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At Scullery, owner/chef Fiona Byrne (left) flaunts her chocolate peanut butter cupcakes; owner/chef Laura Sestito brings on the beetroot salad.
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SCULLERY (200 Carlton, at Sackville, 647-748-5000, thescullery.ca, @The_Scullery) Complete meals for $20 per person, including, tax, tip and an iced tea. Average main $9. Open Wednesday to Friday 7 am to 7 pm, Saturday and Sunday 8 am to 5 pm, Monday 7 am to 7 pm. Closed Tuesday, some holidays. Reservations accepted. Unlicensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms on same floor. Rating: NNNN
Like Rodney Dangerfield and the upper house of Parliament, salads get no respect.
Oh, sure, they're always there, lurking on the plate like some afterthought drizzled in dressing, forever the supporting player and rarely the star. The Scullery looks set to change all that.
Don't show up at Laura Sestito and Fiona Byrne's six-week-old Cabbagetown café expecting cheap heaps o' mesclun straight out of the box. Instead, find a dazzling roster of main-sized combos that includes creamy green lentils with lean Danish bacon and sour cherries in a tart citrus vinaigrette finished with stinky Gorgonzola blue cheese.
Brilliantly charred Brussels sprouts arrive under a blanket of shaved parmigiano and toasted hazelnuts, their sweet balsamic vinaigrette the perfect foil for the famously bitter baby cabbage. And an impressive pile of blackened corn, ripe tomato, fresh basil and pickled red onion squeezes the last drop out of summer (all $7.50/$10.50 for two/ $12.50 for three). They almost should come with a simple green salad.
There are daily entrees such as the Middle East/West fusion of roasted boneless, skinless chicken breast tossed with peanuts and kissed with saffron and rosewater, or a classic-with-a-twist sausage 'n' apple quiche (both $12.50 with one salad). Sandwiches are just as adventurous, most notably the tasty mix of fatty prosciutto, fresh figs and pesto with "mixed leaves" - aka lettuce - on eight crusty inches of Ace Bakery baguette ($7). And don't leave without an old-school cinnamon bun or scone (both $2.95).
Only a takeout turkey and rice soup ($6 "with bread") disappoints, and that's only because said bread turns out to be little more than two tiny croutons. Beautifully wrapped in white paper and tied with twine, mind.
Could the Scullery be the first of many? Stranger things have happened - the original Joel's Gourmet Pizza started out in the garage out back.