DINER 120

Diner 120

Club 120 is a nondescript nightclub occupying the second floor of a small building on Church St. The owners have been running the club for almost 9 years and recently took over the restaurant space on the main floor as well. Their aim was to create a relaxed, modern diner that features live comedy or music each night. I was invited by Todd, one of the owners, to stop by and sample their menu.

Disclaimer: All drinks and dishes were provided free of charge by the restaurant. All opinions expressed below are wholly mine.

Atmosphere: The space used to be a Spring Rolls and the decor still features many of their signature red elements, however not knowing ahead of time, it would be hard to tell. A full bar was situated at the back of the restaurant, a stage was set up along one wall and comfy booths lined the wall opposite. Several tables and chairs were set up to face the stage, allowing diners to enjoy their meal and the show. Although the kitchen opened at 5pm, the space was pretty empty until the show started at 8pm. On the night I stopped by, there was a comedy podcast live recording and most of the comics were pretty funny. The content was PG-13, but nothing super scandalous.

Service: Service was great, friendly and efficient. Todd was there to answer any questions I had and came to check on me while I waited for my late friend. All of our food arrived from the kitchen piping hot and empty dishes were cleared away promptly. As the crowd grew louder with the show, Todd and the server continued to check-in and take care of each table.

Food: While I browsed the menu at 120 Diner, I was impressed with the wide selection. There were wraps, burgers, salads, sandwiches and other entrees. I also appreciated the many vegetarian (veggie burger, wrap or rice bowl) and healthy options. Basically for any of the mains, the protein could be substituted for haddock or salmon.

For both the appetizer and entree, I decided to try a classic bar item, and something unique. With the appetizer, I was immediately drawn to the “Build Your Own Nachos or Poutine” section of the menu. Starting with a base of fries or chips, there was plenty of add-on options including meatballs, double smoked bacon or garlic shrimp. I chose the Mexican Spiced Ground Beef. To offset the comfort dish, I ordered the Grilled Calamari with Puttanesca Sauce as our second, healthy, appetizer.

Both dishes were great. The puttanesca sauce had lots of flavour and was heavy on olives and garlic. I did find the squid a bit on the raw side, but better than overcooked and tasty. I loved the nachos; crispy chips, melted cheese, generous toppings, spicy jalapeno and the Mexican spiced ground beef added even more heat. The portion was also more than enough for two people.

With entrees, my friend went with the 120 Grilled Cheese Burger and sweet potato fries while I went healthy with a Rice and Grilled Vegetable Bowl, topped with homemade meatballs. Hands down, the cheeseburger won this round. The burger was really more grilled cheese than burger and there was so much delicious melted cheese. The rosemary focaccia “bun” was toasted perfectly and spicy mayo added just a touch of heat. Her side of sweet potato fries were also crispy, sweet with a dash of salt. Compared to this decadent burger, my rice bowl didn’t really hold up. The rice was a little wet and I couldn’t taste the cilantro or coconut. I was expecting the rice to be more like Chipotle rice. There was a lot of grilled vegetables, but the meatballs were underwhelming.

Overall, 120 Diner does good comfort food. While there’s plenty of healthy options, the kitchen shined with  classic bar dishes. That Grilled Cheese Burger was worth every calorie

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