EAST THIRTY SIX

East Thirty Six

One of my friends has recently joined the consulting world, which means she’s usually travelling. We took advantage of a Friday when she was in town to catch up over cocktails at East Thirty Six. The downtown location, tapas style menu and after work drink specials was a perfect combination.

Atmosphere: My last visit to the space was over 5 years ago when Lucien was still operating. The restaurant has been refreshed with slick tiled walls, dark tables and modern pendant lights. A long bar was the main focus of the dining area and most tables were filled with suits. Our dinner lasted a good 2-3 hours and as we were leaving, parties were arriving for after dinner drinks.

Service: Our original reservation was for 7pm. Plans changed through the day and we were able to make it for 6:30pm. I was hoping to take advantage of their $5 cocktails from 5pm to 7pm. We were seated at around 6:45pm and hurried to get our drink orders in. It was only our server’s second week and there was some miscommunication. We asked if we could order two drinks each to get the special pricing and it seemed to be ok. However when our bill came, all four drinks were charged at the normal price and we were informed that the special only applied to simple cocktails, not the listed menu ones. Both of my cocktails were delicious, but had we known this, we would’ve opted for wine instead. I would’ve loved some clarification before hand.

Otherwise, service was standard and friendly. Each dishes arrived promptly on a pretty plate.

Food: The menu at East Thirty Six was described by the server as tapas style and the dishes are designed for sharing. Lots of restaurants have been moving towards this trend and while I love to share plates, prices and portion sizes aren’t always reasonable. At East Thirty Six I found the portion sizes varied widely, I would recommend double checking with the server before ordering..

For appetizers, we ordered the Salmon Tartare and Scallop Crudo. Between the two dishes, I preferred the acidity and sweetness of the crudo but the tartare won on portion size. The scallops slices were very thin and a little hard to find on the white plate. The flavours of the salmon tartare were strong and the fish fresh, but there was no raw egg yolk.

With two light seafood appetizers we opted to split two heavier mains, the Short Rib and Berkshire Pork Belly. For me, the Berkshire Pork Belly won for both portion size and taste. I loved the fried egg served on top the tender, fatty meat and the chewy gnocchi. The dish was rich, had great textures and variety of flavours. The short rib was also a solid dish with a bit of spice. The sweet corn and chimichurri sauce really complimented the meat.

We ended our evening with a caramelized peach dessert. To be honest, by this point the delicious cocktails had kicked in and I don’t recall specifics about the dish (a sign of a good night). It was delicious though, a great balance between sour and sweet.

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