Cote de Boeuf
Cote de BÅ"uf is a butcher shop and food store opened by the owners of Union , brothers Chasen Gillies and Teo Paul . The shop is just up the street from the restaurant, which serves locally sourced food with a Parisian flair. The storefront is reminiscent of a turn-of-the-century butcher shop with a modern touch: it's rustic, inviting, and very hip all at once.
There is vintage seating out front, and the massive front display doubles as a walk-in fridge, showing off curing meats, eggs, and some seasonal goodies like baskets of Ontario apples. The property used to house Jaiden's Petals , a popular local flower shop. Old cabinetry has been repurposed as a refrigerated display case that holds the bulk of Cote de BÅ"uf''s meat goods, and the figure of a cow is tiled into the floor.
Cote de BÅ"uf focuses on local suppliers, naturally raised meats, and seasonal products, very much in the same spirit as Union's motto, "Farm to Chef to Table." There seems to be an equal focus on meat, pantry items, and prepared foods for taking home and heating up. Browsing Cote de BÅ"uf's shelves, I'm struck by how thoughtfully curated the selection is: the shop doesn't contain a huge amount of product, and items are stocked selectively. The staff is knowledgeable about everything in the store and happy to answer all of my questions. The vibe is definitely relaxed and welcoming.
The steaks (Scotch Mountain, around $19.99/lb) are beautiful, and an obvious point of pride. "Salt and pepper," an employee says, "that's all they need." Big pieces of foie gras ($9.50), jars of Cote de BÅ"uf duck fat ($5), and porcini chicken jus ($7.50) definitely look worth splurging on. The shop also carries both imported and local cheeses, and a Pecorino truffle cheese from Italy ($6.50/100g) and a goat cheddar from Lindsay, Ontario ($6.50/100g) catch my eye.
Pantry items include Alhema d' Queiles olive oil used at Union ($22), Cote de BÅ"uf chili sauce ($8) and a selection of items from Toronto's Stasis Preserves: I spot their hot sauce ($8.99) and black walnuts in honey ($14.95.)
If I'm being honest, though, I'm hungry, and it's the prepared food that's grabbing my interest. Cote de BÅ"uf serves sandwiches from 11am-4pm, with options like water buffalo salami ($6), shrimp salad ($8) and a sandwich made from Cote de BÅ"uf's pork terrine ($7). Take-home options for dinner include chicken pot pies ($8), thick slices of terrine ($7.50/100g), prepared legs of duck confit ($7.50) and a selection of salads.
I decide on a massive slice of what looks like Quebecois tortiere but turns out to be an Algerian-style meat pie, spiced with cinnamon and all-spice, ($8) and a caillette ($8), which contains pork meat, spices, and bok choy, encased like a sausage but formed into a patty. Served with a quick salad, either would be a great, easy option for a weeknight dinner. I could spend a fortune here if I lived around the corner.
Cote de BÅ"uf is open Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-7pm, and Sunday from 11am-6pm.
Photos by Morris Lum