ACROSS THE BOARD GAME CAFE
Address: 105 – 211 Bannatyne Avenue
Entrees: $12 – $20
Buzzing chatter interspersed with jovial shouts and clattering dice create an electrifying greeting at Across the Board Game Café’s sun filled space on the corner of Main and Bannatyne. Sprawling windows wash the space in light, sending sparkles off shiny chandeliers hanging from a retro-chic copper ceiling, and an awe-inspiring wall of board games divides the dining room with 1600+ titles. For $10, diners can try their hand at any game, with the guidance of an uber informed game master taking away rule book fuss.
Choosing your game could incite lively debate, but grabbing a bite is a no-brainer. The long list of apps and snacks nod to house party faves that trump at-home pantry picks. Cheesy spinach and artichoke dip, veggie and hummus platters and seasoned popcorn tempt familiar cravings while globally inspired salad rolls and German currywurst please a more adventurous palate.
Twists on classic bistro-fare also prompt noshing. The board game club loads its fixings between two herb-laden slices of practically weightless schiacciata bread. Tender roasted chicken, sharp cheddar and bacon deliver their winning combo, but sweet caramelized onions raise this handheld’s game to another level.
Despite a compact kitchen, use of multi-purpose ingredients results in remarkable variety. The same house-made schiacciata bread embraces the takenoko pork sandwich, a banh-mi spin swapping charbroiled pork for beautifully braised pulled pieces. Sharp pickled vegetables enliven the sweet juicy meat while creamy sriracha mayo piques with spice.
The king of Tokyo noodle bowl cleverly incorporates the same melt-in-mouth braised pork, adding luscious bites to umami-laden miso broth intermingled in a nest of vermicelli noodles and tender mushroom slices. Shaved white cabbage and sliced cucumber add crunch as thoughtful garnishes.
House-made desserts like the brazenly berried cheesecake brings a rich finale to gameplay.
In a culture of fancy eats and boujee décor, the vibrant success of Across the Board Game Café proves simple joy and playful connection can be the winning hand.