Following the success of Schnitzel HUB‘s first location in Thornhill, owners Yan and Rita Khalfon opened their second location right in the heart of Midtown, at Yonge St. and St. Clair Ave. On November 19, we braved the snow and cold to sample some of Schnitzel HUB’s signature eats and drinks, and we’re sure glad we did.
The restaurant’s space is both rustic and luxurious. The lounge area with its plush leather couches, exposed brick walls, and gold and wood accents, invites you to relax and stay awhile with your friends, sipping drinks and enjoying snacks. The main dining room is also adorned with leather and wood, and the led-backlit wall of tree trunks is a striking feature. There’s also an elegant, separate dining room that can seat forty people, available for private bookings. The whole space is both upscale and cozy, meant to make you feel like you’re in the comfort of your home.
Chef Yan Khalfon‘s menu consists of classic European dishes, updated with Canadian twists. The first items we sampled were pierogies – the potato cheddar and sauerkraut mushroom. Both were juicy and flavourful. The salad was a beet and butternut squash salad. Its base was arugula, with tartness provided by the raspberries, saltiness by the feta, and the sweetness by its dressing. Goulash is a Hungarian stew consisting of meat and vegetables, and Khalfon’s version had deliciously sharp flavour and very tender meat – it’s a soup that’s perfect for a cold winter day.
The mains consisted of traditional German dishes. The Octoberfest sausage platter consisted of two types of sausages, served with sauerkraut. The schnitzel of course was the star of the night. I ordered the veal version of the Jaeger schnitzel; you can also choose chicken as the meat. It came with a side of spätzle, roasted root vegetables, and a mushroom, bacon, red wine gravy. The portion was absolutely huge, and so we were surprised to learn this was actually the lunch portion size – I can’t even imagine how large the dinner portion is! There are numerous varieties of schnitzel on the menu, some stuffed with ham or cheese or both, and some with different accompaniments like tomato sauce, or caramelized onions, or even a sunny-side up egg. There’s a schnitzel for everyone’s tastes.
For the drinks, there’s a selection of wines from all over Europe, and beers from Germany, Belgium, and Austria. What’s most interesting about Schnitzel HUB’s drinks menu though is the forty house-infused vodkas. Depending on the ingredients used, the infusing process can take upto three months. We sampled several, including some sweet vodkas like the jolly rancher candy vodka, and very intensely flavoured vodkas like the horseradish vodka, which was my personal favourite. There are even medicinal vodkas like the “natural anti-depressant” vodka, made from Chinese herbs and spices. The Khalfons are always experimenting with different ingredients and flavour combinations, and because the vodkas can be ordered in flights, you’ll surely find your own favourites.
With its high quality European fare (at reasonable prices I might add), its amazing selection of vodkas waiting for you to discover, and a convenient location in Midtown very close to the St. Clair subway station, Schnitzel HUB is great place to eat and drink, day or night. It’s located at 1415 Yonge St., just south of St. Clair Ave. Schnitzel HUB’s first location is at 100 Steeles Ave. W, Unit 17, in Thornhill. Hours are 11 am to 11:30 pm from Sunday to Thursday, 11 am until late on Friday and Saturday.
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