Well my family and I tried a new Italian resto called "The Crazy Tomato" and I was VERY impressed. This place just opened up about 2 weeks ago and they've basically ironed out most of their service problems as far as I experienced (based on reviews from first week customers). Now the co-owner of this place is very good friends with the owners of Fratellis and we noticed the head waiter, Jason, from Fratelli's working there while that resto is just getting re-built. However the cook staff have no ties with Fratelli's and the other owner of Crazy Tomato is the head chef.
The Crazy Tomato is located on the north east corner of O'Connor and St. Clair (East York area) in a building that used to be a Jesse Jr. and another resto before that. It's only competition really is a bar and grill across the street. They have their own parking lot, but it fills up quickly so if out of luck try one of the side streets off St. Clair. The main entrance is on O'Connor.
The interior is airy and they converted one of the walls into a garage door so they can open it up in the summer (which it was today). Quite clean and nicely decorated interior that leaned towards minimalist mixing light colours with dark accents. Dark wooden tables and chairs that can be pushed together for larger parties fill the room. The dress code is casual and they only take reservations for groups larger than 4. They are open Tuesdays to Sundays from 5 - 10 (dinner only for now).
We got there at 7 p.m. and we waited an hour due to several groups of at least 6 taking up several of the tables. However it was worth the wait. Our waiter was friendly and prompt. One of the owners and even our waiter apologized to us for the wait. The waiter suggested that if we had already looked through the menu while we were waiting earlier and knew what we wanted he would quickly send it through to the kitchen. We ordered the calamari as an appetizer, my wife and daughter each had a pizza and I ordered "The Crazy Porchetta".
The calamari fritti was one of the best, if not the best calamari fritti I've ever had. The first thing is that the calamari was FRESH not frozen and battered to order. Each piece was covered with a thin crispy nicely seasoned batter and the calamari itself was tender enough that they broke apart in your mouth. It was served with a creamy, garlicky yoghurt sauce.
My daughter had the pepperoni pizza and my wife had the Margharita pizza. They cook it to your specifications as my wife wanted her crust to be more doughy and it was served as such. Both pizzas were good sized pizzas for individual servings. These were thin crust pizzas and as mentioned cooked in a wood burning oven. My wife, who enjoys Fratelli's pizza, prefers The Crazy Tomato's pizza as it didn't have that cornmeal crumb that Fratelli's usually has. I tried a slice and it was quite good.
I had "The Crazy Porchetta". This dish is best described as Italian pulled pork. It was tender and juicy and mixed with the mushroom sauce it was braised in. The co-owner told me it is his own personal recipe and it takes many hours to make. I ate it slowly to savour it. It was served with grilled vegetables and a very buttery mashed potato.
For the three of us (no alcohol just pop) it came to, with dessert (one only and a specialty coffee), ~$87. I hope this place doesn't implode from it's own successes and continues with it's quality of food. I appreciate that I do NOT need to travel all the way downtown or Woodbridge for excellent Italian food.
The Crazy Tomato
2714 St. Clair Ave. E.
BTW for all you Scarberians out there, the Scarborough connection is one of the co-owners is from and still lives in Scarborough.