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Review: East Thirty-Six is a moody downtown hideout with a serious kitchen

Review: East Thirty-Six is a moody downtown hideout with a serious kitchen
(Image: Gizelle Lau)

East Thirty-Six ★½ 36 Wellington St. E., 647-350-3636

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Nearly a hundred years later, we’re still obsessed with everything Great Gatsby—especially the Prohibition era’s stiff-as-hell cocktails. The former ­Lucien space, redone with black ­damask and photos of silent-screen stars, has become a moody hideout for an after-work boulevardier (complete with smoke tincture and barrel-aged ­Maker’s Mark), and a respite in a pocket of the downtown core otherwise overrun with sports pubs. Unlike most cocktail bars, this one has a serious kitchen, run by former Luma chef de cuisine Brent Maxwell.

He excels at classic French bistro plates, like perfectly roasted bone marrow with a side bowl of chicken liver pâté, its richness heightened by a liberal sprinkling of salt flakes, or a house-made boudin blanc, the savoury sausage studded with foie gras and stacked in a pool of buttery sweet, creamed savoy cabbage. Scallop crudo is splashed with Tromba tequila and olive oil, and scattered with bright, bitter lovage to provide textural contrast. Skip the forgettable desserts in jam jars and order another drink, like the French Connection, a summery combination of gin, muddled cuke and coriander syrup.

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