The 47 is a recently opened bar and late night food joint in Bloordale occupying what was formerly Ortolan . Gone is the fine dining but Chef Daniel Usher is still in the kitchen, while his brother Andrew and Jeff Caires ( Tequila Bookworm ) have joined the new ownership team.
The space is tiny and the tables are packed close together, the music is an eclectic mix of lounge-house-electro-type-stuff, and the walls are adorned with Toronto graffiti artist Jimmy Chiales' works. While it may not sound like it on paper, it all combines to produce a relaxing and cozy atmosphere. This is a casual neighbourhood spot that serves food until 2am, which just might make it some people's new local.
On the drinks front, the 47 has a focus on microbrews and a dedicated cider tap. On the night I visited, their taps were pouring Beau's Original Gruit, Trou du Diable Saison du Tongka, Nickelbrook Weekday Warrior, Bellwoods dry stout with cherries, Collingwood ESB, and my favourite cider, West Ave.
For those not after beer, they offer a concise wine list and three classic cocktails, the Negroni, Manhattan and an Old Fashioned ($10), though the knowledgeable and hospitable bartender is quick to say he'll make anything requested whenever possible. The point is, the focus here is on beer and unique wine, something which is almost refreshing given the hype over cocktails during the last few years.
The food has a Mediterranean theme, featuring small plates where olive oil, parsley, and red onion make prominent appearances. All under $10 and served until last call, these small bites are perfect snacks to go with your microbrew.
The fave e cicoria ($7) is sauteed dandelion greens on a fava bean puree; the greens are buttery and not at all bitter. This is a classic Italian dish and marks the menu off as different from your standard beer-focused bar.
Also on offer is grilled squid with salbitxada sauce ($9). The almonds in the sauce are a great textural contrast to the squid, while a hefty dose of garlic really punches up the flavour.
They've recently added pork souvlaki to the menu ($9), served on a house-made flatbread. It's a nice snack, even as it doesn't deviate from its classic preparation. If you're eating alone, wrap it up and eat it by hand.
The standout dish for me also features a house-made bread, the socca ($9). Eggplant (you can sub for lamb), tahini, parsley, red onion and chili vinaigrette sits atop a chickpea flour crepe. The eggplant is soft and delicate, the tahini sticks to your taste buds and the red onion provides a nice crunch. The crepe itself is light and fluffy, and the flavours meld together so well.
Chef Usher has carried over one dish that was a staple at Ortolan: the gnocchi ($9). Ground lamb, tomato, mint mushrooms and pecorino coat the perfectly cooked potato dumplings. The small portion size doesn't leave you feeling heavy, and somehow the dish avoids overdosing on lamb-flavour thanks to a well-crafted ragu.
You can pop into The 47 Tuesday-Sunday from 6pm-2am. Try a new beer or perhaps challenge the bartender to make you a special cocktail.