Somewhere between Leslieville and The Beaches lies a modest strip of Queen East where The Tulip's big yellow sign (or at least two-thirds of it) light up the street. The steakhouse might not seem like much in passing, but having heard great things, I decided to look past the faded facade as I stopped in for dinner with some friends.
We're seated quickly as our waitress rushes off to serve other tables. The place is hoppin' and she forgets us for a while, but we're busy making decisions and marvelling over the prices on this menu anyhow. Most seem too good to be true. Something's got to give, right?
When the orders arrive we find that the ingredients may not be very fancy and the presentation certainly lacks any sort of frill, but the food is quite simply excellent .
Pictured at the top, the Roasted Shoulder of Lamb ($9.70) weekend special, is so soft and moist it falls apart at the touch of a fork. Most of us steal a piece of the dish as there was plenty to go around. Served alongside veggies and a side of potatoes, it was an absolute bargain.
Chicken Parmigiana ($9.95) and an open-faced Hot (Ontario) Turkey Sandwich ($8.95) make for happy white-meat eaters. The turkey is particularly fantastic as it features a stack of both white and juicy dark meat along with buttery smashed potatoes.
For the lean-minded diner, a Pan Fried Filet of Sole ($10.50) is light and flavourful, yet generously portioned with two filets and two sides.
Yes, of course , we ordered the steak.
The Tulip has been serving up ye old steak and potatoes for nearly 80 years and it shows. A 12 oz Black Angus N.Y. Sirloin ($21.95) and 8 oz Steak Sandwich ($6.25) knock the socks off even the pickiest steak snobs.
The N.Y. Sirloin appeared a little bare on the dish, paired only with a couple scoops of mashed potatoes, and a slice of tomato and onion but quickly proved to be seared to medium-rare perfection and tasty as hell.
I'd go so far as to call my friend Ron, who ordered the dish, a steak connoisseur and when he looks up from his plate wide-eyed and says,
"This is EASILY one of the tastiest steaks I have ever eaten!" well, I take him seriously.
Before finishing, he was already professing that he'd be back to try out the Porterhouse. You can bet I'll be joining him.