Avenue Open Kitchen

Apr 18, 2009

After a night of baseball, which included an encounter with Kelly Gruber and Rance Milliniks at Arriba (which incidentally was not broadcasting baseball but hockey games), I was in charge of finding a location for a breakfast and recovery meal.  Thankfully, I had brought along my CheapEats Toronto book.

Near the Skydome, there was not a lot of recommendations.  One caught my eye immediately though, the Avenue Open Kitchen on Camden Street in the Entertainment District.  It caught my eye for the location (near Queen and Spadina) and for the prices listed ($3.95 for a breakfast plate before 11 am); and it was listed as a “greasy spoon”.

And so we ended up there.

Classic diner environment, a long and narrow room, with stools by the open kitchen and small booths by the wall, an old fridge filled with pop, newspaper clippings and old pictures hanging everywhere.  The chef is one of the owners – his face is on a couple of the photos, although he did look younger and therefore probably was when they were taken.

Cheese omelette was the way to go for the Ladies.  Great fake cheesiness was inside this nicely cooked omelette, and the ladies looked content and ate with appetite.

For my part, I had to go with the peameal bacon and scrambled eggs special.  The eggs were impressive.  Usually, in establisments of this calibre, the eggs are overcooked and dry.  Not the case here, they were great, smooth and very tasty.  Two big pieces of bacon came with, and those were just great.  Peameal is not exactly a fine cut of meat, but it was perfect to get me started for the day.

As for the home fries, now these were a real treat.  Real potatoes, nicely grilled on the plaque, with bits of onions – no deep frying, no freezing, no breading – they were fantastic.  On the negative side, the bread was not great and had too much margarine spreaded on them.

Scott read the news clipping on the wall.  A very complimentary review, claiming that “what you may not realize is that there’s a fine art to making food that tastes so good but makes you feel so bad (physically and mentally). They then proceeded to highly recommend they $6 chicken fingers and fries combo – now a little over $7.  So no matter that it was only 10 am, Scott ordered the said chicken fingers.  And he was not disappointed:  thick, real chicken filet, breaded and sizzled perfectly.

The fries were not as great – nowhere near the deliciousness of the home fries.  The review on the wall did mention that the fries were overcooked back then – however, Scott had better luck and with ketchup, down they went.

But the chicken, oh, the chicken!  The fibres I could see with every bite almost made me regret my choice – but not quite: after all, I got peameal bacon!  And it cost less than $30 for the four of us!  This place may become a favorite of mine – especially since many reviews can’t stop raving about the lunch daily specials.  A hidden gem.

Avenue Open Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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