PROHIBITION GASTROHOUSE: hit or miss, this pub needs a second opinion

After hearing rave reviews on Prohibition Gastrohouse’s Winterlicious 2012 menu, I decided to take my boyfriend here on his birthday to experience this gourmet pub food concept. According to PGH, gastrohouse is the art of eating without being stuck in a fancy, fine dining joint; alternate: the energy of a pub without having to suffer with pub grub. PGH absolutely delivered on this concept in their ambience and menu selection, which is why I would go back to this restaurant… however, the caliber of the food itself was a hit or miss and left us bewildered.

THE FOOD (Score: 65%)

STARTERS:

Pâté Brulée – Sweet-Shelled, Chicken Liver, Cream Cheese, Truffle-Crostini, Cornichons, Sour Cherry-Walnut Compote, Accompaniments ($9)

Okay, so we were feeling adventurous and certainly paid for it when this uber-confusing slate of randomness came to our table. The pâté itself had a nutty aroma to it mixed with sugared brulée; not at all what you’d expect when compared to the typical salty goose liver. I had to convince myself it was peanut butter to eat it, but I think clogging my nose was a bit more effective. We ate the random stuff on its own and with the pâté, but it was just awful. Never order this! Must be a drunkard’s fantastical idea, gah!

MAINS:

Lamb Shank – Confit in Duck Fat, Scalloped Potatoes with Boschetto al Tartufo, French Green Beans, Red Wine Jus ($24)

The scalloped potatoes were amazing with a crispy outside and a creamy inside. I felt the lamb was too gamey but my bf seemed to enjoy it still. Huge portions.

24-Minute Poulet – Duck Fat Fried Half Bird, Sweet Potato ‘n’ Black River Maple Cheddar Casserole Crumble, Buttery Jalapeño-Cheddar Biscuit, Nappa & Seasonable Vegetable Slaw ($19)

The deep fried batter around the chicken leg and breast was way too thick for my liking. The minute I cut into the batter crust, it immediately separated from the chicken. Although it left the meat absolutely succulent, it was difficult getting a piece of the batter with it, which I ended up giving up on. The biscuit was fluffy and not as salty as I would’ve expected (in comparison to Red Lobster or Popeyes’ biscuits). The sweet potato maple cheddar casserole was amazing… it was buttery sweet goodness that just melts in your mouth. Portions were uber-huge.

On a side note, PGH gets extra points because they served my beer in a “beer-clean glass” for once! How do I know? Because there was an inch of head (a.k.a. “foam”) present from the beginning to the end of the  meal. Anyone who has taken bartending school knows that’s a clean friggin’ glass and helps to keep the drink carbonated and cold for much longer (as the carbonated bubbles rise to the head sealing it in the drink, instead of disappearing too quickly).

THE AMBIENCE (Score: 80%):

Just as the description of Gastrohouse suggests, it was a nice pub atmosphere that wasn’t sticky or grimy, but also didn’t have any air of snobbery at all. I would go back to this place solely for the ambience; a great place to grab a few drinks with friends. Mind you, this area is a little seedy and there are dirty strip clubs next door to this place haha, but to each their own.

THE SERVICE (Score: 65%):

Our waiter was pretty typical and didn’t offer any recommendations and rarely checked up on us. I wish he would’ve warned us about the Pâté Brulée…

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

I hope to give Prohibition Gastrohouse a second chance; maybe we just ordered the worst dishes on the menu, I dunno. They seem to genuinely care about receiving their customer’s feedback though, so who knows, maybe their menu will become more refined overtime with enough poor reviews.

THE DEATS:

Prohibition Gastrohouse
Dress Code:
Casual
Our Tab: ~$40/person
Address: 696 Queen Street East, Toronto, ON M4M 1G9 (west of Broadview)
Phone: 416-406-2669
Website: http://myprohibition.com

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