TORONTO — A new restaurant has opened at 1198 Queen Street West (formerly Dandylion) offering guests one item, and one item only ― steak frites – a concept that’s taken off in popularity in Paris and is now coming to Toronto.
J’s Steak Frites co-owners Jad Sfeir and Tara Tang felt there was a gap in the market when it came to offering Torontonians high-quality and affordable steak. After two years of making some pretty difficult decisions, they thought it’d be nice to give people a decision-free night out.
House-made bread and butter will be served as starters, followed by a green salad with walnut and lemon vinaigrette, and the pièce de résistance: a 10oz, locally sourced Canadian AAA striploin, unlimited, must-have frites, and a butter sauce also made in house.
“This is simplicity at its best,” said Sfeir. “Steak-frites restaurants, with limited menus, are very popular in Paris. We’re not reinventing the wheel with this concept — we’re bringing it to the city we love and we’re presenting it in a fresh way.”
The cost of dinner at J’s Steak Frites is $49 per person (not including drinks or dessert). Sfeir believes that high-quality local ingredients, reasonable pricing, a great location, and a friendly staff is a recipe for success.
“We want to appeal to a clientele that is eager to enjoy a prime cut of beef at a price that won’t break their wallet. Young professionals and steak connoisseurs will enjoy J’s Steak Frites for the delicious striploin, but also for the cozy and welcoming ambiance, curated wine selection, and excellent house-made desserts,” said Sfeir.
The restaurant’s dessert program will be led by chef and co-owner Tara Tang, a Le Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef with a passion for baked goods. Tang ran her own pastry and cake shop in Ottawa called Taramissu before moving to Toronto to lead desserts at J’s Steak Frites. The sweet offering is made up of a daily rotation of four or five different cakes — showcased centrally in the restaurant for guests to select from. Desserts are priced at $14.
“While steak frites are the main attraction, the desserts are not to be missed,” said Sfeir. “I am really proud of the cakes we will be serving guests — chef Tang’s attention to detail, care and raw talent make each a tasty masterpiece.”
The 30-seat restaurant will not be taking reservations at the time of opening, but plans to offer dinner from 5 p.m. to late, Wednesday to Saturday, and from noon to 8 p.m. on Sundays. Guests will recognize many of the same design elements of Dandylion — Sfeir chose to keep much of the historic attributes of the space, including the exposed brick and dramatic windows, to keep in line with the Queen West neighbourhood.