When I moved to King West back in 2012, it was an absolute cluster of pub grub, random night clubs, pizza, and the odd upscale restaurant. Returning to Toronto in 2018, everything has changed, but it still feels the same. The same vibe from Brant House (I’m aging myself here) and Brassai lingers. As the King West crowd ages out of 3 AM street brawls and late night poutine, the culture is changing. If anything, King West is telling us thirty-somethings to eat a damn vegetable and for goodness’ sake – drink some water.
The Green Wood – King West
The Green Wood has taken that ideal and has changed one of my favourite divey pubs (The Firkin – where you used to be able to play chess or checkers while downing a pint) into a jungle haven. I saw the bar (you can’t miss it – it’s massive and shows off bottle after bottle) but felt a little guilty imbibing with all that greenery and natural light coming in the massive windows at dusk.
Décor at The Green Wood is impressive. If you’re a plant mama or papa (you know, the kind of kids millenials can actually afford), this spot’s for you. The design is so tasteful and calming. I could see myself returning for the ambiance as well as the Pluck Teas they have on hand. The menu, inspired by cuisine from Greece, Lebanon, Turkey, and Morocco, is about what you would expect from King West nowadays. Kind of pricy for what you get. The dishes are designed to share. When they’re this small, the plates (and your bill) pile right up. I understand that you have rent to pay (and the rent must be insane), but the food itself just wasn’t that special.
The Green Wood Souk Fries with Lamb
SOUK FRIES (GLUTEN FREE) / 12
Hand-cut fries, grilled eggplant, cucumber salad, crispy halloumi, creamy tahini, sunny-side up egg. Add braised lamb 7
For $19, I think I just expected more of everything. Again – I get that it’s King Street, but I just didn’t feel as though the value was there. My dining companion and I doused the whole thing in their hot sauce, which was homemade and really tasty. It was also pretty thick, which made the choice to serve it in a bottle with an eye-dropper absolutely nonsensical. What you see above truly is what you get – about 5 morsels of grilled eggplant, crispy halloumi (I’d go for this again on its own – it was top knotch), some cold fries, and chopped cucumber. We split the dish and I had trouble locating any lamb. Turns out it was all squished underneath half of the fried egg my my friend got. The lamb tasted like it had been prepared by someone trying to bbq pulled pork. If you’re going to go with this dish I say skip the lamb. It’s not worth the additional $7. Full marks for the egg porn, though.
The Green Wood Fried Chicken Sandwich
FRIED CHICKEN / 18
Buttermilk fried chicken, peppercorn ranch, house pickles, fresh greens, sesame seed bun
This sandwich was touted as one of the shining stars of The Green Wood menu. We didn’t want to overload on fries (no risk there, we found) so we ordered it with a side salad. This dish was just boring altogether. The chicken itself was juicy, but the breading lacked flavour. The sesame seed bun needs a total overhaul, too. How many bakeries are there on the West side? Brioche or bust, bébé! The side salad was just kind of sad and pathetic; a handful of romaine and a few sliced cucumbers with an utterly forgettable vinaigrette.
BEETS (GLUTEN FREE) / 9
Chopped beets, warm honey, mint, sumac, whipped goat cheese
This beet salad is $9. *Blinks Twice*
Will I Go Back?
Yeah, probably. It’s right around the corner from my place. The cobb salad (on the breakfast + lunch menu) and the brunch items look to die for on the ‘gram. I’d like to give their new lower level space a shot when it opens up, too. That said, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. I ordered the roasted cauliflower (with butternut squash, toasted walnut dressing, pomegranate seeds – $9) and the broccolini (with dates, almonds, sharp cheddar – $9) as takeaway for lunches. When I opened the boxes I was beyond underwhelmed. The broccolini looked sad and pathetic once again. There were a couple of slivered almonds, a bit of grated cheddar, but not a date in sight (kind of like my social life). The cauliflower was violently vinegary and the butternut squash hard and under-cooked.
The Green Wood has a lot of kinks to work out in the kitchen, but their service is impeccable. Our server was knowledgeable, kind, and funny. She manicured the table at opportune times and didn’t bother us when we were deep in conversation. I’m hoping a second try down the road will be a better experience at The Green Wood King West.
How to Get to The Green Wood (King West Location)
- Address: 461 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1K4
- Phone: (416) 365-5314
- Menu: eatgreenwood.com
- Reservations: sevenrooms.com
Thursday 9a.m.–10p.m.Have you been to The Green Wood? Tell me about your experience in the comments below!