It's no secret that The Rex Jazz & Blues Bar (Queen & St. Patrick St) is a musical institution in this city. With 2-3 (mostly free) shows every day, jazz jams on Tuesdays, local and international talent and a fantastic location, this place is truly hard to beat.
I try to stop in as often as I can. I mean, the coffee is actually pretty good, drinks are served fast, and the music, as mentioned, is great. What else could a girl ask for?
Actually, after a long day of work, followed by doing all my 'xmas returns' at the Eaton Centre, I could ask to have a look at the menu... that's what.
Thankfully, the Rex kitchen has got it covered.
Like any classic bar, the Rex menu is mostly made up of traditional bar fare. Unlike so many, they actually make the food fresh and not out of your grocer's freezer.
Oh, and it's super cheap.
Before I even look at my menu, I notice that all around me are basket after basket of nachos. They look great and before I can even suggest it to my friend, I see she's made eye contact.
"You want to order 'em?," I ask.
She is already waving at the waitress.
Shortly thereafter we have a basket of our own.
Tri-coloured nachos ($5.99) tossed with fresh jalapenos, beans, peppers, olives and tomatoes and then topped with lots of gooey cheese. Along with this foot-wide spread comes side sour cream and salsa. We dig in.
Crispy and delicious. On the downside, it's a little greasy. Not greasy enough to stop us though.
My only suggestion: ditch the side salsa... it's just not up to par.
While we are chowing down I notice several other people eyeing us, and soon after, they have their own baskets. It must be those colourful chips.
Next up, the Rex burger with side salad. ($6.99)
A big thick ground beef pattie served with lots of fresh toppings and condiments on the side. I'm not generally a fan of thick burgers because i find them way too dry, but this one breaks that stereotype. Probably made in-house, the pattie is spiced well and doesn't require a tall glass of water waiting in your other hand.
Side options are fries, rice or salad. I go for a salad with balsamic dressing and what I get is pretty standard. Nothing extraordinary, but it's plentiful, crunchy and definitely fresh -- which is really the most important factor, in my opinion. Dressing comes on the side too... another nice touch.
Across the table, we've got Fish 'n' Chips. ($8.50)
The portion was huge. Lots of crispy hand-cut fries (with real potato skin still on em.. YUM), cole slaw, tartar sauce and framing a monsterous fish portion. Like the nachos, it's a tad greasy, but we both agree we've never really had fish 'n' chips that wasn't greasy, so it becomes a non-issue.
Taste test: Perfect. Stuff this dish in a Chippy's box and you'd never know the difference... though frankly, it probably wouldn't fit in there.
So then, who's joining me next week?
194 Queen St. West, Toronto, ON - phone: (416) 598-2475