Barque must be the most inconsistent restaurant in the west end of Toronto. I went by myself when it first opened and had a great lunch experience on the patio: tasty brisket on a flawless bun, cold draft and standout sides, including a memorable spicy corn chowder. So I booked the Sunday family-style, prix fixe dinner for myself and some foodie friends a while later and we were all thoroughly disappointed: every one of the meat choices was bland and dry and not to be rescued with the sauce they somewhat sheepishly produced for us. The sides were limited by the fixed menu, and were boring. The only saving grace was the "dessert", a smoked banana milkshake, which I found very interesting, but it wasn't exactly a general crowd-pleaser.
I have gone three times since, and it has been a complete mixed bag: 1. a near-disaster with my husband and our children, when the starters and caesers were very good and the server quite kind, but our toddler son was so hopeless we had to leave (points to the restaurant, -100 points to us for ruining the atmosphere for a half-hour); 2. a thoroughly mediocre night of very salty wings, dry ribs and brisket; and 3. a trip with my mom where the drinks were very good, which was a relief, because the merely decent food took so long we ate about three buckets of courtesy spiced popcorn. If you want consistently wonderful food for reasonable prices on Roncesvalles Avenue, go north two or three blocks and dig into some meat at Lardon, which is (nerve-wrackingly) never full. If you're looking for hipster atmosphere, the Blue Plate next to Lardon is both friendly and on-trend. Unless you're going for the bar, don't bother waiting in line at Barque: you don't know what you're going to get.
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