- Address: 26 Alexander St, Toronto
- Visited: 12/04/2015, Dinner, 2 people
- Cuisine: Steakhouse
- Rating: 4.0 5.0 Excellent, worth every $
4.5 Good, food & value
4.0 Good, but $$, would re-visit
3.5 Meh, good $, would re-visit
3.0 Meh, would not re-visit
2.0 Did not like $$$$ [$] <20; [$$] <40; [$$$] <80; [$$$$] >80
- Website: http://carmenssteakhouse.com
Carman’s Club was a popular steakhouse opened in the 60’s, often frequented by visiting celebrities and a neighbourhood gem. The restaurant changed hands in 2010 after the original Mr. Carman passed away and reopened at the end of 2014 with a slight change in spelling as Carmen’s Steakhouse. What piqued my interest in the restaurant was the new young , Asian chef heading the kitchen. I was lucky enough to win a $60 gift card from Goatroti, who posted a great interview with Chef Forrest Liu, which propelled Carmen’s to the top of my restaurant queue.
Atmosphere: Carmen’s was located in an old Tudor style house, smack dab in the centre of Toronto. The main dining room was full of heavy, tall backed leather chairs, colourful stained glass windows and a chandelier straight out of gothic romance novel. A real wood fire was set and stoked periodically by our server. I felt like I had stepped back in time. Most of our fellow diners were older and celebrating a special occasion. We were celebrating Friday. Dinner was intimate, romantic and felt super classy.
Service: Our server was attentive and professional. Crumbs were cleared from the crisp white linen tablecloths before entrees were served and our wine glasses were always filled. He was also friendly and joked with a dry sense of humour with an air of efficiency. When we quickly ate our garlic bread, he tempted us with a basket refill.
Food: In general, the steak at Carmen’s was one of the best I’ve had this year. We started the meal with a caesar salad, split for two. I found my half portion plentiful and loved the whole anchovy that was included. The leaves were well-dressed and the croutons crunchy. There was an uneven distribution of croutons between the two servings (pictured below was The Hubby’s with croutons a-plenty, mine was sparse). Still, a good start.
I chose the entree size of the Seared Scallops because The Hubby ordered the bone-in Ribeye that I would be stealing from sharing. My scallops were interesting. Four large scallops were lightly seared, served on a bed of quinoa and sweet peas and covered in a creamy sauce. The menu described a jasmine sea salt emulsion, but I hadn’t expected this to be so creamy and plentiful. I really enjoyed the scallops, but did find the sauce heavy.
We ordered our ribeye medium and cutting into the steak, the colour was beautiful. Outside, the steak had a dark char, a great crust and the inside was a perfect even pink. Compared to other steakhouses I’ve eaten at recently, Carmen’s steak stood out. For our side, we ordered the truffle fries. This was a good portion, lightly doused with truffle oil without being overpowering.
Dinner ended with a Coconut Creme Brulee the The Hubby and I shared. I liked the texture and flavour of the creme brulee itself, which was creamy and light, under all the superfluous toppings. Overall, while some components of dinner were ordinary, I would be back to Carmen’s in a heartbeat for their steak, which is the most important element of a steakhouse.