Last night I spent 3.5 wonderful hours with the staff at Earls who treated me and 7 friends to great food, drinks, service, and an all around great time. I guess I am moulding into a bit of a wine and food critic so consider this a glaring endorsement to the Earls King Street location.
First let me take a quick step back. I had been to Earls a few times before and I hadn’t had the greatest experiences. I was a bit turned off and I had let my thoughts be known via Twitter. It was tough because I also have a 9-5 job in First Canadian Place so Earls was supposed to become a new local watering hole and after some of the great things I had heard about the locations out West I had high expectations.
I’m not going to get into any of that though because like I said off the top, this is a glaring endorsement. After some back and forth on Twitter and some exceptional customer service by @earlsrestaurant I was lucky enough to chat with the Ann Topp, the General Manager of the King Street location. Following that customer service I agreed it would be a miss not to give Earls one more shot. So last night in the company of 7 of my closest friends we enjoyed what they call a ‘Chefs Table’. We sampled shared portions of probably close to 20 dishes, multiple cocktails, and 3 different styles of wine (more on the wine in a second). We got outstanding service led by Casey Nolin, one of the managers, and even received numerous visits from the Chef himself. He took the time to explain the food to us, the cooking process, the ingredients, and the care Earls puts into it. Who knew they make all their bread, wontons, curry sauce, pizza dough, pasta sauce, and a plethora of other dishes in house? I personally would have assumed most of the options on the menu were mass produced, but in fact they are not. For example, their ‘bread program’ actually includes fresh bread baked daily on location. I was impressed by the time and care put into their craft.
I didn’t even have to pair the wine. They had pre determined which wines they were going to serve us with which dishes which was quite a nice surprise. We tried a chardonnay and a cab/merlot made by Whatchamacallit (yes that is what it’s called) which is a brand produced specifically for Earls. This is something that Earls likes to do as they also offer the Rhino beer, which is also exclusive to them and happens to be pretty good. The chardonnay was a bit sour, but had tons of body and fruit and was actually a nice wine. I enjoyed it most when paired with the Kung Pao chicken dish. The cab/merlot was pretty good as well. Although the 14.5% alcohol came through it was nice as a food wine. Following those two we were actually treated to the Mission Hill Cab Sauv, personally selected by our server to go with the Steak dishes. I have had that wine before and it’s very good. The pairing was excellent as the wine was full bodied but still rich with fruit. I would definitely recommend trying it.
So the next time you go to Earls try the Ribs, the Kung Pao chicken, the Curry, or the Lamb popsicles. All my favourites from the evening. They also make a mean Manhattan, the bellini’s looked like they could of been on display, and my pregnant wife even got a virgin Mojito. What more can you ask for?
So for all who will listen I commend the staff at Earls King Street. I came away from this experience with a new found respect for the restaurant. Although Earls is part of a large chain, the location acts very independently with care and attention given where it’s needed. You’ll probably still find it’s pretty busy in there on a Friday night with the after work crowd, but at least now I totally understand why.
Thanks again to all the staff. I’ll see you guys soon.
Follow me on Twitter: @towineman