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Review: The Carbon Bar serves some of the city’s best pork ribs in an awfully fancy room

(Image: Caroline Aksich)
(Image: Caroline Aksich)

The Carbon Bar 99 Queen St. E., 416-947-7000

We’ve updated our star ratings system since this article was first published. Read more about the change here, and find the up-to-date rating in our restaurant listings.

The latest venture from the venerable restaurateur Franco Prevedello is an awfully fancy setting for a platter of ribs. Instead of the usual barnboard and bone buckets, the cavernous room at Queen and Church is outfitted with leather banquettes, buff mahogany tables and arty signage. The clientele of ad execs and TV talking heads sip bourbon cocktails in an ’80s reverie. Dinner is a mostly successful southern diversion for David Lee, also the chef at the prim Nota Bene a few blocks west. He stuffs a corn pupusa (pictured) with braised goat, the pastry flaky but the meat flavours oddly muted. Likewise, a roasted Cornish hen is crisp-skinned and juicy yet lacks any heat from the promised jerk seasoning. His pork ribs, however, are some of the city’s best: the dry rub properly spicy, the meat tender and nearly falling from the bone. They’re meant to be shared, like most of the menu, but it’s best to get your own.

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