Review: Antonio’s Steakhouse (April Fools)

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If you’re looking for one of the most disappointing steakhouse experiences of your life, look no further than Antonio’s Steakhouse on John St., just south of the newly opened Fish Market.

Catering to a student audience, this restaurant brings in a life-changing assortment of flavourless dishes that make you question why you ever even bother eating. The potential of food being this bad will turn any adventurous foodie into a pasta-with-butter-everyday fiend.

As soon as you walk in you are greeted by the magnificent wait staff, who quickly seat you at a table seemingly meant for a large party. It’s meant for you. Just you. Any other guests you brought along will be asked to wait in the lobby until you finish your meal.

As soon as you see the menu your jaw will drop. We’re talking 16oz Wagyu beef steak for $10, 32oz 60-day aged prime ribeye for $15, and a wide range of salads for $40 a piece.

Naturally, I went for a salad – it is a steakhouse after all!

salad-tomatoes

It was a traditional caesar salad with a vegan twist.

A highly interesting medley of romaine lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, croutons, vegan ranch, lavender and, last but not least, sand.

Needless to say the salad was drier than an oasis in the desert and more flavourful than a piece of cardboard covered in tomato sauce (AKA gluten-free pizza).

The sand added a strong crunch to every bite that the croutons just didn’t quite provide. Insufficient dressing made the salad even drier – more so than a swimming pool in the middle of the summer.

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The beach I’m told the sand came from

For dessert I had the 16oz filet mignon, but was disappointed at the lack of sand which I had grown accustomed to, so I sent it back.

At the end of the meal my friends were waiting for me, starving and begging me for any leftovers I might have from my tedious 14 hour meal (they had been locked inside the restaurant by the manager about halfway through my meal after my friend Greg attempted to escape leave).

After thanking the wait staff and leaving a 4% tip (followed by a 15% tip then a 20% tip after a series of angry glances by the knife-wielding head chef) I ran out of the restaurant with my friends never to return.

Rating: 2/17

If you’d like to try Antonio’s Steakhouse for yourself I suggest you don’t.

Happy 4th of July April Fools!

Images: Pexels (3)

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Memoir: Picky Eating

I think of myself as a very adventurous eater. I have a strong desire to expand my palate as much as possible. Every time the opportunity arises, I try something new.

If you had met me when I was young, you would never have expected me to one day be an aspiring food journalist.

When I was a kid, we used to go to Florida almost every winter break and visit my grandmother (who to this day spends about half the year there to escape the cold). Each day would be filled with family time, hanging out with my brother and our friends by the condo’s pool area and last but certainly not least, meals.

(Much can be said about what went into planning those meals and how that affected my beginnings as a foodie, but that is a story for another time).

Each night we would go to one of several restaurants in a plaza a short drive from the condo, often accompanied by family friends. From what I recall, restaurants were typically some slight variant of American food; but that didn’t matter, because all I ever remember getting at any restaurant was chicken fingers or pasta. To make matters worse, I would never finish my meal, often resulting in being awarded with a comment about bringing me to dinner being a waste of money (food-wise, it probably was).

I’m well aware this isn’t uncommon for kids at a young age. With limited kids’ menus, young ones are forced into a diet consisting of simple and uninteresting dishes aimed at keeping them satisfied while their parents enjoy more expensive and higher quality food.

Alas, I continued this habit, with limited variance, until I was about 13- or 14-years-old, when I began to be willing to try more dishes, mainly seafood.

This is probably a good time to rewind a bit.

When I said all I ate was pasta and chicken fingers, that was mostly true. In Florida, that’s all I remember eating. But back home in Toronto, and especially on a ski trip to Banff when I was young (alongside other small trips here and there with family), my palate had a weird twist.

From a very early age, I have always loved seafood, especially sushi.

Offer raw fish to your average Canadian kid who is used to eating off a limited kids’ menu and they’ll give you a look of disgust. Hell, offer it to one of many Canadian adults and they’ll give you the same look.

Offer raw fish to kid-me, and I’ll eat everything you put on my plate.

By the time I was 13- or 14-years-old, I was eating oysters, mussels, lobster, sashimi, calamari (including the pieces that aren’t ring-shaped), and of course still my usual chicken fingers and pasta.

No steak, no chicken (unless it was in soup, nugget or finger form), only pasta with tomato sauce (or some basic creamy sauce), only plain cheese or pepperoni pizza and other simplicities were all I ate within the realm of North American cuisine.

Aside from the chicken, I was basically a pescetarian. It didn’t help that my brother believed in two food groups: steak and non-steak. As you might imagine, this made it hell for my mom to figure out what to feed us (that is until she realized she could simply serve my brother the main part of the dish and me all the sides).

When I was 17, I went on a trip with my parents to Paris for a week. Meals we had as a family were typically seafood-filled. However, we also had family friends who happened to be in Paris at the same time.

Until this point I had been completely unwilling to go anywhere near steak (unless it was cooked well done by my late grandfather). When we got to the tiny place our family friends found, I was met with a prix-fix menu consisting of options including who-knows-what and steak frites; steak frites was my only familiar option, so I gave it a try.

It was fantastic.

Several meals later I was opened up to various meats and other dishes I had previously been so unwilling to try. Any personal restrictions to my diet had been completely removed (or would be within a few years).

As a once picky-ish eater, I now find myself making up for lost time by trying everything (that I’m certain won’t kill me). I’ve left my roots far behind and now venture onward to experience and write about the foods of the world.

Cheers,

Ellis Koifman