My wife and I, along with another couple, had dinner at Beast last Saturday. The restaurant concept is tapas style, so you order small plates of food which are shared by everyone at the table. Some are large, others smaller - in some cases enough for a single bite for each of us. The menu isn't huge, but we enjoyed what we had. And since there were four of us, and the staff recommended 2 - 3 items per person, we were able to sample most of it... As far as tapas go, these were definitely non-traditional - but the food was good. I like the fact that their ingredients are locally sourced. And in fact, as a result, the menu changes weekly, which is also a plus - we did miss out on something we were looking forward to as a result tho, but no worries there. As far as wine and cocktails menus, they weren't huge, but what was there was ok. Missed on the beers, so I can't speak to that. Service was good; attentive but not overdone. There was always food on the table, but the pace was relaxed. You never felt rushed, and we probably could've stayed there much longer, sipping and munching. So did they slip up? Yes, but it was minor. They were out of a couple of cocktail ingredients when we arrived; 8:30 on a Saturday night was a bit early to be out of anything, but we managed fine. The only other thing amounts to a technicality. The order the dishes came out could have used some forethought (we ordered everything up-front). We were served some very strongly flavoured dishes ahead of some very mild items a couple of times. We actually had to pause and focus - cleanse palates as best we could - to get the milder flavours. Otherwise, the milder food tasted bland. But if you took the time, the mild stuff was as good as the stronger stuff.
Like many restaurants in TO, Beast is an old house, converted for the purpose. It's small - I counted 9 tables inside - but that's generally not a bad thing in my book. They also have a cozy little patio out front - maybe fits 4 more tables. It was closed tho, due to the rain. Location was kinda' unique. It's south off Queen West, just west of Bathurst, in a residential area. We walked there, but didn't realize where it was until we were standing right in front. Very discrete. Décor-wise, initially when we walked in I found it somewhat rough around the edges - worn. But in truth it was 'functional'. Neither warm nor sterile - average. And the atmosphere was good, so you quickly forgot about your surroundings, and just enjoyed yourself.
Price-wise: yeah, what can you say - we found it quite reasonable, and with a Dining Date Night discount, it's a no brainer. Don't normally get into quoting costs, but we paid ~$200 for the four of us, drinks, taxes and tips in, and we could not have eaten another bite.
The four of us agreed it's a good restaurant. Would we recommend it - I think we wound. Not gonna' try and get you all psyched about it, but if you're looking for something a little different, not a bad place. We enjoyed ourselves - no one was disappointed. My wife and I agreed we'd go back to sample another menu, maybe in the fall, to get a sense for a different season's offerings.
What we had:
- Sweet potatoes with pecans, curry sauce, and sultana raisins
- Canadian artisanal cheese platter
- Southern fried oysters, Creole remoulade
- Crab cakes with carrot brown butter puree
- Grilled Atlantic makerel, boudin noir, manila clams and sake broth
- Albacore tuna ceviche tostada
- Dirty rice balls, daikon slaw, chermoula ailoi
- Crispy pork hocks, kimchi, radish seedlings and crushed peanuts
- "Poutine", fried gnocchi, water buffalo cheese curds, creme fraiche
- Strip loin of beef, romesco sauce, asparagus, quail egg
- Deep fried pickles
- Duck rillettes, crostini, cornichon, mustard