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Eastside Social

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Profiled on July 17, 2014 / review policy

eatside social torontoEastside Social is a neighbourly new spot from Joey Skeir, formerly of Ruby Watchco, and HGTV personality Cherie Stinson. The duo hails from the east coast, and aims to introduce coastal comforts and warm maritime hospitality to Leslieville.

Taking over the site of what was formerly the Upper Crust, the 52-seat restaurant and bar occupies two storefronts and is divided into a dining room and bar. Enter through the bar and parade past the open kitchen enroute to seats at tufted green leather banquettes or plaid-upholstered bistro chairs. Navy wainscotting wraps around the walls while wood cabinetry and a collection of nautical regalia give the room a homey character.

eastside social torontoIn the kitchen, chefs Chris Mentier and Stefan Skeene work neatly, dishing up a casual seafood-centric menu that double-majors in comfort foods like fried chicken ($14) and from-scratch Hamburger Helper ($13).

eastside social torontoTo start, there are snacky options like pickles and chips ($8), a play on that classic flavour combination of salt and vinegar. Root chips in a bowl offer an assortment of crunchy, salt-dusted taro, beets and parsnips, while on the side, beets, radish, yellow beans and cauliflower are each brined in different types of vinegar - infused with vanilla pods, in one instance, or turmeric and chili in another.

eastside social torontoServed in a skillet, I also try the mushrooms on toast ($11), a thick slab of house-baked molasses bread spread thick with mushroom pate and served with a garlicky sauté of mixed mushrooms in a sage-scented brandy butter.

eastside social torontoSurf 'n' turf tacos ($11) come in pairs, both on soft corn tortillas. One is filled with braised beef brisket, red cabbage slaw and creme fraiche; the other comes loaded with golden-fried tilapia, napa cabbage and apple slaw, pickled red onions and chipotle aioli.

eastside social torontoSkate schnitzel ($17), seasoned and dredged with panko, emulates a pounded chicken breast - only it flakes apart with just a fork. White wine butter with lemon juice and capers is still sizzling as is carried to the table, while a baby red potato salad on the side offers a cool contrast, packed with bold flavours of dijon and dill.

eastside social torontoThe bar menu offers a brief wine list with options by the glass priced at no more than $9. The house punch bowl ($21 for 2, $35 for 4) served in a small silver vessel and ladled into crystal cups, is a blend of gin, vodka, port and rum with grapefruit juice and chamomile syrup. On tap you'll find Keith's IPA, Murphy's Irish Stout and Creemore lager and pilsner.

eastside social torontoEastside Social is currently open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 5pm. Licensing for a couple patio seats out front is on the works while a backyard patio is set to open by summer's end. Take-away orders are welcome as are weekday reservations.

eastside social torontoPhotos by Jesse Milns



howthe / July 17, 2014 at 09:51 am
How the hell is a taco "East Coast"?
howthe / July 17, 2014 at 09:53 am
Oh wait, my mistake. The logo looks like a misspelled "SoCal". So that's how the taco theme fits.
home loans / July 17, 2014 at 11:34 am
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uhh / July 17, 2014 at 11:57 am
How will this place ever stay open with the construction on Queen!!!

glorybee / July 17, 2014 at 12:03 pm
I dunno, when I think east coast comfort food, I think garlic fingers and donairs.
Mike / July 17, 2014 at 01:11 pm
So they're presenting classic East Coast ingredients in a new way. Nothing wrong with that.

Some people on this blog are pressed. So, there's a taco on the menu. Have you dined there before slaying the restaurant over the internet?
Janice replying to a comment from uhh / July 17, 2014 at 01:26 pm
Perhaps you don't live in the neighbourhood, but there is no construction around the restaurant....
Cheezeburger replying to a comment from glorybee / July 17, 2014 at 02:23 pm
I am from the east coast and my parents/grandparents would be so confused with this restaurant.

Taro chips? umm nothing east coast about that.
Tacos with fish in them- a Toronto thing..
Mushrooms and toast-????????? All kinda weird.

Donairs, garlic fingers, clams and chips, fish and chips, scallops, mussels.... meat and potato stew! Now that's east coast.
Geoff / July 17, 2014 at 03:24 pm
Nothing says East Coast like "Surf 'n' turf tacos ($11) come in pairs, both on soft corn tortillas. One is filled with braised beef brisket, red cabbage slaw and creme fraiche; the other comes loaded with golden-fried tilapia, napa cabbage and apple slaw, pickled red onions and chipotle aioli."

I mean, Tilapia? Srsly?
Donairs???? replying to a comment from Cheezeburger / July 17, 2014 at 03:31 pm
I have a question for all you east coasters, and its a serious one. How exactly did a middle eastern shwarma (i.e. donairs) become as much of a symbol of Haligonian cuisine as lobster? Is there a massive Lebanese population in Halifax that I'm not aware of?

Honest question - it's something that has always puzzled me.
Candice replying to a comment from Donairs???? / July 17, 2014 at 03:44 pm

Basically: the Halifax donair is reeaaallly not that much like the original Middle Eastern/Mediterranean foods that inspired it. But locals loved it and it soon became a province-wide favourite.
Donair?s??? replying to a comment from Candice / July 17, 2014 at 03:51 pm
Mystery solved. Many thanks.
J / July 17, 2014 at 04:02 pm
By's oh by's... i'm so torn because i live in leslieville and this truely does look amazing, i can't wait to try it. However, being from newfoundland i can tell you what we had was a'la carte was generally canned goods. corn on the cob in a can people! other traditional (non canned) things would have been toutons (fried bread dough with molasses), salt fish on toast, fried bologna, pastry tarts with fussels cream and bakeapple jam, etc. Would love to see that at a restaurant! we definitely did have a number of pickled things too - beets and mustard pcikles especially although their pickles look lovely. so, while this restaurant isn't the east coast that i know, it still does look amazing.
kioch / July 17, 2014 at 04:17 pm
This all looks so good.
Shambo / July 17, 2014 at 04:20 pm
I agree that the menu is definitely off from what I consider to be east coast food (where's the Newfie Steak???). I assumed the "Eastside" referred to it's location in the city. That said everything looks tastey and I'm looking forward to trying it out!
eleanor / July 18, 2014 at 09:26 am
tilapia? are they kidding? tilapia is the least healthy (lowest omega-3), blandest, lowest quality farmed trash fish there is. if you're putting that on a menu (and not hiding it), not only do you have no respect for the ingredient but you have no respect for the environment or the east coast.
foodfood / July 18, 2014 at 03:17 pm
Hmm, I read in another article- "Rather than sticking to straight-up Scotian food, the menu lists coastal fare from spots around the globe, including Peru (sea bream ceviche with pink grapefruit), Portugal (cod croquettes), Mexico (surf-and-turf tacos) and New England (clam chowder)" (Toronto life article)
Which is a shame, I've never been to the east coast and would like to try some of their dishes!
SMB / July 18, 2014 at 03:46 pm
I went by with a friend to have some boozy punch at the bar. The staff was super attentive and friendly and the drinks were great.

What can go wrong when you're drinking out of crystal cups!

I'm looking forward to going back to try the food.
Scott / July 18, 2014 at 11:50 pm
This place is fantastic - went the other night with a bunch of friends and explored the menu. Clam chowder was really great as was the Yorkshire Pudding Poutine. I'd probably call the food east coast Toronto fusion. Inventive take on some really great standards.

Beautiful space and great comfortable vibe. We'll be back.
Romcesvaller replying to a comment from Candice / July 19, 2014 at 07:59 am
To donairs??? There is also a big Lebanese population in halifax and they own a lot of the pizza joints.
learn something every day / July 20, 2014 at 12:37 am
Ah! Traditional East Coast Mexican tacos.

Does anyone know wtf "Watchco" means?
M / July 21, 2014 at 04:52 am
lots of info and all but there are no comments on how the food actually tastes in this profile. was it yummy?
Keepin' / July 21, 2014 at 09:33 am
Have to laugh at the trolls here on BlogTO. Angry, judgmental and petty people (like "howthe" and "uhh") who rush to criticize anybody who endeavours to do something ambitious - without even trying the place.

Oddly, I feel sorry for them and their pathetic, unimportant lives - must be awful to live that way.
JKM / July 30, 2014 at 03:42 pm
Love love love this place...foods great, atmosphere laid back, service impeccable. The owner use to be part owner of Ruby Watchco. He knows his food.
Leon / September 20, 2014 at 08:53 am
Looks attractive in the pictures on their web page but the menu shows no prices listed. Unusual. Are prices available on line?
Kim replying to a comment from learn something every day / October 3, 2014 at 01:49 pm
It means Watch Co. as in " Ruby Watch Company" . I believe they found an old sign when they took over the place. They have it or a replica in the main dining room.

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