A Tale of Two Steakhouses

Posted on February 16, 2015


For the past Licious seasons, I have been doing my tasting with two sets of friends. One with a favourite friend to talk shop with, Jojo along with Raymond and Randall. The other group was with Diona Joyce, a.k.a. TitaFlips, her husband Trevor, and her sister-in-law Dee. As I have many opportunities to try different restaurants, I narrow their choices to 2-3 that would interest me and whatever they pick, I am ok with. I figure I just put back those unchosen ones back to my list of places to visit. It was kinda curious though that both groups went for steakhouses. But even though they have similar menus, they were polar opposites. Jojo, Raymond and Randall chose Michael’s on Simcoe and Diona’s family chose Quinn’s Steakhouse.

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I went first with Jojo’s group and because of the frigid night, Jojo and I walked in earlier than our reservation. Stepping at the warmth of the reception area, I was hesitant to give up my jacket when they asked if they can put it away it their closet. I look around and saw that the place despite being minimalistic, it used layered lighting to bring texture and interest in the tables and banquets, highlighting its refined interior. As we were there early, we had a few minutes to wait for the rest of the party. It was good that they give out fresh bread and a trio of salty accompaniments to whet your appetite.

When Raymond and Randall arrived a few minutes later and we finally gave our dinner orders. For a fixed price, Winterlicious always gets you an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert. I went for Michael’s on Simcoe’s calamari for appetizer, braised beef cheek for my main and an affogato for dessert. I must say the calamari gave me so much pleasure as each bite was beautiful, perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned dish that I was wishing for a second serving. The braised beef was ever so tender, I had no use for the knife for all I had to do was nudge it with my fork. I finished the meal with a taste of really good espresso underneath my affogato. I know Michael’s must be best known for their meats, but I must say their chef has a good hand with seafood, the calamari ending up my favourite dish for the night.

My second go for Winterlicious with Diona and her family was at Quinn’s Steakhouse. The address might say that it is located at Richmond St but it is actually at Sheraton Hotel by Nathan Phillips Square and the restaurant is located at the hotel entrance on the Richmond St side. As I have said earlier, this was the polar opposite of Michael’s at Simcoe as the interior is the traditional pub look, with dark-stained wood panels and mirrors on its bar and banquet seats that for the most part, seats four. Seeing that they had potato and leek soup on their menu, I opted for it as I thought the warmth would help me thaw and shake the cold of that night. I followed it up with medium bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin and brownies for dessert. It was definitely filling, my steak was a generous chunk and of course the fact that it was wrapped in bacon made me happy.

Now that I am writing this, I still cannot choose which one I would choose one over the other. if you are having steak cravings, both would do the job. Even if they were of the same lines, they are markedly different. If you go for the quiet-date-night-wanting-to-impress type, I’d say go for Michael’s on Simcoe but if you are with family or found you are craving steak while wearing jeans, go for Quinn’s steakhouse.

Michael's On Simcoe on Urbanspoon
Quinn's Steakhouse on Urbanspoon