The Dish Power Rankings: Cowboys Are The New Tacos Edition
In this week’s roundup: The Distillery gets Christmassy, and a pair of restaurants try to make line-dancing trendy.
1. The P&L Burger (new this week)
The modern malt shop from Parts & Labour chef Matty Matheson (of drunken Vice fame) entered the crowded Queen West burger arena swinging. Just a few doors down, The Burger’s Priest retaliated by releasing a line of onesies.
2. Toronto Christmas Market (new this week)
Who needs a dinner reservation when you can eat chocolate-covered bacon around a fire pit?
3. El Catrin (no change)
The one thing merrymakers definitely crave after browsing a faux-Victorian Christmas village: tacos. The Mexican restaurant in the Distillery is once again booked through the weekend.
4. Barrio Coreano (↓3)
Chowhounders and Yelpers are divided about whether the new Playa Cabana location lives up to its predecessors.
5. Buca (back this week)
Bar Buca, the long-awaited Buca spin-off, is reportedly nearly ready to launch. Meanwhile, the original trattoria’s next available Saturday night slot on OpenTable is December 21…at 5 p.m.
6. Bar Isabel (↓2)
Still packed. However, if you fancy a rowdy, Iberian-style New Year’s Eve dinner, we hear there are still a few tables available on December 31.
7. Reds Midtown Tavern (new this week)
The factually inaccurate name hasn’t hurt the brand’s second location, which is actually at Yonge and Gerrard. Two private dining rooms are making it a popular holiday-party venue among the brand’s loyal Bay Street followers.
8. Ruby Watchco (new this week)
Food Network Canada star Lynn Crawford is having a stellar December: her Leslieville restaurant is consistently crammed; her cookbook is being hailed as a 2013 stand-out; and she’s got a steady gig co-starring with
Mr. Tori Spelling Dean McDermott on soon-to-air Chopped Canada.
9. Boots ‘n Bourbon (new this week)
Potentially the biggest trend of 2014: cowboys? Rock Lobster chef Matt Dean Pettit’s Western-themed bar and restaurant coincidentally opens in the same week as another cowboy-themed saloon on Adelaide Street…
10. Rock ‘n Horse (new this week)
…which has a mechanical bull (with a “sexy” setting!).
Honourable Mentions: the Globe’s Chris Nuttall-Smith raved about new izakaya Zakkushi; Star critic Amy Pataki gave solid praise to Trinity Taverna, the Hellenic getaway in The Beach; and Mad Men’s Lane Pryce—a.k.a. actor Jared Harris—video-diaried his reaction to the hickory-smoked Manhattan at Barchef on Queen West (we’re not entirely convinced it was a positive review.)