Hipster Portuguese food, a one-man bistro and Charles Khabouth’s new super-lounge
1282 Dundas St. W., 416-534-0407
Quinta, the new Portuguese restaurant on Dundas West, fills the gap between the formal, pricey Chiado and the city’s many churrasco joints. The place doesn’t miss a single hipster cue: chalkboard menus, beardy servers, Mason jar glasses, tea towel napkins. The small menu features such gussied-up classics as piri piri Cornish hen. Though juicier and more flavourful than the birds at takeout spots, the dish is a little tame—request extra house-made piri piri and be prepared to add a hefty dose of it. The charcuterie board is a parade of spicy, rich delicacies, including sublime apricot-pork terrine. The cataplana is full of flawlessly cooked mussels, clams, monkfish, shrimp, squid and potatoes in a complex white wine. Barmaster William Jordan shows his creativity with beautiful, cheap cocktails. Mains $16–$18.
Glas Wine Bar ½
1118 Queen St. E., 647-351-4527
Glas is quite possibly the tiniest bistro in the city, with just 10 tables and almost no decor to speak of. The owner-chef, Danny Pantano, does everything himself—he takes the reservations, sources the ingredients, cooks the food and chats up every customer. Pantano recently worked in several top European kitchens, and it shows on his daily menu of 12 or so Mediterranean-inspired dishes. Excellent cold corn soup is whipped into an airy cloud that’s firm enough to support a quail egg, black sesame seeds and sea asparagus. An inspired duck dish is the evening’s highlight: the nearly raw strips of breast are laced with crunchy sea salt and sided by rhubarb-raspberry compote, pea shoots and a duck-olive paste. It’s a salty-sour-sweet delight. The only blunder is an overly fishy oven-roasted sea bream dish. The wine list is small for a wine bar—only 12 bottles—but nothing is over $45. Cash and debit only. Small plates $4–$17.
480 King St. W., 416-274-8766
The new King West behemoth from club impresarios Charles Khabouth and Hanif Harji cribs liberally from the year’s most pervasive dining trends: Prohibition-style libations, taxidermied animal heads as decor and haute pub grub. However, the place’s ballsy scale (130 seats) and unabashed booziness (cocktails come in three-ounce pours or 750 mL bottles) imbue it with an irresistible sense of Friday night fizz. The model-and-man-friend combos that reside in the Fashion District—the kind who wear matching leather pants and violently pointy shoes—fill the place, even on weeknights. The drinks, like a potent tobacco-infused manhattan, are the best reason to go. The crowd-pleasing menu is ably executed, if a bit greasy. Yuzu-doused fluke ceviche has the pucker of Sour Patch Kids and is well balanced by a crunchy wafer made of puffed tapioca pearls. A crispy Cornish hen breast, served on a creamy sweet corn purée with roasted chanterelle mushrooms, would be great if bits of flaccid skin weren’t lurking underneath the poultry’s fried crust. Staff hover disconcertingly. Mains $16–$31.