News   Jul 12, 2024
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Restaurant Comings & Goings

As mentioned elsewhere, Mutual Street Deli closed on December 23 for good; the property on Dundas Street East will be expanded for additional apartments.

And Caplansky's College Street deli is no more. https://nowtoronto.com/food-and-drink/food/caplanskys-closed-college/
I never liked Caplansky's food, it always seemed to have a bad, hickory flavour that lingered in my mouth. Having lived in Montreal for a decade, I developed a craving for Schwartz's Montreal Smoked Meat and I have never been able to find anything in Toronto like it. Why can't this city get a Schwart's deli or one that has comparable Montreal Smoked Meat?
 
I never liked Caplansky's food, it always seemed to have a bad, hickory flavour that lingered in my mouth. Having lived in Montreal for a decade, I developed a craving for Schwartz's Montreal Smoked Meat and I have never been able to find anything in Toronto like it. Why can't this city get a Schwart's deli or one that has comparable Montreal Smoked Meat?
Because Schwartz's has only one location (OK with a newer take-out shop next door) and it is really unique; it has not even been copied successfully in Montreal. (Main Smoked Meat across the street from it on Boul St Laurent is pretty good too but different.)
 
According to their website, there is ONE Spring Rolls left, Atrium on Bay....
I wonder what's caused such a massive implosion?

My only off-hand thoughts are over-reach, and maybe the move to a slightly more modern/trendy look/menu may not have worked for them.

I figure it comes down to two things:
- Quality going down as the brand expanded. I remember when it first opened, the food was fantastic, the prices were cheap, and there was always a lineup to get in. But as they began to expand, it seemed like quality began a slow but steady drop across the board. I used to be a regular but I really began to notice this. My last meal there was a few years ago, and it was so disappointing that I decided "never again".
- Competition/product saturation. When they first opened up, there were very few other restaurants with the pan-Asian/fusion thing (nearby Oja was another; they later shifted their focus to Korean cuisine). Now similarly-styled restaurants are practically on every block, to the point they've almost completely displaced the faux-Chinois restaurants which were a mainstay of the city for decades. So not only are there now far more options for this style of restaurant, but it's also not particularly special anymore.

I also suspect a few of their expansion ideas, like the dim sum "East", were costly failures, but I'm just speculating here.
 
I figure it comes down to two things:
- Quality going down as the brand expanded. I remember when it first opened, the food was fantastic, the prices were cheap, and there was always a lineup to get in. But as they began to expand, it seemed like quality began a slow but steady drop across the board. I used to be a regular but I really began to notice this. My last meal there was a few years ago, and it was so disappointing that I decided "never again".
- Competition/product saturation. When they first opened up, there were very few other restaurants with the pan-Asian/fusion thing (nearby Oja was another; they later shifted their focus to Korean cuisine). Now similarly-styled restaurants are practically on every block, to the point they've almost completely displaced the faux-Chinois restaurants which were a mainstay of the city for decades. So not only are there now far more options for this style of restaurant, but it's also not particularly special anymore.

I also suspect a few of their expansion ideas, like the dim sum "East", were costly failures, but I'm just speculating here.

So, I was downtown w/friends on the weekend, and their young one wanted Thai or Chinese food; initially I hoped to go down to Khao San Road, but as we were running towards mid-afternoon we knew we had missed our window.

So the idea of Spring Rolls @ Atrium came up as kid-friendly and in the family of flavours on request.

So that's what we did.

It will likely be our last time there.

First observation, they've closed the access to Dundas, it's mall access only.

Second observation, the decor where we were seated was not aging well, chips/tears etc.

Third observation, the initial menus we were given lacked my old favourite Singapore Noodles. Though after asking wait staff, apparently it appears on a different menu.

Fourth observation, we decided to start w/the chicken spring rolls of which we had decent memories.......these were not the same at all.

The pastry was thick instead of thin, the filling was gooey instead of fresh, the dipping sauce used to be thin and w/some bite, its now a cloying jam-like sweet chili paste that's barely supermarket grade.

Fifth observation, upon entree arrival, I noted my Singapore Noodles were not a uniform yellow, some still being white rice noodles, either a change in sauce, or improper execution. The dish was not as spicy as I remember, and it as missing little pieces of bell pepper and green onion.

Likewise, my friends ordered Pad Thai, they thought it was similar to what they remember, but missing the bits of veg that used to go with it.

On balance we had the sense that the place feels like it's cutting corners to stay alive, and maybe just running out its lease. Rather a shame.

I wonder if there was a change in ownership, as it feels like they really lost focus on what they were.

They were never amazing, but they were good for the price; that can no longer be said.
 
No surprise here. The food was alright but i didn't like the tiny portions and it was expensive! My combo with tax was nearly $20! I could go to a sit down restaurant and have a better meal for those prices.
That's pretty much what one could say of Assembly Chef's Hall.
 
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Green Republic Food Company is gone due to unpaid rent (no surprise after not paying their employees either)
 
Caribbean Taste at 222 The Esplanade and Princess (the former Coffee Time) is closed. They suddenly shut down during the holidays with a sign saying they were under renovation until further notice. Their Yelp page says the restaurant will re-open on March 30th. I think the new FOR LEASE sign in the window indicates that's not happening.
 
A Japanese restaurant is opening on the ground level of the parking garage on Charles East.
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Over on St. Nicholas Cabano’scomfort food is opening soon in the podium of Nicholas condos.

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