Winterlicious Review: The Rosedale Diner

The Rosedale Diner, located at 1164 Yonge St., was both impressive and disappointing.  Inconsistent is the best word to describe my experience. A three-course prix fixe dinner was $35 – the portions were medium sized.

Celebrity chef Guy Fieri featured the Rosedale Diner on his Food Network television show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. This restaurant is a diner on the inside and cheesy-looking dive on the outside, but it definitely does not have drive-in prices.  If you dine here at regular price, one entree without drinks will cost around $25-30.

To be fair, I walked into this restaurant with high expectations because the food featured on the show made me drool all over myself and the TV remote.

I wanted to tackle the most food in just one visit so I had to be efficient. My dining partner and I each ordered different dishes and shared half of each course. OK, it wasn’t quite half – I just helped myself to his food.

To start, I had the Poutine au Canard – off-the-bone duck confit, Quebec cheese curds, frites and demi-glaze gravy. This was easily the best poutine I have ever eaten. The fries were thin and crispy, the cheese was stretchy, the duck was flavourful and the caramelized onions were delicious. Poutine perfection was sitting right in front of me in a little white bowl.

The breaded calamari appetizer with lemon and caper aioli was average. I would pass on this.

I was most excited for the sticky Asian pork ribs with tamarind and sesame hoisin barbecue sauce and frites. I ate more of the fries than the ribs – and this is telling.  The meat was fall-off-the-bone tender but left an unpleasant aftertaste in my mouth. I felt like I was forcing myself to eat just one rib.  On his show, Fieri built up a lot of hype around this dish and I do not understand why. His opinion is meaningless to me now.

Next, I had the Smoky Dubi – a bison burger topped with smoked brisket, Gruyère cheese and grilled onions served with coleslaw and frites.  This was almost as good as the poutine and I would definitely order it again. This monster-sized burger is comfort food at its best.

Dessert was a crème brûlée that was burned on the top but was creamy, velvety and smooth underneath.

The flourless chocolate torte was rich and dense – but nothing to rave about.

Dishes I would order again: the Poutine au Canard, the Smoky Dubi and the crème brûlée, minus the burned top.

Dishes I would pass on: the breaded calamari, the sticky Asian pork ribs and the chocolate torte.

My advice: Try the Rosedale Diner, but know that you are taking a gamble ordering a new dish.

Price: $35 for a three-course prix fixe dinner

Vegetarian Options: Yes

Vegan Options: No

Overall Rating: 7/10


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