1320 Queen Street West
I'm not usually in the Parkdale area but long story short, they were the only restaurant willing to accommodate a walk-in of 8 on a Sunday night at 7pm. The restaurant is small with only one large table at the front of the restaurant, there are high tops on one side and bar seating on the other. Chantecler's set up is much like Black Hoof with one stove top. Our waiter recommended us to order the whole menu and double up on some dishes for our large group which we were happy to do so.
We started off with the Oysters served with lemon and kimchi juice, $15 per dozen. No complaints here, the oysters were fresh and the kimchi juice is a nice alternative to your traditional Tabasco while giving it a more tangy flavour.
Then came the Veg-Noodle Salad, potato noodles, smoked shiitakes & sesame, $6. The salad was nice and tangy but it wasn't anything amazing.
The highlight of my night was the Popcorn Shrimp, $11, it's literally shrimp with a popcorn batter crust. The shrimp were huge and it had a slight king of spiciness with an incredibly crispy batter. I could've eaten buckets of this. A must order when at Chantecler.
Next was one of the best Beef Tartares (with peanuts, wasabi, fish sauce & shrimp sauce, $12) I've had. It was served with shrimp chips. The beef was nice chopped and super tender, and the wasabi wasn't too overpowering.
Fancy Wings, fried garlic and scallions, $10. I really enjoy of crispy and meaty the wings were but they were too vinegary for my liking.
Right after was the Crispy Soggy Calamari with caramelized peanuts & tamarind sauce, $11. It smelled so good as it arrived at the table; it was nutty, crispy, sour, sweet, and savoury all in one bite. The calamari was tender and well cooked.
The Shrimp and Vermicelli, $8.50, was just average for me. I've had much better in terms of taste in other Chinese restaurants.
We got both lettuce wraps, the first one to arrive was the Fish Wrap, haddock & Japanese tartar sauce ($4.50 each). Nicely battered, it was super light and refreshing even though the fish was deep-fried.
Next was the Pork Special Wrap – dried oyster, roast seaweed & puffed wild rice ($4 each). I'm on the fence on this one, I didn't not like it but it wasn't anything memorable for me.
Chectecler is probably most known for their Lettuce Meal (braised beef cheek & slow smoked pork shoulder served with lettuce, steamed rice, house pickles & sauces, $21). This is a meal meant to one for two people. Basically you create your own lettuce wrap with all the accompaniments, I enjoyed the beef cheek much more than the pork shoulder. I thought this would have been much better, I wasn't blown away by anything and everything was just okay.
We also added Crispy Tofu for an extra $10 because we had a pescatarian, nothing special again.
By this point everyone was stuffed but as soon as our waiter mentioned fresh donuts as one of the dessert options, my ears perked up and suddenly had room in my stomach.
We got the Ice Cream Sundae, $10, with all the fixings. Fixings include brûlées banana, Maltesers, frosted cereals, nuts, and smarties.
It was so simple but so good, just perfect to end a meal.
Last but not least, Homemade Donuts with grapefruit cream, $5.
I loved everything about this dish; soft, hot sugary donuts! I didn't like the cream with the donuts but we did enjoy it by it's self.
Overall a fantastic meal with a very attentive and accommodating staff, our cups were never left empty and they described what every dish was as they were being served.