What’s on the menu at the Maple Leaf Tavern, a revitalized east-end institution

What’s on the menu at the Maple Leaf Tavern, a revitalized east-end institution

Our Review of the Maple Leaf Tavern

Name: Maple Leaf Tavern
Neighbourhood: Leslieville
Contact: 955 Gerrard St. E., 416-465-0955, mapleleaftavern.ca, @MapleLeafTavern
Owners: Todd Morgan (Port Restaurant)
Chefs: Executive chef Jesse Vallins (The Saint, Trevor), chef de cuisine Jonny O’Callaghan (Beverley Hotel, Museum Tavern) and Binh An Nguyen (Port, Hawthorne Food and Drink, Spoke Club)

The food

The menu is filled with recognizable favourites (cheeseburgers, lasagna, pork chops, roast chicken). Everything—including the sausages, American cheese and freshly baked bread—is made in house. A late-night menu will be available in the soon-to-open basement lounge.

(Image: Renée Suen) (Image: Renée Suen)
 

Caesar salad with anchovy dressing, parm, herbed croutons and grilled bacon. $15.

(Image: Renée Suen) (Image: Renée Suen)
 

Honey- and cumin-glazed carrots with parsley yogurt. $9.

(Image: Renée Suen) (Image: Renée Suen)
 

The cheeseburger: a strip loin patty topped with house-made American cheese, dill relish and garlic mayo. The recipe for the sesame-seed bun took Vallins five years to perfect. Served with fries. $20.

(Image: Renée Suen) (Image: Renée Suen)
 

Lasagna topped with veal shank, bone marrow and porcini mushrooms. Served with a chopped salad. $24.

(Image: Renée Suen) (Image: Renée Suen)
 

Pineapple with lime curd, ginger crumble, coconut and coconut ice cream. $9.

(Image: Renée Suen) (Image: Renée Suen)
 

Executive chef Jesse Vallins grills up some veggies.

(Image: Renée Suen) (Image: Renée Suen)
 

Chef de cuisine Jonny O’Callaghan admires the lasagna.

The drinks

Wine chosen by sommelier Will Predhomme, beer in large-format bottles and on rotating taps (currently dominated by saisons) and cocktails designed by New York’s Naren Young who tweaked classic recipes with homemade syrups and tinctures. Also: manhattans and rye-and-gingers, both available on tap.

(Image: Renée Suen) (Image: Renée Suen)
 

Stealth Margarita: Tequila Avión, elderflower liqueur, cucumber, lime, jalapeno tincture. $13.

(Image: Renée Suen) (Image: Renée Suen)
 

Hotel Nacional: Havana Club 3 Años, apricot liqueur, fresh pineapple, Maldon salt, pineapple shrub. $12.

The space

It took two years and nearly $1 million to renovate the 106-year-old building. Besides the two dining areas and horseshoe bar on the main floor, there’s also a private room that seats 20. The basement will soon have another lounge with its own bar, and a side patio will open in time for summer.

(Image: Renée Suen) (Image: Renée Suen)
 

One of the dining areas on the main floor. The bar can be seen to the left.

(Image: Renée Suen) (Image: Renée Suen)
 

The main floor dining room again, with the kitchen pass in the background.

(Image: Renée Suen) (Image: Renée Suen)
 

There’s some seating at the kitchen counter, too.

(Image: Renée Suen) (Image: Renée Suen)
 

Executive chef Jesse Vallins at the pass.

(Image: Renée Suen) (Image: Renée Suen)
 

This (empty) cigarette machine is original to the tavern.

(Image: Renée Suen) (Image: Renée Suen)
 

The tavern’s original sign was preserved and now decorates one of the patio walls.

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