What’s on the menu at Grand Cru Deli, a new wine bar in the Entertainment District

What’s on the menu at Grand Cru Deli, a new wine bar in the Entertainment District

Name: Grand Cru Deli
Contact: 304 Richmond St W., 416-551-9221, grandcrudeli.com, @grandcrudeli
Neighbourhood: Entertainment District
Previously: Thoroughbred
Owners: Bruce Wallner (Sommelier Factory), Ariel Coplan (Thoroughbred), Alex Rykhva
Chefs: Executive chef Ariel Coplan and chef de cuisine James Kohls

The food

Everything here starts with wine—even the business partnership. Alex Rykhva, a VP at MLSE, was upping his sommelier qualifications when he met both master sommelier Bruce Wallner and chef Ariel Coplan. During the day, the Sommelier Factory operates out of Grand Cru Deli’s second floor. With three winos in charge and a sommelier school on site, it only made sense for the menu to be wine-driven, too. “We asked ourselves what kind of food we wanted to eat with these delicious bottles of wine, and immediately we thought: good cheese and good meat,” says service director Alanna Stuart-Young. “That led to a menu of upscale deli food that’s a little nostalgic, but also fun.”

This kolhrabi salad features the vegetable prepared in three ways: poached, pickled and raw. There’s sweetness from Asian pear, a bit of bitterness from dandelion greens and some crunch from pepitas. The whole thing is tossed in a light poppy seed dressing. $14.


There are two caviar trays on offer. Pictured here is the more affordable lumpfish option. The tin of roe comes with a piping bag of crème fraiche, shallots, diced egg and plain Ruffles chips. $46.


The menu has meat and cheese sections, from which you can build your own charcuterie board. Here’s a plate of Italian mortadella with house-made country paté (with salami ends and apricot mixed in there for added flavour and texture). The plate is finished with fig jam, triple-crunch Kozlik’s mustard and some Blackbird baguette. $23.


There are two anchor sandwiches on the menu: a muffuletta for two and a beef cheek pastrami. There’s also sandwich special every day. On the day of this shoot, it was a club sandwich made with double-smoked bacon and pulled chicken breast on house-baked sourdough. The sandwiches are served with shoestring ketchup fries. $12.


Check out the jazzy toppings on this banana cream caramel pudding. $9.


Service director Alanna Stuart-Young and chef de cuisine James Kohls.


The drinks

The wine list pulls from around the world, with an emphasis on natural wines. There are 18 by-the-glass options (divided evenly between bubbles, white and red). For guests that want to have the somm experience, Grand Cru servers will lead blind flight tastings. There’s always a surprise white, sparkling and red on offer for those keen to sip a wildcard wine. There’s other stuff for non–wine drinkers, too. At the moment there’s Blood Brothers and Beau’s and Dillon’s negroni on tap, but they’re looking to expand with some more Ontario sour beers and maybe a few beer-wine blends.

Although many of the bottles are from esoteric producers, the price point, for the most part, stays well below the three-digit mark.


The space

Because Grand Cru Deli is a full-day operation (they do pastries and coffee in the morning) whereas Thoroughbred was a late-night spot, they felt the need to brighten up the space. Tucked into a narrow, 40-seat room on the main level of a redbrick Victorian, the space drenched in sun from a street-facing bay window. They’ve pulled that brightness into the back of the space with coral paint and white marble tables.