In mid-September, Northern Maverick Brewing Co. threw open its doors in a prime space in downtown Toronto, at the corner of Bathurst Street and Adelaide Street West.
The 11,000-sq.-ft. space, featuring a two-floor brewery, beer school and 400-seat restaurant and patio, is impressive, bright and airy thanks to a high ceiling and huge picture windows. It’s outfitted in plenty of hard surfaces and an understated earthtone palette. A 70-ft. quartz bar and oyster bar snake along the back wall.
More impressive still is the food. Overseen by executive chef Mark Cutrara and founder/owner Jason Kaptyn, the menu is built on seasonal, local ingredients.
Chicken wings, smoked and roasted, are plump, meaty, superbly moist. They’re so good, they don’t even need their accompanying dipping sauces.
Terrific pancakes, made from grated summer squash, each hold a cloud-like dollop of buffalo ricotta showered with shaved parmesan.
Salads are excellent, and are built on ultra-fresh greens. There’s kale and chard tossed with creamy roasted garlic dressing and soft, homemade parmesan croutons. Brightly flavoured Niagara Pinot Noir vinaigrette moistens mustard greens and heirloom tomatoes.
Plump and full of flavour, the burger is built on a patty made from dry-aged, house-ground chuck and topped with house-made bacon and house-smoked cheese. On the side, crispy fries.
The 7 oz. striploin, dry-aged 30 days, is tender, juicy and deeply flavourful.
But best-in-show goes to the trout. It’s smoked in-house, and is moist and delicate. It’s garnished with silky celery root purée, pickled apple and crisp, julienned fennel.
This is pub food elevated to new heights.
Finish with the maple soft-serve ice cream accessorized with warm bourbon bacon jam. With all those gloriously sweet ’n’ salty, maple and bacon notes, it’s like Canada in a bowl, and an ice cream lover’s fever dream.
Buyouts are available in the main dining room, which can accommodate 160 people for seated meals or host 350, cocktail-style. A section of the main dining room can be reserved as a semi-private space for groups of 60 to 80 for sit-down meals or for up to 120, cocktail-style. Full venue buyouts are also available and accommodate up to 350. A second-floor, wheelchair-accessible private dining room features a beer and food library and custom-built bar, and hosts 40, seated or 55, cocktail-style. The Chef and Brewmaster’s Table seats 10 and offers tours of the onsite brewery followed by dinner with beer pairings.
— Don Douloff has been a restaurant critic for over 30 years and, during that time, has critiqued more than 1,400 eateries. In 1988, he studied the fundamentals of French cuisine at Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris, France. During his time in France, he furthered his gastronomic education by visiting the country’s bistros, brasseries and Michelin-starred temples of haute cuisine. He relishes exploring the edible universe in his native Toronto and on his travels throughout Canada and abroad.