The Wellington Street East strip is alive again thanks to the opening of East Thirty-Six, a restaurant + cocktail bar opened by the same team who brought prominence to Church Street with the charming, award-winning Boutique Bar.
East Thirty-Six places a heavy focus on carefully-crafting their food and drink offerings. Renowned mixologist and co-owner Julien Salomone runs the beverage program, building upon his wealth of experience working behind the bar in 5-star hotels and haute beach clubs in his native France to his time at Toronto institutions One, Auberge du Pommier, and Nota Bene. He has curated a tempting menu of tipples: housemade spiced rum is the foundation of the Rum Row, which also blends apricot liquor, lemon juice, ginger syrup, and tonic float; the Borsalino sees Lot 40 rye, cynar, lime juice, and a splash of maple syrup married in a pas de deux of balance and impact; and housemade coriander tincture and coriander syrup add aromatics to the gin-based French Connection.
At the kitchen’s helm is Chef Brent Maxwell, an alumnus of the Oliver & Bonacini restaurant empire with pedigree including the kitchens at LUMA, Auberge du Pommier, Canoe, and Biff’s Bistro. His shareable dishes show a worldly approach to menu development: Cauliflower is slow-cooked and presented with rustic charm alongside capers, hazelnuts, and preserved lemon with a brown butter sauce; his Boudin Blanc is a white sausage dish with ingredients like foie gras, tarragon, and creamed savoy cabbage; and his Lemon Custard dessert is a tangy and indulgent masterpiece, topped with macadamia nuts and shortbread crumble.
Salomone and Maxwell are in good company, as East Thirty-Six’s management team is a tour de force of hospitality veterans: co-owner Devon Salomone, Julien’s wife, is business-minded and puts her experience working in hospitality and hotel management to use running many of the day-to-day operations; co-owner and General Manager Stanley Bernard is also from O&B beginnings, having worked at Auberge du Pommier, Canoe and Jump; and co-owner and Front-of-House Manager Sebastian Moya – who has been working with Julien since their days in their native France – has traveled the globe, working in restaurants, hotels, and high-end catering companies along the way.
East Thirty-Six’s interior is dark and sensual yet approachable, with pops of colour coming from the purple tabouret stools at the restaurant’s harvest table and the semi-private, raised “purple room” that occupies the northeast corner of the space. Grandiose chandeliers guide patrons to the washrooms, and an exquisite detailed grate lines the ceiling of the main dining space, reflected ethereally thanks to carefully positioned backlighting.
The restaurant, which comfortably seats 70, is open daily from 4pm, and is located at 36 Wellington Street East. The restaurant plans to expand its entertainment offerings in the coming weeks, with a Grand Opening party set to celebrate the new establishment on Thursday, March 27th, 2014.