Kalendar (546 College, at Euclid, 416-923-4138) Complete meals for $50 per person, including all taxes, tip and a $7 glass of wine. Average main $14.95. Open for lunch Monday to Friday 11:30 am to 4 pm, dinner Thursday to Saturday 4 pm to midnight, Sunday to Wednesday 4 to 11 pm. Brunch Saturday and Sunday 10:30 am to 3 pm. Licenced. Access: washrooms in basement. Rating: NN Rating: NN
I can never figure out how Kalendar keeps winning NOW's Readers Polls as best spot to bring a date - unless it's a first date and both people are too nervous to eat. I've gone many times to the candlelit, bohemian Euro brasserie for wine and a tête-à-tête, but eating is another story.
The Kalendar salad ($5.95) disappoints - balsamic dressing gets lost under a mass of salty feta, and the unripe tomato wedges are bland. The mussels ($8.95) are tasty - fresh and plump, in a piquant tomato sauce - but we had to wait 35 minutes for them. And we ordered them as an appetizer.
A pasta special ($14.95) - half soggy, half al dente fusili tossed with portobello mushrooms, salty chicken, red peppers and canned olives - comes in a tasteless garlic olive oil. The nicely cooked orange roughy ($15.95) drowns in a thick sauce of beef bouillon, soya and walnuts. We find Scroll Number 3 ($8.95), a triangle stuffed with chicken, snow peas and carrot bullets, smothered in an undistinguished sweet curry sauce.
The lemon meringue cake is tasty despite the mouldy strawberry garnish.
For sure, the server is gracious about all this. The mains are taken off the bill and dessert is complimentary. The explanation? The chef is having an off night.
But that's been true every time I've been to Kalendar.