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Smash Kitchen & Bar Review, Comfort Food With Flavour

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Smash Kitchen & Bar is located near Unionville and is quite a hidden gem uptown in the Greater Toronto Area. Their menu selection is primarily comfort food, seafood, and traditional American dishes. Nevertheless, they always introduce some type of fusion appetizers or entrees every so often – which is what I love about Smash.

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The restaurant entrance within its plaza is quite small. But when you get inside, it is fairly huge until you open your eyes and observe 360-degrees. I say that because there are several dividers including the bar, isolated room on the right side of restaurant entrance, and another semi-curtained area at the opposite end. Overall, Smash Kitchen gives off a good and classy atmosphere.

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Up until now, I’ve eaten at Smash Kitchen three times and all three were great experiences. Fabulous times with good friends and my bae. So hopefully, this review can sum up my overall food adventure and speak to the dishes I have tasted (given if they are still on the current menu) at Smash Kitchen.

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Quick Note: Keep in mind that Smash Kitchen will add a gratuity of 18% for parties of 8 or more. Additionally, make sure you check out their “day of the week” special and dine-in promotions that ranges from drinks to appetizers and burgers! Some are pretty good bang for the buck!

During my latest visit, I went on the weekend without any reservation with my boyfriend and was asked to wait for 30 minutes. Surprisingly, the wait ended up less than 10 minutes! Our meal entailed trying one each of the lobster taco and duck taco, as well as the seafood paella and half rack & mac.

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Lobster Taco ($6): This taco includes a soft shell that holds lobster meat with guacamole, Pico de Gallo, and jalapenos chipotle aioli. My boyfriend and I both agreed that this taco has no resemblance to a lobster, but rather like a fish taco. We cannot tell how much of the content is actually lobster. All encompassing, the taco was not bad yet I felt the wrap could have been better – little bit too dry.

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Duck Taco ($5): Consists of duck meat, fried noodles, cucumbers, cilantro, pickled red onions, and spicy hoisin sauce. If you are a Caucasian and don’t often order Peking Duck at Chinese restaurants, then go for it. Otherwise, might as well skip this and try something different. This taco tastes exactly like eating Peking duck, no jokes. Overall, it’s a good idea to introduce these fusion dishes but for its taste, it’s totally not worth it.

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Seafood Paella ($23): The paella originates from Spain where they place everything spread out on a hot pan and roasted above the fire. There are many variations but Smash Kitchen’s recipe is definitely not authentic, especially from the dish’s appearance. Nevertheless, it still tasted awesome and totally recommend ordering it! Its ingredients include tiger shrimps, small clams, mussels, chorizo, sausage, tomato saffron broth, and orzo (pasta).

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Half Rack & Mac ($22): This entree gets you best of both worlds and a little bit more – half rack of BBQ ribs with L.A. mac and cheese, plus some chipotle lime roasted corn and creamy coleslaw on the side. The ribs were definitely fall-off-the-bone and sauced up, but there were also one that leaned toward being dry. As for the mac and cheese, it was melted nicely and tasted just right. The cheese didn’t overwhelm the pasta nor was the macaroni too stiff and hard. Although the mains were both mentioned, the corn was definitely flavourful and adds to the overall dish. Thumbs up to this item!


Smash Kitchen: Second Visit with Friends and Foes (Kidding!)

We ordered all new dishes that I have never tried and discovered some tasty treats along the way!

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Burnt Ends ($12): Definitely one good appetizer but not very shareable if you have more than 2-3 people. Its a bowl of smoked brisket mixed with Smash’s BBQ sauce and scallions. On the side, you can also find some pickled red onions, creamy coleslaw, gherkin, and Bibb lettuce to perhaps entice your taste buds. If you are playful, you can actually try the Chinese style of wrapping everything into one lettuce!

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Beef Sliders ($12): These little cute and small sliders are not bad and to be honest, not my favourite but does keep you full. You can see it has a slice or two of Bibb lettuce (which it seems like Smash loves using), tomato, their house sauce, and a four cheese blend on brioche. Even though they did use brioche, the bun still felt slightly dry in my mouth.

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Mushroom Linguini ($17): This includes pesto cream, field mushrooms, caramelized onions, and green peas to give this dish some colour. I would recommend this entree! Despite looking simple and nothing fancy, I loved how the sauce is not thick and eases into all the ingredients and linguini. This mushroom pasta is different compared to the rich ones I’ve tasted, yet it still brings out all the delicious contents.

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Lobster Mac & Cheese ($22): If you like cheese, you’ll enjoy this. Simple like its appearance, it has lobster rosé, pico de gallo, herb crusted, macaroni, and of course your lobster seafood. The mac and cheese was cooked well and the lobster meat is actually abundant in comparison to the pasta. The only feedback I have is to make the cheese less dry in some areas (probably over cooked).


Smash Kitchen: Initial Visit

My first time going to Smash Kitchen, I was so excited to use my Yelp check-in offer (10% off the entire food bill) that I totally forgot about it when the check came. Turns out, you can only use it during week days anyway. I can’t speak on behalf of my friend, who went there multiple times and most likely tried everything on the menu, but it was an excellent dining experience from food quality to service.

We ordered the Louisiana Rice Croquettes, the famous Smash Burger, and Pride of Nova Scotia pizza – all were recommended by my friend.

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Louisiana Rice Croquettes ($13): The croquettes were really tasty. Just with a bite, its crispy deep-fried outer layer fell apart easily and the sauce spilled out within the rice ball. The rice ball was made mostly out of chorizo, peas, and chipotle aioli with cheese. This appetizer reminds me a lot of the sushi pizza serves at Japanese all-you-can-eat restaurants, but even more delicious!

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Smash Burger ($15): This Smash burger was on special for only $10 that day. It always comes with double patty but with an option to upsize into triple patty. You can even add more toppings like a fried egg, blue cheese, mushrooms, BBQ brisket, bacon, and many more. The patty was cooked really well – meat was tender and juicy with cheddar cheese melted right in between. The juice was also pouring out when I bite into it, but my onion ring fell out 🙁 I still loved it the burger regardless and I really liked the mixed green salad on the side. The balance of sourness and sauce vs. greens were just right. The leaves were quite fresh too. If you don’t like green salad, you can also choose fries or their daily soup.

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Pride of Nova Scotia Pizza ($19): This pizza was very authentic compared to the one I’ve even tried in New York (minus the lobster). In my preference, I wished their crust was slightly harder and put longer in their oven despite its sides being toasted and hard already. Contrarily, the pica gallo was really green and fresh, and the lobster came in big chunks – thumbs up on that! The pizza overall has your typical tomato sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, and roasted garlic to bring out it’s aroma.

Smash Kitchen is a pleasant place for some delicious food and cozy setting. I would definitely recommend it if you prefer western food, but more or less, l I still enjoyed more of their entrees than appetizers. They honestly make better full-blown meals than snacks. As for their service, I don’t have much to comment – no negative or super positive experiences in general.

Store Location: 4261 Highway 7, Markham, Ontario L3R 9W6 (Canada)

Atmosphere: 4/5
Customer Service: 4/5
Food Quality: 4/5

OVERALL RATING: 4/5
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Smash Kitchen & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cha Me Cha

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Time for dessert! This is one place I enjoy going if you suddenly crave something cold! Their store specialty is snow ice sprinkled with juice bubbles and syrup. To this date, I’ve only visited Cha Me Cha twice and ate two different flavours of snow ice alongside other hot snacks. Also, this restaurant may be slightly more difficult to locate as it’s inside the newer T&T supermarket plaza/mall. The best location to park is near the end zones within the parking lot.

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Walking inside, you will see an open kitchen-type concept with the sitting area mostly wooden and couched-themed. The walls were more or so bare and not decorated.

P.S. their seating is so-so, the chairs were slightly small especially if you weren’t served to the couch tables.

On the service side, one of the key things I disliked when ordering was the fact they asked for a minimum order policy of one item per person. My friends and I just had dinner and was coming here only for the snow ice as dessert, but we ended up having to order three menu items. As you can imagine – super bloated afterwards!! Apparently, the second time I visited Cha Me Cha, the waiter didn’t enforce that rule.

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The three food items we ordered included: the Snow White (milk snow ice), popcorn / crispy chicken, and the sweet milk custard brick toast.

Surprisingly, the hot food came first – not sure if it was intentional or unintentional but it was the right move:) First was the toast served on a wooden cheese cutting board. It was nothing special although still being thick and moist from butter. It didn’t have a strong flavour overall though I know my taste buds love stronger scents.

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Next up was the popcorn/cripsy chicken! Hot hot and hot, it tasted pretty good! I love popcorn chicken freshly fried too. You can tell that it’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. However, it could be a bit more softer (only comparing it with legit Taiwanese crispy chicken that I once had).

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The snow ice, on the other hand, was delicious! The milk taste was there but not too overpowering – it was subtle and just right for its large quantity. I really liked the juice bubbles too and it actually gave the snow ice more taste in comparison. All in all, the milk snow ice was really smooth as if there’s a lot of air in between. Every bite literally melts in your mouth.. not like ice cream but not like shaved/blended ice either.

What’s funny and weird is that we saw almost every table ordering the green tea flavored snow ice – seems like the most popular option! I tried ordering mango or green tea snow ice the second time visiting, but both were sold out.. boo! Perhaps next time I’ll be more lucky haha. To be exact, the only reason green tea wasn’t chosen initially was because earlier that day, our stomachs were already was filled with taro, mango, and green tea bubble teas (didn’t want to repeat flavours).

To sum up, the food at Cha Me Cha were delicious and served fast. For three filling items, the bill only came out to only be $7 per person (3 people total). As for the service, it was alright – nothing too surprisingly outstanding and it varies. The second visit I had, the only order of snow ice was missed. Not sure if they forgot or was too slow at making it, but it only came out after we spoke to the waiter 30 minutes later.

Store Location: Suite 1078, 8333 Kennedy Road, Markham, Ontario L3R 1J5 (Canada)

Atmosphere: 3.5/5
Customer Service: 3.5/5
Food Quality: 4/5

OVERALL RATING: 3.5/5
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