Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Cluck, Grunt, and Low

Cluck, Grunt, and Low is a bbq restaurant on Bloor Street, a block or so west of Spadina. Can you figure out what the name means? Not a pretentious place, and as you can see the decor is not Four Seasons (except for the velvet). Do you like the table linen?

Sergio and I are on a hunt for lunches under $15. That's him talking to our friend, Imogen, about the picture theory of meaning.

We have eaten the Croque Grunt, which is pulled pork and cheese -- Sergio's riff on kosher, the brisket sandwich (tender and very well flavoured), and the ribs two ways -- a dry marinade, and a sweeter wet barbeque sauce.

This is a fabulous restaurant for meat-lovers. The last time we were there, there were four young mothers eating, on an outing with babies in bassinets, and actually at the other tables lots of women eating with each other. All of them kept repeating: "Meat, meat: I love it". Clearly, they protested too much: guilt was in their sandwich, but it didn't spoil the enjoyment.

The meat is fabulous: tender and flavourful, though in my judgement, the ribs are a little too meaty. I enjoy the kind of spare-ribs on which there is very little meat: it seems that the flavour is more intense that way. These were not exactly "spare" -- as big as short-ribs, almost. And, of course, all of it has the kind of molasses/tomato sweetness that one expects of southern barbeque. Still: it isn't as if there is another restaurant I've been to in Canada where you can get this kind of stuff. Actually, it beats most places in Texas, with their huge servings and doughy rolls. It's a nice idea for Toronto to be the civilizing influence on Texas barbeque.

Our bill was just over 60 for four. Not a bad deal at all. Good service, appropriately sassy.

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