Review: Fire on the East Side, Toronto

Since moving to Yonge Street I had been hearing a lot of good things about brunch at Fire on the East Side. A few weeks ago I saw a Groupon for the restaurant which could be used only on their dinner menu. I figured why not grab the deal, save a bit of money and check out this local “neighborhood restaurant.” On Sunday I met my friend Jeffrey for dinner and we sat on the patio which provided a generous amount of natural light.

Fire on the East Side’s menu had a loose “Southern Cooking,” theme which featured biscuits, fried chicken, hushpuppies, jambalaya, corn fritters and fried green tomatoes.

We ordered:

Cajun Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Braised Beef Short Ribs with spiced dark-beer braise, seasonal vegetables and hushpuppy

Quinoa with black beans, corn and roasted tofu

Cherry Cola Cheesecake

Cafe Ameretto

The first dish, my macaroni was the best out of the bunch. The pasta was tossed generously in a creamy cheese sauce with a satisfying hot cajun kick and was adorned with battered onions. Our meal went down hill when our two main courses arrived at the table.

The Quinoa dish was a total mess. The chef missed the textural component of crunch in the mouth and instead created a dish that was all mushy with zero contrast. Imagine eating several spoonfull’s of boiled quinoa, corn, soft black bean and tofu. This would be a perfect dish served at a Retirement Home for seniors who are having issues swallowing. The dish also needed a hit of flavor, spice and salt.

When my plate was placed under my nose I was taken aback. I actually used my fork to try and rearrange the food on my plate so it was a bit more appetizing for the camera. The Beef Short Ribs were dry and as you can see from my picture were served with a black char. I mainly ordered this dish because I simply love hushpuppy’s (cornmeal fritters) and was so disappointed when I was served only one fritter which was as hard as a hockey puck. I actually had to slice it like a piece of steak when really you should be able to pick them up, light and fluffy with your fingers and pop them in your mouth.

For a sweet finish I looked at the menu and headed right for the unusual Cherry Cola Cheesecake. This dessert had so much potential but was a serious fail. The bright pink cherry flavoured base needed to be stiffened with more cream cheese. The top of the cheesecake had been covered in a hard, gelatinous, cola flavored top spotted with dried cherries which killed any harmony on my fork. The cheesecake really needed a cookie base to hold it all together.

I sipped on my Cafe Ameretto and almost choked when I looked at the bill. I had ordered whatever I wanted off the menu without really looking at the prices. I was most soured by this experience because I felt the quality of the food coming from the kitchen was a disappointment. Fire on the East Side serves up a mediocre, poorly thought out dinner. I was mostly bothered by the price point as I know I could go to many of the “Top Ten Best New Restaurants” in Toronto Life Magazine and enjoy far better food the same price which leaves you inspired rather than irritated.

#179 restaurant reviewed in Ontario since moving to Toronto in 2010. 

Fire on the East Side Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

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