Monday, February 11, 2008

The Keg? Its no Bonacini's, but...

The Keg- Leslie & 401

After being re-routed from Oliver & Bonacini's to The Keg, I have to say I was really looking forward to something a little different. Let's be serious, everyone's been to The Keg, many a time. Steaks, yeah they have them, amply. Seeing that we're on a bit of a budget, we couldn't splurge on the likes of Hy's or Ruth Chris'.

So this Keg was newly renovated this summer, with the addition of a new large patio. I must say it looks nice inside. I have never been to this one before, but from what I remember from the Kegs' that I have been to, they all have a general theme to them; dark, musty (no pun intended), and somewhat cottage-ish. The last Keg I went to was the one in Markham on East Beaver Creek, and it was bush.

That being said I was really impressed with the large fireplace in the entrance, which is cylindrical in shape and can be enjoyed from all angles. Nice touch. The 'lounge' we were seated in housed comfortable and elegant low back leather chairs, and also had nice round leather booths with low tables. Flat screens in each corner were key as us guys needed to watch the Raps lose it in the end, while the girls oogled over tabloid mags (Carrie- ugh, who'd hit it?).

Getting into the thick of things, service here was very good. Our waitress was on point, timely and courteous, not to mention very accomodating. This is something we haven't really been used to lately. So this was a nice surprise. In one instance, when members of our party had "gone to the car", our steaks had arrived. Noticing that the two weren't present, she quickly scooped up their steaks, and offered to keep them warm until they returned. Very nice, I like.

On to the good stuff...We all ordered steaks, naturally. I had the New York Striploin Bone-In, which was fairly priced at 29.95, came with the standard baked potato and topped with some onion rings/crisps.
The steak was good, cooked perfectly, not a bad cut of meat for The Keg standards. But, lets not forget, the meat is always better on the bone. I ordered a side of sauteed mushrooms as my meal was lacking one element- a vegetable. And no, those onion thingies are not considered a vegetable. Especially since they were only crispy for 5 seconds. Then they became pure sog-ra, as they say. Aside from that the mushrooms were very nice, I assume a mild porcini lightly sauteed in olive oil (I would have preferred butter, but thats just me).

We ordered a trio of vegetables since no meal came with any, and we got a mix of minner button mushrooms, 'spicy snowpeas' and green beans. This was blah. The 'spicy' was just a mix of plum, honey mustard and red-hot sauces. The mushrooms were just meh. Come on, Keg.

One of our steaks was a bit salty, but it was a large cut of meat. Still, over-seasoning is a sign of poor grilling skills. Somebody ordered a steak with a side of garlic shrimp, which were massive, and had been cooked perfectly.

Lastly, dessert. We opted for an ultimate brownie with ice cream and good 'ol creme brulee. Both were decent, but nothing spectacular. Yes they are both classics, but come on Keg, soup it up a bit. This isn't Kelseys. Or is it? Maybe the same owners. Apparently the orderer of the creme brulee said it tasted nothing like the one he had at Sotto Sotto...but he couldn't really taste anything since his tastebuds were absent due to some muddhiness (that's another review all together).


Service: 4/5 - Top marks to the waitress who held it down, as my motto is "Good service makes the food taste better (most of the time)"- although come to think of it we didnt get any water until we were all dehydrated after dessert and had to ask for it
Decor: 4/5 - Nice place for a party as it is HUGE, lots of space, not crowded between tables, nice bar area

Food: 3.5/5 - Definately exceeded my expectations, and gave me new found hope for the Keg, aside for a few slight miscues

Price: 3.5/5- $300/6- including drinks, communal apps and dessert- pretty decent considering we all had steaks, at $50 a POP

Overall Rating: 3.5 STARS out of 5
All in all we had a good experience, a nice cozy place that was welcoming, had good service and pretty good food. Aside from a few culinary faux pas', I would definately reccommend and dine here again. Let's be honest- you can't always mission it downtown to have a good steak. Even though its "only 15 minutes away". Next time we are going to Bonacini's.


Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

i'm feelin for a good steak. and after reading this, i'll be heading to the keg.

"see you tonight."

Sanjay said...

"..Then they became pure sog-ra, as they say.." Hilarious..

Great review.