Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Identity Crisis in the Danforth - the Factory Girl

Lack Lustre - Jerry's Famous Tira Misu - the Factory Girl
My good friend K was in town and since she is the queen of keeping tight with her friends, she has to organise group nights when she visits.  After much consultation, it was democratically decided that we would eat in the Danforth since more than half of us were in the east end.  Someone recommended Factory Girl based on the reputation of the dude on the Grill, Jerry, for whom the Tira Misu is named.

I checked out the menu in advance as I do when I'm not familiar with a place that I know I cannot leave because we're a group.  I pick something on the menu before going just in case.  I'm glad I did.  Factory Girl is one of those restaurants that is trying to please too many people.  That generally means to me, that you're not super at any one thing.  A Pizza place that has great BBQ? or a Sushi place that's great at Burgers? No right?  Well, Factory Girl suffers from such an identity crisis.  I mean, it has the menu of a TGIFridays or Jack Astor's.  Why would a place that has fresh Pasta and housemade sauces need to have Batterfried Calamari, Poutine, Nachos and Thai Shrimp on the Menu?  I honestly couldn't tell you what kind of  restaurant it is.

Rib Special - the Factory Girl
It definitely had a pubby feel with a prominent bar in the middle of the dining area and large arm chairs strewn about.   Thankfully for K, that meant they had a very good draft beer selection including an Organic Ottawan beer.  The wine selection was not so great and oddly enough the by the glass selection was broader than the by the bottle.  When I see Kenwood listed for ~10/glass, I know I should be looking at the cocktail menu. We weren't there for the food per se.  I was very happy to see K so I don't want K to feel bad about the selection.  I mean it was a nice place to linger and the server was very patient without being absent.  She was always around when we needed a top up but didn't hover despite taking ages for us to order.

After a few questions about the menu, for which she had to go check with the kitchen, I settled on the Agnolotti.  I was suprised how unfamiliar she seemed with the menu.   Not a good sign because then you cannot ask for opinions with any certainty.  The folks on my end of the table ordered the Rigatoni Al Vodka and  Rigatoni Napa.  K ordered the Rib Special.  I asked about the pizza because I'm always looking for GOOD pizza.  The website said their pizza was Italian Thin Crust style but when I asked what kind of oven, she said it was a regular oven, I knew it would never be as crispy as it should.  One person at our table did order it and the crust looked a tad tough and she only ate half.  I did come away with some great recommendations from the folks at the table for some #Toronto pizza places with woodfired ovens to visit though, yay!

Spinach and Ricotta Angolotti - the Factory Girl
None of us ordered starters because we'd all had a few drinks already and the appetisers were priced rather high versus the mains and so we decided to go straight for the mains instead.  I think they would really benefit if they dropped their apps a buck or two.  Higher end places can afford to have apps and salads at 12$ but not a pubby joint.

Rigatoni a la Vodka - the Factory Girl
All said, the Pasta was very good.  The Sauce was well seasoned and balanced, not to heavy for a cream sauce.  It's so lovely to get fresh Pasta in a restaurant.  I will never understand places who's focus is Pasta and you get boxed stuff (i.e. Trattoria, Vancouver, you can recognise it a mile off.  Boxed Linguine is not pliable and always wants to straighten out.)  I though K's BBQ was too sauced and did not look like authentic BBQ.  She said the sauce was interesting and tastey but the dish was cool on arrival so not the best for ribs... and it came first. 

Phyllo wrapped Cheesecake - the Factory Girl
I ordered the Tiramisu for dessert because that's what I do when it's on the menu.  J across from me, said she's had so many bad ones.  Me too but that's the risk I take.  I just can't help it.  So she and I both ordered the Jerry's Famous Tiramisu.  hmmm We both agreed, Jerry should stick to the BBQ.  It was very lack luster.  It was not at all moist, very little coffee flavour.  It did not 'pick me up'.  It was very very very messily plated.  I mean there was cocoa powder everywhere.  S ordered the Banana Cheesecake in Phyllo.  It was not easy to eat and was not  very Cheesecake-y if you know what I mean.  It looked very much like carnival food.  You really should have been given a knife to eat it as well or be told to pick it up.

In all, if I'm in the area and fancy Fresh Pasta or a chilled drink with friends, I will go back.  I would not go for the grill or the 'za.

Ambiance: pubby
Service: Excellent, friendly, patient yet present. Could have been more informed about menu.
Cost: $$-$$$

Factory Girl
Greektown/The Danforth
193 Danforth Ave 
Toronto, ON
(647) 352-2799

Factory Girl on Urbanspoon


2 Leave a / Read COMMENTs:

Pizza Lover said...

I eat at Factory Girl all the time. The pizza and calamari are both excellent and the portions are very generous.. Wood oven pizza does not produce a crispy pizza . ( I love wood oven pizza) it cooks very fast and thicker dough is required , creating a doughy texture on the inside and charred on the outside. You should try a Factory Girl pizza, they are exceptional. I'm not sure what you mean by the wine by the glass being broader than by the bottle , there are 50 wines by the bottle and no where near that by the glass. I'm off to a glass of chianti ...cheers!!!

Yummo said...

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I can only assume by your passionate defense and at hand, knowledge of the wine list, you may be affiliated with Factory Girl. Even if you're not, I'm glad you like it there. Like I said, the pasta is great. I just don't like restaurants like 'Earl's' that don't follow their original intent and cater to mass appeal. And I did not think their was sufficient bottle selection. The wine list they have on line was not the one I was handed. They had a handful of reds and handful of whites and 2 sparkling. The menu I saw was not divided by region either. So either, they've updated since or dispensed with.

Anyhoo, enjoy your Chianti :^D, Cheers.