Review: Nuit Social is a slice of civilized heaven on West Queen West
Nuit Social ★
1168 Queen St. W., 647-350-6848
The strip of Queen West between Ossington and Dufferin has always needed a grown-up alternative to the late-night pubs, poutine and pizza that feed The Drake’s and The Gladstone’s club crowd. It finally has one. At 11 p.m. on a Friday, you can walk in without a wait, order a glass of off-LCBO wine and build your own charcuterie board. The meats, from Ontario and Europe, include beechwood-smoked speck from Austria edged with gauzy fat, and there’s an excellent selection of small-batch cheeses, like a Wisconsin merlot satori that packs good wine pong, plus five kinds of olives (the lemon-zesty picholines are a must). The fritti are consistently hot, crisp and greaseless, like the killer golf ball–sized saffron arancini, and crackling cornmeal-crusted calamari. Lighter dishes are also well made: tiny brown-butter-fried scallops slicked with butternut squash purée and dotted with delicate Brussels sprout leaves and micro greens, for example. Crumbly New York–style cheesecake, both made and topped with Parmesan, is as dry and weird as an episode of Twin Peaks. Instead, linger over a nightcap around the colourful stained-glass bar, and soak in the blessedly mellow mood amid the neighbourhood’s all-night party.