I rarely if ever say anything negative on this site. That does not mean I never have a bad meal out. I just don’t like to write about it. But tonight, well, tonight I just can’t help myself. I felt like I was watching a Saturday Night Live skit that could be entitled “Hipster Joints Gone Wild”. It was actually funny, in a really expensive sort of way. I will not reveal the name of the restaurant – but some of you will guess.
Total sideline #1 – by ‘hipster joint’ I mean – a place gets rave reviews, exudes cool attitude – but when it comes right down to it – it does not deliver. At all. And the whole experience costs you a bundle.
Total sideline #2 – my views are greatly influenced by the fact that I, myself, and my friends, are not hipsters. We are not cool. We have no tattoos, the men no handlebar moustaches, and none of us wear topsiders. This could be a factor. Perhaps.
Here are some clues that tip you off that you are at a ‘hipster joint’ – not THE REAL DEAL – and they all manifested themselves tonight, at one of Toronto’s most talked about new restaurants. I did not even take any pictures in order to protect identities.
RESERVATIONS: When you call, you can only reserve at 6:30 or 8:30. AND – you are warned that you MUST give up your table at 8:30 – pronto. I can kind of get over this one if once you actually get there, the restaurant is packed. But tonight it’s not. The entire time we are there. The restaurant is not even full until we leave at 9:00. What’s wrong with a 7:00pm table? At 6:30 I felt like I was 75 years old going to a seniors buffet.
THE TAP WATER SIN: Once you declare your choice of Toronto tap, you have to beg for water. Several times. I mean, if you are a super cool waiter, at a super cool spot, you should not have to take something to the table that you can’t add to the bill – right? I mean tips are based on the total check right? Get with the program people, if you want tap water – stay home.
PLEASE SIR, CAN WE HAVE SOME BREAD? See above. Waiters at hipster joints can’t waste time bringing free stuff to freeloading customers. Even with the foie gras, apparently the waiter couldn’t ask the chef for extra toast – the chef is very particular and does not allow extra toast. Do we think he is running some sort of charity? Jeez. Pay your $26.00 for your Farmer’s Market Seared Foie Gras and move along.
ARTISAN & TRASH BEERS: I almost feel badly about this one. I love artisan beers. I love trash beers – like the $1.00 Old Milwaukee Monday Nights at Longman & Eagle in Chicago. Classic good times – and those guys at L&E are seriously cool. I love this hi brow/low brow trend actually. But a beer menu of 5 beers –4/5 of which NOBODY at our table has EVER heard of? (And the one we had heard of was a $5.00 Labatt 50.) We ordered 2 different kinds. One was flat – the one that cost $12.00. We told hipster waiter it was flat. His eyes glazed over like we were telling him how we like to fertilize our lawns. No offer of getting another one. Poor hipster waiter, having to deal with nerds like us. We have so much to learn.
DESSERTS IN MASON JARS: A long time ago, in a land not so far away (maybe Leslieville), a group of hipsters decided (I think it was the same meeting where they decided handlebar moustaches were cool) that “If a dessert is served in a mason jar, it is cute and ergo, delicious.” I was not at that meeting – clearly. I love mason jars. But you actually have to put something good inside it. Don’t argue with me – we aren’t eating the glass jar people – we are eating the dessert.
NO COFFEE: Our table ordered dessert and then asked each other if we’d be having coffee – you know how it goes – “You having coffee?” “Nah….I’ll just finish this delicious $12.00 flat imported artisan beer made with organic free trade hand harvested hops only picked from the sunny part of the field, thanks.” We all decided no on the coffees. Our waiter was relieved. “Well, that’s a good thing – because we don’t serve coffee. Or tea. We refuse to do DRIP (this word is pronounced with a facial expression similar to describing rat poison). BUT (now sing-songy voice)……….we are going to open for brunch soon, and are thinking about buying those cute little individual French presses – so, once that happens, you’ll be able to have coffee!!!!” Oh goodie. I could not make this stuff up.
NO SPLITTING BILLS: Turns out, friends of mine – a group of 6 women were in the back. They enjoyed their meal so much, they did not even stick around for the non-coffee and the cute yet tasteless mason jar desserts. When they went to pay – they were told absolutely no splitting bills more than two ways. For that you have to go see some front of house manager, probably for detention. See previous points – no doing work for free – not in hipsterville.
SO SO FOOD: At your classic hipster joint, where every critic is raving, bloggers are blogging and people are so keen to get in they will even eat at 6:30, you pay $200.00 for two, for pretty good food, no frills “service”, flat beer and the privilege of saying “Yeah, I did not eat bread there, and I hear they are actually gonna serve coffee in a few weeks!”