If you like it big, bold and beautiful, then Joey Eaton Centre is your new ‘it’ spot. Joey Eaton Centre’s brightly lit sign bellows “Ta-da!” and invigorates an otherwise boring stretch of Dundas Street West. As soon as you enter the dimly-lit, two level Joey Eaton Centre, you know this is going to be an evening of pizzazz. But Joey isn’t only about looks and style; this guy has substance too. A recent visit on a Friday night at 5:30 p.m. when many Toronto bars and restaurants have typically not yet heated up revealed a full house with several potential customers sitting in the waiting area wishing they had made a reservation several weeks in advance.
Although a table had been reserved for us in the busy bar area, a request to the hostess to be seated at one of the spacious tables at the front window was agreeably granted. These extra-wide banquettes have been designed with Toronto Eaton Centre shoppers in mind as they provide enough space to store purchases on the seat.
First round cocktails included delicious Bellinis ($6.49), as well as Joey Eaton Centre’s special Super Nova that is made with Smirnoff vodka, soda and citrus slush ($7.99). Both drinks were well executed. Our main course items included Beef Dip, Chinatown Lettuce Wrap and Baja Fish Tacos. One thing among many to love about Joey’s is the cosmopolitan menu that has been designed to satisfy vegans, vegetarians and gluten-free diets while providing an array of cross-cultural tastes including sushi, miso, edamame, Tandoori chicken, gyoza, curry, souvlaki, pasta, seafood and Canadian favourites such as steaks, burgers and salads.
The Beef Dip sandwich ($14.99), which came with light, crispy skinny fries, was a generous portion of sliced roast beef piled on a crusty loaf with grilled onions, herbs and dijon and gravy for dipping. The sandwich, once dipped au jus, was satisfyingly filling. Baja Fish Tacos contained fish, shrimp and guacamole on white corn tortillas for dipping in hot sauce. The mild guacamole blended nicely with the tender seafood while the hot sauce provided the necessary zing. The Chinatown Lettuce Wrap ($10.99) is basically spring roll ingredients including toasted peanuts, egg noodles and cilantro that you roll in lettuce instead of the calorie-rich fried wrapper. For an additional $3.00, you can get the wrap with chicken or shrimp, which was what my friend did. The chicken wrap, although billed as an appetizer, was tasty and filling and enough food to be served as an entree.
For sports fans, there are large TV screens that can be seen from the main floor bar area and the various seating sections, as well as a huge HGTV screen just behind the bar, which was showing a Sabres-Hurricanes hockey game that night. Upstairs, you’ll find a more expansive bar suitable for meeting larger groups.
The only complaint of the evening resulted when the checks came and one of my friends noted that a gratuity had been added to her bill. Since my other friend and I were not charged a gratuity, we raised the issue with the waitstaff, who apologized for the error and clarified that automatic gratuities were not the policy on small groups [three in this case]. Instead of quickly returning with a newly calculated bill, our waitstaff advised us that she was checking with management regarding the error and we ended up waiting about ten minutes before a new bill was produced. This little faux-pas, however, in no way marred a wonderful evening, although it served as a reminder to always read your bills carefully.
Yonge and Dundas, take note: Joey Eaton Centre has arrived!
Joey Eaton Centre, 1 Dundas St. W., 647-352-5639