DETROIT EATERY (389 Danforth, at Chester, 416-461-0136) Complete meals for $20 per person, including all taxes, tip and a beer. Average main $7. Open daily 8 am to 9 pm. Licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN
The only part of the Detroit Eatery that doesn't celebrate the Red Wings hockey team is the menu: no Howe's dressing on the salad, no bowls of frosted Chelios.
Based upon this card, Steve Yzerman would have spent his entire career playing for the Detroit Red Fingers.
The menu is a concise compendium of diner food that manages to put just a touch of Greece back into greasy spoon.
The Detroit is far from perfect, but the relaxed Lebowskian atmosphere and the charm of restaurant-grade stainless steel cluttered with children's art and Crown Royal allows for a game summary that focuses on the good plays.
Danforth Village Salad ($4.95) is a lettuce-free Greek-style starter. The veggies, fresh and not chilled beyond recognition, are accompanied by a generous quantity of feta, all dressed with balanced red wine vinaigrette.
The cheeseburger ($4) appears to be a no-fail choice. A big, beefy handmade patty receives the perfect treatment on the broiler and arrives with the minimum of fixing fuss on a simple fresh bun. Verging on juicy but not sloppy, this is a fine Toronto diner burger. The accompanying fries ($1.50), frozen and undercooked, don't earn any assists.
The open-faced hot turkey sandwich ($7.50) is a worthwhile rendition. The turkey, mainly dark meat, is chewy in a comforting, leftover kind of way, and the gravy soaks nicely into the white-bread foundation. The watery, odd-tasting mashed potatoes and perfunctory canned corn are minus two on the night.
All of the above is washed down with the greatest of ease thanks to the $3.02 charge on domestic beer, which might be close to what you would pay if you were actually in Detroit.
The Detroit seems pretty confident with milkshakes, so I request a chocolate shake ($2.95) made with vanilla ice cream.
This detour into fountain esoterica doesn't even begin to faze our man, who returns with a melted glacier's worth of exemplary dairy emulsion served in a Hoegaarden glass (how great is that?), with a refill awaiting in the accompanying steel beaker. First star!
The cherry pie ($2.50) is indescribably grim and industrial, but this is Toronto, where pies go to die.