Grand Electric: Loud, hot and tasty. And that’s just the food.

By: Britt Harvey

Grand Electric

1330 Queen St W.

Four burgers out of four.

Some places you go for the food, others the atmosphere.

Since Parkdale’s Grand Electric opened in November of 2011 it seems to have hit on the winning combination of both taste and cultural cache.

One step into the tiny, dark enclave filled with tattoos, white t-shirts and Levi’s 501 Originals, you feel like you’re in the right place. Part of it is the delicious food wafting from the kitchen, and part of it is the feeling that you’ve stepped into the coolest kid in school’s kitchen. You want to hate them- for all their well-stocked bourbon and perfectly coiffed facial artistry- but you’re too busy having an amazing time to notice.

It is important to note that Grand Electric is the brain child of former Black Hoof-ers Chef Colin Tooke, and Front of House Manager Ian McGrenaghan. Clearly these guys know what they’re doing. And the consistently packed restaurant and long wait times speaks to that fact. Thankfully a friend and I were lucky to get a table at the bar after the briefest of waits (yes, there was a wait at 9pm on a Monday night) and promptly ordered two Margaritas and some guacamole to start.

The Guacamole- best I’ve ever had? Pretty much. The avocados were impossibly tender, with the perfect mixture of lime, onion, garlic and some spice I couldn’t place but that added just the tiniest kick of flavour. The chips were warm, fresh, salty and homemade.

The best part of the Grand Electric experience is that this food is made to be shared and manhandled with friends. And that can only mean one thing, TACOS. Remember taco night?

The holy grail of childhood theme nights, I waited for taco night like others waited for the new Backstreet Boy’s album. I craved that refried bean and ground beef soft taco. Once even wielding it as a weapon in a fight with my brother. He took a bite before I did so I threw it at him. Yes, I know it was counter intuitive but just DON’T TOUCH my food okay?! Phew, food rage is the worst. I love the tacos from my youth, however, it’s important to note that at Grand Electric these are not your mom’s tacos, and that’s a good thing (sorry mom).

These tacos are big girl tacos. Beef Cheek, pork belly, Baja fish, my friend and I got one of each and ordered more fish tacos as soon as the others came out. One word, SPECTACULAR. It cannot be overstated (though perhaps I just did) the intense flavouring of these little guys. The beef cheek was salty and intensely spicy topped with avocado, cilantro, green onion, and jalapeno. The Baja fish was tender on the inside, salty and lightly crunchy and breaded on the outside. And the pork. THE PORK. Oh my it was delicious. Salty, sweet and spicy all at the same time, the tacos came with small soft shells and were dressed to perfection.

Because we’re gluttons for punishment and we have future plans of being rolled down the street like two giant cheese wheels, my friend and I also ordered the Ensalada Electrico. In normal food land salads come with light oily dressing and lack a certain je ne sais quoi. There is a reason I never order salads in restaurants unless I’m trying to punish myself for something. Salads just don’t usually ‘do’ it for me. To me they’re the food equivalent of getting up the courage to talk to the guy you’ve had a crush on for years then abruptly dropping a nervous fart and running away. Anyways, I’m glad to say the Ensalada Electrico blows all other puny-ass salads out of the water.

It’s a simple salad. But the flavours it conjures are divine. It’s comprised of buttery Bibb lettuce, creamy buttermilk dressing, deep-fried pork cheek (crispy, tender pork shaped like a small hockey puck) avocado, and a few other ingredients I forgot while I was picturing myself writhing in the dressing (it was really good dressing).

When all was said and done- five tacos, one salad, two margaritas, one glass of white wine, and a heaping pile of guacamole came out to $66 dollars not including tip. We were stuffed, we were happy, we had air-grinded to the old school hip hop they were playing, and we had entertained mild fantasies about the impossibly hip wait staff. What more could you ask for in an evening?

I’m giving Grand Electric a perfect score of four out of four burgers.

TIP: Do NOT wear a turtleneck no matter how cold it is outside. I basically had to turn into your Aunt Susan who takes her top off at parties due to ‘hot flashes’ (sure Susan) because I was dying a slow heat-exhaustion death. Keep it real people- Tankinis all the way.



Categories: Food, Reviews


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One Comment on “Grand Electric: Loud, hot and tasty. And that’s just the food.”

  1. March 26, 2012 at 10:03 PM #

    I know, I’m not supposed to comment, but I am a slave to this place. LOVE it. Best fish tacos in the city (tune in at a later date, when I actually test whether or not that’s true). I have been, I have brought friends, I will return. Food heaven tucked into a small corner of Toronto.

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