Sometime last year I got this insane hankering for a nice plate of spaghetti and meatballs, so searched CHOWHOUND for local recommendations.
First and most vociferous reco was for Cranberries. Zipped on over there, and was told by our waiter that they hadn't had s+M for more than two years, so ordered a nice chicken cutlet with a side of Alfredo pasta. I figured it was only half a heart attack on a plate. It was surprising good and tasty and piping hot, a rarity these days.
A week later still jonesing for S+M, I head to reco #2, a restautrrant far out East on the Danforth. The name of the resto escapes me, thank god!. As the only two customers in the place, (Thanksgiving weekend) it was pretty obvious the owners had gone for the weekend holiday and left their kids to play restaurant. The kids hadn't bothered to put on a clean t shirt, let alobne a proper shirt with buttons, but the cellphones were working over time. We were greeted by a girl on a cellphone, served by a girl on a cellphone and bussed by a guy on a cellphone. The meal was slightly less than mediocre and not cheap.
Returning to Cranberries a week later we chatted with one of the managers, a charming Irish lady, who laughed about our previous waiter who apparently only worked weekends, and didn't know that the special on Tuesday was S+M! Had th ehalf heart attack special again as it wasn't Tuesday. Again piping hot, great garlic bread and lots fo charm from our manager.
Have been returning to Cranberries on a regular, but not a Tuesday basis. Last few times they obviously got a new cook, not chef, as the food quality has begun to slide.
Our current waitress (less charm) assures us the S+M is fantastic, people come for it every week. Cannot fathom why anyone would attend for this "special" Sauce that was probably going off so a couple of heaping spoons of sugar should mask the taste and meatballs that were obviously frozen ones out of a bag. Probably not even one of the brands that were judged in the National Post today. The texture of the pasta was such that it must have been cooked at least a day before. This special certainly wasn't special, more Chef Botyar dee than anything. A real disappointment.
Any CHOWHOUND recommendations for an eatery that serves well presented pasta with real, not machine made meatballs? PLEEEEEASE!
Red Cranberries Restaurant
601 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M4X1P9, CA