|Restaurant||The Broadview Hotel|
|Location||106 Broadview Avenue|
|Dinner for two (with drinks)||$100|
Entering The Broadview Hotel was like walking into a pretentious hipster hotel in New York City. You know, that too-cool-for-school kind where no one’s trying to impress you because it’s the new hot spot. Located in the heart of Riverside at the corner of Queen Street East and Broadview Avenue, the Romanesque revival-style building is a 58-room boutique hotel, restaurant, lobby café/bar and a rooftop bar open in the summer heat.
My guest and I had a dinner reservation on the eagerly anticipated rooftop, so we hopped in the elevator and were escorted up to the seventh floor. But before we even made it there, the elevator went on a detour to the basement and picked up a staff member who was holding a wad of cash, and explained that she was “cashing out” for the evening. Classy.
After checking in with the hostess, we were led to our table in the middle of the glass-enclosed dining area (the Pyramid). The walls were coated with a midnight blue hue and exposed pipes gave it an industrial feel. Plants and glass terrariums hung from the ceiling. A carefully selected list of mellow indie music played in the background. Much like the terrariums around us, we were encased in glass. The west-facing view of the city was stunning, especially because we were watching a lightning storm. The ambiance and unobstructed view put The Roof Lounge at Yorkville’s Park Hyatt to shame.
It was raining when we went, but there’s a beautiful outdoor patio as well.
Originally constructed in 1891, the heritage building went through a massive renovation and restoration led by Streetcar Developments. Before its most recent facelift, it was a notorious strip club called Jilly’s. Through the carefully crafted décor, overseen by DesignAgency, the hotel preserved elements of the venerable Toronto institution. Racy motifs were scattered throughout, especially in the washrooms. Hot pink lights danced around the full-length mirrors with “Girls, Girls, Girls” and silhouettes of busty dancers were painted on the walls.
You might as well have dropped me from the Tower of Terror at this point, because my experience went downhill from the moment we got to our table. From the start, we waited over fifteen minutes for a server to greet us. After waving someone over, we ordered drinks. One of my friends mentioned they had amazing cocktails that weren’t on the menu, so I asked the bartender to whip up a Wildcard. A Paper Plane arrived at the table ten minutes later. It was good, but nothing noteworthy. My date ordered a craft beer, but the “clean” glass had a lipstick mark. Nom de Dieu!
We were also never given food menus. So, as we waited for the server to come back, I Googled the menu on my phone. When the server reappeared, we asked for some food menus and she was genuinely apologetic. The menu, which was more like a limited list of common bar snacks, had small, sharable plates ranging from fries dusted with pecorino to scallop ceviche. I had my eyes on the kofte kebab—minced lamb and beef grilled on a skewer served with za’atar yogurt, pickled turnips, pomegranate molasses and house made pita (which I asked to sub for a salad). I was hungry, so I asked the server if this would be enough food for dinner and she assured me that it was. My date ordered the burger, and when it arrived, I immediately regretted my choice. Pourquoi?
A large iron skillet rang as the server plunked it down on the marble-topped table. My initial thought was, “Where the f*** is my kefta?!” Two small, lonely keftas sat atop a bed of greens and pickled turnips. The texture was liked overcooked meatballs and the taste was average. The za’atar could have been taken down a notch as well. And, on top of all that, it was $17. Definitely not worth it.
The burger ($21) looked standard and my date said it tasted like overcooked meatloaf. It was a combination of house ground Ontario beef chuck and brisket with pickled red onion, Bibb lettuce, tomato and mushroom ketchup. The fries and pommery mayo, on the other hand, were quite spectacular and piping hot. It’s not that hard to whip fries up, though.
While I was let down by the dining experience, the city views and ambiance were a refreshing change, especially for the Riverside neighbourhood. The Broadview Hotel is best summed up as: The Drake Hotel of the East end with sub-par food and service. It has potential, so it was a shame to see such a lack of care. Perhaps, with some time, management will sort out the kinks. But, right now, The Broadview Hotel rooftop is a great view for a sunset or a thunderstorm, or to sip a cocktail before venturing off somewhere better. Mais, c’est tout.
Mme M. xoxo
Le rubrique de Madame Marie
1 étoile – Run. Before you get the runs.
2 étoiles – Mediocre, but nothing you couldn’t make at home.
3 étoiles – C’est bon, with some standout qualities.
4 étoiles – Many memorable qualities and excellent execution. Compliments to the chef.
5 étoiles – Formidable! Michelin Star quality. Book a reservation immediately.