The County General Cocktail + Snack Bar
Brunch in Riverdale
There was one nice Sunday in August. One. It was sunny and summery-hot. So we decided that it was the perfect day to lounge for brunch. County General on Queen Street West is one of those perpetually busy weekend spots that makes you wonder what the fuss is about when you walk by. They recently opened a second location on Queen Street East in Riverdale. It has many of the same or similar dishes. So we decided to give it a try.
This “cocktail and snack bar” really does an excellent job with drinks and appetizers. My sons ordered the root beer ($4) and basil lemonade ($4) respectively. The root beer was no A&W. Served in a mason jar it tasted of nutmeg, ginger and molasses. The lemonade was a subtle riff on a middle-eastern lemonana. My wife ordered the celery soda ($4). Those who make their own juices know that a little celery goes a long way. This was a very well balanced and refreshing soda.
Before our mains came we noshed on biscuits and jam ($3 per order) – a grouping of small mini-biscuits of vaguely uniform shape came out on a small wooden pallet. Delicious with the whipped butter and peach preserve, these biscuits were reminiscent of shortbread. Made to order, straight out of the oven, I recommend ordering several…you know, to save time.
The boys both had the Pulled Pork Croque Madame ($12), which they enjoyed very much. One thought the dish was perfect. The other felt that the richness of the eggs, mornay sauce and pulled pork could have been cut with a more spicy and acidic barbecue sauce. I agree.
My wife had the Smoked Trout Tostada with Watermelon Pico de Gallo($15), an egg scramble with flakes of local smoked trout mixed in and served on a fried corn tortilla bowl. The dish was well executed, although also missing some zing. Of course a tostada requires a tortilla, but this one was difficult to eat with fork and knife.
We shared a Kale Salad ($6), their riff on a Caesar Salad, made with roasted garlic, croutons and Thunder Oak Gouda. It was a nice salad with familiar flavours, which required a knife and fork to cut through the kale. I also had a Chicken Thigh Sandwich ($13) – which is identical to that served at the Queen West location – battered and fried chicken served with pickled onions, cilantro, avocado and optional curried aioli, and a side of homemade kettle chips. Delicious. The County Cocktail + Snack Bar does the little things right.
Location: 798 Queen Street East