I have always been rather suspicious of people who refer to steak they have recently enjoyed as cutting “like butter”. As much as I enjoy butter, I certainly don’t wish for my own steak to cut anything like butter.
Personally I love a fair bit of a chew on my steak, and so I don’t tend to frequent Morton’s, Hy’s, and places of their ilk all that often. It is for this reason that I was drawn for the second year running to John Maxwell’s Allen’s On The Danforth for his Festival of Steak, running until the 22nd of this month.
Coming into being a few years back, Maxwell initiated his three week long festival of meaty pleasures in a move to combat what he refers to as “the tyranny of USDA Prime beef” over Toronto diners. Last year he invited Malcolm Jolley and myself over to Allen’s as his guests, and we had a grand old night of his trademark hospitality partnered with a superb selection of food and drink.
If the truth be told, perhaps there was a little too much of the latter, as I awoke the next day to find myself with a bit of a sore head, no memory whatsoever of getting home to Parkdale, a camera full of absolutely unusable photographs of what looked a bit like shadowy plates of food, and missing my new notepad containing all of my precious detailed scribblings from the previous evening’s steak festivities.
What with the documenting of that particular night having been my assignment, there was never any writeup of my experiences of the Steak Festival posted on Good Food Revolution. Which is a great pity as it really was rather special. Which brings us to this year…
In a measured move to remedy last year’s misadventures, I had decided that this February my girlfriend and I would journey out to Allen’s and enjoy a night of top-notch steaks. The stars appeared to be aligned, as I was informed that we had a room at the Park Hyatt Hotel… on Valentines!
Now, having worked in the hospitality industry for almost two decades, I make a point of never going to a restaurant on the 14th of February as one usually ends up having a dining experience that falls well short of the establishment’s usual standards. However this was certainly not to be the case at Allen’s Steak Festival.
Below are some pictures outlining our special evening at Allen’s. Get in there while you can, as certain cuts and breeds were already on the way towards selling out when we were there on Friday!
Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And damn, that was some tasty steak.