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Having been in business for over 80 years, I’m a little ashamed that I only stopped by The Senator (@TheSenatorTO) for the first time last week. Conveniently located a stone’s throw away from the Eaton Centre on Victoria street, they recently introduced a new dinner menu inspired by Canadian classics.

The Senator

But before I get to the food, let’s talk history. Located at 249 Victoria Street, The Senator used to be a house which was converted to the “Busy Bee Diner” just prior to the Great Depression. The Busy Bee Diner was a small space which only consisted of a counter and open kitchen. In 1948 the diner was sold, renovated and renamed to “The Senator”.  The fixtures and styles from the initial renovations are still in place to date.

The interior

Upon entering The Senator, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. I loved the old diner feel of the space. The front of the restaurant features a bar with counter seating and booths filling up the rest of the space.

The interior

As I mentioned, the restaurant recently launched a new dinner menu. With Executive Chef Andrew Taylor at the helm, the new menu is a blend of modern techniques, old world dishes and Senator favourites. They offer 3 course-dinners for $32 but if you want to order a la carte, starters are $8, mains are $18 and desserts are $8.

There’s no shortage of choices. From the appetizer section, you can choose from a selection of salads, lighter fare or comfort food classics like mac & cheese. Mains include items such as steak frites, fish & chips, green curry veg stew and an 8oz Cumbrae naturally raised beef burger. They really take pride in the quality of their ingredients and are committed to using locally sourced ingredients and organic products, where possible.

The Bar

We started off with the Maryland Crab Cake – with citrus remoulade and a sesame seedling salad. Made with real crab, you won’t find much filler in this bad boy. The crab cake had a nice crisp exterior with a fluffy interior that was packed full of crab. It came with a (very) citrusy remoulade but I found the crab cake to be quite flavourful on its own – no sauce required!

Maryland Crab Cake

Since it was freezing out, the other appetizer we shared was the Potato and Leek Soup which was another excellent starter. It came out piping hot, was velvety smooth and seasoned well.

Potato and Leek Soup

One of the entrees that caught our eye was the Braised Boneless Shortrib of Beef – with mash, honey mustard glazed root veg. The meat was incredibly tender and fell apart with the touch of a fork. Short ribs are one of my favourite winter dishes and the Senator’s didn’t disappoint!

Braised Boneless Shortrib of Beef

The other entrée we ordered was the Crisp Muscovy Duck Breast – with mashed Yukon gold, quince and cran compote. It was quite the hearty portion – a large duck breast and a mountain of mashed potatoes and veggies. They certainly don’t skimp on the portions here! The duck breast was well cooked and the sauce complimented the meat nicely. It was a tasty dish but we both agreed that the braised short rib stole the show.

Crisp Muscovy Duck Breast

With desserts like a chocolate brownie sundae and apple caramel crumble, reading the dessert menu here will bring you back to your childhood. I couldn’t resist ordering a slice of Chocolate Cake which came with a scoop of ice cream (my choice was vanilla) and seasonal berries. It was wonderfully moist and was pretty darn satisfying. I don’t know about you but there’s just something so comforting about a simple slice of chocolate cake!

Chocolate Cake

The other dessert we ordered was the Pecan Pie which we had with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It was an incredible piece of pie. I loved the sweet filling with the slight crunch from the caramelized pecans and the crust was perfection. While they make some of the desserts in-house, the two desserts we tried were purchased from the same suppliers that they’ve been using since the near beginning. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

Pecan Pie

Even though we were beyond stuffed by this point, we were talked into trying one of their spiked milkshakes. I’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of dairy/alcohol combinations but the Spiked Milkshake we tried was phenomenal. It was a drink the bartender was working on which consisted of fresh orange juice, vanilla ice cream and vodka. It reminded me of an orange creamsicle… so delicious!

A Spiked Milkshake

I couldn’t think of a better way to end the meal. After all these years, it’s no surprise The Senator is still in business!

*This was a complimentary meal. The opinions in the post, as always, are my own.*

Senator Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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