A friend invited me for dinner the other night to a new place she had been raving about. Smoked and Cracked: a wonderful little restaurant that has recently opened in midtown Toronto. The decor is an eclectic miss-matched nautical theme of colourful tables and chairs, rustic wood and (for now) simple white walls. But plans are in the works for a few more bar stools and roughhewn wood planks to be strategically added to bump the seating up to 26. I can’t wait because one of the planks will be on the edge of the open kitchen where all the action takes place. Being a foodie, that’s where I want to be for my next visit.
Owners Ron Raymer and Michael Kash have been in the hospitality business for quite some time and have both acquired impressive resumes. From bus boys, to working with well-known chefs, to winning awards and accolades, these two are now owners of their own restaurant and also offer full service catering. The story seems to be that it only took the two of them 3 pints of Guinness (each) to decide that they should open up their own restaurant. Thank you restaurant gods!!
If you like lobster and all things seafood, you will love what they have to offer. Portions are generous and the prices are incredibly reasonable… especially when you consider that their lobster is flown in from the Maritimes every 2 days AND they will be able to tell you, within a 5 mile radius, exactly where the lobster came from the day they will be serving it to you. You can’t get fresher than that! Well, you could, but then it’s likely that you live along the coast somewhere.
Not wanting anything too heavy I ordered the tomato-based Manhattan seafood chowder ($11.95) which was packed with shrimp, lobster scallops and mussels and shared the hot Newport-style lobster roll ($15.25). Sweet chunks of lobster dipped in drawn butter with lemon and a subtle hint of tarragon heaped in a soft roll and served with a side of homemade chips. Can you say: ohmnomnomnomyuum!!!
For dessert, we had the deep dish butter tart ($5) ~ a humungous tart filled with apple, pecans and all the ooey gooey goodness that you would expect from a butter tart. This is not one of your standard butter tarts. They`re a good 2-3 times larger than the average tart and you’ll need a knife and fork to dig into this treat!
Next time I’ll have to try their lobster mac‘n’cheese ($16.95)… could be my next favourite comfort food now that the colder weather is on its way.
The next time you have a craving for lobster, head on over to Smoked and Cracked and get your fill.
516 Mount Pleasant Rd., Toronto, Ontario Tel: 647-748-5722
Open 10am -8pm Mon-Sat & 11am-3pm for Sunday Brunch
In the works is a cooking session at the LCBO (keep an eye on their schedule to see at which location they`ll be) in June 2014. Both Ron and Michael will be leading a cooking session on all things oysters! How to buy them, how to open them, what to serve them with and what to do with the extras in case you bought more than your guests could eat. Sign me up!!!!