Grant van Gameren’s tantalizing tavern


Published:

Image: Lorne London

In the last six years, Grant van Gameren has now opened just as many notable restaurants and become the country's most exciting restaurateur.

Friday was the first night at his latest endeavour, The Tennessee Tavern. This culinary venture takes the eater deep into Parkdale, and we loved it. 

Forget the Toronto Star's new tout of Hamilton as Ontario's Brooklyn. Parkdale is the real heir to the coolness throne and van Gameren knows it.

The menu here is chef's ode to Eastern Europe, starting with Polish cucumber salad (a sauce reminiscent of Bar Isabel's escabeche dressing drizzled over crisp cucumber spears), then a wooden platter of smoked mackerel with pickled onions, caper berries and sour cream go well with a side order of still-warm, perfect pita wedges.

The cevapi — an even larger platter of caseless, gorgeously-spiced, pan-browned sausage comes with chopped white onion, smoked eggplant spread and pita. The lone misstep of our entire meal is a flat (meh) shredded carrot salad.


(IMAGE: LORNE LONDON)

 

The bar is dingy and gorgeous all wrapped in one. In its previous life, the bar top resided in a Polish ironworkers' bar in Buffalo, crafted 130 years ago when ice was the only refrigerant.

Old school neon signs adorn exposed brick walls. A silver, casino wheel-of-fortune from the 1970s, a stuffed owl and a shelf of minibar-size liquor bottles round out the look. 

Seating consists of comfortable, wide chairs and overstuffed barstools. Lighting is low and the playlist neither inspires nor offends.

Alec Colyer, a front-of-house veteran from Bar Isabel, is a co-owner with van Gameren and Max Rimaldi. The clientele, at least on this opening night, seemed to be a mix of uptown foodies and Parkdale locals.

With the Tennessee, Grant veers back to the path he set out on with Bar Isabel and Bar Raval. The Tennesse is the real deal and with it, GvG proves yet again that so is he.

The Tennessee Tavern, 1554 Queen St. W., 416-535-7777

Edit Module

Join the conversation and have your say by commenting below. Our comment system uses a Facebook plugin. Please note that you'll have to turn off some ad-blockers in order to see the comments.

Edit Module

Follow us on Twitter @PostCity for more on what to eat, where to shop and what to do in Toronto.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

Chef Alexandra Feswick throws an artsy dinner party with a feminist agenda

Chef Alexandra Feswick throws an artsy dinner party with a feminist agenda

The job is not only physically taxing, but can be emotionally demanding, too, especially when you end up in a kitchen run by a Gordon Ramsay–esque tyrant. Feswick weathered her share of sexist, macho bosses before helming the kitchen at the now-shuttered, then-raved about Brockton General. But even as a top chef, she felt a disrespect she attributes to her being a woman.
Posted 22 hours ago
Restaurant Review: Seafood abounds at Ardo, Corktown’s Sicilian eatery

Restaurant Review: Seafood abounds at Ardo, Corktown’s Sicilian eatery

Then there’s Ardo, the super-popular newish Sicilian restaurant in Corktown. It’s friendly and pleasant-looking, done in pale colours with warm lighting, Sicilian tchotchkes and a great buzz. Lots of people, lots of noise. And a few ringside bar seats overlooking the fast-moving and superbly fragrant open kitchen.
Posted 5 days ago
What to Eat this Minute: An uptown paradise for crème brûlée lovers

What to Eat this Minute: An uptown paradise for crème brûlée lovers

A menu of the available flavours sits next to the cash at Craque de Crème. Sweet-toothed patrons can order iterations of the dessert in everything from white chocolate rose to lychee vodka to, of course, a classic vanilla bean.
Posted 7 days ago
Looking Back: Toronto on rye

Looking Back: Toronto on rye

Now, the museum at Beth Tzedec Synagogue is hosting an exhibition called From Latkes to Laffas, celebrating the humble deli, which opened last month and continues until March 30, 2018.
Posted 1 week ago
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit Module