Friday, August 21, 2009

Harbord Room

89 Harbord Street
Toronto, ON
M5S 1G4
(416) 962-8989
Chefs: Cory Vitiello and Curt Martin
Date Visited: Monday August 17, 2009
Small plates $9-12; medium $15-19; large $21-28

Instantly loved look and neighbourhood feel of place. Charming, kind of absurd pink walls, warm and inviting narrow space lined with a narrow bench and wooden tables for two to four on one side, long-ish bar on other. (Too hot to even attempt back patio.)

Disappointed no longer offering Stop for Food prix fixe menu, which was whole point of going, but already had back-up plan of trying the burger. First enjoyed wonderfully refreshing daily cocktail cooler ($9) -- white port with lemon, soda water, and some other delightful alcohol mix that I can't recall or have any idea what it was. Chantal tried the red port one (also $9), which I thought was equally delicious, but she said mine was more suited to a hot summer day.

Debated getting daily summer plate of open-faced tuna burger ($16) but I'm moving away from eating non-sustainable fish these days; plus it was ground-up tuna turned into a patty as opposed to a tuna "steak" piece as I wanted. Stuck with the Kerr Farms natural beef burger ($15) with sharp cheddar, caramelized onions (my favourite burger topping) on fried egg's bun "with fries and a little salad." Added Berkshire bacon too ($2 extra). As you can tell, I hadn't pledged to start Meatless Mondays yet.

It was a very delicious burger, cooked about medium-rare so moist and tender with a little pink centre. I particularly loved the egg bread bun -- lightly toasted but still squishy and fluffy. Could've done without bacon though. It didn't add anything for me. I think cheese and onions would've been enough. Salad was arugula, thinly sliced carrot and radishes. I couldn't really detect a vinaigrette. Fries were fine -- crispy and salty; but house-made ketchup a delight. Instead of the blood-red Heinz variety, I got a tangy, sweet orangey-red specialty.

I got to try the tuna burger anyway, as Chantal ordered it. It was smaller than my burger and came with the same salad but no fries, only a handful of chips. Tried a little and it was quite tasty -- zippy with an avocado-lime guac on top.

Service was very pleasant. Woman attending to us (and most of the room) very helpful, great at refilling our water, and answered my questions (Prix fixe menu? Tuna burger?) knowledgeably and delightfully. I would definitely dine here again.

Rating (out of five stars): ***

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