke, so I'll let you off the hook.