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Restaurants

Ruby Watchco

Posted by Bryce Daigle / Reviewed on April 5, 2010 / review policy

Ruby WatchcoRuby Watchco has just opened in the former Citizen space on Queen East. Former Restaurant Makeover star and Four Season head chef Lynn Crawford has completely transformed the space into a much more cozier environment featuring a changing daily prix fixe menu with an emphasis on local ingredients.

Ruby WatchcoDinner features a salad course, a main with a variety of sides, a cheese course and a dessert ($49). It's all brought out family-style, so everyone at the table serves themselves from big common dishes. It's a neat idea, but one that only works when patrons can trust that their dinner is in good hands. Fortunately, the chef has the goods to back it up.
Ruby WatchcoOn our visit, the meal started out with a bacon and egg salad with a shallot herb vinaigrette, soft and creamy slow-cooked eggs, radishes and tasty little slivers of bacon. I hadn't expected much of the salad course, but it won me over. Bacon has a tendency to do that.

Our main course was incredibly tender organic BC salmon with nothing more complicated than grilled lemon, some fresh pea greens and a sprinkling of coarse salt for seasoning. Two things were clear from this dish: first, the kitchen staff take their ingredient sourcing seriously. Second, someone in the kitchen really knows their way around a piece of fish.

Ruby WatchcoThe featured side dishes included grilled broccoli, a bowl of green beans and beets, and a rich butternut squash risotto. Again, the focus was on simple preparation and earthy, Ontario-centric flavours.

Ruby WatchcoOur cheese course featured big wedges of Upper Canada Cheese Company's smooth and musky Comfort Cream cheese, along with clover honey and a sour cherry preserve.

Ruby WatchcoDessert was apple raisin walnut cobbler with bourbon crème anglaise. We had a few nut allergies at our table, so our version came without walnuts. The cobbler was subtly sweet, with crisp, thin apple slices. It was a fine cobbler, but it was overshadowed by the clean, fresh flavours of the earlier courses. It could also have been that everyone at our table was so full from polishing off every bit of food we'd been served up to that point that the big dessert serving was just a little over the top.

A daily menu is a creatively challenging format for a chef to sustain over the long haul, and there has been talk of Ruby Watchco eventually offering an a la carte menu, so those who like the blink-and-you'll-miss-it appeal of the prix fixe menu should get down to Ruby Watchco in short order.

Ruby WatchcoThe kitchen staff seemed happy to accommodate allergies and/or dietary restrictions without a fuss, though because of the limited nature of the menu, it's best to let them know ahead of time.

Ruby Watchco

Discussion

14 Comments

hezeus / April 6, 2010 at 09:58 am
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why must I click through two pages summarizing this restaurant to get to the full review?! jeeze
Daniel replying to a comment from hezeus / April 6, 2010 at 12:10 pm
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hezeus: Why do I have to scroll past this useless comment? So what if you had to click twice. Does it matter?

Overall, the place looks promising and should be a big hit this summer. I have been reading about RW on Chowhound and it seems like a winner.
Moi / April 6, 2010 at 12:44 pm
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I love Lynn since the Restaurant Makeovers, always upbeat and helped out new Restaurant owners....but the food shown here....sorry wouldn't go to her new restaurant. I like 'simplicity' not foo-foo. Whatever happened to a restaurant that serves good old-fashioned comfort food without playing so much with the food? Guess I am just not into this type of of food:(
Sonicfish / April 6, 2010 at 01:17 pm
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Uh, Moi, not sure how much simpler the food can get.. risotto, cobbler? You referring to how it's plated maybe?

Her food looks amazing as always - great to have her back in the city. I look forward to trying her place out.
Chris replying to a comment from Moi / April 6, 2010 at 01:19 pm
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A shame you would judge the restaurant on the basis of a couple of photos on BlogTo. If you're a fan of Lynn Crawford, then check the place out. One of the reasons she left Four Seasons is that she wanted to get back to making straight forward honest food, and not the foo foo stuff required at a place like Four Seasons.

I went the first week and I loved it. There's nothing pretentious or "foo foo" about the place at all. It's very warm and the staff (including Lynn and the other owners who were out and about and talking to everyone) were super friendly. I'll be back for sure. Heck, the main course teh night I went was a pork dish, which is something I would never normally order from a menu, and I found it just fantastic.

If you're a fan of hers, you should try it out for sure.
Marella replying to a comment from Moi / April 6, 2010 at 06:14 pm
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Such a strange comment. I was actually thinking the exact opposite! The food looked and sounded too similar to the simple meals I would normally prepare/eat at home, so it didn't appeal to me on that basis. What kind of "simplicity" are you looking for? Burgers?
Humblebee / April 7, 2010 at 03:04 pm
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Wow, I am also a big fan of Lynn and can't wait to go to the Ruby Watchco (next week =D). As a Saskatchewanian who enjoys exploring local flavours, I cannot wait to try out her Ontario inspired dishes! I love the concept of her restaurant and really hope this type of fresh-first, and priority on ingredients catches on!
pk / April 13, 2010 at 12:17 am
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that dessert is not too much! let them keep the quantity!
Robert / May 1, 2010 at 02:51 pm
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Is it me or is Lynn and her sous chef Lora, more than than just a chef and a sous chef.......
Juju / May 5, 2010 at 02:08 pm
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I ate here on a Tuesday and we don't think we'll go back. Absolutely the opposite reaction to "Moi": we thought the food was pretty much stuff we food-lovers could eat and make at home...so why would we pay $200 for it? (4 people - not including cocktails and wine). For $200 we were served a nice little salad, some cheddar biscuits, lamb, couscous, a tomato/chickpea side, grilled zucchini + the cheese course and a slice of carrot cake each for dessert. Sorry, but that is like the food I make at home. I want to be wowed by food I pay for on an evening out. Carrot cake?!! My aunt makes better than what we were served.

That said, it's a beautiful space, the cocktails are awesome, the service was great.
Big Bear replying to a comment from Robert / May 19, 2010 at 12:21 pm
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yes, and they make a sweet sweet couple...love everything they do...although working together 24-7 could be stressful for most couples..they seem to have a blast 24-7...total power couple (Lora landed her sugar mama for sure...lol..just kidding L@L!!!)
g / February 8, 2013 at 12:48 pm
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i need an answer to this question, the bread (second picture) are those dinner rolls, did they have a specicfic name, i want to make them
tigerlily / June 27, 2013 at 10:47 am
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Best place for private dining? FYI, they charge double per person($100) in their private dining room upstairs for the exact same meal they are serving everyone else downstairs. Justification: They require more staff. Last I dined there, the same staff serving the main dining room also served the private dining room. Desserts generally suck but the meal is good, hearty, plentiful.
Steve replying to a comment from g / June 27, 2013 at 09:27 pm
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They make the best cheddar biscuits. Here's the recipe
http://www.marilyn.ca/Cooking/segment/Daily/November2011/11_22_2011/LynnCrawfordFood
or head to Ruby Watchco and try theirs.

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