Awhile back I came across a deal on TeamBuy for tickets to see Avenue Q, a very funny and definitely-not-for-kids-in-spite-of-the-Muppets musical. My husband and I had seen this musical before in NYC and really enjoyed it then so when this $49 for two tickets deal came up, we decided to check out this Toronto production of the musical. It was playing at a theatre we were not familiar with – The Lower Ossington Theatre (LOT). I immediately googled it and found out that it is located in the Ossington Village area. This is an area located on Ossington Avenue between Queen Street West and Dundas Street West with a developing arts, music, and food scene. It seemed intriguing so we decided to check this area out.
I love trying new restaurants and managed to find a list of interesting restaurants that are located along Ossington Avenue. Union Restaurant had some great reviews so I made a reservation for us to have dinner there before the show. I also chose this restaurant because I liked the concept behind it – inspired by classic Paris bistros that serve simple, hearty fare. I also loved that it serves “only Ontario farm fresh, locally grown provisions with an emphasis on seasonal fruits and vegetables.” Union’s hearty and tasty fare won us over. We also enjoyed the Lower Ossington Theatre’s humble but intimate atmosphere and well-performed production of Avenue Q. It was enough to bring us back to both more recently to see LOT’s production of Rent. The food was again great and while this production of Rent was decent, I enjoyed LOT’s production of Avenue Q more.
The menu at Union Restaurant – We were told that there are certain items that can always be found on the menu and other items that vary depending on what is in season and available.
On our first visit, we shared a Union Salad to start. This consists of organic greens, potato rosti, chevre, and Union smoked bacon. It’s probably not the healthiest salad, but it does taste good.
On our first visit, my husband ordered the Steak Hache Aller-Retour (Scotch Mountain beef seared rare, topped with a fried egg) as his main course. He thoroughly enjoyed this and cleaned his plate.
I ordered the Sticky Ribs (charcoal smoked and braised back ribs in home made BBQ sauce) as my main on our first visit to Union. I’d read some very positive reviews about this dish and can understand why so many people recommended it. Saucy and tasty!
These were decent fries that came with mayo on the side, but not something I would rave about. They came with our meal both of the times we dined at Union.
On our first visit to Union, we tried the Sticky Ginger Cake (with toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream). It didn’t blow me away but was a nice sweet finish to the meal.
I’d read good things about Union’s Elk Sliders (with mirin galangal glaze and pickles) so we, of course, had to try them our second time at the restaurant. Delicious! My mouth waters just thinking about them!
My husband’s main course the second time around was Cornish Hen (I think). Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the menu that time so I can’t remember any other details. He did enjoy it though.
I also forget the details surrounding my main course during our second visit to Union. However, it was meaty, hearty, and flavourful!
My husband ordered two caipirinhas during our second outing to Union. The caipirinha became a favourite drink of his during our honeymoon in Brazil. It is Brazil’s national cocktail and consists of cachaça (cane sugar hard liquor), lime, and sugar. Union’s caipirinhas weren’t quite the same as the ones we had in Brazil but I thought the birch bark straw was an adorable touch!
Though the Lower Ossington Theatre (LOT) was humble in size and scope, we would be happy to see another show there. We enjoyed the intimate atmosphere and lack of crowding (other than the washroom line-ups during intermission). I loved the wall of love located by the stairs.
If you are looking for something a little different from the polished, Broadway-esque feel of a Mirvish production (although we enjoy those enough to have a subscription to their series of shows) and some simple, delicious and hearty food, I would recommend checking out Union Restaurant and the Lower Ossington Theatre!