When I was growing up, my parents occasionally took us up to Montreal to visit some close family friends. We fell in love with Schwartz's, a Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen that serves this smoked meat that is to die for.
While planning this Canada trip, I knew that a drive to Montreal would be a bit far, but I hoped to find something similar in Toronto. I looked for restaurants and delis that serve smoked meat and after some searching, came upon The 420 Smokehouse, a restaurant which actually smokes all of their own meat, and which had received rather good Yelp reviews. I immediately sent the menu out to my friends, all of whom quickly approved of it, and we decided to make it our first meal stop in Toronto.
We arrived on a Saturday at around 11:30am, ready for our first meal of the day. It was myself, B., and our two friends. We easily found street parking and headed inside, to the empty restaurant. I was a little surprised that there was no one else there, but our server was friendly, and we picked a cozy table near the window.
We started our meal with some spiked drinks, all of which are 6.50 CAD each. We tried the Ski Jump, which is hot chocolate with Peppermint Schnapps and Frangelico. Unfortunately, we were told that they were out of Frangelico, so we had it with just peppermint. It was okay, but very sweet. We also tried the Spanish coffee (with Kahlua and Brandy) and the Irish coffee (with Irish whiskey and Irish Mist). Both were strong, and were topped with a generous serving of whipped cream and shavings of chocolate.
I ordered the smoked chicken and waffles (12 CAD), which was not very impressive. The plate had two large waffles and two pieces of breaded chicken breast. The serving was large, but the chicken was rather dry and uninspired. I was also a bit disappointed that it was all white meat, as I was hoping for some dark meat (though this may be a little bit my fault, since I didn't ask).
B. ordered the 420 Breakfast which includes 2 eggs any style (he had them poached), with
bacon, lightly smoked sausage, home fries, and toast (11 CAD). The eggs came out a big soft for him, but everything else was fine.
My other friend ordered the smoked meat poutine (large, for $15). This was okay overall. The smoked meat was delicious, but everyone felt that there was a distinct lack of cheese, and the fries seemed to have been tossed in gravy a while before serving, since they were not very crispy. There also wasn't as much gravy as we were hoping there would be.
The little bits of smoked in the poutine were so good though, I asked if I could order a plate of this alone. Our waiter asked the kitchen and then told me that a plate would be $8, which was fine by me. It was delicious. Fatty, full bodied smokey flavor that just melted in the mouth. Perfection. This was the best part of the meal.
Our overall brunch experience was just average, but the smoked meat was delicious. I probably would only come back for the meat, but I don't think I'd do brunch here again. Maybe we should have come for the lunch and tried the sandwiches and entrees. Oh well. On to the next meal!
*Other things to note: Service is a bit slow, but friendly. They do have free Wi-Fi. The bathroom is clean.
The 420 Smokehouse
420 Parliament Street
Toronto, ON M5A 3A1