Review: Mr. Flamingo has tons of cool cred (and pretty great food)
Mr. Flamingo ★★
1265 Dundas St. W., 647-351-1100
The staff at the new 34-seat restaurant on the corner of Dundas West is a dream team of food-world hipsters. The place is owned by Mikey Apples, who also owns the dive club Bambi’s downstairs, and Fan Zhang, the former chef at 416 Snack Bar. Cool cred combined, they run an archetypal west-end hang filled with obscure dance beats and the sound of cocktails shaking, 20-somethings in a uniform of top-knots, slouchy Ts and Converse high tops, and salvage shop furnishings. The food is mostly very good—not quite special-occasion fare, but definitely date-night-level. The short, ever-changing menu alternates between crowd-pleasing Italian dishes and sparklier flashes of Asian fusion. The former category brings chewy fettuccine in a lackluster ragù (it needs more umami depth and chili zing) with too few shreds of lush duck confit, while the latter dazzles with such treats as oysters broiled in ultra-rich lobster hollandaise and popping with salty tobiko and sea asparagus. A moist, potato-crusted pickerel fillet with a bright dill cream, tangy braised red cabbage and buttery enokis, hits a sweet spot between the two. The sole dessert is a hot, creamy-inside doughnut in caramel sauce, with baked apple cubes and a cloud of cinnamon-infused whipped cream. With a Kentucky Campfire cocktail—a burning sage leaf is dipped table-side in bourbon—it’s pure nostalgic goodness.