Chanoso’s Impromptu Mini Growl
By Kim S.
It certainly isn’t every week that our peerless leader and founder Sylvia V. celebrates a revolution around the sun, and so it was in the name of fete that a small contingent of Growl gals found themselves capping off a Sunday afternoon of light theatre with dinner at Chanoso’s.
The breezes of the first real spring-like day of the year ushered us in through the front door past a standing statue of the Buddha himself. Wherever you go, there you are.
The layout of the restaurant is worth a mention. The dining area is divided into three. There is a raised seating area near the tall front windows, a smaller seating area for larger groups in the middle, and a curtained room at the back.
Our group was seated in the second of these sections, but I had a good view of the back room, and I found it really visually intriguing. The high ceiling is vaulted and painted in dark colours layered under swirling black designs. The centerpiece of this ceiling is a crystal chandelier. It is a tea room conceived in the Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus or the mind of Tim Burton or maybe a bit of both. I dug it.
Some charm is also to be found in the exposed brick wall that serves as backdrop to the extensive, well-stocked bar.
Unfortunately, Chanoso’s potential goes mostly unrealized. A long-standing downtown staple, some of its interior has fallen into disrepair (including, it would seem, the espresso/latte machine), and the dining area and washrooms could use a more thorough cleaning. The service was polite enough, but slow and inconsistent.
As far as the food is concerned, although I was pleased with my hummus and grilled pita appetizer (plenty to share with a friend or six!), my veggie stir fry with ginger sauce served over brown rice had a strange aftertaste and a somewhat slimy texture. (I am willing to concede that I may have simply ordered the wrong thing. I only maintain that a place known for its stir fries should be serving up some pretty darn stellar stir fries.) The vegetables, however, were large and obviously fresh, and the menu does offer a wide variety of choices if one wishes to go with the “make your own stir fry” option – sauces, noodles or rice, and protein. Vegetarians can go with a mix of veggies or add tofu. I always appreciate it when restaurant owners/chefs make an effort to keep in mind special dietary considerations when creating a menu.
Overall, Chanoso’s has the feel of a somewhat more upscale restaurant one might stumble into for eats along a bar hopping route. (The Room is located just upstairs, for example.) Everything shines a little brighter when you’re tipsy. For this sober reviewer whose barfly days are behind her, however, the Chanoso’s experience fell a little flat.
|Kim S.‘s Overall Rating|
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