- Address: 120 Church St., Toronto
- Visited: 06/15/2016, Dinner, 3 people
- Cuisine: Bar
- 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://120diner.com/
Last year, the owners of 120 Club took over the first floor of their building and turned the space into a diner and live performance space. I was invited to check out their menu and stay for a show. During that visit, I found 120 Diner served up delicious classic comfort dishes like nachos but felt short on others like a rice bowl. Recently, I was invited to revisit the diner with Karen and Sandi, which had pared down their previously expansive menu to focus more on what they did best, bar food.
Disclaimer: All food and drinks reviewed below were provided complimentary. All opinions expressed below are wholly mine.
Atmosphere: In terms of decor, the restaurant was unchanged from my previous visit. 120 Diner have ramped up their live performance schedule though and have music or comedy performances every night. On the night we visited, we were entertained by two jazz acts. All regular jazz shows are Pay What You Can with a suggested amount of $10-$20. I would say the focus of the evening was the performers and most of the diners were there for the show. As a respectful audience, customers were asked to keep noise level minimal.
Food: I chatted briefly with Todd (the owner of 120 Diner) about how the menu had changed over the past year. His answer was that the menu was pared down and more focused. Before, I was impressed with the breadth of of selection but also overwhelmed with the number of choices, and with such a large number of menu items, there were bound to be a few duds. The revised menu still had a great variety of dishes, including plenty of comfort food and healthier choices, and some delicious new desserts.
Sandi, Karen and I each chose 1 or 2 dishes to order and blog about. I chose the Bruschetta, Hogatropolis Poutine and Strawberry Tall Cake. We also had some amazing Mac and Cheese and Ravioli that Karen has the details on.
The Bruschetta had chopped red and orange tomatoes, served on a toasted baguette with basil, and topped with shaved parmesan cheese and a drizzle of balsamic. I really liked the combination of the fresh tomatoes and balsamic. The parmesan added a hint of umami to the dish and the portion size was quite generous. I did have trouble tasting any basil in the dish, a stronger herb flavour would’ve added even more.
Since I tried and loved the nachos on my last visit, this time I chose a poutine, one topped with cheese curds, chicken gravy, pulled pork and double smoked bacon. Delicious. My favourite part of this dish was the thick, savoury gravy that melted the cheese curds and was soaked up by the fries. A blanket of pulled pork in a sweet BBQ sauce covered the plate. To me, each bite of this dish was a good balance between sweet and salty, satisfying both cravings at once. Crunchy bacon bits also added some texture.
Dessert was the highlight of the evening. A play on strawberry shortcake, the Strawberry Tall Cake was a mountain of vanilla soft serve, vanilla cake and fresh ripe strawberries. Pretty much all of my favourite things together on a plate. The portion size was also generous and could easily be shared with one or two other people.