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Restaurants

Smoked & Cracked

Posted by Anders Whist / Profiled on January 30, 2014 / review policy

Smoked and Cracked TorontoSmoked & Cracked is a recent venture from co-owners who paid their dues in the catering business and at restaurants like Rodney's Oyster House and The Church Restaurant in Stratford. Mike Kash and Ron Raymer originally envisioned the restaurant as a side business to their catering company of the same name, but it's quickly become their main focus.

The first thing you notice when you step inside Smoked & Cracked is the eclectic, mismatched, grad-student-apartment-meets-lobster-shack decor. A counter is salvaged from a neighbour going out of business, a table comes from home, and the requisite lobster trap was brought in by a customer. It's how Raymer and Kash want it, though -- friendly and unpretentious, and like the restaurant itself, continually evolving.

SmokedThe apparent clutter also belies their close attention to detail. They chose their Mount Pleasant location, close to their uptown catering clients, after an exhaustive search. Their logo, of a lobster smoking, was found and painstakingly recoloured pixel by pixel. They also do all their (food) smoking in-house, with both a hot and a cold smoker, producing their own smoked magret duck breast which stars in the duck breast and Swiss cheese panini ($9.95).

Smoked and CrackedWhile the duck may be good, the lobster is the real star of the show at Smoked & Cracked. It's one of the few places to do both a cold ($15.50) and hot ($17.50) lobster roll, and the pillowy soft rolls aptly showcase the rich, meaty chunks of lobster. What's more, the large pieces of lobster aren't hacked to pieces and dredged in mayo; instead the cold roll is lightly dressed in what could be termed a deconstructed mayonnaise (dijon, olive oil, egg yolks) that really lets the lobster shine through.

Smoked and CrackedAnd if that isn't enough lobster for you it also comes in a lobster boil, freshly steamed and served cold (both Market Price) or piping hot in a lobster Mac & Cheese ($16.95). Just make sure your order comes with the yukon gold house-made kettle chips.

Smoked and CrackedYou would also be remiss not to try one of the chowder or bisques ($7.95 cup/$11.95 bowl). The Manhattan seafood chowder brims with lobster, scallops and shrimp, and the tomato and seafood broth is rich and meaty, with just enough heat to get your attention. If that's not your speed Mystic oysters ($16.50/6) are suitably fresh and tasty, and come with both a smokey house ketchup and a classic mignonette sauce.

Smoked and CrackedDessert, like pretty much everything else, is both made in-house and worthwhile, and the thick, flaky butter tarts ($3/$5) come in either regular or monstrously big. The filling is sweet without being sickly, and pecans give them an added crunch. They pair well with the more than adequate house coffee, "Second Crack" ($1.95/$2.50), which is cracked twice for Smoked & Cracked by Everyday Gourmet in the St. Lawrence Market.

The restaurant is also licensed and serves up brunch on the weekends, as well as booking private lobster boils. And thanks to their catering background they boast that they can have pretty much anything ready with 48 hours notice.

Smoked & Cracked doesn't take itself too seriously and is the better for it, pairing good food with a warm and inviting atmosphere. It's a winning formula, and with attention to detail, a continually evolving menu, and weekly specials, one that promises to continue.

Smoked and CrackedSmoked and Cracked is open 11-8pm Tuesday to Thursday, 11-9pm Friday to Saturday and 11-3pm on Sunday.

Photographs by Miranda Whist. Follow/yell at Anders on Twitter.

Discussion

16 Comments

Anon / January 30, 2014 at 10:50 am
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rather expensive for the location and space!
TJ / January 30, 2014 at 11:20 am
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While the lobster roll looks good and plentiful in the picture, $15.50 or 17.50 is a very high price for a lobster roll! A chowder or bisque is $12 a bowl? Wow, that is close to high end restaurant prices.
Shannon / January 30, 2014 at 12:28 pm
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$17 Mac & Cheese?? Was drooling until I saw the prices. Not worth the travel!
Wunnerful Life / January 30, 2014 at 12:31 pm
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Smoked and Cracked? I can envision one bloated fat slobbering oaf banging on the front door at 4am demanding to be let in or he'll bring in heat on the place.
John McConnach / January 30, 2014 at 12:43 pm
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worked at Rodney's? if they did they would never leave a sauce jar like that! That's unacceptable
poh / January 30, 2014 at 01:35 pm
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"lightly dressed in what could be termed a deconstructed mayonnaise (dijon, olive oil, egg yolks) "

So are they mixing the lobster in raw unemulsified egg yolks or are they just making a homemade mayonnaise?
Ann / January 30, 2014 at 01:55 pm
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The hot lobster roll is the best!! Well worth the price.
errr replying to a comment from Anon / January 30, 2014 at 02:33 pm
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Pretty sure the rent isn't cheap on Mt. Pleasant...
bradicalism replying to a comment from Anon / January 30, 2014 at 02:56 pm
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There is lots and lots of money in that area...
Rayray / January 30, 2014 at 03:12 pm
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Impossible to nail a really good lobster roll in this city.
Rishi / January 30, 2014 at 03:12 pm
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Smoked & Cracked? I thought this was Rob Ford's restaurant!
Anders Whist replying to a comment from bradicalism / January 30, 2014 at 03:18 pm
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Funny you should mention that!

https://twitter.com/smoked_cracked/status/398575519928549376/photo/1
Imola replying to a comment from poh / January 31, 2014 at 08:04 am
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"Deconstructed" mayonnaise - how pretentious. As noted above, that sounds like plain old, delicious, home-made mayonnaise. Why does food talk have to sound so fashionable?
Leo / February 1, 2014 at 09:33 pm
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The best seafood I have tasted in years! Fresh and delicious! I can't wait till I return and have more of those scrumptious oysters and lobster.
JD replying to a comment from Imola / February 16, 2014 at 09:32 pm
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lmola - Because it's not mayonnaise; it's not an emulsion. It's just mostly egg yolk.
JD replying to a comment from poh / February 16, 2014 at 09:33 pm
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Pretty much just raw egg yolk. The quality of the lobster was outstanding, but the dressing isn't what you're looking for if you want a classic, lobster roll lightly tossed in mayo (which is sadly my preference).

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