The Best Steak Frites in Toronto
Steak and frites. There are few dishes more basic. The combination of meat and starch is primal; a product of earth and pasture that needs precious little embellishment. It's also a great test for a kitchen's basic competence at cooking a good piece of beef, and treating a fistful of julienned potato with respect. The quality of the grill and the temperature and purity of the oil are at the heart of the matter, as is the chef's ability at sourcing a decent cut of meat that they generally can't sell at steakhouse prices.
Steak frites used to be a mainstay of bistro menus; today, they show up nearly everywhere, and seem to be proliferating as austerity and budget-consciousness preoccupies diners and chefs. The following dozen plates of meat and veg show a remarkable range of price and variation, but they were all given thumbs up by our carnivorous readers.
Here are the 12 best steak frites in Toronto as voted by readers of blogTO.
The number one entry breaks the rules right away. Czehoski's frites are more like fries, thick and stacked like cordwood next to the pre-sliced flatiron steak from Cumbrae Meats. A medium steak comes nicely pink on the inside, served with a blue cheese aioli and the very substantial russet fries cooked in canola oil. More »
The College St. eatery is the only one on our list that serves the elusive “baseball” cut of top sirloin - a juicy, peppery hockey puck with a good, beefy taste. The Yukon Gold frites are classic frites – crispy little twigs cooked in canola, served with a smoky chipotle aioli, and a great deal at only $18. More »
Very likely one of the first places you might have had a traditional bistro-style steak frites in Toronto, Le Select – first at its old Queen West location, and now at its “new” Wellington Street home – has been offering its bavette and frites for years, but only recently upgraded, with much fanfare, to a more choice Kobe/Black Angus flatiron cut from Alberta. It was worth it – the new steak is more tender, with an almost “liver-y” note underneath its sweet carpet of caramelized shallots. More »
Chef Constance Guitard's Black Angus striploin is presented simply with classic frites and garlic mayo, and it's a testament to a well-seasoned grill – perfectly-seared on all sides, with a smoky taste that magically suggests wood charcoal. The frites are just as simple – Yukon Golds cooked in vegetable oil, with a crispy skin and sweet insides. More »
The Drake presents its short skirt steak from Cumbrae Farms pre-sliced, with a pile of crispy Idaho spud frites and a big disc of Montpelier butter – an herb, shallot, anchovy, caper and lemon-studded pat that still doesn't overwhelm the meat, which arrives reddish-pink on the inside and full of flavour. More »
This bistro is also Kensington's unofficial spiritual centre, and features a rustic strip loin that gets an extra smoky boost from a pat of home-smoked tomato and garlic butter. The frites are short and crisp, and the medium-cooked steak arrives reddish-pink in the centre, not bloody but full of meaty essence. More »
Surprise, surprise – an oyster bar makes the top 12 with its steak frites, built around a Flintstones-thick rib-eye. It's a very well-aged and marbled piece of meat, but it's almost upstaged by the P.E.I. Yukon Gold frites, which come redolent with heady, aromatic fresh thyme. More »
This St. Clair West eatery’s flank steak comes as flank should, tender but full of texture, and they know what medium means. The Rushton’s justly famous fries also nearly steal the show – a mix of sweet potato and Ontario Yukons that deftly balance the salty with the sweet. More »
The top sirloin steak at this Queen East restaurant is brimming with beefy, almost gamey flavour, thanks to a long wet-aging. The frites – Russets cooked in canola oil – come with a lemon mayo, and match the restaurant’s rustic interior, twiglike and with a chip-like crunch. More »
The steak at Jules is truly original – a flank steak cut along the grain, butterflied and opened up before being finished on a flat grill. Most chefs would try to hide the texture of flank, but this accentuates it – to marvelous effect. It’s a generous platter, with a salad and ratatouille included along with Dijon and mayo for the frites, which are unfortunately outsourced,and not quite up to the steak’s forthright standard. More »
The rib-eye entrecote is big and rustic – there’s more steak than frites, and the meat has the same rich, liver-y aftertaste as Le Select’s high-end bavette. The frites – Yukon Golds cooked in canola oil - are short and crisp, with a sweet finish. More »
This Yonge Street institution serves a 28-day-aged strip loin with a meaty and solid – but not chewy – texture and a peppery finish, topped with a buttery mix of sundried tomato and finely chopped collards. The Yukon Gold frites are suitably crunchy, but the addition of fried onions is a wonderful enhancement that it’s shocking no one has stolen yet. More »