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Restaurants

Brownstone Bistro

Posted by Libby Roach / Reviewed on June 8, 2014 / review policy

Brownstone Bistro TorontoBrownstone Bistro has been on the corner of Yonge and Gloucester for 15 years, making it somewhat of a landmark in the ever-changing landscape on the country's longest street. After a stint on Restaurant Takeover in 2012, a revitalized Brownstone opened with a menu big on comfort classics and boozy cocktails.

The interior is positively posh, with comfortable booths covered in plush teal, black table-tops and silver Great Gatsby-like wallpaper blending with pub features like the large flat-screen TV that anchors the bar.

Brownstone Bistro torontoWith a decent selection of domestic and imports on tap, clever cocktails, and wines by the glass and bottle, having a liquid lunch is pretty easy to accomplish here - especially with the sunny corner patio overlooking Yonge beckoning. A pint of Steam Whistle ($7) hit the spot, as did the sunny Hawaiian Lemonade ($6.50), which packs a nice punch with vodka and pineapple juice.

Brownstone Bistro torontoFather and son Adel and Mark Yacoub run the show, including the kitchen, which is staffed with line cooks. The menu takes influence from informal tastings from regulars and recipes that were supplied by Restaurant Takeover, but make more fiscal sense as a rotating special and not a menu addition. You'll find usual suspects like burgers, sandwiches, salads, and brunch on weekends.

Brownstone Bistro torontoThe menu takes pub classics and puts a different spin on them, like the deconstructed brushchetta ($10). This assemble-it-yourself bruschetta comes loosely dressed with arugula, bocconcini, a drizzle of balsamic and a lattice weave of beet curls. Whole tomatoes make the bites a twitch more awkward than the traditional diced tomato approach, but it was a small sacrifice for the punchy and fresh flavour.

Brownstone Bistro torontoGoat cheese salad ($13) comes dressed similarly to the bruschetta, with more decorative beets thrown in for good measure. Under all the purple hides a slightly melted portion of goat cheese resting on a warm portobello mushroom. While it's a little smallish in terms of portion size, it's definitely a good bet as a light starter.

Although they don't have a wood burning oven, their pizzas are still a good option. Sticking with the veggie theme, the four seasons pizza ($15) comes loaded with red peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, and more creamy bocconcini cheese.

Brownstone Bistro torontoAfter eating such a healthy lunch, digging into some dessert seems like a no-brainer. Cherry cheesecake ($6.50) although not made in house, is still rich and decadent, although a tad overdone with the whipped cream and chocolate syrup garnish. Coffee ($2.50) is topped up regularly by the attentive servers.

Brownstone Bistro toronto

Discussion

9 Comments

emq / June 8, 2014 at 11:27 am
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consistently, meh.
Kuba / June 8, 2014 at 04:26 pm
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It's the kind of place you go to on Saturday or Sunday afternoon with friends who are all nursing hangovers and you REFUSE to go to Fran's with them. I agree with emg....meh!
Brbrbr / June 8, 2014 at 05:50 pm
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There's another great restaurant on Gloucester itself, beside the Mediterranean restaurant. It's a Jamaican cuisine called Diner's Corner, everything is made fresh daily. If your ordering the fish or fried chicken it is made to order. The cocktails are extraordinary. It's definitely a must visit if you want to a change from the typical downtown Yonge Street eateries.
Colin Smillie / June 8, 2014 at 08:39 pm
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I love the brunch at the Brownstone. The big brownstone breakfast or the eggs benedict are particularly good. The muffins with your coffee are a nice touch too..
Ismail Aboulnaga / June 9, 2014 at 05:36 am
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Thanks to Brbrbr for information about " Diner's Corner> By the way ist named after Diner's Club ( The premiere in the world for money withdrawal cards ?!?)
Edgar Blare / June 9, 2014 at 12:01 pm
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Yet another BlogTO "review." Brunch: the Brownstone can't even poach an egg properly. Lunch: poor quality, bland sauce, overpriced pizza; overcooked, grey, desiccated burger; and a bunch of run-of-the-mill chain restaurant-style dishes. No thought, no care in the cookery, above-average prices.

Like emq and Kuba said above: sure, it's better than Fran's, but isn't everything?
L_H / June 9, 2014 at 01:04 pm
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I've been here a few times and it's usually not so bad, but went once and didn't get served/acknowledged for half an hour, when I complained the server said "oh but you guys were chatting and I didn't want to interrupt!" WHO DOESN'T CHAT AT RESTAURANTS?
Brownstone Bistro replying to a comment from Edgar Blare / June 11, 2014 at 08:18 am
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Hi Edgar Blare,

I'm truly sorry to hear you did not enjoy your time with us. Would you mind sending us an e-mail to discuss the matter in more detail? We take customer complaints very seriously at the Brownstone. If our guests do not have an enjoyable experience, we will do what we can to make it right. You can reach me at mark@brownstonebistro.ca.

Really hope to hear from you Edgar Blare so we can get this sorted and show why BlogTo wrote such a great review about us.

Thanks. All the best!
Brownstone Bistro replying to a comment from Brownstone Bistro / June 11, 2014 at 08:27 am
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That e-mail is also available to our other guests who commented saying their experience was "meh". Mediocrity is not something we tolerate. If the meal and the experience is not exceptional, than we have not done our job properly so our apologies for that.

As I mentioned earlier, please feel free to send me an e-mail discussing your experience and hopefully we can work together to make it right.

Thanks

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