A few weeks ago I dined at a new restaurant called Braised located in Leslieville. The restaurant which is owned by Sam Scanga, also owner of Lolita's Lust on the Danforth, opened up about a month ago in the east side of Toronto. The menu at Braised offers hearty, traditional fare with the main focus being on items that are ‘braised ‘. If you’re unfamiliar with the term braising it is a cooking technique in which the main ingredient is seared, or browned in fat, and then simmered in liquid on low heat. Aside from the main raised & braised items, the menu also offers some unconventional braised items that will peak your interests and taste buds. Items such as the beer braised crispy pork cheeks and pork shoulder terrine are great starters for those who are ardent carnivores . Most of the ingredients at Braised are locally sourced and the chef perfects her dishes to bring customers food that is loaded with robust flavour and exceptional quality!
The restaurant which is located at 896 Queen Street is a gorgeous space that encapsulates both rustic and modern design . There are colourful abstract paintings featured throughout the walls and the ceilings are artfully draped with hanging edison bulbs. The bar is bright and spacious and neatly displays the selection of alcohol available. We were lucky enough to snag a spot at the open window which rolls up like a garage door to create a patio effect. A few curious faces peaked in to check out the new spot within their community and we made sure to nod in approval as our bellies were beyond satisfied with the fare we had just indulged in.
What we ate:
Fresh bread & Hummus (complimentary)
The bread and hummus was the first nibble we had. The bread was fresh and the hummus was light and creamy. I didn't eat too much of it though because I didn't want to get to full before the main feast!
Crispy Pork Cheeks - $8
We were told that this appetizer was one of the most popular items on the menu and so we were curious to see what it was like. The braised pork cheeks were served with raspberry coulis and tartar sauce which created an absolutely delicious sweet and savory combo. I dipped my first croquette in the colourful condiment concoction and dug in. Inside the crispy croquette was tender braised pork cheek that definitely lived up to the hype. The dipping sauces really heightened and enhanced the pork cheek making this a appetizer a definite hit.
Braised Short Rib - $25
The Short Rib was braised in a lovely red wine sauce and served with grilled rapini. The short rib was a generous portion of braised beef that literally fell apart in the juices. There was an abundance of rich flavour in the juice and the meat was meltingly tender. I love that this dish was served with veggies only as the meat is very hearty and filling.
Braised and Grilled Lamb Shoulder $20
I don’t eat lamb very often unless it’s cooked incredibly and thankfully this dish was done perfectly. The large lamb shoulder was succulent, flavourful and of good quality! It was served with kale and crispy rosemary and topped with a bit of a sauteed tomato mix. I had to split this dish with my sister because I was already overwhelmed by the short rib, but we managed to finish it all since the impeccable flavour had us hooked.
Short Rib Grilled Cheese - $18
My sister ordered this and thought it was decent. It was a toasted baguette loaded with shredded short rib and cheese and served with a side of au jus. She said it was quite delicious but not comparable to the epic short rib and lamb shoulder we had just devoured. This would've been better as a lunch option but since we were here for dinner, the braised mains stole the show.
Classic Creme Brulee
The waiter listed off a few dessert items as there is no official menu yet. We first went with the crème brulee and it was pretty standard. It actually was a bit too 'eggy' for my liking but I still ate the entire thing.
The cheesecake was light and savory and is made with a blend of feta and cream cheese. The feta helps to give this cheesecake a tart taste but the raspberry sauce adds a dash of sweetness for a rather unique dessert. Definitely a must try.
Overall we had a wonderful experience at Braised. The service was excellent, speedy and everyone was well-informed of the menu items. Braised is open for lunch, dinner and brunch on weekends. The full menu can be found here: Braised Menu