I don’t think I’ve ever wandered past Ossington on College, so heading over to Hadley’s area was a first for me. The restaurant occupies the northwest corner of College and Dovercourt and the small space resembles a bar containing limited seating – two booths, some bar seating and a handful of tables.
My friend, Chris and I arrived around 6pm on a cold Thursday evening and found the small restaurant to be pretty empty. However, it slowly started to fill up as we were finishing up. I’ve been told all the cool people eat later…
Anyway, right from the get-go, our server was friendly and quite personable. Before we ordered our meals, he informed us that they were out of a few items – including the steak frites, smoked fish platter and the potato salad. He also informed us that they only had about 5 racks of ribs left since they had a busy lunch rush. Thank goodness they still had a few left… the ribs were one thing I really wanted to try here.
So, Chris and I decided to share some Pork Ribs (half rack for $17 or full for $24). We were debating between the half and full and finally settled on the full rack. We definitely underestimated the size of a full rack. Clearly, it’s been a while since I’ve had ribs! Between the two of us, we shared this full rack of ribs and a second entrée and barely finished half a rack.
While cutting into these meaty ribs, I could already tell they weren’t the most tender ribs I’ve had. While the meat wasn’t too dry, they were a bit on the tougher side and weren’t fall-off-the-bone tender. Taste-wise, the ribs had a really nice smoky flavour and a tasty sauce. Since I prefer my ribs saucier, I felt the ribs could have used a bit more sauce.
The second entrée we ordered was the Smoke Roasted Chicken (quarter for $11 or half for $14). Since we decided on the full rack of ribs, we decided to go with a quarter chicken.
You have a choice of white or dark meat and we opted for dark. If I ever have a choice, I’ll always go for dark meat since I often find white meat to be a little on the dry side. Our chicken was moist and had a nice crisp skin. Flavour-wise, I thought it was decent, but nothing special. I preferred the chicken at Barque a lot more.
The pork ribs and smoked chicken entrees each come with a choice of two sides. Most of the sides at Hadley’s are pretty standard for a barbeque joint and include: fries, salad, potato salad (sold out on this visit), coleslaw, salad, daily veg, baked beans, mac n’ cheese (extra $3) and the Green Goddess Salad (extra $2).
The first side I tried was the Green Goddess Salad – romaine lettuce tossed in a creamy dressing made from a base of avocado, basil and olive oil. You can also order this as an appetizer – $4 for a small portion and $6 for large. The salad was topped with red onion, tomato, parmesan cheese and bacon. You really can’t go wrong with ingredients like this. I thought it was a nice tasting salad and was a nice light side for a heavy rack of ribs.
The second side I tried was the Mac n’ Cheese. Instead of using macaroni, they used a spiral-shaped pasta. It was a good choice since the cheese clung onto the spirals quite well. The dish was incredibly cheesy and tasty. Sure, it’s an extra $3 for this side, but it was my favourite side of the evening.
To accompany the chicken, we ordered the Roasted Potatoes, which was today’s “daily veg.” For those of you thinking of dropping by Hadley’s earlier in the day, they only serve the daily veg in the evening hours. These potatoes were cut into small chunks and were nice and crispy.
The last side we ordered was the Baked Beans. I’m not sure I can give an objective opinion on this since I’m not a huge fan of beans. Nonetheless, I found them to be a little dry and thought the portion of this “side” was enormous. After this arrived, I discovered Chris ordered the beans because he thought I liked beans. Turns out, neither of us like beans. Ah well, now we know.
Overall, I had a decent experience here. Although nothing was bad, I didn’t find anything to be particularly memorable so I don’t think I’ll be back for dinner. However, given the great things I’ve heard about their brunch, I may be back to give that a try!
At a glance:
• A small, casual BBQ joint
• Decent food but wouldn’t go out of my way for it
• Friendly, personable staff
• Located at College and Dovercourt
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 3 stars
• Service: 4 stars
• Atmosphere: 2 stars