Pinkerton's Snack Bar
Pinkerton's is bustling when I pop in on a recent Friday night. The music, a soundtrack of alt-rock (including the odd Weezer track, obviously) is loud, atypical for this stretch of Gerrard.
Everyone is practically yelling out drink orders to owner Marc Baglio, who's behind the bar. His shouty replies still come off as friendly and enthusiastic. He's a veteran of 2 Cats and Czehoski , but there are no fancy signature drinks on the menu here.
Carefully crafted classics, like 2 oz. Whiskey Sours, Manhattans and Paper Planes are available for $12 each.
A rotating roster of cask offerings ($7) are on the menu for beer aficionados, along with an equally appealing lineup of unfussy tall cans ($7.50) and rail drinks ($6.50).
The eclectic interior is roughed up in all the right ways. Raw brick and salvaged architectural elements serve as the decor, while the warm wood bar top and distressed furnishings succeed in giving the place a relaxed and inviting vibe.
In the kitchen, chef Andy Wilson serves up an ever changing array of bar snacks. He and Baglio worked together back at Czehoski and reconnected more recently while Wilson was hawking fish at Hooked in Kensington Market.
Wilson has free reign over the kitchen. He shops by bike and hand picks his ingredients, letting his haul from the market influence his menu.
You might find spicy salmon otak otak one night, and a bulgogi bao ($11) drizzled with Sriracha mayo and topped with carrot daikon slaw on another.
When I visit, there's soy glazed beef short ribs ($12) with greens and a tangy unripened mango slaw. Candied kumquats pair well with the unctuous meat.
Szechuan squid ($9), battered kind of like Korean fried chicken, is coated in seasoned potato starch and fried to a pale golden hue and sprinkled with shredded cabbage and rings of hot peppers, sprigs of cilantro and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. A sweet sesame soy glaze comes on the side.
Pinkerton's is among the few late night dining options on Gerrard. The kitchen is open until 1 a.m. on weekends for those that like to stay up late. Locals with
kids can look forward to a rock n' roll brunch, a boozy daytime alternative.
Photos by Hector Vasquez.