90 Avenue Rd., 416-367-4141
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Last fall, I met with five friends for a bachelor party at Barberian’s, that most old-school of steak houses. Little has changed since Harry Barberian fired up his grill in 1959. At the entrance there’s a wooden statuette of Sir John A., as if to remind the politicians who frequent the place that they’re partners in a grand project. Our waiter addressed us as “sirs” and delivered baskets of bread sticks. The “Bill of Fare,” illustrated with bucks and rifles, includes the ultimate throwback: an after-theatre selection of crêpes Suzette and fondue.
Our little party knocked back bottle after bottle of terrific wine (the cellar is legendary) and did our best to imitate our dads by ordering slabs of garlic bread, baked potatoes smeared with full-fat sour cream, and New York strip (grilled a couple of minutes longer than advisable), a sprig of thyme the only green on the table. Even though we’re all pushing 40, our bachelordom antics largely behind us, we were just getting started—ready to carry on all night like a bunch of Bradley Coopers in search of a tiger. Who knows what trouble we’d have gotten up to if a guy at another table, not much older than us, hadn’t inconveniently suffered a heart attack. The dining room fell silent while ambulance attendants wheeled him past on a stretcher.