The last time I was at Skin + Bones, Matthew Sullivan was still “man”-ing the kitchen. and I had gone for dinner. The food was good, but the portion sizes on the small side and the prices were on the high side. Kim Hernandez then hopped on board but as per the restaurant, she too has since parted ways. In the void of an exec chef, a consulting chef was brought on board, but the restaurant plans to announce a new exec chef later this month. If this past weekend’s brunch experience is any indication, the kitchen is doing just fine without a knife-wielding leader.
First and foremost, I love the space. It’s industrial-like without being cold and uninviting and I’m always a fan of the loft-like exposed brick. For those who love to bask in the
lime sunlight, the front of the restaurant is ideal as the large windows let in plenty of sunshine; for those who like to turn the lights down low (or turn up the romance), I’d suggest a seat towards the rear of the restaurant. It’s also worth noting the view of the kitchen is most visible in the back.
This Leslieville hot spot has been lauded for its well-selected wine list since it opened. It’s one of those “coincidentally the food is pretty good too” type of places. After having read many good things about their ploughman’s brunch (just add $3 with the order of any entrée); I decided to revisit.
While the brunch menu is no buffet when it comes to options, the selection covers all your typical brunch foods, this isn’t your typical greasy spoon fare.
Porchetta Benedict. Poached egg, Hollandaise, cheddar polenta.
This is exactly the kind of brunch dish that will wake you up (and it won’t be because you ordered a coffee). The porchetta has a perfectly crispy and addictive crackling (though they may want to change up the hardware, read cutlery since a spreading knife makes it hard to cut through); the creamy polenta with rapini is cheesy, creamy goodness (comparable to the grits of Acadia fame); and the orgasmic, runny-yolk, perfectly poached egg and Hollandaise makes you want to roll over onto your couch and stay there for the rest of the day. Comfort food at its best! It’s one of those dishes that you wish you could savor but find it hard to as you lick up the last bit of polenta from your dish in shame and drop your fork in triumph.
Buttermilk fried chicken breast. Slaw, ranch mayo on sourdough.
I always love me some fried chicken – even if it is 11AM on a Sunday morning. While this dish didn’t wow as much as the porchetta; it is some finger lickin’ good fried chicken. Sorry Colonel, you’ll have to move aside. At first I was hesitant to order it because it was white meat which usually tends to mean I devour the breading and leave most of the dry, bland pieces of breast meat unfinished. You won’t find that here. These breasts get sous-vided and are then twice-fried for added crispiness. It is one of the juiciest chicken breasts I’ve had and makes for a damn good (open-faced) sandwich. The sourdough was good in its own right, but the dish really didn’t benefit from its presence.
We added the ploughman’s buffet for an additional $3 to our entrées, which was worth it as an add-on (otherwise $14 on its own). There were 2 meats and 3 cheeses on the day we went, along with house-baked goods such as palmiers, cheddar biscuits, scones, croissants and all the fixings (mustard, preserves, vanilla poached pears which I needed a bowl of just for myself, loved the hint of star anise), and homemade granola. A small, but yummy selection that went great with my hot chocolate.
The hot chocolate definitely had the froth going for it, but in terms of creaminess or rich chocolate flavor it dragged behind. It definitely meets Amy Pataki‘s standards in terms of appearances (according to her, hot chocolates should be closer to white or in other words the color of milk) but it still needs a bit of work in the flavor department. The coffee was quite good and was topped up when it ran low.
The damage at the end of the day was about $50 including tax and tip. Being someone who brunches not infrequently, While there will never truly be a replacement in my heart for the Hoof Café – Skin + Bones comes in at a close second and has definitely become my brunch joint of choice. I can’t wait to find out who the new exec chef is and since the food had much more wow-factor than my previous dining experience, am encouraged to return for dinner again.