Introducing: Eastside Social, a new Maritime-themed restaurant near Queen and Carlaw
Name: Eastside Social
Contact Info: 1008 Queen St. E., 416-461-5663, eastsidesocial.ca
Previously: Italian bakery and brunch spot The Upper Crust
Owners: Former Ruby Watchco co-owners Cherie Stinson, of Restaurant Makeover fame, and her husband Joey Skeir
Chefs: Chris Mentier (Céilí Cottage) is helming the kitchen with the help of Stefan Skeene (Ruby Watchco)
The Food: Born-and-bred Haligonians Stinson and Skeir wanted to bring Maritime cuisine to Toronto’s east side. Rather than sticking to straight-up Scotian food, the menu lists coastal fare from spots around the globe, including Peru (sea bream ceviche with pink grapefruit), Portugal (cod croquettes), Mexico (surf-and-turf tacos) and New England (clam chowder). There are also a few contemporary British dishes, like a Yorkshire-pudding poutine swimming in rich demi-glace.
The Drinks: Boozy punches are served by the bowlful in eclectic British vessels. For the less sharing-inclined, there are signature drinks like the Dill on Dill, a gin-based cocktail with a smoked-salt rim.
The Place: The 52-seat space is divided into two rooms. Customers enter via the raucous bar, which looks into the open kitchen. The comparatively calmer dining room is done in a Nova Scotian palette of moss green and Atlantic blue, with heaps of rough-hewn wood. Lobster-trap light fixtures and antique naval decor (ship bells, sailboat miniatures, a brass boat light) reinforce the Maritime theme.