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9/11/03

The Rebel Chop House

2197 Bloor Street West, Toronto

 

Note! This restaurant has been closed.

Visit their sister joint: The Rebel House at 1068 Yonge St.

 

It takes guts to put “rebel” in the title of anything; it takes even more to have a hangman on the cover of your menus. For those of us not completely familiar with Upper Canadian histroy, The Rebel Chophouse, in the Bloor West Village of Toronto gets i'ts name and decor from the pioneers and brave souls of the Upper Canadian Rebellion. Once seated,  one will care less what is on the walls or in the sub-text because the traditional farmhouse food with a modern twist is what makes the trip worthwhile – every single time.

The ambiance of the Rebel Chophouse depends on the personalities of your dinner companions. The interior of the restaurant is designed brilliantly so that groups of two or groups of ten can feel like they are the only ones in restaurant. Too frequently establishments forget that we eat out in groups larger than four at times but the Rebel caters to groups of all sizes and all appetites.

My most recent experience with the Rebel was with a group of six. I can count on one hand the amount of times this group of six has all enjoyed their meals. Despite my brothers demand that all should order the Brome Lake Duck, only three did, the other orders were the Spinach and Apple Salad Meal, Mussels in Spicy Tequila, Lime, Cilantro and Cumin Broth and myself, the Lamb Chop.  It is a Chophouse after all, so expect your meats to be showpiece, a selection of six various starch sides and the prices comparable to a Steakhouse.

While taking our orders, the waiter, dressed in a flaming cross and skull t-shirt played beautifully on the cheekiness of our table. His entertaining and almost rebellious demeanor engaged perfectly with the crowd and friendly Canadiana feel.

Fed up with trying to list off the endless selections of beers available, all Canadian (minus a few) and many micro-brewed – the waiter chose beers for the table. For me, he chose the Rebel Chophouse Stout, ideal for my mammoth Lamb Chop about to arrive. It reminded me of a Guinness but with more bite and less cream.

Kudos to chef Kevin Beall, the meals were absolutely divine. The Tequila mussels were generously flavored and made my mother giddy, the table otherwise fell silent. The three duck lovers didn’t stop to breath while my sister in law couldn’t finish her salad. I devoured the tender Ontario lamb chop glazed with fresh rosemary and mint doused with red wine reduction. It tickled the palate and like a Merlot, demanded a strong a robust flavor. I left not a trace of mash potato or carrot on my plate. I received a pat on the back from the waiter as he announced to the table “There are no calories in shared desserts, they all fall out”.

Two desserts, a Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake and a Fresh Banana Bread with crème anglais and fresh berries were passed leisurely around the table, as a few more micro-brews were tasted. I turned as a rowdy crowd of 20 something’s entered the bar and my mother snuck my lamb chop bone into her purse for my puppy at home, half the size of it.

As we left, I wanted to congratulate the bartender, and part owner, for such a perfect family outing but he was busy nursing another stout to greatness and I figured I would do it next time we visited to satisfy our carnivore needs and Canadian enthusiasm.

 

 

 
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