Introducing: The County Cocktail, the Queen West diner’s new Riverdale café and snack bar
Name: The County Cocktail and Snack Bar
Contact Info: 798 Queen St. E., 416-781-4743, thecountygeneral.ca/cocktail, @countycocktail
Neighbourhood: South Riverdale
Owner: County General owner and former Splendido partner Carlo Catallo
Chef: The County General’s Danai Hongwanishkul, formerly the sous-chef at Canoe
The Place: The County General’s new east-end spin-off is a café, snack shop and cocktail bar in one. (It opens its doors at 7 a.m. on weekdays, in time for morning commuters to get their caffeine fix, and stays open until 11 p.m.—or later on weekends.) The space is bigger and sleeker than the original, but it conveys the same country-style spirit with bright red bar stools and discrete touches of gingham.
The Food: In addition to a few County mainstays, like the excellent chicken thigh sandwich, the menu is filled with shareable riffs on classic comfort dishes. Devilled eggs are topped with miniature cod fritters and shreds of pickled ginger, and steak “tar tar” is blended with green mango, peanuts and taro chips. Instead of Korean Fried Chicken (“KFC”), County Cocktail serves Peking quail with moo shoo pancakes and hoisin barbeque sauce. Desserts are homey and fun: they include warm chocolate chip cookies and spiced pumpkin cake with pear butter.
The Drinks: Unsurprisingly, cocktails are the main focus. The back bar stocks an impressive collection of rums and bourbons, which are blended with things like house-made cream soda and cherry-masala-chai bitters.
• $55 for the County Seafood Platter, which comes heaped with oysters, salt cod brandade, potted shrimp, fried calamri, Alaskan king crab and several sides
• 32 seats, plus 12 more on the sidewalk patio
• 23 types of rum
• 7 days a week, with brunch on weekends
• 7 a.m. start on weekdays