For lunch today I felt a need for something a little different. We had been to all the chain restaurants in the area (e.g. Swiss Chalet, Kelseys, etc.) and many others. We had been to Pho Xe Lua, Annalisa and other asian restaurants as well. Today I wanted something different. Something solid, something familiar and yet someplace we had never been to before.
In the past my wife and I had walked by the Steeles Deli and never set foot in it. There was always a large line up at the door and the place was packed. Always a long line up.
So this being quiet Saturday afternoon I thought why not attempt a visit to this normally very popular local establishment. Worse comes to worse we end up visiting Pho Xe Lua if we can not get a table in time. But we never got the chance, there was a table at Steeles Deli.
We were welcomed as soon as we walked in the door. There were only two tables left in the old time deli restaurant with with an open concept kitchen with four cooks being fed orders by two experienced waitresses. We were shoehorned in near the kitchen. The only other table available appeared to seat eight and was further back. Shoehorning people in appears to be the method at Steeles Deli as each of the tables seems to be carefully arranged so as to take up the minimal amount of space so that the small intimate deli space can serve all its patrons yet have the clientele not feel rushed.
Our order was taken by a friendly waitress who wanted to ensure we felt cared for yet not be overserviced.
Our Order: Deli breakfast (sausage, bacon, toast, scrambled eggs, & coffee) and a California Style Chicken Sandwich (grilled chicken sandwich with Guacomole, lettuce etc.) with a side of fries.
Our order took less than ten minutes to find its way to our table. The kitchen staff works together like clockwork to ensure your order makes its way to your table piping hot and fresh. You can even see the meat slicer working as fast as possible to ensure all deli meats are feshly sliced and the team of four works like well orchestrated team. There is even one person just the otherside of the kitchen counter to ensure all the orders are read out to the kitchen team and correctly put together before the waitress wisks them quickley to the table as fast as she can navigate her way to the table. McDonald's could sure learn a thing or two from this operation in terms of food service!
The food was of similar quality as the service. My fries were crispy hot, yet delicious and not overcooked. The chicken sandwich was excellent with the chicken not too over or under grilled. The lettuce and all the trippings tasted to be freshly made.
The only issue was the scrambled eggs from the deli breakfast. There were a few egg shells pieces, but this is really a minor quibble within an otherwise excellent meal.
The atmosphere of the place was interesting as well. The ornately old deli style walls with pictures of actors from yesteryear mixed with customers who seemed to regulars of this fine dining establishment.
Overall the Steeles Deli was an a great place to visit. The deli could easily take over the floor space the nearby Swiss Chalet as the Deli seemed to have more patrons than the famous Canadian Chicken establishment. But that would mean the Deli would lose some of it's charm, a place with great food with others in close quarters within in an intimate setting.
Historicist: Elizabeth Simcoe, A Toronto Pioneer
6 hours ago