HEF WONDIY (1671 Bloor West, 530-1609) This fish-out-of-water space -- think Tyrolean ski chalet -- offers inexpensive made-to-order meals, all served on slightly sour, crepe-like injera. Best: steak tartare Kitfo in spice-spiked butter; Gomen Wat, al dente collard greens and sweet green peppers goosed with ginger and garlic; Ye' Teematem, a lemon-dressed breakfast (!) salad of shredded injera, seedless tomato, raw onion and green chilies dusted with hellfire-hot mit'mit'a. Complete dinners for $20 per person, including all taxes, tip and a glass of beer. Open daily noon to midnight. Fully licensed. Access: four steps at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN
* FIVE DOORS NORTH (2088 Yonge, 480-6234) Shabby-chic Queen West style goes uptown with genuine Ital family fare. Hidden by a sign that says it's a futon store, this relaxed resto belies appearances. Best: 10-ounce Angus steak with fried onions in creamy Gorgonzola; potato gnocchi with butternut squash sauce; risotto with grilled zucchini, peppers and corn; meat, fish or fowl mixed grills; lemon mascarpone Napoleon with fresh raspberries. Complete dinners for $30 per person, including all taxes, tip and a glass of wine or Italian beer. Open for dinner Monday to Saturday 5 to 11 pm. Closed Sunday and holidays. Fully licensed. Access: barrier-free. Rating: NNNN
LEMON MERINGUE (2390 Bloor West, 769-5757) By day an upscale patisserie and gourmet food shop, after five this room becomes a super boite with some of the best food for miles. Best: seared strip loin with smashed spuds, multi-mushroom mix and pearl onion jus; Parmesan-rich 'shroom risotto with truffle oil; roasted pear, Stilton and caramelized pecans over bitter arugula. Complete meals for $40 per person ($20 at lunch or brunch), including all taxes, tip and a glass of wine. Open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday 5 to 10 pm, for lunch Tuesday to Friday 11 am to 3 pm, and for brunch Saturday only 10 am to 3 pm. Closed Sunday, Monday and holidays. Fully licensed. Smoke-free. Access: barrier-free, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN
SUSHI ON BLOOR SUSHI ON BLOOR SUSHI ON BLOOR
(515 Bloor West, 516-3456) Modish Annex spot rolls out bargain all-inclusive meal deals. Best: steak teriyaki with steamed strips of carrot, green bean and broccoli; delicately battered grease-free tempura dinners of shrimp, squash, sweet potato, broccoli and zucchini, with miso soup, sticky rice and miso-dressed iceberg lettuce salads; Bronze, Silver or Gold sushi combos with all the fixin's; red-bean ice cream. Complete dinners for $25 per person ($15 at lunch), including all taxes, tip and a bottle of Japanese beer. Open daily noon to 11 pm. Fully licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNNSometimes steak can be simple. Here are some downscale approaches to glorious beef. How to get steak
Sometimes steak can be simple. Here are some downscale approaches to glorious beef.