I suppose it’s never fair to judge a restaurant on how it does on its second day open; this is analogous to the “alpha testing” phase of a software project, and there are bound to be bugs.
And there were bugs.
I had to wait too long to be seated, and then another 10 minutes before my order was taken. My drink took another 10 minutes to arrive, and the food followed about 20 minutes later. What should have been a 30 minute lunch took an hour. And I wasn’t alone: several tables were working on a “have to be back at work at 1:00 p.m.” deadline and lodged complaints after sending obvious “putting jackets on because we have to leave soon” pantomime messages.
The staff were pleasant about all this, offering apologies when they noticed that there was something to apologize for (which wasn’t enough of the time). I’m sure if I return in a week or two the machine will be humming and these first-week service problems will be gone. I hope.
The new sign in the window promises “Canadian and Asian Fusion” food. The menu (see a scan of the take-out menu here) is thus an interesting amalgam of old standards like the “T&C Special Burder,” “Hot Hamburger” and “Poutine” with new-fangled cuisine like “Oyster Motoyaki” and “Kerang Saus Padang.” There’s also a good portion of the old Lebanese menu, including falafel, shawarma and shish taouk.
I ordered the “Fried Rice Plate” which was described as:
Indonesian Fried Rice mixed with sausages served with sate and shrimp.
In reality this was “spicy rice with chopped up wieners.” There was one tiny shrimp included, about the size of a quarter. The rice was well-spiced, but the presence of the wiener chunks, which provided me with flashbacks to uncomfortable grade 2 “hot dog days,” detracted from my ability to enjoy it fully. The tiny sate (choice of beef or chicken; I had chicken) was excellent: hot, well-spiced, high-quality chicken.
The promise of additional Asian Fusion delights is enough to make me overlook the service lapses and the wiener orgy: I look forward to returning to sample “Balinese Curry,” “Chicken Paprika” or “Tori No Karagae.” Or even “Classic Canadian Club.”
The restaurant is open odd hours: seven days a week from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and then again from 4:30 until 8:00 p.m. They offer delivery “within city limits” and it’s free for orders of more than $25 (phone 892-2282).
If you miss the old Town & Country you’ll be happy to find that The Sea Treat, at the corner of Euston and University, has expanded its menu to include Louis’ Chicken and Rice Soup and a good selection of Lebanese dishes. You’re also more likely than not to find Louis and Faida there having lunch, waiting on tables, or just keeping in touch. The Sea Treat has become a regular Sunday afternoon lunch stop for Catherine, Oliver and I.