What’s on the menu at The Wood Owl, a new Danforth wine bar from the team behind The Wren
Name: The Wood Owl
Contact: 1380 Danforth Ave., @thewoodowlto
Owners: Dennis Kimeda and Rhonda Wade-Kimeda (The Wren)
Chef: Tabitha Cranney (The Wren)
Covid-19 safety measures: Frequent sanitization, physically distanced tables, contact tracing
Accessibility: Fully accessible
Wood Owl’s tight food menu is designed to complement its wine list. Ingredients are locally sourced when possible (purveyors are listed on a mirror in the dining room) and incorporates a wide range of culinary influences: French, Spanish, Korean and South American, among others. Whether you want a snack with a quick glass of wine—the regularly updated cheese or charcuterie plates are good choices for nibbling—or a three-course meal complete with steak and chocolate cake, you’ll find something to fit the bill. All around, the plates are lighter and more refined than what you’ll find next door at The Wren, but retain this team’s signature focus on big flavours and thoughtful details.
For the wine program, relatively under-appreciated regions are sommelier Darryl Crawford’s raison d’etre. “I like to showcase producers who punch way above their weight for the region,” he says. “In general, I lean towards minerality over fruit, and texture over intensity.” One standout is the organic 2018 Iroulèguy Domaine Ilarria “Rouge”—probably the closest thing to a Bordeaux outside of Bordeaux, and at a more accessible price point. There’s also a small selection of local beer and a few wine-based cocktails.
There is, unsurprisingly, a lot of hardwood in this restaurant—floor, bar, wall panelling—giving the room an approachably upscale feel. The space is flooded with warm light (think fun lamps and antique chandeliers); it’s a cozy vibe perfect for sipping a glass of good wine (or three).