Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Drake Hotel

I've always heard good things about the food at Drake Hotel (especially their burgers) and have always meant to go try it, but somehow I never got around to it. There are just toooo many restaurants in Toronto that I want to try, and Drake Hotel always somehow falls off my "to-eat" list. I guess a part of me wanted to wait till it's super duper hot out so I can go then and take full advantage of their rooftop patio, the Sky Yard. Anyway, for my birthday, I was at a lost about where to go for dinner. Since I wasn't in the mood for fine dining and because the weather was beginning to look promising, I made a reservation at Drake Hotel a week in advance of my birthday  - it was a go, rain or shine.

Although it was still a bit chilly, the rain stopped late afternoon (it was raining all day) so I was excited about the thought of getting my hands on some meaty burgers at the Sky Yard.  But when we arrived, I got the feeling the hostess was trying to keep us inside - she kept on telling us that "it's pretty cold up there" and that even if "it's nice out now, it's gonna get cold later"; I just got the impression that she was trying to deter us away from the patio. So okay fine, we settled for inside.

As you can tell, it was pretty dead inside the restaurant. At that point I wasn't sure maybe it's because it's Sunday, or we were early, or whether people still thought it was raining or something. There was literally only one table of six sitting across from us.

After we ordered, my boyfriend went to the washroom. When he came back, he told me there were a lot more people on the rooftop patio. We immediately asked the hostess if we can sit up there instead (our waiter was no where to be found). She said she will check, and finally said OK. Till this day I'm still unsure why she was so reluctant to put us up on the patio.

On the way up to the Sky Yard. 

Looking into the covered part of the Sky Yard patio.

Looking out to the uncovered part of the patio.

Although the patio was not packed, it was still very lively. The Sky Yard had way more of a casual feel than the dining room downstairs - although with the same menu, it was almost like two different restaurants. I liked the patio =)

I ordered my usual Caesar, my boyfriend ordered a Guinness.

The burgers were the only things that popped out at us on the menu, so we both ordered burgers. I heard the sushi is also quite good at Drake Hotel, but we already had Japanese for lunch. 

My boyfriend had the Classic Burger - Kerr Farms' beef, blue cheese, caramelized onions, and roast jalapeño.

Instead of the hand cut FF which comes with the burger, he opted for the poutine.

Just so we don't order the same thing, I got the Drake Burger - Kerr Farms' beef, bacon, white cheddar, and russian dressing with hand cut FF.

I liked my boyfriend's Classic Burger more than my Drake Burger. I found that my burger was a tad over cooked, making it a bit on the dry side (we both ordered medium rare). My boyfriend took a bite of my burger and agreed as well. The Classic Burger was also a lot more tender, although I'm not sure if it's my own imagination since they are both from Kerr Farms (maybe different cuts?). Looking back, I should have ordered the Classic anyway because I love blue cheese and caramelized onions (what was I thinking?). Still, the Classic Burger is far from the Wagyu beef brisket burger I had back in May at Nota Bene. I have been forever spoiled haha.

As for the poutine, it was good / average. The best poutine I've ever had is from La Banquise from Montreal (it beats Smokes Poutinerie any day in my opinion). But since Drake Hotel is not a poutine joint, I have no complaints about with their poutine.

One more thing about burgers. I still want to try The Harbord RoomCraft Burger, and The Burger's Priest. Any one have any other suggestions for burgers? =D

The Drake Hotel on Urbanspoon