A man’s gotta eat

My whole life for the past few months has been about work: Go to work, come home, eat dinner, open the laptop, do more work, sleep (not enough), wake up still thinking about work. Repeat.

I’ve still managed to get some pretty good meals into me though, and with good friends too.

A few weeks ago Nellie and I went to Rodney’s for the first time with a bunch of colleagues. It was a fun night, but a funny thing happened too: our server and I slowly came to the realization that we went to Dalhousie at the same time, lived in the same residence, and played intramural basketball against one another. Small world.

Not long after I met up with my buddy Pat, in town from Milwaukee, at the Monk’s Table.

Earlier this week Nellie and I went to an Ontario Wine Society event at Barque Butcher Bar. We tasted several Pinots from a single vineyard (the Lowrey vineyard in St. David’s ON) but made by four different wineries: Bachelder, Leaning Post, Adamo, and Five Rows (who own the vineyard). Barbecue isn’t what you’d normally think of as a wine pairing, but it was damned tasty. If I find myself out around Roncy again I’ll definitely find my way back there.

Last night we reprised our recent meal at NAO, this time with T-Bone and The Sof. It was even more epic than the first one: a ton of great starters, three delicious steaks (order of deliciousness: the swinging rib Canadian prime; the David Blackmore wagyu rump; the bone-in US prime) and sides, and some outstanding wine. The sommelier (who remembered us from last time) picked a couple of bottles that weren’t on the list, and both were tremendous: a Babosa Negra from the Canary Islands, and a Forefront Cab Sauv from California.


Cover photo from the Barque site


Cover photo from NAO’s site

New And Old

I’ve been intrigued by NAO Steakhouse — a Japanese-influenced steak place, in an old Yorkville house that used to be Boba — ever since it opened. A friend used to work there, but we never quite made it in during her tenure, and for whatever reason we just hadn’t gotten around to making reservations. This week was a tiring one at work though, so we decided on Thursday to try a new place to end the week on a fun note. So we landed here.

First we stopped in at Boxcar Social for an espresso and some drinks. I like that I can get great versions of both there.

Then, on to NAO. It’s a cool space, and they gave us a nice corner on the banquette, the feel of the place was a hit. And the food? Outstanding. The Japanese influence lent a little something to the typical steak experience, but the steak itself was top-notch. I also really liked the wine selection…not the kind of 4-pound wine list that confounds or overwhelms, but well-organized and well-thought-out. We tried to get a bottle of Rustenberg from South Africa, but someone snagged the last bottle just before we did. Instead we got a Chilean Carmenere/Cab blend that wasn’t on the list, which worked out just fine indeed.

Our meal:

  • Blanc de Blanc // Pearl Morissette Chardonnay
  • Hamachi with jalapeño and yuzu // Oysters from BC and PEI
  • 22oz swinging rib Canadian prime (Norwich, ON)
  • Broccolini with soy, chili, and garlic

Consider it added to the favourites section of my list.


Cover photo from NAO’s site