Food Fridays: Allen's on Danforth
For this installment of Food Fridays we had lunch on the back patio at Allen’s. Between the giant weeping willows and the built-in wood seating this is one of this city’s most civilised and comfortable spaces to eat during warm, summer days.
Owner John Maxwell's Irish-American saloon style restaurant has long been a staple in Toronto's restaurant scene, known for its unpretentious casual atmosphere and good food. Not only does Allen's have one of North America's largest whisky lists, but also an extensive Ontario wine (VQA) selection, and nearly 200 varieties of beer. The bonus is the restaurant's comitmnt to sourcing local produce and hormone & additive-free meats. Behind the restaurant is an oasis of a patio that steals you away from the Danforth, with plenty of shade and serenity.
Our server helped us select the Macleans Pale Ale and the Hoptical Illusion from the extensive list. The Macleans has a slight bitterness that complements the honey-scented sweetness. The Hoptical (from Barrie’s own Flying Monkeys Brewery) has a welcome, hoppy bitterness (for some) that also shows a slight white pepper edge.
We enjoyed Allen’s well-known burger (cooked to order at the center) and the open-faced smoked salmon on soda bread sandwich. Because of the way it is cooked a burger highlights most of the flavours beef can express, from the slight metallic flavours of its more well-done outside to the buttery fat on the inside. Oak smoke taste more like wood than fruit-wood (which taste a bit like the apples or cherries the tree produced) or maple (which shares a flavour profile with the familiar syrup) so it also needs a confident beer pairing.
She also brought us each a half pint (it was Friday, but also lunch after all) of the new Hawaiian Style Pale Ale from Spearhead. I like how the slight sweetness leads off and disguises the moderate to intense bitter finish of this beer. It’s balanced in such a way that I could drink two or three without losing interest or having my palate tire.
143 Danforth Avenue, Toronto
Danforth Avenue and Broadview Avenue
Written by David Ort
As one of Spotlight’s contributing editors, David enjoys turning his mind (and keyboard) to a wide variety of topics ranging from recipes to restaurants to craft beer. When he’s not writing for Spotlight Toronto, David shares his thoughts on new restaurants and beer at PostCity.com and all things food and drink on his own site, Food With Legs.