Electric Mud BBQ @ 5 Brock Avenue, Toronto (Parkdale) – Call: (416) 516-8286
My half-brother Steve came to visit me during the long Canada day weekend. Steve has always threatened to visit me, starting back when I moved to Vancouver in 2004. He never did. Before Toronto, the only other time I was able to tempt him was probably due to a combination of convenience and proximity to booze. Back when I lived in Santa Rosa, Steve made the drive from his work in Sacramento to come visit me and go wine tasting. It is one of my fondest memories.
Steve is quite a bit older than I am, probably about twenty years. He’s my dad’s son from his first marriage and while his brother and sister understandably kept their distance from their estranged father and his new family, Steve was a big part of my childhood. He often came by bearing presents and taking my brother and I out for movies and cheesesteaks. We pretty much thought he was the coolest. And I think it’s still fair to say that he’s a pretty great guy.
On Steve’s first night in Toronto I took him down the street from me to Electric Mud BBQ (“EMBBQ“), the new – you guessed it – BBQ concept from the people who brought us the outrageously popular Grand Electric. It made sense as Steve was pretty exhausted after several delays with his flight from DC, and EMBBQ is quite close to my present apartment. We are also both fans and BBQ.
Overall, EMBBQ was a slight letdown. It’s nothing to do with the service and execution, but more the price point and my own issue with the concept itself.
Beginning with the latter, EMBBQ is sort of an indie take on a BBQ joint. Whereas I think most BBQ joints are laser-focused on the smoking process and perfecting their sauces, EMBBQ is doing riffs on the BBQ concept. For instance, we ordered the beef rib, which is indeed one rib with a fried onion topping. I didn’t find it particularly well smoked or sauced, and challengingly priced at $14.50.
Sides of crack rolls (buns with a butter/bacon grease topping) and potato salad were better, but not enough to save the restaurant. A fine rendition of shrimp and grits (a daily special) was similarly marred by a high price point.
In terms of beverages, EMBBQ takes a page from its south-of-the-border cousin and offers a very focused cocktail menu – we enjoyed the watermelon lemonade – and a few well-chosen beers.
While Steve and I had a great time catching up, it was a little off-putting spending nearly three figures at a BBQ restaurant and not leaving full.