The sidewalks of Toronto’s Queen Street West may be crowded with shoppers, but they may be soon be outnumbered by foodies finding a new place on the strip to please their palate – The Beverley Hotel.
Unlike its former dive bar neighbour of the same name, the current version is a modern boutique hotel/restaurant located west of John Street at McCaul Street, which opened in summer 2013 and recently launched a new menu under former Executive Chef Eric Wood.
At The Beverley Hotel, the street level entry is not typical to a boutique hotel. Queen Street people watching while sipping and savouring at the high wood tables near the front window or quiet conversation while in the dining room is standard for any evening. Light-coloured stone walls, wood surfaces and plenty of lighting focuses patrons that this long narrow space is just for diners.
Sourcing from across Canada, newly-installed Executive Chef Binh An Nguyen and his team have created a menu with a focus on indigenous ingredients, including a healthy dose of Canadian seafood from both coasts. He’s carrying on what was begun by Chef Eric, and is sure to start putting in his own trademark style as he gets comfortable overseeing this busy kitchen.
A hopefully permanent item on the menu is wok-charred Edamame beans (tossed with Cape Breton salt, maple syrup, red chilis, walnut and herbs $8); this tasty snack pairs well with an icy cold ale or chilled VQA white (or even a glass of water, warning: it’s addictive).
What other starters to consider sharing? Spin the roulette of hotness with the blistered shishito peppers ($7), tasty Duck fat kettle corn ($7) or the Foie gras Torch-On (foie gras with waldorf slaw, $18). But don’t share the East by East (seared Nova Scotia scallops with salt cod brandade, capers, sweet mustard and spot prawn essence, $16) or the Bee’s Knees: Buffalo ricotta with vine tomatoes, Rosewood honey and walnuts ($ 15) – these are self-indulgent gifts to oneself.
For a larger main – try the simple west coast meets east coast pairing featuring perfectly cooked BC Chinook salmon with Maritime veg hodge podge in a milk sauce ($31) or the Birds of a Feather – perfectly grilled quail ($15). Although I applaud the chef for wanting to use cassava, a staple of the Caribbean, this root vegetable transformed into a crispy version of gnocchi was bland.
Dessert lovers should happily save room for the sour cream doughnuts with dulce de leche or the best kept secret of the city (until now): ice cream made fresh to order (more items to really consider whether your dining partner is worthy to share).
With the kitchen open late, a rooftop bar that would make a perfect spot to indulge the palate on a summer evening, and not to be missed seafood dishes, The Beverley Hotel may become better known as a dining establishment than the newest boutique hotel in the city.
The Beverley Hotel
335 Queen Street West (west of John St. at McCaul St.), 416-493-2786
Monday-Wednesday 11:30am-12am (midnight)
Sunday 10am-12am (midnight)