The never ending construction along Front Street has made skipping across Union Station more challenging than ever. I burst out of the subway and found myself totally lost on where to walk. The zone was covered in arrows pointing this way and that, the smell of oily residues, men wearing hard hats and a maze of fencing. It was shortly after 6pm and the weather had been described all day as “God awful.” It hovered at 0 degrees with a mix of rain and snow pelting itself across the city over the past 24 hours. The streets were covered in thick mounds of slush and curbs featured swimmable puddle pools. I had run into a woman at Starbucks that morning who almost cried as her new shoes were ruined. I told her, “Cheer up just imagine all that slush is one massive Bellini ready for you to sip up with a straw.” She giggled and hopped around the sidewalk trying her best to avoid the worst of it all.
I took about 5 minutes to find the perfect moment to dart across Front Street. I avoided zooming automobiles and an embarrassing flop filled soak by a narrow margin. I burst into the doors of The Loose Moose totally frazzled with my bangs glued to my eyebrows. The space was jam packed full of hockey fans as Montreal was playing Toronto in town that evening. The Habs vs the Leafs: electric energy. As I walked to the back of the space I could smell the sweet aroma of malted barley and hops.
Located a stones throw from the Air Canada Centre, The Loose Moose has been a popular stop for concert goers and sports fans for ages. The owners recently closed the restaurant for a week to give the space a fresh new look. The culinary program has also had a facelift with a new selection of snackable dishes worth sharing. The most exciting change is there beer program which now showcases the cities largest draught offering. There craft beers on tap are truly amazing, a clear indication management are looking to woo sports fans with a refined palate and beer lovers who are looking for a quenching beyond the pond water that is Molson Canadian. Over the past few years I’ve seen Toronto’s culinary scene evolve and the refreshed food and drinks menu at The Loose Moose is a clear case study into this phenomenon.
Cravings throughout the evening included an obscene platter coyly named Sweet Potato Thing, a selection of sliders and a basket of donuts tossed in caramel, chopped bacon and hickory dust. This particular dessert made the entire tables eyes bulge simultaneously While a great sweet treat to share at the table it would be considerably improved with a pile of vanilla ice cream towering in the centre of the bowl. Perhaps grab the donuts to go and bolt over to Dairy Queen at Union Station in search of soft serve.
If you are a beer fan, enjoy a loud and jovial atmosphere and have a penchant for sampling creative pub grub be sure to pop by and check out the evolution of the cities favourite Moose head adorned tavern.
We sampled (* notes my favourites):
Sweet Potato Thing *
sweet potato fries, french fries and onions cooked to an addictive crunch served with a coconut chili dipping sauce
jalapeno batter, spiced ketchup and mustard
Big Bitchin’ Green Salad
arugula, shredded vegetables, radish, ripe tomato, pea sprouts, roasted almonds, crispy taro, scallion vinaigrette
pork belly with gingered asian slaw, meatball with basil bocconcini
Tacos non Gringos
pescado, al pastor, pollo asada, carne ranchero
Antler Room Donuts *
salted caramel, bacon and hickory dust
#436 restaurant reviewed in Ontario since moving to Toronto in 2010.