Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have your restaurant right next to a well-noted concert hall? To be able to rub shoulders with up-and-coming acts as well as some of your favourite established musicians. Sidebar, located beside the Danforth Music Hall, can attest to this experience. With their opening 6 months ago, Sidebar has been able to host countless after parties for a wide array of bands spanning various genres. Their after parties may be well noted but their food is definitely brought to the forefront.
Fried Brussel Sprouts with Bacon
We came to Sidebar for a business meeting and were pleasantly surprised that we were able to pick our seats. After receiving our specialty drinks, which were an Arnold Palmer (an Ice Tea and Lemonade mix) and a Lemonade with a splash of Grenadine, we were ready for our appetizers.
We started with fried Brussel Sprouts with smoked Bacon. Typically this appetizer comes with the bacon integrated into the brussel sprouts but since we had a vegetarian in the group, we were provided the option of having the smoked bacon on the side (because we all know that I LOVE BACON). The fried brussel sprouts were so flavourful and we could definitely taste the natural oils from the vegetable. And please do not get me started with the bacon… Can you say MOUTHWATERING! This appetizer set the tone for the night so we knew that our meals could only get better from here.
Next up was the Roasted Cauliflower. We loved the way that both the fried brussel sprouts and the roasted cauliflower were presented in small cast-iron pans. It gave the appetizers a rustic feel with a warm sense of home. The spice blends of chili flakes and garlic were light, which kept the true essence of the cauliflower. The roasted cauliflower still contained that beautiful, refreshing crunch that you know and love. With a cascade of parsley on top of the cauliflower, this was another home run for Sidebar’s appetizers!
Chili and Garlic Shrimp
Now these were not your average shrimp! Continuing with the chili theme, we had the Chili and Garlic Shrimp. We appreciated the fact that we each had a shrimp (4 people) to try and still had an extra shrimp to spare (don’t worry, we ate the last shrimp!). The shrimp were juicy and succulent. The shrimp were cooked to perfection, as they were buttery and didn’t give off that overcooked, rubbery texture. The smell of the shrimp also awakened all of our senses. Now let’s us get to our main course dishes!
Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Chef Andrew Bennett put his special touch to Sidebar’s signature fried chicken. Now when you put that fried chicken into a sandwich, you have a match made in Heaven! We were blown away at how crispy the coating of the chicken was, but yet how tender the chicken actually was.The kale and swiss chard slaw was a much needed change from the typical lettuce that you find on a burger or sandwich. We decided to have onion rings accompany the Crispy Chicken Sandwich. These golden, crunchy gems were some of our favourites (and I’m not a big fan of onions). I was even sneaking a few onion rings off the plate because they were that great.
Grilled Sea Bass
We were served the entire Sea Bass and it was deboned. Although it was grilled, you would think that it would be dry but that was far from the case. The flakey sea bass married well with the citrus of the lemon, which was grilled and placed eloquently on the plate. The hint of smokey flavour didn’t overpower the sea bass with an overly smokey taste. With salt and pepper along with parsley, we couldn’t have asked for a more decadently prepared fish.
Southern Fried Chicken
Can we just say that we had fried chicken 2-ways! Sidebar spiced up their fried chicken by adding their signature hot sauce, which I might add that we asked for extra because it was that delicious. With every bite, we utilized that southern-style hot sauce.The coleslaw made you feel as though you were in a southern restaurant. I can say that I’m a huge fan of coleslaw so I was chowing down on that side dish.
As we don’t make a lot of steak at home, we try to order steak at the restaurants that we visit if available. This particular Steak Frites was beyond exceptional. We requested the cook on the steak to be medium well and Chef Bennett certainly delivered. We also admired that the fries were tossed with fresh dill. The dill was different and we respected the fact that Sidebar was willing to push the boundaries of the average salt that is added to fries. I can admit that I continued to nibble on those fries even after I was “full.”
Khephra, Assistant General Manager (left), and I (right)
We would like to thank Khephra and her staff for their AMAZING serves during our dinner at Sidebar. Even though this restaurant is still new, we definitely predict that it will have longevity. If you are checking out a show next door at the Danforth Music Hall or just want a place that will cater to your eclectic food cravings, we suggest you give Sidebar a try. You will not be disappointed!
Flower on the Table
For more information on Sidebar, check out www.danforthsidebar.com