Yellow Dog Tavern
Address: 386 Donald St
Simple, scratch-made food make The Yellow Dog Tavern the perfect place to have a pint and a plate.
The downtown pub attracts a diverse clientele from business lunchers and creative types by day to studded leather punk-rock types after dark, all sharing an appreciation for no-frills, deep fryer-free pub fare.
Seating is also a mixed bag at the tavern. Typical restaurant tables, high tops with bar stools and a cozy cluster of couches accommodate 70 in the pub’s three rooms.
Daily specials scrawled on blackboards include Tuesday’s ample Philly cheesesteak panini which is packed with brawny grilled steak, sautéed red and green bell peppers and onions. This two-handed sandwich oozes tangy cheddar cheese and rich black peppercorn white wine sauce that complements its hearty filling. Thursday’s housemade turkey (breast) burger—is worth trying for its side dish alone—a mind blowing coleslaw made with bacon, blue cheese and slivers of tart green apple.
The kitchen pushes out inspired interpretations of classic pub fare. Jalapeño poppers are two bite-sized nibbles of half baked bliss. The spice of crispy, fresh jalapeño boats is tamed by warm cream cheese filling and topped off with a crumbly portion of briny bacon.
For a snap-fresh option, try the pear, feta and walnut salad. A generous plate of romaine lettuce is topped with slices of sweet farinaceous bartlett pear and tangy crumbled feta cheese. A thick and fruity, puréed-pear vinaig-rette with a touch of honey matches the slight bitterness of toasted walnuts.
House soups are also stellar. Skilled seasoning and lengthy simmering deliver layers of flavour to each spoonful. Cream of mushroom is laden with tons of tender button mushrooms swimming in fragrant poultry-spiced chicken stock.
Chicken pot pie gets a lift with light and flaky phyllo pastry. Chunks of chicken, celery and carrot mingle with thick, rosemary tinged gravy. A rustic and hearty medley of roasted potato, carrot and red onion provide suitable companionship.