After closing her celebrated, decade-old Black Hoof, Jen Agg turned around and took over the Swan, the vintage Queen West diner that Anthony Rose formerly ran as a branch of his artery-busting Dupont restaurant Rose and Sons. It’s an exciting place: the busy beats of French vintage pop build through the night, the cocktails are potent and fun, and there’s a crush to get in the narrow room—one night, I had to inch around a couple making out in the small vestibule. The chef is James Santon, who followed Agg from the Hoof. His menu plays out a clever conceit: one side lists diner standards (chicken fried steak, onion rings, meatloaf), the other parallel bistro fare (steak frites, French onion soup, beef cheek bourguignon, etc.). The French side is pricier and tastier, especially the bourguignon, with its fluffy mashed potatoes and buttered carrot spears. After 11 p.m., they give in to the inevitable and break out the fondue pots.
Le Swan, 892 Queen St. W., 416-536-4440, leswan.ca