Okay, you guys know me - I'm not a ranter. But I'm sorry, I just have to write about what happened last night.
So Le Petit Castor has opened where Thai Magic used to be on Yonge Street, next to Patachou. Renovation looks quite lovely - cozy banquettes, nice paint job outside, revamped entrance, etc. I believe they're going for the "gastropub" vibe, though it looks more bistro. Either way, all good.
We walk in yesterday evening at 2 minutes past 6. There are a few people at the bar, the rest of the restaurant is empty. We've not taken 3 steps into the entranceway when young server-chick stops us in our tracks. "Uh, do you have a reservation?", she says. We don't. She says they have no tables before 9:30. Really? You just opened a week ago - that's amazing. Still smiling, we tell her that we're on a tight timeframe and we need to be out by 7:15 - we wonder if all tables are going to be seated by then - in other words, can we get in and out before all your reservations? Without batting an eye, she simply says "6:30" - as if to say, that's when the entire restaurant of reservations will arrive. Not quite ready to walk out the door, given our short window and our lingering desire to try this place, we ask if we can eat at the bar. She seems doubtful but trots off to ask the bartender. You remember that seen in Seinfeld when Jerry and Elaine are working on the car reservation and the woman goes to talk to the manager but they surmise she's having a fake conversation? It was just like that. Sure enough, 15 seconds later, we're told that this option isn't possible either. Nobody seemed friendly, nothing like "hope you can try us another time", nada. It was all quite curious.
So given our tight timeframe, we went into Lakes. Haven't been there in at least 10 years and you know what? It wasn't bad at all. Really good salads (romaine with lardons and aged parmesan, mixed greens with caramelized fig and parsnip chips, a very credible steak frites, so-so liver). Partway through the meal, it dawned on me that we would have the opportunity to walk by Le Petit Castor as we left to see if the restaurant was indeed full up. At 7:10, we walked past Le Petit Castor and you know what? There were twice as many people at the bar but NOT ONE SINGLE TABLE WAS FULL.