Ten Feet Tall

 1381 Danforth Ave
(416) 778-7333

Having recently assumed the mantle of Brunch Specialist, I figured I’d better live up to that title and scribble something down about Ten Feet Tall. Although already reviewed twice on this site, I thought I’d add my two cents on this venerable bar like establishment.

Ten Feet Tall embodies the anti-hipster experience. Looking more like a bar than a restaurant, a deep red hue on the walls keeps the place dark and somewhat dingy. A small patio exists in around the entrance on the front and side of the building, but due to the extreme humidity we?ve been experiencing lately we decide to eat inside.

A full house greets us as we enter, and I am immediately reminded of the ambiance of the Only Café with people ranging from the nerdy Danforth couple in tucked in golf shirts and slacks, to the hurly burly guy in a cowboy hat chewing on a toothpick staring at me out of the corner of his eye. The brunch menu is short and contains a number of variations on the traditional egg dishes. Service is slow but extremely personal, jokey and friendly: a rare find in the typically pretentious and uninterested Toronto brunch market. The slow service may be due to a rush of customers at once, but the staff is unapologetic in their jokiness. Fine by me.

I decide on mixing a brunch item of cheesy eggs (served with cheddar, feta, and/or mozzarella) with the interesting sounding sweet potato fries from the ‘non brunch’ menu. The fries are available with a variety of interesting dips, including a jalapeno mayo dip or a spicy piri piri sauce amongst others. I’m recommended the piri piri and a half order of the fries as Mark tends to stay away from the carbs. The fries arrive promptly as a full order, and I’m told I’d only be charged for the half. They are thin cut and crispy  the way I like ’em and come with two slices of orange, a nice visual accompaniment. The piri piri sauce is a deliciously spicy complement. The rest of our meal takes some time to arrive although the refills on the bottomless cup o’ joe and water with lemon are regular and timely. I?m basically finished the full order of fries before my eggs arrive with the wrong side: a clumpy, lump of home fries. Talk about overdoing my carb intake. I pick at the potatoes, while waiting for my now free side order of whole wheat toast. Each dish is served with either home fries or toast, which I find a bit unusual. The eggs are fluffy, and VERY cheesy, quite tasty. I could have used a green to balance out the amount of starch, but overall I?m impressed with the quality of the food, especially the sweet potato fries.

The bill arrives and as promised, I was only charged for the items I ordered. Cheap and cheerful I’d like to call it. If I could sum it up, Ten Feet Tall does a great job of keeping things real. Nothing fancy or out of this world, but good food, good prices and good service. If you want a change from the typical snobby brunch scene, this is a good place to try.

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Nevada [Mark-June 2005]

1963 Queen E
(416) 691-8462

 

Nevada is a trendy Italian restaurant in the heart of the beaches. I went there for brunch in Sept 2002 and I only remember one cool thing: the wicked patio. I do not really remember the food, very well. I do not remember it being bad, but I do not recall it being memorable. One of the largest and nicest patios in the Beaches, Nevada is a casual fine dining place for local folk.

Similar to The Beacher cafe just a few blocks east, Nevada serves Italian and North American dishes, made shi shi poo poo on fancy schmancy oversized plates. Place is beautiful in decor but food is very “blah”- like The Beacher Cafe. Both are charming and decorative and very homey and comfortable but food is very mediocre. Nevada is definitely one of the more trendier dining spots in the Beaches. Dinner entres are $9.95-$14.95 and they serve a weekend brunch with a fairly large menu. Gorgeous side patio that sits about 50 people comfortably. For our brunch adventure, Wendy ordered bacon, sausage, and a potato latke which she thought was too “eggy”, and she did not appove of the yellow tinge. I ordered the Peaches Foster French Toast and boy- it was not 3’s Company (Stuffed Peaches French Toast in a Berry Confit). I was looking forward to a mouth watering array of peaches braised over bourbon with a medley of fruit, bacon, and sausage. Of course the friendly and accomodating staff replaced the yucky bacon and sausage with more fruit, thank goodness. HOWEVER, when my French toast was served, it was way too eggy and there were 3 small slices of peaches and no hint of bourbon. I was not looking to get drunk (I’m not a drinker at all) but i really wanted to taste the intense flavour of bourbon and it was not there at all.

Nevada also serves a varierty of egg dishes (like most brunch spots) and it’s pretty cool to serve Challah and Potato latkes. I did not know that Jewish food was that trendy. I certainly was scared of it when i was growing up. Trust me, i dreaded potato latkes each Chanukah. As Wendy and I have been friends for 13 years, she is certainly more of a potato latke expert than I and she did not approve of 3’s Company’s latkes or Nevada’s.

Dinner at Nevada seems to be standard trendy fare: thin crust trendy pizza, pasta dishes, fish, chicken, a seafood dish, and a steak or meat dish. Very typical. I would suggest going here if you seek casual fine dining, a hip and cool decor with friendly, energetic, and young staff, and mediocre food. Although the painted mural sign on the exterior wall of the patio claims that it is a bakery, Italian market, and bakery, Nevada is only a restaurant. Accepts all cards, open late.

Indochine Pan-Asian Restaurant

175 Dundas Street West
(416) 581-8668

 

Located right on Dundas between Bay and University at the cusp of the downtown core between Eaton Centre and the bus station, this small and intimate restaurant serves up a variety of Thai, Chinese, or Malaysian dishes.

On this Thursday night at 7pm, I met up with two Librarian friends and having not seen them for one year, we opted for Asian fare but decided to dine in the area. We had always dined in Baldwin Village, but we were getting tired of that neighbourhood. Upon entering, we noticed that the 2 dining areas in this restaurant were completely empty. We opted to sit right by the window for optimal people watching. We started with an order of Tom Yam soup- a vegetable based broth with zing and kick, with lemongrass, bean sprouts, baby corn, carrot, brocoli, and baby bok choi, ($2.75). Other appetizers include Thai spring rolls and various Thai soups.

Helen and Melanie both ordered the Malaysian curried chicken with a roti ($6.95). Their curry was yellow and aromatic and was served in small bowl and contained chicken and shrimp. Both enjoyed it very much but commented that it was very filling and very thick with coconut milk. Both enjoyed the roti which looked like a thick and small pancake. I ordered a typical Malaysian dish, the tofu satay ($7.95) with 4 skewers of tofu smothered in a rich peanut curry sauce with stir fried vegetables. The stir fried vegetables were overcooked and it came with a heaping mound of white rice. The dish was way too salty and there was not enough substantial vegetables (only alittle brocoli and bean sprouts), and the tofu was greasy. I was very hungry so i finished it anyway. I ordered a Mango juice for my drink ($2.95). Decor and food was not memorable. The waiter assured me that the soup broth and the peanut sauce was truly vegetarian but the soup did have that fishy aftertaste. I will most likely try Indochine again as there were many vegetarian options (spicy Thai eggplant, spicy Thai tofu, as well as a coconut curry vegetable stir fry, green curry, and various tofu dishes). Decor is nothing to cry home about, very dark in earth and almost burgundy tones, making it look somber and almost forgettable. I will have to try this place another time. Accepts all cards. Open late. Very affordable prices. 3 people can eat for under $30.00 including drinks. Serves a variety of liquors, spirits, and beer.