Mother of All Mavens

A whole lot o' nothing. And then someā€¦

Where should we eat?

It’s the war-cry heard around the world for restaurant going foodies. And ever since Ossington Avenue took over as Toronto’s reigning restaurant row (sorry, Harbord) the question’s become “where should we eat…on Ossington”.

Everyone’s got an answer. An Ossington guide. A must-have, must-eat hot spot. But this is a tale/toast/roast of two restos: Boehmer vs Paramour. Slick vs cool.

But where should we eat?

Boehmer is gorgeous. With it’s huge windows and beautiful lighting, it’s the street’s showstopper. But don’t let the dazzling facade fool you. We booked a table, arrived on time for our 8:30 rezzie and were shown to “the lounge” for a drink. I hate when restaurants do that. I understand it, but not when they are a handful of four-tops sitting empty. All, apparently, reserved by others. How do they decide who gets to sit and who must wait? It seemed everyone is herded to The Lounge first. In protest, we skipped the drink – tho with one cocktail called “Steve” we were tempted. But we waited until we could nest at our table. And, funnily enough, we were shown right to it as soon as we said nyet. Conspiracy?

But on to the food. In keeping with the spirit of beauty, everything on the menu sounded fantastic. Except the bread, which they charge for. Apparently it’s worth it, but it looked like plain ol’ baguette to us. We passed, opting for the cauliflower soup (maple glazed bacon!), fois gras (maple glazed apples!) and beet ‘n goat’s cheese salad. Fois gras aside, the other apps were pretty ordinary. Mains arrived and the disappointment continued. Scallops on special were anything but. The fish was ish. And the beef bordered on airline – steerage, not business class. The best part of the meal was the side of roasted Jerusalem artichokes. Divine.

Talk about false advertising!!! Nothing special here except the lighting and there motorcycle on display. Quite stunning if you like that kind of thang. But overall this felt like a big penis-extension of a restaurant. Super-duper styley but when you get down to it, fails to rise to the occasion.

And then there’s Paramour. It’s the cozy, down-to-earth opposite of Boehmer. The alternative arty chick to Boehmer’s popular all-talk, prom queen. It was all-chick over at Paramour. For real – vaginas on everyone except the dishwasher. The menu had us spoilt for choice. You know when everyone gets a starter plus one “for the table” that you’re on to a good thing – or things, like the Roasted Corn and Jalapeno hush puppies. And that mayo…. The bread, free of course, would’ve been worth paying for: homemade foccaccia with carmelized onions to dip it in. BLT salad – with proper lardons – was huge. And delicious.

Three halibuts were devoured. The accompanying cauliflower puree was a little disappointing – but only because we could’ve had a trough-full! And the chicken -yes, someone ordered the chicken – was polished off enthusiastically. The side of rapini was unnecessary, but tasty. Of course there was no dessert to be had here. Too much bread and hush puppies. Also – poached pears? Erm….Pass.

Obviously there’s a clear winner in this dining destination smackdown. Paramour‘s substance over Boehmer‘s style any day….Book ‘er down….You’ll be glad you did…

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