Location: 25 The West Mall, Etobicoke
The common refrain is that you should give a restaurant at least a few weeks before you pass judgment on it. It often takes a little while for the kitchen to work out all the kinks.
Union Chicken is a perfect example of this. Last year, I went there within a couple of weeks of its opening; it was absolutely, positively awful. I tried a few things and they were all horrifically bad.
In the meantime, I’ve heard basically nothing but good things, so I figured it was probably about time to give it another shot. And it was night and day. Everything was really, really good.
The Buffalo and blue cheese fried chicken sandwich was delicious. It’s got everything you’re looking for in a fried chicken sandwich: that amazing exterior crunch, a juicy piece of chicken (the fact that it’s thigh instead of breast helps mightily in this regard), and a zingy sauce that makes it all sing.
There’s something about the magical interplay between vinegary Buffalo sauce and creamy blue cheese dressing that just works, and Union Chicken only elevates that — the blue cheese dressing on the sandwich is seriously tasty, with a mild garlicky bite that sets it apart.
I had the baked beans on the side, and they were also well above average. Sometimes baked beans can be a bit of a sweet overload, but these had a nice vinegary punch to round things out, and a decent amount of spice. The texture was a bit soupy, but they were otherwise top-shelf beans.
That sandwich, though. I was honestly surprised at how good it was. It definitely belongs on a list of the best fried chicken in the city.
Location: 25 Sherway Gardens Road, Etobicoke
Amaya is a (usually) decent quality chain that (usually) serves tasty Indian fare. But the Sherway Gardens location is… odd. I tried it when it first opened, and the food was so atrociously bad that it was nearly inedible.
I figured they deserved another chance — new restaurants often need a month or two to work out all the kinks. I just tried the rogan josh, which features big chunks of lamb in a mildly spicy curry sauce on top of basmati rice.
Yeah, it was pretty bad. It’s so weird, because the other Amaya locations I’ve tried have been pretty reliable, but the Sherway Gardens location is almost like a completely different restaurant.
The flavour of the curry wasn’t bad, but the chunks of lamb were mostly tough and rubbery (with a few tender pieces interspersed throughout to mix things up), the rice was ice cold, and when I got to the bottom of the bowl, there was a big pool of greasy water that was tremendously off-putting.
Location: 25 The West Mall, Etobicoke (inside Sherway Gardens)
I mentioned recently that I like Sweet Jesus, but that it looks better than it tastes. Well, I think that the abysmal soft serve at Kiss the Tiramisu and Loukomania Cafe have completely readjusted the way that I evaluate soft serve. They were a very visceral reminder that bad soft serve can be really bad.
Suddenly, Sweet Jesus is looking pretty good. Because I just went to their location in Sherway Gardens, and I quite enjoyed it.
I got the Oh Hungry, which is similar to the flavour I got last time — vanilla ice cream, caramel and peanut butter sauces, peanuts, chocolate chips, and a chocolate drizzle.
It was shockingly delicious. All of the sauces, nuts, and chocolate went really well together (true to its name, it tasted similar to an Oh Henry bar), and there seemed to be a better ratio of toppings to ice cream. Plus, the vanilla ice cream was rich and creamy. It still didn’t have much of a flavour beyond a general sweetness, but it wasn’t overly cloying and the texture was on point.
I don’t know if the quality has gone up or if my expectations have gone down, but either way, it was good stuff.