If you asked anyone about the Parkdale neighbourhood a few years back, you would have most likely been told to avoid stepping foot in the area. Showcasing an above average percentage of renters and some of the lowest income people in the city, the area was considered to be undesirable and unsafe for quite some time. Fast forward to today and Parkdale has begun a process of gentle gentrifications which started with the inclusion of a culinary strip on Queen West among which you may find The Commodore.
The Commodore poses as a gorgeous bar at night where one can be expected to find good food and strong cocktails but on the weekends, the place opens up during the day to become a beautiful brunch place. The decor of the restaurant lends itself quite well to both time frames as it has an uncanny ability to adapt to light. The restaurant is composed of an abundance of white wood, complete with cute round tables and vintage floral teacups and plates which have had their colours gently washed away by the sands of time. The restaurant’s name alludes to its theme; in nautical terms, a commodore is an officer of high rank, a position buoying between captain and rear admiral.
On our brunch trip to The Commodore, it turned out that we were composed of a group big enough to order the whole menu, something we ended up doing and sharing family style. I will have to say that while everything was delicious, the Grilled Peameal Bacon and Cheese sandwich (Country sourdough, gruyere, house-made pea meal bacon, gherkins, dijonnaise, fried egg) was by far one of my favourites on the menu. I know what you are going to say; “Didier, this is simply a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon in it” but it was so much more than that. In my books, it is harder to make amazing simple foods than passable complicated ones. Every component in that sandwich perfectly balanced out each other and created a wonderful explosion of flavours.
Another standout dish was the Truffled Scrambled Eggs and Prosciutto on a house-made crumpet and served with crème fraîche. Yet another example of a simple dish well executed, The Commodore surpassed the “more is more” mentality that a lot of restaurants have when it comes to truffle oil. The eggs were rich and fluffy and were enhanced by the prosciutto present on the plate and while the truffle oil was noticeable, it was happy to work with the other flavours rather than trying to overthrow them.
Brunch was a success. Good food, great company and beautiful restaurant. Even the bill came on a whimsical note tucked between the pages of a book seemingly long lost at sea. The Commodore is not afraid to take its patrons on a culinary voyage across the seven seas, a trip that I will gladly board and proclaim "O’ Commodore, My Commodore!"