Mixed Messages - Allen's on the Danforth
I did end up eating at Allen's, and as many people noted in the submitted reviews at Toronto.com, the service is really quite slow. The host was marvellous and accommodating, apologetic about the poor options he had for a table when I arrived, but reserved me a seat up near the stage for later on in the evening when the music started. The waitress, however, stopped four times to apologize for not getting to me yet before she actually came by to take even my drink order. I ordered a glass of wine and a glass of water, and was not, at any point in the evening offered any more of either.
For dinner, I decided to use up a few of my flexpoints for the week instead of being a restrained dieter, and ordered the lamb shops with grilled sweet potato and three salads. The salads were greens in a vinagarette, marinated vegetables and a pasta salad. The greens were crisp and lovely, but the dressing was way too heavy on the oil, with little noticeable vinegar content; it seems likely that the whole batch is better balanced, but that they just didn't stir/shake it up enough before dressing my salad. The pasta salad was competent but pedestrian. The marinated vegetables had a lovely flavour and nice crunchiness, they were the clear winner on that plate.
In the main, the grilled sweet potatoes were excellent, and I enjoyed them quite a lot. Thing and delicate with a hint of crispiness and a bit of sweetness, they were simple and delicious. The 3 lamb chops, which I ordered medium well, were quite variously cooked, including one which was still barely rare. I sent that one back for replacement. Though the quality of the lamb itself was very good, it was topped with a peppercorn sauce that appeared to have no actual pepper in it, nor any salt, or really much flavour at all.
The band, on the other hand, was great, and more than made up for whatever other shortfalls the evening might have had.
143 Danforth Ave. Toronto, ON M4K1N2
Phone: (416) 463-3086
Hours: M-F 11:30 am - 2:00 am, Sat & Sun 11 am - 2 am