Strike a nerve? No no, a pose….Vogue Supperclub
As I’ve worked in a restaurant for the past several years myself, I am always one to advocate on the side of the server when a dining experience doesn’t run as seamlessly as it should. I truly believe that when you’re out with close friends, re-connecting, celebrating, relaxing, food and service should almost take a back seat in order to keep your company in the limelight. However, I do know that there is a limit, and once that limit is reached, and tolerance is hanging on to everyone’s mood for dear life, the experience can turn from enjoyable to annoyable.
I shouldn’t start off this post on a negative note. In fact, the night was a great success in my eyes. All of our friends came together for the first time in god knows how long, in a great atmosphere, with extremely tasty food. When it came. The only issue was the pace of the meal was so slow that the mood turned from relaxed to anxious as we rounded on to hour three of dining and were expected to be at 1812 Thompson Hotel to claim our table 45 minutes ago. It is important for me to note, however, that the supper club just opened under a month ago, so to be fair, I understand that they are still working out the kinks. Clearly proper staffing is something they haven’t tackled just yet.
On the bright side….
Upon arriving at Vogue Supperclub on 42 Mowat Avenue in Liberty Village, we were greeted warmly and escorted to our table immediately. The atmosphere is everything I crave in a night out in the city. Chic and romantic while still feeling comfortable and intimate. With a mix of long rectangular, short square tables and booths, the venue caters to any type of mood you may want to create with your party (whatever size it may be). It definitely gives off a feeling of warmth and rusticity with its dim lighting and mainly wooden furnishings and finishes. Music was playing, but at a level that allowed for your neighbour two doors down to still be audible.
Our party of 17 trickled in slowly, and I was a bit put off by the fact that we were never offered beverages, even water, before everyone was seated. When the drink order was taken, it took a while for it to arrive, but given this may have been because our server wanted to get through our dinner order so he could put it through for us as soon as possible. My drink was last to arrive, and as I watched the ice in my glass melt as it stood forgotten on the bar, I was unnerved by the fact that, since our server seemed particularly busy, none of the other staff members idling by the service bar offered to drop it off on his behalf. Moxie’s may not be a fine dining restaurant, but we definitely thrive on team work and when one of our fellow floor members is in the weeds, their unforgotten drinks would never get too comfortable on our bar.
On a positive note, our set menu offered us a huge selection of choice in both appetizers and mains. Chef Anthony Ramundi is an extremely talented young chef. The menu had a great variety of choice, featuring dishes that give off your typical supper club fare, with a few innovative twists. After much debate and appreciated suggestions, I decided on the sliders with St. Angus blue cheese, truffle mushrooms and red wine demi. They were great, (although a little extra truffle mushroom would’ve made them fantastic;)). We had a large party, so we got to see a lot of what the restaurant has to offer. Some of the girls had the Mushroom Toasts, which after sampling, I wish I had chosen for myself, with roasted mushroom, tomato, warm ricotta and wilted spinach. Others had the Poutine made with manchego cheese, the Lobster Fritters with saffron aioli, the Vegas Frites seasoned with parsley, Parmigiano and truffle oil (mmm mm mmmm), and the Grilled Cheese served on brioche with burrata mozzarella (buttered/creamed mozzarella). The portion sizes were quite large, which is great for sampling and sharing with others, but might make for an expensive night in alcohol if you plan on getting intoxicated later on.
For my main, I wanted to veer away from my usual chicken or salmon choice, so I opted for the Aubergine. It consisted of crispy eggplant strips served on a bed of perfectly cooked creamy polenta. The tomato sauce rivaled those of my Italian-born relatives (and my mom, and let me tell you she cooks like a true Italian despite her Lithuanian heritage, in great thanks to my Nonna), and clearly were a showcase of Chef Ramundi’s Italian roots. Once again, the portions were generous, 8oz angus steaks, half roasted chickens, at least 6-8oz salmon fillets and racks of Ontario lamb. I would be curious to go back and try the creamy lobster Mac and Cheese, but no one in our party opted for it, so I can’t comment. Clearly quality was an important factor in their ingredient selections.
For dessert, the table was brought 4 sharing platters. There was a pumpkin pudding, apple turnovers draped in a glorious caramel sauce, and a rich and dense flourless dark chocolate cake. It took all of my willpower, and consistent self-reminders of proper table manners, to not devour every morsel off those plates. My favourite was definitely the apple turnovers…and the caramel sauce….droolllll…..
Like I said, despite the service draw backs, it was a successful night. I think it would take a natural disaster to ruin a night out with my girlfriends and I, to be quite honest. We ended moving upstairs to the club afterward, as we ran a bit too late for our reservation at Thompson. But in no means did this turn out to be a bad thing–we were given excellent service in the club at Vogue, our glassware was promptly refreshed after every shot, and our cocktailer was always around to refill our mixers before they were even half-finished. Given a bit more time, some extra kitchen and service staff, and some louder promotion, Vogue Supperclub has the potential to be a great new spot for the maturer and classier crowd in the city.
42 Mowat Avenue, Toronto, Ontario (416) 516-7777