Dundas Dining: Sebastian Cafe & Grill

We haven’t done any Dundas Dining for a while because we’ve been caught up in a whirlwind of weddings and other commitments. Driving back from a BBQ on Saturday we saw not one but two new restaurants in the Junction and at least one new empty storefront. Clearly we’d been neglecting our beloved Dundas West.

Since the closer of the two new eateries (Leno’s) was closed for lunch on Sundays, we chose the other. Sebastian Cafe & Grill is a Colombian restaurant that has filled the hole left by the intriguingly named Authentic Mexican Restaurant near Keele. It’s a cute and cozy orange space with cozier armchairs. The air is filled with joyous MOR Latin pop tunes kept at a comfortable volume and the South American decor accents (i.e. prerequisite sombreros) are kept on the tasteful side of kitsch.

The menu boasts a variety of dishes written in Spanish which may or may not contain corn and various meats but sound delicious, at least phonetically. We need to spend some time at Babelfish before going back. I went the safe route and ordered the chicken soft tacos (which were in English) and Mandi had some kind of large breakfast (in Spanish).

The fledgling, but perfectly pleasant, wait staff seem a little unsure of their duties but eventually get there in the end. Much the same as High Park Spicy House, you have to go to the till to pay though there’s no indication of this other than a long, awkward wait. I’m beginning to think it’s an unspoken part of the Junction culture that the bill is not offered or brought to you. When we did take it upon ourselves to go to the back to pay, someone had to be brought out from the kitchen to operate the till. It was a little odd, but the restaurant is brand new so you have to give them a little slack. Let me know if this is still the drill in a year’s time.

But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. First, the food. My tacos were certainly good though not as exceptional in taste as they are in visage. The tortillas were made in-house, the ingredients were fresh and the pulled chicken was tender but overall the meal lacked a distinct flavour or spiciness. That’s not to say it was poor, just a tad on the bland side. My salad was made solely from iceberg lettuce which I am probably alone in enjoying, simply because it’s easier to eat with your fork when there’s nothing else in the salad at all to spear into (a wedge of avocado sat off to the side, I suppose I could have employed that).

Mandi’s plate was a fiesta of breakfast foods. Three eggs on top of three tortillas covered in what we think was perhaps a chipotle enchilada sauce, fried plantains and black refried beans topped with grilled red-peppers, onions and tomatoes. Mandi commented on there being a mix of flavours she hadn’t experienced before, overall good. I’m not drinking coffee right now but Mandi says it was “Good, average, run of the mill, nothing bad.”

At one point I thought there was a problem with Mandi’s meal but the horrified look on her face was merely because a dirty kitten on the sidewalk was venturing dangerously close to the wheels of a bus. It lives in the convenience store next to the restaurant. It almost came home with us. I was too comfortable in my plush chair to rescue him though. Just as well, Mandi points out, I’d just have scared him under the bus.

Though I found my tacos a touch bland I suspect Sebastian would be worth, after boning up on my Spanish,  returning to for one of their dinner entrees.

3.5 out of 5 sombreros over the till (with expected improvement as they hit their stride).


2 Responses to Dundas Dining: Sebastian Cafe & Grill

  1. I too prefer iceberg lettuce above all others. I tend, gastronomically, to not want to venture too far from the experiences of my youth.

    • mrdapper says:

      Iceberg isn’t as tasty but side salads in restaurants are almost always pretty lame. Even at the best restaurants. So If I have to eat one, I’d like it to be easy at least.

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