So, CHers, thanks for your recs for my birthday dinner this weekend. I gave my SO the shortlist and he chose Harbord Room. We had a reso for 9pm, and the lovely, ambient but happening and buzzing room was definately still buzzing then. Overall the service was attentive but not overly excellent, but the amazing food and even better music was just right, making for a truly special evening.
Loved the wine list and had a time deciding between by the glass or bottles, but in the end we went with a bottle of the Organized Crime Gewurztraminer ($52 i think). the wine mark-ups were a bit much, but i'm a sucker for the Ontario VQA whites.
We started with the composed seasonal salad ($11), which featured heirloom red and yellow beets, a crumble cheese of some, a toasted nut of some kind, and roasted apples, with a balsamic based vinaigrette. Beets are my new favourite things this winter, and this salad was phenomenal - it may have been actually worth $11!
After a few spins of The Boss, New Pornographers, Arctic Monkey, Belle and Sebastien and the other amazing music, our mains arrived. SO had the burger, predictably, which came with a small dish of frites and a small salad fro $14. Equally predicatbly, I had the salmon, which was described as "lightly smoked", accompanied by yukon gold potato/apple pancake with smoked bacon and slow cooked cabbage, and came with heirloom beets and a horseradish dressing on top and shallots underneath ($24). SO said the burger was one of the top 5 he's ever had, topped with a sharp white cheddar and carmelized onions, and the frites, which i sampled amply, were definately up there with the classics - skin-on, kosher slat, thick but not too thick - almost better than swiss chalet. the spicy ketchup and garlic mayo were the perfect sides. my salmon was thick,with a few beets on top, and the shallots cut the horseradish nicely. the potato pancake (rosti pretty much) was sizeable, and the smoked bacon definately added to the flavour. one of the btter salmons i've had this or last year, by far.
i wish we wanted dessert, but at 10:30 pm on the increasingly cold night, we called it an evening after a cup of tea, with the room still humming and parties still arriving. A birthday worth remembering and a meal, not overly priced, great portion sizes, great service, that I'd gladly go back for. Especially in patio season. Heaven indeed!
89 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA