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Restaurants

Rose and Sons

Posted by Libby Roach / Reviewed on December 6, 2012 / review policy

RoseandSons-chickensouvlaki.jpgRose and Sons opened its doors a mere two weeks ago, taking over the People's Foods space that served as an Annex staple for decades. And though it's still in the incubation stage, judging by the line-up out the door for a Tuesday lunch, it's safe to assume that place is off to a solid start. Perhaps that's because of the familiarity within the kitchen. Chef Chris Sanderson and co-owner Anthony Rose (with Robert Wilder) share more than just a pedigree for delicious comfort food, but also an ex-employer, both having come from the Drake Hotel.

Rose and SonsAfter a successful pop-up at the Junction Flea Market earlier this summer, Rose and Sons have been carefully assembling their crack team of line cooks and chefs to offer Toronto something that bears resemblance to a Jewish deli, but with a bit more polish when it comes to presentation. We queued up in the pouring rain and were treated with diner after diner exiting the restaurant with a smile on his face, and offering the same sentiment: "it's worth the wait." And indeed it was.

Rose and SonsWith a scant number of seats and a small counter, it's easy to see why waiting is required. Leaving much of the room with the same layout as its former occupant, cozy booths contrast against the black and white subway tiles while new leather bar stools and a smooth wooden counter bar offer a quasi-chef's table. With a new liquor licence having just been approved, classic cocktails like Mimosas and Caesars comingle with a small selection of wine and beer.

Rose and SonsHaving sampled Rose's magnificent BLT at the Junction pop-up, sandwiches were an obvious choice for my lunch visit, as was the mighty matzah ball soup ($9). Rose stopped by our table to enquire how we were enjoying the soup, a dilly concoction infused with duck fat and anchored by a giant succulent wad of coarsely chopped matzah. I'm rarely treated to this traditional soup, which Rose informed me was not entirely his Grandmother's recipe (crushed matzah vs. crumbled, chicken fat vs. duck fat). Strands of chicken complement the earthy broth, and the ball itself is tender and holds together well, clearly made with knowledgeable hands.

Rose and SonsWe were even more impressed by the perfectly un-kosher, bacon-topped club sandwich($13), which features smokey turkey meat, creamy bands of brie cheese, tangy pickles, a smear of herb mayo all piled on thick fluffy bread. The generous side of fries were incredible; crispy, crunchy, salty...my only miss is that I forgot to order gravy.

Chicken souvlaki ($12), a throwback to the restaurant's original owners (it was pretty good at People's) is a deconstructed version of the popular diner mainstay. A freshly prepared flatbread, pressed and lightly oiled is then cooked on the flat top grill resulting in a warm, chewy yet crusty loaf. Garnished with a lemon, the shards of chicken come together nicely with chick peas and chunks of cucumber, and I loved the unexpected addition of pickled red onion and diced salty pickles. A dollop of smooth tzatziki completes the dish.

Rose and SonsSaving room for the lone dessert, spied on the breakfast portion of the menu, the humble Bread Pudding ($8) is finished off with wild blueberry compote. Gooey and rich without being sickly sweet, it's just a small does of "decadence."

Rose and Sons captures keeps up the diner tradition, but gives everything that added bit of care that elevates the food. Only in business two weeks, this place already has regulars and each customer is greeted with warmth and enthusiasm. Look out for a good dose of public shaming in the unlikely event that you don't finish everything on your plate!

While Rose and Sons was currently only open for breakfast-lunch during my visit, I'm eager to see what the dinner menu holds, which will kick off tomorrow night.

Rose Sons

Discussion

20 Comments

Sacha / December 6, 2012 at 10:09 am
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Went here for brunch a couple weeks ago and was incredibly disappointed. The brunch menu is barely brunch -- more an assortment of items that could vaguely be called brunch-ish (ie, duck confit..... with a poached egg on the side) and the portions/presentation were incredibly lacking. Everything just seemed slapped onto a plate diner-style, which would be ok if the menu was diner-priced -- it isn't, however. The honey butter ribs and pork belly seemed like a good choice, but i felt sick for several hours afterwards. Buttery, sweet, and vinegary (the ribs came covered in pickled onions) is not a good mix of tastes.

I'm happy to give them room to grow, but personally, I won't hold my breath.
Ryan / December 6, 2012 at 11:50 am
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I have to disagree with the previous comment. I thought the menu was a really unique take on brunch, and quite different than what you'd get anywhere else. We came with 6 people and shared just about everything on the menu.

Everything was really rustic, honest and amazing. I had the honey butter ribs and pork belly which reminded me allot of a dish from Mission St. Chinese in San Francisco - one of my favourite restaurants.

I've been back for lunch since then and had the pork fried rice. Also so amazing that I tried to copy it that night at home with mixed success.

Some of the portions are a bit small but the prices, although not diner prices, are pretty reasonable. I'd plan on getting a side dish or desert.

I have a reservation for Friday night (Yes they take dinner reservations) and I am pretty excited!
Davenport / December 6, 2012 at 12:07 pm
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Food good not great missing some "love"...customer having to write down order not cute or new has been down before..room bright, good use of space but need to ensure that kitchen area by window is kept clean can see sloppy inserts, etc when walking by...
Dale Kapp / December 6, 2012 at 12:53 pm
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Thank you thank you!

This place might not be for everyone, but I love it!

Foodies will respect the effort and skill put into this seemingly pedestrian endeavour.

If you've had the pleasure of visiting this chefs pop-ups, you get what he's up to.
paul / December 6, 2012 at 01:38 pm
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$3.25 for an americano? Any chance I can get a one dollar drip coffee?
Not possible replying to a comment from paul / December 6, 2012 at 01:42 pm
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You can't get a $1 drip coffee anywhere. $3.25 it is a double americano that's pretty average. Try McD's if you want some decent cheap drip coffee.
a. / December 6, 2012 at 07:01 pm
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'Strands of chicken complement the earthy broth'
its turkey.

also, where do you want dollar coffee.. tim hortons at best, even charges more.
Anthony is a warm welcome and does his darnest to make sure everything and everyone is welcomed and enjoyable.
It is a more sophisticated brunch you want cheap brunch, go to frans.
G / December 6, 2012 at 09:08 pm
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I went last weekend in a group of 4. We waited about 35 minutes, outside. Although People's often had a line, turnover was fast so it didn't really matter. Here, turnover was not fast, and so we waited. And the only place to wait is outside. Not ideal, definitely a turn off, but nothing they can do.

I was not impressed by the fact that there was no drip coffee. This is very uncommon for brunch spots in Toronto. I like espresso, but I don't want to pay $3+ for a cup, and more importantly, I want refills.

The food was very, very good. I shared the grilled cheese hamburger sandwich on rye (burger med rare, really really good) and the chili (great flavour, don't know what meat was it in - brisket or pork - but deelish, fried egg on top, served with a montreal style bagel - yum). Also had fries for the table with gravy. The gravy was truly delicious, maybe my favorite item. Bill came to $72 plus tip for 4 people. Expensive for brunch but consistent with places like Barque for brunch. Not outrageous I guess. But I was the only one who had a $3 coffee. So there.

In the end, I would go back (its 2 blocks from me) but not on the regular, like People's, which I miss a lot.

buddy / December 6, 2012 at 10:28 pm
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Do they still have the (non-functioning, but still awesome) jukeboxes in the booths?
M.H. replying to a comment from Sacha / December 9, 2012 at 03:54 pm
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i think you should stick to the golden griddle its a little more your speed_ha!
Kelcie Jones / March 3, 2013 at 12:00 am
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Had a lovely dinner here on Valentine's day and it was absolutely delicious. The patty melt is an incredibly well executed cross between a grilled cheese and a burger, and the bread pudding is to die for. We were confused about using the pads at the table ( we didn't know whether they were for our use or a server's, and nobody around us seemed to be using them) but had attentive service nonetheless. They've done a great job in such a small space in balancing the fast-paced fervor of the kitchen with a more laid-back atmosphere in the table area.
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Michael / August 9, 2013 at 02:30 pm
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The first time I went to Rose and Sons on a mid-week day they were closed for the opening of Black Crow. Disappointment. Ok, my mistake. Now I just went a second time. I called ahead and ordered the patty-melt burger for take-out. The gentleman on the phone said it would be ready in 12-15 min. and ended the call with an enthusiastic "amazing!". I walked over from my place and arrived at 14 minutes to be safe. To my utter disappointment I saw the cook start to make the burger as I was paying. After a couple of minutes in shock and uncertainty I told the cook and waitress that I had called the order in etc. The cook said no one had told him. The waitress said she was going upstairs to get the boss in trouble for a change. I looked around the resto and saw that it was not busy, with only 5 or 6 customers there. Black Crow, their BBQ around back was also less than half full. So I discerned that the error wasn't due to their being overwhelmed with customers. The waitress returned and said sorry and offered me a milkshake. I didn't want a milkshake and said no thank you. But rather than offer me something I might want or a substantial discount for the inconvenience, that was the extent of their concern on the issue. At that point I felt the arrogance of the management/ownership envelope me. When I asked the waitress if she knew what had happened, another staff member piped up and said that it was just a communication breakdown due to having two eateries on one premise! I was shocked again. The explanation was absurd and unsatisfactory. I had really hoped that the owner/manager or the guy who had taken the call would show up and apologize and perhaps offer a discount or even a free meal or perhaps something that I would consider fair compensation. But instead of that, the staff talked up how good their shakes were and upon being offered one a second time I accepted. I knew by now that I wasn't going to be offered anything else. 2 minutes later a waiter handed me a shake with a "voila!" as though he was really do me a big favour. The shake was the size of a Tim Horton's small coffee! It was OK and tasted like soft vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup. Nothing special. As I was handed my meal to go, the waitress apologized a second time which I appreciated. I felt sorry for her because she was genuine in her apology but I knew her hands were tied as to her compensating me in any appropriate way. On my way home, I was hoping that the meal would make up for the bad experience. But it didn't. The burger was just OK. I was unsure if it even had cheese on it as it had such a small amount. The best thing about it was the carmelized onion. The fries were overcooked and many of them hard and small. The amount of fries was skimpy as well. The week before, I had a delicious bacon cheeseburger and fries at the New York Café at Broadview and Danforth. That only cost $9.00 and I know that there are much better burgs than that to be had in town. But the Rose and Son's burg was $18.00! for that price I expected something to rave about and bring family and friends to. I would also expect some sort of appropriate compensation and a little personal attention from the management for the unnecessary inconvenience and disappointment of my order not being taken properly. So it was a very disconcerting experience after I had been looking forward to my first taste and visit. This visit included poor customer service (seemingly on behalf of "the boss")and over-hyped, over-priced food. I am willing to try it again in the hope that next time will be more satisfactory. And I will also try Black Crow. But my advice to Rose and Son's is that when you screw up someone's order at least give them a discount or a free meal. At least show that you care about their being disappointed and inconvenienced. Not everyone cares to have a milkshake. And when you can't execute a simple take-out order and personally apologize for it, it looks and feels arrogant.
Phil / August 26, 2013 at 04:15 pm
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Alright, came across this place via Blogto. Looking for a new place to try brunch. Had a decent write up here.Why not check it out.
This was 9am on a Sunday morning. We got there and about a handful of people were present. We asked the waitress if we can grab seats-this wasn't the case. Turns out they had left their reservation system open by accident and had to "honor" the brunch reservations that were made for 9am on a Sunday morning. Fair enough. Took her about 10 minutes to check and then we got a seat. I'd like to think we were laid back but this wasn't a good start. Shit happens. We grab a seat and got the brunch menu-all 1 page of it. They had a few items on there and the whole back page was dedicated to drinks. I came here to eat, not drink. Are we missing something. First off, the prices were ridiculous and the options were even more absurd, or should I say lack of.Needless to say, we were ready to leave. Waitress came over with water, we politely stopped her and said we would be leaving. She inquired as to if we were not satisfied with the menu and we agreed with her. She seemed surprised we were leaving, as if she did us a favor in letting us sit at a table that was accidentally reserved at 9am on a Sunday morning with little more than 10 people present.
Hip joint with yorkville prices to me.
Honest Foody / August 27, 2013 at 09:30 pm
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Overall- Shit place!

Don't recommend it. I woke up super early hearing great reviews. Like the previous post, I was rejected from a seat, though there were clearly 4 booths without anyone. I was told to sit at the counter, but I denied the offer and asked for clarification of why I couldn't sit at the empty booths. Answer, it was reserved. Already ticked she finally seated me and my friend.

So the waitress gave me the menu. Ha! What a joke! What brunch places offers 6-8 meal items only! Mind you one item was a bread pudding for $10! Another was some some fruit and crap for $13! So I thought, this must be some g'damn good food with a decent size portion. I looked at the customers beside me, with a saucer size meal (or should I say "polly pocket" size meal) of a bagel and smoked salmon. That was like $15 and without any sides!

Seriously whoever said this place is awesome, is definitely related to the owner or lived in a vacuum and never tried good brunch places in Toronto. All I have to say is...WTF! Stay away...try a place that is truly worth it...not here!

~ From Honest Foody
Brendon Rittle / November 1, 2013 at 07:12 am
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Gloria Goodman / November 24, 2013 at 11:24 am
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My friend and I went for breakfast Saturday, Nov. 23rd; it was packed but we got a seat. As a diabetic I didn't want a big meal and I also found the prices highish. I had an Americano in a very small cup for $3.50. I asked for a couple of fried eggs, bacon & toast. My bill was almost $14 for that small meal. I didn't realize they charge by the individual items which I feel is a ripoff. $3 for one slice of toast is outrageous I think. $4 for a couple of strips of (good) bacon is also a lot. I wouldn't go back to be ripped off again altho I found the service very good. This isn't a posh place so the prices shouldn't be this high.
Reshma / June 18, 2014 at 01:52 pm
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My favorite place in the city .. read more http://bit.ly/1ilzFsn
Melisse / July 12, 2014 at 12:52 pm
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fat pasha is no better... a lot of hype of jewish food presented trendily yet with no nuance or flavor.. the shawarma pastrami was burnt, flavourless and boring and the falafel was dully presented much to mushy on the inside.

good service great locale lovely environment.. fix your execution and flavouring please..
Anne / July 16, 2014 at 12:43 am
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I got a milkshake there today on BlogTo's request. I was very disappointed. It tasted like soft serve. Also, I got the milkshake to go and it was served in a tiny coffee cup. I was hoping the dessert would taste delicious since it was pretty pricey and small, but unfortunately not! I could have just bought a carton of Ben and Jerry's for the same price. Next time I will.

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