*UPDATE 29/10/2013 – Groupon Deal – Prix Fixe for 2 for $38 – 2 x appetizers + 2 x entrées. Click here.*
I’ve always driven by Czeohski on Queen West and wondered what lay beyond the rustic sign in big red letters. I’d seen it as an option for Winter/Summerlicious but always passed it over for other menus. Last night I finally took the plunge and discovered what it was all about.
With a Dealfind voucher and my best friend in tow we ventured to this Queen West hotspot. The dimly lit restaurant is seemingly small until you’re taken up a set of steep stairs to reveal a second floor through which you discover there is a rooftop patio that is extremely popular with most tables serving as a layover spot until a spot opens up.
Czehoski, formerly a Czech-Polish butcher shop has maintained more than just the original signage. Items such as Borscht and Pierogies pay hommage to its predecessor.
We sip our drinks to white noise and mindless chatter until the DJ arrives and the speakers are blaring with a great selection of tunes. I’m not quite sure what to think of the restaurant as I sit down by the window with a painting of a naked woman; her butt cheeks just inches from my head.
But that quickly fades into the background after I’ve had my first drink – a refreshing Pimm’s Cup ($13) made with Beefeater gin, Pimm’s citrus, muddled cucumber + berries, mint, agave nectar and gingerale. While the ambiance is that of an overall pub, the prices certainly digress. When I can get a mixed drink a few doors down at the Dog’s Bollocks for just $5; it makes me seriously reconsider just sticking with dinner and going elsewhere for my night cap.
For starters I opt for the Beef Poutine ($11) which I’m told is traditionally made with tongue and tail, topped with Ontario cheese curds, sour cream and cabbage. At a glance it loosely resembles a Fries Supreme at Taco Bell; but after having tasted the heap of crispy fries my doubts are settled. The meat gravy is extremely tasty and hot enough to melt the curds. I’m not sure what to make of the sour cream as it doesn’t do much to enhance the flavour.
My best friend opts for a plain plate of Russet Frites ($5) which, while simple are tasty in their own right (unlike the bland aioli that comes with). I’d stick with the good ol’ ketchup.
For our mains we continue down the road to dieter’s destruction with a Pulled Pork Mac +_Cheese ($19.95) which is rather bland, save for the overly sweet BBQ sauce that masks a somewhat dried pork. Ironically, the Sweet Potato Pierogies ($19.95) are the better choice as the natural sweetness of the tater contrasts the smoked Gouda.
Service is friendly though lag time between drinks to ordering to getting the bill becomes increasingly annoying as we try everything from turning our heads and closing our menus to entice our server to attend to us.
The damage at the end of the day for dinner (includes 2 beers + the Pimm’s Cup) is about $93 before tax and tip, which, without the $50 voucher is a bit steep for comfort food. However, the art of making a good pierogi shouldn’t be discounted and I would gladly pay $20 for a quality dumpling as I would a quality plate of pasta.
All in all, I had a great time at Czehoski and will definitely return to sit on the patio and try the charcuterie and Borscht – and maybe if service is a little speedier next time I’ll actually get to dessert.