To say I wasn’t impressed at The County General restaurant would be a complete lie. I was so thoroughly, 100%, happily impressed with the food that we had at The County General last Saturday when eight of us dined in for dinner.
It was Patricia’s birthday and she had made reservations for us ahead of time at this restaurant located at 936 Queen Street West in Toronto for 7:30 p.m. Pat found out about this restaurant through watching a foodie video on YouTube where two guys biked around Toronto sampling some amazing eats.
I was not prepared for such a wonderful night of foodie-ness ahead of us! I had briefly taken a look at the menu beforehand and knew that I wanted to try two of their unique appetizers, the pig’s head and pig ears.
Upon arrival in the restaurant, the server gave us menus and glasses of water as well as the wifi password. Thanks, kind server! 🙂
We decided to share the Testina (pig’s head) and Crispy Pig Ears among our table. The female server recommended that we order two servings of each appetizer since one portion was quite small. We ordered two upon her recommendation.
There were only three main courses of food on the menu, each of which were portioned for two people. Thus, we decided to order one portion of each of the three main courses which we would all share. I absolutely love dining out with friends who are open to sharing food and also exploring the menu! <3!
I was very curious about the pig’s head appetizer, so when it arrived to the table, I think we were all relieved that it wasn’t truly a full pig head that arrived… instead, the Testina was pig’s head split up into four pieces on the plate with smoked mustard and a spiced apple purée.
This was a very delicate appetizer where we used our fork and knife to cut it apart to eat (at least I did) and I found it very tasty. The meat was a little chewy and flavourful. It was definitely porky.
Next, the Crispy Pig Ears arrived. I believe I have had fried pig ears before but not in this fashion. The pig ears were fried and definitely crispy and a little spicy. There was a container of sauce made of maple syrup, scallion, and spicy mayo. Mmm, this was absolutely divine!! The crispy pig ears were like potato chips, once you start, you just can’t stop! There were such delectable and tasty snacks that completely satisfied my taste buds’ preference for salty and savory bite-sized snacks. The combination of spicy mayo, scallion, and maple syrup was also an absolute perfect sauce. I absolutely loved this!
After a while, our mains began to arrive. I didn’t expect the County Fried Chicken to be served up like this at all!
First, watch my video to see how it went down:
So, what wasn’t shown in the video (because I wasn’t fast enough to start filming before I realized what was happening) was that the server first put a sheet of parchment paper in the middle of our table. On his other hand, he had a tray full of sauces and condiments that he would be adding to the table including a container of the county fried chicken. After the sheet of parchment paper was laid flat on the table, he dumped the container of county fried chicken onto the paper, and then started to drizzle each of the sauces and toppings onto the paper one by one. I was fascinated and completely in love with the process of this dish appearing on our table.
There was just something so special and outstanding about these types of “food construction” dishes that I have to film and photograph the process every single time. I had only seen this type of presentation of food for dessert before (like the melting chocolate ball dessert at Moroco Chocolat) but I had never seen it for a main dish/savory dish before. Again, to say the least, I was most impressed and delighted at this meal already!
When all was done and the County Fried Chicken had been finished being served at our table, we dug in. There were enough pieces of fried chicken for each of us and I really enjoyed it! I have to say that if there wasn’t such an elaborate presentation done at our table, I probably wouldn’t have liked it so much as it was just fried chicken, but the presentation and “show” definitely heightened my impression.
Along with the fried chicken, there was a medley of gochujang and hoisin espresso BBQ, toasted sesame, avocado and pickled onions, and steamed buns. The sauces were very delicious and we lapped up the parchment paper with the soft steamed buns to get more of the flavour. I would definitely recommend this dish to anyone to try this out!
The night was not over at The County General. Next up, we were served the South of the Border County Ribs which included a long plate of braised ribs with guajillo and ancho chili sauce, plantain chips, and a sweet potato jalapeño purée. Again, these main dishes were meant for two people, hence the size of the portion.
There were enough ribs for each person to try. I really loved how tender and soft the braised ribs were. When I was splitting apart one of the ribs, I was surprised with how easily it came apart from the bone. It was really tender which is an important element for any braised ribs dish. The sweet potato jalapeño purée was incredibly tasty. I could have eaten that by the scoopful! The plantain chips could have been a little crispier in my opinion.
Last but not least, the PEI Mussels arrived. I actually didn’t realize that there were going to be two different ways that the PEI Mussels were going to be prepared (I didn’t really pay that much detail to the specifics of the menu when we were ordering). Because of our long table and we had eight people dining together, when the server set down this dish, he put one bowl of the PEI mussels on one side and the second bowl on the other side. I didn’t realize that one bowl contained the Lemongrass & Chorizo and the second bowl contained the Toasted Coconut Curry flavour! D’oh!
The toasted coconut curry flavoured mussels sat on my side on the table and I really liked the strong coconut curry sauce in this dish! There were a lot of curry sauce left over in the bowl after the mussels were finished. I wish that we could have had some bread to dip and dunk into the curry to soak it all up. The curry sauce was incredibly delicious!
Since the lemongrass and chorizo was on the other side of the table, I didn’t get to try it unfortunately. 😥 We all didn’t even realize this until we left the restaurant actually!
The PEI Mussels also came with some county fries and remoulade. The remoulade was a little sour and helped to pick up the appetite. The fries were decent.
All in all, I had an incredible time at The County General restaurant. I didn’t know that such a gem of a restaurant existed in this west side of the city! I have to share this with everyone to let them know about the delicious pig ears and fun county fried chicken dish. 🙂