When we heard that Splendido co-owners Carlo Catallo and Victor Barry were taking over the Queen West space formerly occupied by Oddfellows, we were eager to see how they were going to bring their high-end background into a new spot and neighbourhood that were anything but. The result is The County General, a casual restaurant and bar where, it turns out, Catallo and Barry have a few new tricks up their sleeves—and aptly, in Catallo’s case, a bunch of tattoos as well.
The room, designed by Michael Rietta of Giannone Petricone Associates, features clean wooden lines running along the ceiling, which culminate in a bold stack of wood at the end of the bar reminiscent of a giant game of Jenga. Everything is local, down to the tables made of reclaimed Douglas fir from London, Ontario. Recycled barn windows frame bucolic photographs of Cumbrae’s farms, whose meat is featured on the menu.
Chef Garth Legree was plucked from Splendido’s staff to run the kitchen because, as Barry told us, “he was already making food we all loved to eat” (in other words, we can expect to see their cooks here after service). The trio of smoked pork belly and steamed buns ($12) come topped with kimchee, avocado chutney and green apple slaw, respectively, and are accompanied by a small squeeze bottle of hot sauce. A buttermilk-fried chicken thigh looks positively mammoth on its soft milk bun ($14) complete with homemade smoked ketchup on the side. Traditional lowball glasses are reimagined as receptacles for frites ($3). For dessert, a seemingly straightforward chocolate cupcake with buttercream frosting ($3) has a hidden pocket of salted caramel in the center. The beer and wine list is proudly Canadian (seriously: it’s written on the menu) but the “Grog and Hooch” list is the real page-turner, with a selection of over 50 rums, bourbons, whiskeys and scotches (amateurs take heart: flights are available for educational purposes).
The seasoned staff (they’ve been dubbed generals and colonels) bring to the County some of its bigger brother’s sophistication and thoughtful service, not to mention a willingness to entertain special requests (gluten-free bread, say, or dairy-free chocolate). The platoon will be serving brunch, lunch, dinner, late-night snacks and even takeout.
10 thoughts on “Introducing: The County General, Splendido’s younger sibling on Queen West”
I’ll definitely check it out, I really hope it’ll gain some staying power since I really miss Oddfellows. That’s a great little stretch of Queen between Shaw and Trinity Bellwoods and this place looks like it fits right in.
I ate there a few days ago after happening on it by accident. The Chicken Thigh Sandwich was amazing with a cilantro zip that I appreciated. Asia (sp) the bar manager took the time to select a rum for me to try as I was unfamiliar. Loved the energy in the room and it’s along one of my favourite haunts in the city.
I’ll be back for sure
I miss Oddfellows brunch and their cute little patio too :.^( boo boo bee boo
Food was great but portion was a little small. Two of us (guys) ordered smoked pork belly with steam bun, chicken thigh sandwich, and the General’s reuben to share, and they were all fantastic. Highly recommended.
I was there Friday night for the late night menu. I ordered the chicken thigh sandwich with fries and bourbon , my friend ordered something not on the menu which was nice of them to make. Food was delicious, Highly recommend the fries that ketchup, man was that ketchup damn delicious. The bourbon was very good and well needed.
Sounds like dinner’s pretty tasty. Went for brunch and wasn’t as thrilled. English breakfast was good, but weird blood sausage texture threw me off and $12 mimosa…not cool.
Check out our review if you’d like:
I ate at this place last night. The wait was preposterous and the food – mediocre. I dropped in and was told by the woman it wouldn’t be more than 45 minutes for a table. I went for a drink and came back after 50 minutes and no phone call. Then, I waited for another 45 minutes standing in the restaurant.
I am glad they are busy – good work. But they are busy liars. If she had told me any more than 45 minutes, I would have gone somewhere else. Mistake going there. I won’t go again.
ok, well maybe not liars… but definitely terrible time estimators.
Drinks are drastically overpriced, food is mediocre (a few items are worth some hype), but worst of all the service is TERRIBLE!! I can’t think of one place in Toronto that had this kind of pretension from the service staff. Not only are they bad time-estimator (“liars”, as someone said earlier), but they’re disorganized and ready to lay that blame on you, the paying customer, without hesitation.
Snobby and rude, just avoid this place unless you love getting crapped on by servers and hostesses.
WOW. bad bad bad attitude from female waitress/hostess. bad service. waitress was genuinely MEAN. no smiles, no helpfulness, no thank yous. not surprised to see other bad reviews. not sure why she was so snobby – she really didn’t have much to be proud of!
Comments are closed.