GC’s First Taste of Home of the Brave

A couple of weeks ago GC and I had a date night (first referenced here) in which we went to Home of the Brave for dinner.

We received the worst service I have possibly ever received at a restaurant. I would have love to chalked this up to it was a Friday night and busy but three tables were seated after us and received drinks and food before our cocktails even came. We were seated quickly but then it took 15 minutes before someone came over to give us water and take drink orders. Once our drink order was taken, it took 15 minutes to get our cocktails. It took 10 minutes from there to take our dinner order. It should never take close to 45 minutes to order food at a restaurant.

But enough negativity. Let’s talk about the food. We each started with a cocktail: GC with the Police Gazette and me with the Bourbon and Beer. The Polic Gazette is rye, maraschino, dry vermouth, and curacao. This is a good cocktail, but not worth the price given how little drink there actually is: two sips and you can drain the glass. The Bourbon and Beer is bourbon, vanilla, fernet and root beer. This drink is good for tasting the homemade root beer but you should just order the root beer. My cocktail was primarily ice cubes with slight hints of bourbon.

Once the food came, things got better. We started with the Buffalo Cauliflower.

IMG_9492Photo Credit: Food Junkie Chronicles

Buffalo Cauliflower: beer battered cauliflower, with Louisiana hot sauce, and Ranch Dressing.

These are amazing. They reminded me of an appetizer GC’s Ninni (grandmother) makes at Christmas. The batter is light and crunchy and the cauliflower is warm but cooked through. I loved the hot sauce that was used for dipping, it gave the cauliflower the perfect kick and the ranch sauced cooled your mouth off with the second dip. These are a great way to start a Friday night.

I ordered the Kentucky Fried Handshake Sandwich.

IMG_9469Photo Credit: Food Junkie Chronicles

Kentucky Fried Handsake Sandwich: Fried chicken, with mayo, iceberg lettuce, and Louisiana hot sauce.

This is a decent fried chicken sandwich. The chicken was a little too crispy and burnt but the inside was juicy and moist. The hot sauce is key as there isn’t enough of the toppings on the sandwich to make it feel cohesive.

The presentation is something onto itself but it is presentation without purpose. When they bring your the sandwich, they tell you to cut off the foot of the chicken and attack your sandwich. You could eat the crispiness off the foot but it will be more work then it’s worth. Presentation can add to the flavour and experience to a meal, but this did not successfully do so.

GC ordered the Ribwich.

photoThe Ribwich with beef short ribs, rib honey jus, pickles, and acidulated onion on a smoked milk bun.

This was a very juicy, beefy sandwich but there is absolutely no reason it needs to be so small! This was borderline slider size, that’s how small it was. If you are hungry for a dinner-sized portion, do not order this sandwich. GC enjoyed it but he was hungry a few hours later.

Overall, this was one of the worst dining experiences I have ever had. The service was completely terrible, the drinks were overpriced and the portions were too small. The price tag for the evening was far more than I would have liked to pay for the experience we got. Ultimately, Home of the Brave falls victim to the hipster curse – fancy on the outside without much substance or quality on the inside.

Happy munching!

Home of the Brave

Life has been busy lately with wedding plans and running around. I used to think people were flustered by wedding plans because they were incompetent. I apologize to all past brides that I judged harshly. Planning a wedding is fairly all encompassing and time consuming to an extent you wouldn’t believe. In all of the flurry, order I have been eating but not writing about it. Get ready to be inundated with posts from where I’ve been eating the past two months.

La Carnita, cialis one of my favorite Mexican joints in the city, advice opened an American comfort-food restaurant back in the summer and Cynthia and I were able to check it out a few months back. Aptly named Home of the Brave, the food is focused on American comfort-foods with new and interesting twists. The vibe is very similar to La Carnita –  a combination of grunge and rock, mixed with hipsters and vintage antiques. Be sure to wear your skinny jeans and your plastic rimmed glasses if you want to fit in.

The bar menu is on a seasonal rotation bringing in fresh flavours to compliment the season. They also have house made root beer on tap! Unfortunately, Cynthia and I did not try the root beer. All that means is I will have to go back to slurp down a root beer float.

We both started with the Tater Tots.

IMG_9481Crispy potatoes, cheese, gravy, and herbs.
Image credit:  Food Junkie Chronicles

These were delicious: creamy, cheesy, and salty – all in a perfect little bites. You can definitely taste the cheese and herbs, they work in tandem with the crispy potatoes but the gravy is almost nonexistent. I am ok with this as I HATE gravy (unless it is in the form of poutine), but other people may be less than thrilled about this. This is my idea of comfort food. I loved the presentation of this dish. The mini cast iron skillet immediately makes me think of pioneers and the American frontier.

Cynthia ordered the Johnny Cake with Smoked Trout.

Johnny CakeCornmeal griddle cake with savoury cream, smoked trout, maple syrup, and chives
Image credit: Toronto Life

This is one of the most unique menu items I have ever seen but apparently it’s incredibly common.  Johnny cakes were common during the early pioneer days and are now still seen throughout the eastern seaboard of the United States. Not being a huge cornmeal fan, I did not love the cake itself but it did serve as a substantial base to all the maple syrup that basically drowned the cake. The maple syrup should be asked for on the side to make sure your cakes stay nice and crispy. The trout was flaky and the perfect amount of salt and fish taste. The syrup and fish work in an interesting contrast that is not seen in a lot of dishes – it takes sweet and savoury to a new level. The cream was thick and decadent, making this dish almost seem like a brunch item rather than dinner item.

I ordered the Smoked Pork Belly Sandwich.

IMG_9472Smoked pork belly, smoked pork shoulder, ranch cabbage coleslaw, and lemon zest
Image credit: Food Junkie Chronicles

As far as a pulled pork sandwich goes – this is pretty standard. I love that the amount of pork belly is almost overwhelmingly large and adds a whole layer of crunch and salty, brininess to this sandwich. The pulled pork is good – juicy and it falls apart delicately with every bite. The ranch cabbage coleslaw is sweet with the perfect amount of tang that perfectly highlights the natural sweetness of cabbage. I would love to eat a bowl of this slaw on its own. The lemon brings together the whole sandwich and slightly cuts the fat so you don’t feel like a stereotypical fat American while eating this.

If you are in search of greasy comfort food – this is your spot. I am intrigued by the Kentucky Fried Handshake Sandwich which showcases a fried chicken foot and will likely be back to give it a try.  Although I want to give it another shot, I prefer La Carnita – there’s just not match to it.

Happy munching!