A brief walk west of St. Andrew station, Fred's Not Here steakhouse is where a bunch of my fellow co-workers and I decided to spend our Friday outing, on what just happened to be the first day of Summerlicious. We had a reservation at 7:30pm, and I was the last to arrive because there was an injury on the subway track, so the trains were stopped from Bloor to Union. I ended up having to take the green to St. George, then transfer back to the yellow to get down to St. Andrew. In other words (for those unfamiliar with the TTC or those who frankly don't care how I got to the restaurant, and are like, "just show me the food!!"), it took me almost twice as long as what Google Maps told me.
I was starving by the time I got to the restaurant, but... never fear - bread is here! The motto for the night was, "We can always get more," which spoke to our table's bread obsession. Or maybe just hunger. But in all honesty, the bread was so darn good. After the first basket, we all agreed to get just the white bread, which practically melted in your mouth, and the corn bread, which had the typical grainy corn bread texture, a touch of sweetness, and a hint of jalapeño. I think we ordered at least 4-5 refills of the bread... It was really that good! (And really spoiled our appetite haha)
On to the menu - too many good choices! I had to go with the lobster and crab soup - who can pass up that combination? Plus Fred's famous for that. Dessert was easy too. Frozen desserts are a little bit of a weakness for me, so of course I had to go with the ice cream. The entree was a bit more difficult... I couldn't decide between - well - all of them, besides the vegetarian one, which I ruled out because I need my meat (I'm kind of a carnivore remember?)
Funnily enough, we all ordered the soup to start - everybody except the one girl who was vegetarian. I think most of us liked the soup - the puff pastry was flaky, but light, and it complemented the soup quite nicely. The soup was good - not too salty - but no crab or lobster bits were to be found floating in the mix, what I was looking forward to the most.
The lobster and mussels linguine marinara. The one who order this noted that it was a pain to eat the claws, especially when somebody with a light coloured shirt is sitting right across from you haha.
|Prime rib with mashed potatoes|
The New York strip steak was presented quite nicely. The green beans were light and fresh, and the pickled purple vegetable (turnip maybe? I'm not sure) provided a nice, sour colour contrast to the steak. I was a little disappointed by the steak though... I had ordered it medium, and the first part of it was more of a medium-well, with barely a touch of pink. It was only after I finished a third of my steak that it started looking more like a medium. My co-worker also ordered medium for his steak, but his was quite raw, more of a medium-rare, or even a little rawer than that in certain parts.
I was excited for dessert; I love ice cream! However, I was a bit disappointed. The chocolate hazelnut was basically chocolate ice cream that seemed to be from a grocery store (not that grocery store ice cream is bad, but I was expecting better), with bits of hazelnut mixed in. The caramel popcorn was quite hard as well. I realize that caramel is supposed to be crunchy, except this popcorn was hard on the outside and hard on the inside, instead of the normal soft and airy texture of popcorn.
Others who had the cheesecake weren't very impressed and noted that they've definitely had better. The crust was kind of powdery and the cake itself wasn't spectacular.
Overall, Fred's Not Here was a bit of a disappointment. The steak was not cooked consistently, and the dessert was subpar. I can understand that, because of Summerlicious, the kitchen was extremely busy trying to pump out everybody's orders, but that's no excuse for such poor consistency, especially when the place is known as a steakhouse. The only thing that saved this steakhouse from a below average rating was the puff pastry and crab soup. And of course, the complimentary bread baskets and good company with friends.