Posts Tagged ‘Review’


I grew up on something called Gribenes.  Here’s the definition of Gribenes according to Wikipedia:

Gribenes or grieven (Yiddish: גריבענעס, [ˈɡrɪbənəs], “scraps”) are crisp chicken or goose skin cracklings with fried onions, a kosher food somewhat similar to pork rinds. Gribenes are a byproduct of schmaltz preparation.

I remember my grandmother serving it on Friday nights and holidays but haven’t had it in decades. (I’m not joking). Needless to say I knew when I saw it on the the menu at Essen that I would be ordering their gribenes.

What I didn’t know is that I could order buckets of the stuff! Essen makes a gribenes that is PERFECT. I’m still talking about it even a week after visiting their restaurant!!

essen - gribenes

Now Essen serves up other dishes that resonate with me seeing as I grew up with this type of food. For example: Their chopped liver is also outstanding.

essen - liver

I also enjoyed their Jewish Ramen which is described as egg noodles, matza balls, soft egg, brisket kreplach and veggies. I would order this dish again in a nano second.

essen - soup

My tummy was also introduced to their braised brisket, duck fat fries, roasted cauliflower and their unique caesar salad.

essen - brisket

I should also mention that Essen serves some wicked cocktails that are beyond creative!

Hope you get a chance to visit this restaurant soon. You won’t be disappointed and I promise you will leave FULL Very. Full. I know that I will be taking my mom here on her next visit to Toronto.

For more information:

Essen, 1282 Dundas St. W, phone:  (416) 534 0407

Twitter: @essen_toronto


Disclosure: My meal was complimentary however all opinions are my own.



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After reading a review of Bar Buca by Amy Pataki in the Toronto Star, I knew that I wanted to visit this restaurant STAT. She gave it 3.5 stars out of 4, so I put Bar Buca on my radar and off I went for lunch. I was a bit nervous that it  was going to be busy so I was cautious and arrived at 11:30 am. It was a good move.

The space has a few shared tables and a bar as well.(capacity 38).  I like watching the ‘action” so I plunked myself onto one of those high backed chairs!

barbuca - bar

The menu is divided into small bites, cold plates, hot plates, fried, stuffed focaccia and skewers. Love it. It’s perfect for sharing ….and priced between $3 and $14.


So what did I order? Let’s put it to you this way – TASTY STUFF.

Specifically: POLIPO – baby octopus, soppressata, crema de palate. What you really need to know is that it was perfectly prepared.

carbon - octopus

We also ordered: CARCIOFI CRUDI – raw artichokes, buffalo yogurt, bottarga, senape. In other words: More Perfection

carbon - artichokes

Based on a few reviews, I knew I would be ordering the PORCHETTA SANDWICH (roast tuscan pork, mascarapone, apple mostarda, agliata). What you really need to know about this sandwich is that it is MASSIVE. So glad we split it!

carbon - sandwich

Last but not least – we ordered the BRUSCHETTA which is described as: duck yolk, beech mushroom and truffle. Again – DELICIOUS.

carbon - appetizerConclusion: This restaurant offers some well executed dishes in a cool atmosphere with some decent service. Not to mention that the menu appeals to me as it’s certainly not an ordinary menu. Not even close.  I know I will be returning one morning with my macbook… to try their coffee and pastries. I have no doubt that I’m going to be impressed. Most likely I will be making it for dinner one day too. Clearly I’ve become a quick fan of Rob Gentiles’ style. (who is the Executive Chef).

For more information:

Bar Buca 75 Portland St. Toronto 416 599 2822

Hours: Monday to Friday 7 am to 1 am, Saturday and Sunday 8 am to 2 am.

Twitter; @barbucatoronto

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