Sunday, April 22, 2012

Grand Electric

Grand Electric is a trendy new Mexican restaurant in the recently gentrifying Parkdale area that has been receiving rave reviews, under the helm of ex-Black Hoof chef Colin Tooke. Those writeups forewarned of long lineups that start before the restaurant even opens and average wait times of over an hour.  Armed with this information, we showed up at 5:15pm to prepare for the 6pm opening on a Friday evening and found not a soul in sight.  Lulled into a false sense of security and believing that we were duped by "hype", we decided to wait in a coffee shop across the street (an extremely cool arts cafe called The Mascot which may require its own blog entry).   No sooner had we sat down to our lattes when the first person showed up in front of Grand Electric.  Within minutes, the lineup was 5 couples deep and we started to panic.  Rich was sent as the advanced scout to hold our spot while the rest of us gulped down our coffee.  By the time the restaurant opened, the lineup was down the block and not all of those people made it into the first sitting.  So take heed - the hype is true!

 One of the main features of this restaurant is their tacos.  Priced at $3.50 each, you get a soft freshly baked taco shell with a selection of toppings such as crispy baja fish with coleslaw,  tasty morsels of beef cheeks with avocado, pulled pork belly and pineapple, or my personal favourite, the unbelievably tender, delectably juicy pigs tail with red onion.  Sprinklings of cilantro and accompaniments of lime wedges and hot sauces complete the experience.

The guacamole and chips were excellent and rivaled my previous go to place, Frida in terms of the light crispy chips and the smooth flavourful guacamole.  It also came with a large piece of pork rind that was a great surprise.  My only complaint is that I would have preferred more guacamole instead of the container of salsa that came as an alternate dipping choice.

The tuna ceviche was amazing, with sizable chunks of fish soaked in lemon and lime juices and topped with red onion, cilantro and a bit of salad.  The squid rings were only OK compared with the rest, as the batter was nothing special and the various toppings hid the taste of the squid rather than complimented it.

Finally the desserts were to die for and although we were really full from our eating frenzy, we had to make room.  There are usually two dessert offerings per evening and our choices were a key lime pie or chocolate pecan bourbon mousse each served in a jar.  All the men went for the key lime pie which was just the right combination of tart and sweet (of course I had to taste!), while the women flocked towards the chocolate option.   It has been said that chocolate has a special effect on women and this was definitely proven true on this occasion.  The reaction we all had when we dug into the intensive rich dark chocolate mousse which was perfectly laced with a trace of bourbon was profound and unanimous.  The crunchy pecan and graham cracker crumble topping just added to the whole experience.  All original deals of sharing our desserts 50/50 with the men went out the window with that first taste.

Surprisingly, while it does have a vast variety of beers, bourbons, liquours and even sugar cane Mexican Coke as beverages, Grand Electric does not serve coffee.  Given the crowds and demand for tables, I guess they don't really want you to linger after the meal.  So instead they direct you to the cool coffee house across the street.  By the way, if you don't make it into the first sitting, you are not expected to stand in line for hours.  They take your cellphone number and call you when your table is ready.   We'll have to go back sometime to try the things we missed on the menu.

1 comment:

Bernie said...

This is amazing! I am sure there are lots of new restos that can only dream of such business! Good to know about this place.