Last Thursday, I met a bunch of friends for dinner at Tabülè near Yonge and Davisville to celebrate my friend (and ex-housemate) Sarah’s birthday. I had heard great things about this Middle-Eastern restaurant, and that they had just opened a second location in Leslieville – so I had high hopes.

I’ll start with the bad news first: the service was pretty pitiful. After being quite sassy to us for the first hour or so, the waitress eventually warmed up, but it was another half hour after that before we finally got our appetizers. Having eaten a snack not too long beforehand, I didn’t order one, but an order of pita and baba ghanoush (babaganüj) disappeared quickly from our table.

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My entrée, however, was something I definitely did not regret. Diverging from the safe chicken skewer option (sorry friends…you know it’s true), I ordered kefta banadura: charcoal-broiled ground mixed lamb and beef in a tomato garlic sauce. I don’t even like lamb – I ordered it primarily because the sauce sounded tempting – but this dish made me like lamb. That’s how good it was. I had every last bite of the meat and drained every last drop of the sauce with my spoon. The flavours were amazing.

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For my side, I had ordered müjaddara: rice and brown lentils topped with grilled veggies – also a choice I was thoroughly satisfied with.

Verdict: 3/5 stars. In other words, do not stay sassy, waitress – and work on your tardiness too.

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Two nights ago, my mom came home from Smith College for her “reading week” and my brother returned home from his current job placement in Nevada. As a belated celebration for my graduation, and to celebrate our reunion as a family (+ Pat!), we went for dinner last night at Gusto 101.

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They only take reservations at 12pm and 6pm, so by the time we got there around 6:40, there was already a line – but the estimated hour wait was only about 20 minutes. The only downside was that we couldn’t enjoy the beautiful weather by eating on the rooftop or front patio.

And trust me, this was the ONLY downside.

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First things first: drinks. Gusto has their own house wine on tap which they sell for $1/oz., but everyone jumped at my suggestion of red wine sangria.

In usual Parsons style, we got a variety of different appetizers to share…

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#1 This kale salad was UH-MAZING. It was the item I was least enthusiastic about ordering, but the one I enjoyed the most. The lemon vinaigrette, currants and toasted pine nuts gave it great flavour. I was glad we ordered three…

#2 Char-grilled octopus with organic micro salad and olive tapenade (not pictured).

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#3 Prosciutto pizza. ‘Nuff said.

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#4 Beef tartare with fig compote and ricotta cream. Delicious. I don’t really want to think about what beef tartare is per se, but I do want to eat it.

We all ordered our own entrées. Notable mention: the day’s special, a pork sandwich (made from a pig that was roasted the day before) with a side of slaw and fries or veggies. Ordered by Blake and Pat:

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And, of course, the pièce de résistance: Fettuccine ai Funghi, or in English, fettuccine with portobello, porcini, and oyster mushrooms, truffle paste, and a light cream sauce. Ordered by yours truly, lover of mushrooms:

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Leftovers are for today’s lunch!

We didn’t get dessert, but the mini portions I spotted from the open kitchen look perfect for those of us who insist we only want to “share”.

Verdict: 4.75/5 stars. Nothing to complain about food-wise, but it was too loud for my liking and the stairwells rather dark. The noise may just have been because of the restaurant’s popularity…but I want to be discerning.

Stay hungry!

Caj

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