There’s probably no excuse for having photos of a meal on my computer for 6 weeks and not getting around to writing about a place. We dined at La Societe Bistro (131 Bloor Street West) in early July. I’m extremely happy to see someone putting some love and care back into the space. While I’m not your typical Yorkville restaurant-goer, I have fond memories of the space back in the 80s when it was called The Bermuda Onion and the upper patio was covered in sand, and my roommates and I would sit out there drinking Harvey Wallbangers and dreaming of owning that Gaultier dress in the window of Creed’s (damn, I’m old).
Speaking of Yorkville socialites, while the initial buzz about La Societe was that it was really open to everyone, socialites seem to be the typical customer, at least when I’ve been there. Society matrons in the main dining room wearing $1000 sweater sets and in the bar, some of the younger “see and be seen” types, who appeared to be reliving Yorkville’s heyday of the 80s; either that or that gal in the ladies’ room screaming at the top of her lungs about the fact that the door opens inward and could hit somebody and “CHARLES HAD BETTER GET THAT FUCKING THING FIXED!!!” was just naturally… vivacious. Of course, the image of owner Charles Khabouth rushing to the ladies’ room with a toolbox to adjust the door himself is certainly amusing.
In any case, we were there for the food and chef James Olberg turns out some fine examples of classic French bistro fare. As critics have noted, there is nothing daring or deviant on this menu – it’s as classic and comfortable as a pair of buttery old jeans and a jaunty beret – but we had no complaints about anything we ate. Service too, was professional and charming.
Overall, I’d definitely go back, but, if has been the case on a couple of occasions when we’ve tried to get a table as walk-ins, I’d just as happily sneak through the back laneways of Yorkville and eat at Creme where the menu is quite similar, but the crowd is a little more subdued.
Above: Pate de Campagne; Country Pate, Watercress, Cornichons and Radishes
Steak Tartare with poached quail’s egg, cornichons and matchstick fried potatoes.
Laitue au Roquefort et noix – Boston Lettuce with Roquefort and Toasted Walnut Vinaigrette
Duck confit with figs, creamed savoy cabbage and shallot jus.
White chocolate creme brulee.