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Charles Khabouth’s new Bloor Street bistro, La Société, to open in June; two more Khabouth restos in the works

Charles Khabouth beneath the just-installed stained-glass ceiling at La Société (Image: Gizelle Lau)

A few months ago, we announced that Charles Khabouth of Ink Entertainment would be taking over the space formerly occupied by dim sum staple Dynasty Chinese Cuisine. After five months of renovations, the new restaurant, La Société, is set to open on June 15th, and we got a sneak peek to see what it was all about.

Khabouth’s preferred design firm, Munge Leung—which was responsible for his Ame, Bisha Hotel and Residences, Ultra, and Dragonfly properties—was also behind La Société. The design is meant to evoke a classic 1920s Parisian bistro, crossed with the contemporary and casual vibe of Balthazar in New York City.

A rendering of the bar and lounge area, with the real version behind and very much in-construction (Image: Gizelle Lau)

The space will be outfitted with dark custom millwork and classic bistro-style mosaic floor tiling, but the pièce de résistance will be the dining room’s unique stained-glass ceiling. In addition to the dining room, there will be a separate bar space and a garden patio just outside the second-floor restaurant, as well as a large street-level patio right on Bloor.

La Société will be open for lunch and dinner on weekdays, and on the weekend, service will start at brunch and end at 2 a.m. On the menu, expect French bistro classics like tiered seafood platters (small $65, large $85), French onion soup ($10), steak tartare ($16), bouillabaisse ($29), saffron moules frites ($19) and steak frites ($37). In the kitchen, the executive chef will be James Olberg, and the executive sous-chef Trevor Ritchie, both of Tiara at Queen’s Landing in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Despite the “King of Clubs” nickname, Khabouth is more restaurateur than nightlife impresario these days, with La Société and the recently opened Briscola, as well as two new restaurants in the works—one Mexican, the other to be determined—on the strip of King West between Spadina and Brant. Naturally, they’re slated to open in time for TIFF.

La Société, 131 Bloor St. W.,

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  • Nancy

    That ceiling is spectacular.

  • LOL

    King of clubs?
    Guvernment has been sh!t for 5 years now and who cares about some club in a hotel in niagara. Maybe he should spent more time focussing on bringing forward thinking music back to places he already owns, then opening parisian restaurants on bloor.

  • Cynthia

    Looking forward to the opening!

  • Pops

    @LOL get your facts right. Charles owns over 10 clubs/lounges! The real story is he provides lots of jobs in the city so stop hating! Clubs will never last, the city can’t secure a club location since condo developers are preferable. Clubs don’t open during the day so no money is made.

  • LOL

    @ Pops

    Came here to defend your boss? Keep your tongue firmly up his ass so you can keep living in your beloved condo, at the expense of club culture in Toronto. Just because someone owns a profitable / successful club, doesn’t mean it’s active in promoting and nurturing forward thinking electronic music. Enjoy your deadmau5 and infected mushroom bookings.

  • AJ

    @LOL- well said.

  • yukkersuggers

    Well, I don’t care for clubs, so I’m pleased that the “King of Clubs” is focusing on offering more great food in Toronto!

    @LOL – If it’s a profitable/successful club, someone must be going there, so why don’t you just find new clubs to go to that play the music you like? Seems like a no-brainer.

  • dmz

    I didn’t know house music had its own brand of hipsters

  • hoy

    Are you kidding me? Dragonfly is hands down the liveliest nightclub in Niagara Falls. Charles in my opinion has done a great job at enhancing the nightlife in toronto. Whether it’s clubs, restaurants, or condo developments, you can’t deny the fact that his projects add flair to a rather bland Toronto social scene. This isn’t a conspiracy, I’m not a Charles Khabouth goon. If you don’t like his places, maybe you should stick your head out of your ass, be forward-thinking and go somewhere else.

  • LOL

    I don’t go to Charles’ music venues, for the reasons above. I like his restaurants and this is a great location and idea. It will no doubt do quite well. I just wish he put the same effort into making his clubs as cutting edge as he does with his restaurants.

  • Vivek S

    Looks like Chuck is wearing a sombrero.

    Looking forward to the new spot.

  • reality

    Khabouth provides lots of jobs? get it straight people. Ink venues are well known within the industry to have the most misogynistic, chauvinistic, abusive, degrading and sexist hiring and employment practices in the city’s club, bar and restaurant circuit. it is well known that if you are not sleeping with an owner/manager, or do not look like a stripper, you are: owed money, being abused, or have been fired. how “good” khabouth’s venues are is neither here nor there.

  • andrew

    Hasn’t anyone noticed that Mr.Khabouth is not a restauranteur.He has no culinary education. I have been to Briscola and the food is shit. I cant imagine the food at this new venue any different.

  • the b

    .give the guy credit..he maybe to some “king of clubs” and to others “not a restauranteur” but this place is incredibly well done on an international standard!!

    to @LOL – Guvernment is still open and operating and tonight will have one of the best and most sought after DJs in the world…if David Guetta is not your style of music, stay home or better yet go have dinner at Societe

  • vicintoronto

    Boy oh boy oh boy!
    i remember Charles before he bought the Belair and started Ivory. The man has an incredible sense of style and is a risk taker extrodinaire. I live 2 minutes away from his new restaurant and travel to st catharines and niagara falls at least 3 times a month. Charles has earned all the respect he deserves and he also gives respect where and when it’s deserved. He is successful, well-liked by his contempraries and even some of his critics. I never have or needed to work for him but if anyone wants to go toe to toe with him they will lose as far as imagination, business savy and guts.i met his manager Darcy last week and am looking forward to going to nejoy his new Bloor street retaurant.My friends Sam and Michael were there recently and both enjoyed their time there. Beirut’s loss is our gain.

  • sebby73

    If it follows Khabouth’s history, it’ll look mediocre by a has-been design company, be low on substance and the food will be absolute rubbish. On another note, the name sounds obnoxious, so at least it’s starting on a consistent foot. But at least the beautiful people will enjoy it for a couple of weeks until he opens up another farce… Oh well, I’m heading to Balthazar NY in a few weeks to enjoy what he’s clearly trying to copy. When local, check out Le Select Bistro…. for the real deal in french bistro fare.

    Good luck with “La Société”… I’ll wait to hear the reviews.

  • vicintoronto

    Yes Balthazar is one of Soho’s jewels,provided you enjoy being cramped into spaces too small, crowds too noisy and love seeing and being seen and staff that are surly at best.
    There are many other French restaurants away from the bustling tourist areas. And ,yes Select bistro is a great place, i will agree. What i am totally mystified by is the tone of criticism that compares an ambitious new restaurant with those that are veterans. As far as i can recall Charles has never ventured into this type of venue or menu. The design, which I viewed first hand is dramatic, well thought out and unique. It always galls me that those that cannot take the time to look to the future are comfortable living in the past. And ,yes, the past is very safe and easily promoted. And as far as the “beautiful people” go I will stick to my Zilli outfits, Dior and Brioni suits(and cashmere socks) and let sebby73 wait a couple of weeks to become ‘beautiful” for a short time. PS–Not everyone that will be at Charles’ restaurant shops at LV or Hermes..some actually are shoppers at Nike and Winners too.
    That is what society is made of–everyone.

  • sebby73

    vicintoronto— You missed my point completely. First off, I do wear Hermes, and LV, etc. and I do get invited to launch events among the “beautiful people” (whether I’m beautiful or not myself can be debated on another post). My point is this… Guys like Charles Khabouth don’t create restaurants or bars or anything of high quality with a focus on good food and good service… he builds places to heighten his own profile/ego and build his street-cred—it’s blatantly obvious. Balthazar on the other hand, has incredible food, amazing service and is crowded because of that! I’m not living in the past (don’t really know what you meant by that anyway). I would love a restaurant like Balthazar in this city (Le Select, thankfully is as close as we’re going to get for now and they’re damn good—so I applaud them for it. They take pride in their cuisine and it shows). Charles is about flash—full stop. Like Ultra and his other lame establishments, it’ll be all about the parties and the glitz, without any care for building a strong patronage(the real people like us (I assume you might be in this category) who enjoy good food, good drink and good company. “La Societe” (god I hate that name) will be plagued with over-tanned 905′ers in no time… and that’s all he deserves for his efforts.

  • Alex Foroglou

    My wife and I just spent seven full days in Paris, we had our fill of fine French bistros and brassiere’s, but coming back home we just had to try La Societe just to compare, and you know what, you don’t have to go to Paris anymore, just dine here. First of all you can not find good service in Paris, here you can, someone cares a lot. For those who have not been at La Societe, don’t talk before you try. Nothing but the best quality goes into this menu, I had to try a bit of everything, and let me tell you it was amazing, try it you will see, besides dollar for euro, I’d rather pay with dollar and get my monies worth.

  • vicintoronto

    sebby73–I see your point and I also note Alex’s point–As a Torontoian I want our city to be recognized by more than the Blue Jays or Leafs or the CN Tower.
    I am willing and able to be open minded enough to first visit Charles’ restaurant and then reach a conclusion that may or may not agree with you.
    It isnt as if we elected him, as in Rob Ford’s case, and we have no choice over the next 4 years. You obviously share a passion for having Toronto showcase the best we can. And hopefully it will be a simple matter to first try to avoid falling into the trap many restaurants use inasmuch as they become pale copies of originals. Nothing in the current market in Toronto evokes a sense of “newness” and interest than a restaurant that evokes dialogue. I believe we both have caused some patrons to consider at least one visit before reaching a conclusion. thank you and take care.

  • s chamberlain

    Arriving on June 28, dining room, although not full, was so noisy. Cancelled dinner reservation, but moved into bar. Four of us ordered Ketel One Martinis – sorry, have no Kettel !! OK, will have grey goose. Waitress disappeared – asked another waitress twice – “they are coming”. Asked original waitress – “they are coming”. Ben Mulrooney arrives – has drink in hand instantly. After 20 minutes we left – no drinks. Had wonderful drinks and dinner at Spice Route.
    Beautiful decor – NO service (can’t comment on food).

  • john b

    Does Khabouth own Dolce Social Ballroom on King west?

  • aura

    everyone’s talking about it, – ‘we had lunch, dropped a thousand, blah blah blah, you must go….
    guess what the special – lamburger ws horrible- must have been sitting in fat since yesterday, along with oil soaked friend had the quiche of the day- equally unappetasing.

    maybe some want to be seen there , but we go out to restaurant to enjoy fresh, well prepared food- La societe doesn’t have it- I will tell everyone to think twice
    too bad