The ongoing culinary soap opera known as Eleven has spluttered to an ignominious close. Contrary to a Toronto Star report that the building has been sold, the Jarvis resto’s landlord has changed the locks and slapped a notice on the troubled supper club’s front door demanding some $75,298.24 in back rent.
Two years ago, first-?time restaurateur Steve Lee launched the room -located kitty-corner from the St. Lawrence Market as Ninth Gate, an upscale Westernized Korean cantina along the lines of Queen West’s San. No one bit.
Shifting gears, he renamed the spot Eleven and brought in former Xacutti chef Brad Moore – who left the suddenly shuttered College Street boîte now known as Grace in a cloud of controversy – to give the joint an Indo-?fusion spin. The reviews were not kind.
After only three months, Moore was out the door – whether he jumped ship or was thrown overboard unclear. At the time, I asked Moore about his abrupt exit.
“It was a very bad decision on my part to be associated with Eleven,” says Moore, who now caters and teaches cooking classes under the name Spiceman (firstname.lastname@example.org). “I tried to see if any consistent improvements could be achieved, but it became very clear that was impossible. I was more a firefighter than a chef.”
Changing direction again, Lee next drafted former Perigee and Bistro Tournesol chef Pat Riley to replace Moore and re?named the resto the Garden @ Eleven.
And now Eleven is history. There’s a lesson here for would-?be Olivers and Bonacinis: never throw money into a rented building.
Everybody’s favourite late-?night jerk chicken shack, Albert’s Real Jamaican Food, has closed its Queen West operation. It seems the contract between Real’s Albert Wiggan and the folks running the franchise downtown has expired. The Caribbean Queen takeaway now goes by the name Pat’s Homestyle (558 Queen West, at Bathurst, 416-304-0767). No worries, though – the original uptown location is still going strong (542 St. Clair West, at Vaughan, 416-?658-?9445).
“I’ll never close,” laughs Wiggan. “That’s my baby!”
There goes the neighbourhood, part 435. Fancy-pants Splendido (88 Harbord, at Spadina, 416-?929-?7788) looks set to move way downmarket with the launch of Noto Bene on the first floor of the new Canada Life tower at Queen and Simcoe in July.
Located right next door to the Rex Hotel, the boîte will target the swells who frequent the nearby Four Seasons Centre. We can only imagine what they’ll make of dropping 200 bucks for dinner with a front-row view of the condom store and tattoo parlour across the street.