Sunday, 15 July 2007


"Over 35 But Still In Our Prime"

Two things that haven't happened in a long time: Me hanging out with Nee, and Me doing a new chicken wing review. So what better thing to do than kill two birds with one stone. We headed to an area I was unfamiliar with, Runnymede, in Toronto. It was quite a neighborhood with lots of pubs and interesting eateries - definitely an area to come back to to try more wings! We went to a pub Nee and Rayzor had tried earlier this summer with positive results: The Yellow Griffin.

You could spot the place from far away - tiki-grass umbrellas on the patio, and the distinctive black and yellow design of their sign (and website). A nice little patio, with an absolutely tiny inside (a few booths, a small bar and couple of tables, that was it), the Yellow Griffin was quite a pub. There were many interesting characters, from Mr Britain 70's (dressed from the 1970's and at least 70 years old), One Beer for the Road alcohol delivery guy, and The Traveler with his giant suitcase by himself. Yes it was an interesting crowd, but that did not deter me from being very hungry. I came for the wings, but stayed for the burger.

STYLE: battered
SAUCES: bbq/hot/honey garlic
SIZE: they were pigeon, but the batter made them bigger 0/2
HEAT: 4/10
PRICE: $7.85 for 1lb, $12.95 for 2lb
SIDES: veggies with blue cheese 2 /7
TOTAL: 18.5/35

These wings did just about everything wrong, and that's too bad. First, they were tiny. I mean small. The price was quite the rip-off, as there was no way that these were a pound, even with all the breading.

Now I can forgive a small wing, and the breading was a good start. But, and there had to be a but, either the breading was stale, or the oil was really old. I didn't see fish and chips on the menu, but the oil/breading had a fishy taste to it.

The hot sauce was not hot, but it did taste pretty good. What sauce there was. They were pretty bone dry, tiny little critters. On the flip side of things, you learn fairly quickly when entering the Yellow Griffin, the place is about the burgers. The wings are definitely just an afterthought.

The Yellow Griffin re branded their image a few years ago to compete with all the local pubs by focus on one item: burgers. And they have quite the burger selection. There is a three step process when ordering the burgers:

  1. What kind of meat? beef, pork, chicken, turkey, veggie, lamb, salmon and bison (for $2 more)
  2. select your side: grif-fries, sweet potato fries, greens, coleslaw, Red Baron kraut-slaw, Village potato salad, zucchini sticks, breaded pickles and breaded onion rings. Or, upgrade to a poutine for $2.50.
  3. select your burger.

This is where things get interesting. There are 35 different burgers to choose from. There are classic choices like the Griffin Banquet, the Hickory Stick and the Cheezy Triple. But its their more interesting choices like the Skinny Dipper (a burger with peanut butter), the tandoori Bollywood Burger, and the Saint Peter burger ('Russia's finest caviar, topped with Siberian prawns and Black Sea fish sauce ).

Fortunately for me, the wings were TINY and I was hungry, so I also ordered a burger. Nee went with the exciting Gringo Burger: mixed Mexican beans, chili sauce, cheddar cheese, sour cream and home made guacamole.

When Nee came here last time, they were 'out' of the Gringo, so she was happy this time to get her choice. She went with the traditional beef burger, and sweet potato fries on the side. "The best" sweet potato fries she, and I think I, have ever had. They weren't too small to be too crunchy, and they weren't too big to be soggy. Just right and with a nice dusting-coating on the outside. What she didn't like, was the Miracle Whip dressing on the side as opposed to mayo.

I went with the Don Juan Burger: a burger topped with a chorizo sausage, sweet red peppers, onion, and whole roasted garlic. To make it even better, I ordered it with lamb meat, which was excellent. I enjoyed the burger for sure. The toppings were good, but by the end of the burger I was done with the burger. I would definitely go for the lamb burger again, but I would try something other than the Don Juan. I also love that the price of each burger is set, and that the sides are the same for each (you pay more for a specialty burger, not the accompanying sides).

For my side, I ordered the breaded pickles. Deep fried pickles are a rare and glorious treat when done well. They are one of the perfect accompaniment for wings, but in this case, the were perfect choice for the burger.

FINAL SCORE: terrible tiny wings, but big meaty burgers with lots of option. The service was also REALLY slow. So slow, I'm pretty sure we witnessed The Traveller performing a dine-and-dash. At first we thought it was because it was so busy and they were understaffed. But it wasn't. Service was slow. The price of a good burger I guess. 18.5/35

The Yellow Griffin Pub
2202 Bloor Street West

1 comment:

Lord of the Wing said...

Happy now Ricky? Huh? Are you happy now? There is your wing review!!!