Having heard amazing things about the burger at Samuel J Moore (@TheSamuelJMoore), I knew it wouldn’t be long before I’d pay them a visit.
The restaurant, located at the corner of Queen and Dovercourt, is situated in the historic Great Hall and is named after the person who built it over a hundred years ago. Samuel J Moore occupies a large space on the ground floor of the building and has plenty of seating. It has an old-school bistro-feel to it which reminded me of a cross between Le Select Bistro and the bar at La Société.
Samuel J Moore is open for dinner Wednesday to Sunday (until late) and brunch on Saturdays/Sundays starting at 10am. Oh, and of worthy note is their buck-a-shuck oysters everyday they’re open from 5pm to 7pm. I’m always on the lookout for a good oyster deal!
If any of you were out and about this past Sunday, you’d rememeber how frigidly cold it was. The minute Mike and I stepped into Samuel J Moore, we ordered Americanos ($2.25) to warm us up. I wish I could say it worked but it was incredibly cold inside. We later found out that they were having difficulties with their heating system that day. Good to know it’s not the norm!
Anyway, the brunch menu here is short which makes it easy narrowing down the choices. Their offerings include pancakes, steak & eggs, an omelette, pork & beans and yogurt with granola. While the pork & beans caught my eye, I already had my heart set on the Breakfast Burger – fried egg, peameal, smoked cheddar, coleslaw & frites ($15).
I’m not going to lie, I only managed to snap a few quick photos before diving into the burger. It smelled a little good and I couldn’t resist.
So, I hastily picked up the burger and the entire thing just fell apart. The fragile brioche bun didn’t hold up well against the wet ingredients and juicy patty. The patty, which was cooked to a perfect medium rare like I had requested, was loosely packed which didn’t help matters. I eventually gave up and just ate it with a fork and knife.
Despite all this, I have to admit, it was a damn tasty burger. The patty was seasoned well and the combination of the fried egg, smokey cheddar and crunchy coleslaw worked wonderfully. I just hope nobody else saw me eating this. I was definitely one hot mess.
I also have to mention the fries. They were fantastic – well-fried without being too greasy and tossed with rosemary and garlic. Incredibly addictive!
Mike decided on the Eggs Benedict – pork terrine, arugula & biscuit ($15). Samuel J Moore offers three variations with the other two being mushroom & kale and spinach & gravlax.
The eggs were perfectly poached, the biscuit was moist and fluffy, and the deep-fried terrine was nicely fried, giving the dish a nice crunch. So, each of the components were great. Unfortunately, it needed way more hollandaise sauce to tie it all together. It was a flavourful benny but it was just a little dry.
Overall, we had an enjoyable brunch at Samuel J Moore but given Toronto’s abundance of amazing brunch restaurants, I can’t say I’d go out of my way for brunch here. It’d be a good option if you’re already in the area, though!
At a glance:
• Located in the historic Great Hall at the corner of Queen and Dovercourt
• Open for dinner till late (closed Mondays/Tuesdays); brunch served on weekends from 10am
• Small brunch menu
• Large space; plenty of seating
• Really enjoyed the breakfast burger but be warned, it’s a messy burger!
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 3.5 stars
• Service: 4 stars
• Atmosphere: 3 stars