Review: Home of the Brave, the retro diner on King West from the owners of La Carnita
Home of the Brave ★½
589 King St. W., 416-366-2736
Andrew Richmond and Jonathan Hamilton, the kitsch-happy team behind La Carnita on College, have opened a retro diner above Lou Dawgs on King West. The place looks like a mid-century greasy spoon with a clubby downtown spin: diners wear mini-skirts and bespoke suits instead of trucker caps and fleece. Hamilton’s dishes are literally all over the map—they veer from from the northeast to the midwest to the deep south—but the cooking is spot on. For a chicken sandwich, he sends out a golden fried leg—foot included—squished between a buttery, griddled sesame bun. He also updates the East Coast johnnycake, topping the crunchy, Frisbee-size cornmeal pancake with delicately smoked trout, a dollop of chive-laced cream and a surprising drizzle of maple syrup. Tender pork and beef ribs follow the Kansas City formula, slathered in a sweet, smoky barbecue sauce and accompanied by pickled carrot and celery matchsticks. On the side, sweet stalks of grilled broccoli perch on a mountain of crunchy, cheesy grits. The house-made rum slushies are too gimmicky and too strong, but house cocktails, like a zippy, chili-infused Summer in Sakon vodka blend, are nicely balanced. Service is friendly but rushed—great for those in line, less so for diners already seated.