Small Town Food Co. ★★
1263 Queen St. W., 416-538-7695
Queen West young’uns nibble on gourmet bar snacks and comfort food at this cozy Parkdale restaurant. A carefully constructed plate of miso- and chili-spiced pork belly with cubes of watermelon is a winner, balancing sweet, salt, fat and heat. Similarly, thumb-size packets of matchsticked cucumber and daikon wrapped in strips of barely seared, truffle-marinated beef pack a pickly-sweet punch. A sumptuous pool of polenta with spicy smoked plums is topped with a disappointingly dry duck confit—the kitchen’s only misstep. Co-owner Cameron Hutton’s bartending days at the Drake are evident in the short but creative list of herb-infused cocktails. The Rare Albequerque Rhino—white rye, hazelnut extract, angelica root and hellfire bitters—is a nutty, spicy and deceptively strong standout. Closed Tuesday.