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West Hill; Rhum Corner; Double D & More

Amy Pataki goes to Scarberia to taste Top Chef Canada contestant Chris Kanka's new restaurant, West Hill Wine Bar. Open for lunch and dinner, West Hill offers fine dining on Kingston Road in a neighbourhood that's, well, known for other things. "Jamie Kennedy, watch your back," she says. "There are new fries in town." She devours miso-glazed eggplant, smoky seafood chowder, Caesar salad, chicken, steak, salmon, pecan tart, carrot cake and chocolate fondue. With a couple jabs (calling the roasted garlic and baguette "an idea I associate with the '80s"), Pataki gives West Hill Wine Bar 3 stars out of 4. [Star]

Corey Mintz tests out the menu at Jen Agg's Rhum Corner by cooking up one of their favourite dishes himself. Accra is a Haitian deep fried fritter made with malanga root, which " looks like a yam wearing a patchy mink coat, usually found on a shelf between sweet potatoes and yucca, or the similar-looking eddo." Chef Jesse Grasso (who's not Haitian but plays one extremely convincingly in the kitchen) serves it with pickled coleslaw and brined mayonnaise at The Black Hoof's newest off-shoot, which is meant to evoke co-owner and former Port-au-Prince resident Roland Jean's personal take on contemporary Haitian culture. [Star]

Jelena Subotic risks her coronary health by consuming Dangerous Dan's best-selling burger, the Big Pig. She says it's called a Big Pig for a reason: "The meaty burger's huge patty is stacked under four slices of bacon, two peameal, and the classic cheddar, mayo, lettuce and tomato." Open since 1999 (across from Jilly's strip club and the former Real Jerk which is now An Sibin pub), the Double D has been satisfying the meaty cravings of Torontonians hungry for a heart attack hamburger. Subotic claims the Big Pig has it all; but "the extra loads of bacon score points for flavour [not] originality." [Toronto.com]

Karon Liu braves the chilly weather for some comfort fare at The Huntsman Tavern. Owners Nic Savage and Saeed Mohamed opened up shop in a spot that's seen a lot of turnover in the past five years (Red Fish, Mitzi's on College, Tasty Thai) but Liu says their plan to break the spell is to "provide a meal that's filling and familiar for about 20 bucks. Oh, and load up on the liquor." The menu ranges from potted duck to boar tortière to smoked trout on pea blinis. There's also the popular Huntsman Stew, for which chef Mike Tan "sears short ribs, then braises them for four hours with red peppercorns, red wine, mirepoix, and stock, before he stirs in stewed venison." Perfect for the coming winter months, indeed. [Grid]

Liora Ipsum heads to Hillcrest Village for some innovative Indian cuisine at Pukka. The funky new St. Clair West resto "features sleek black ceilings, painted white brick walls, industrial cabinetry and pops of green and orange upholstery." There's a "serious" wine programme, curated by Peter Boyd, the somm from Scaramouche, that pairs with the "rich, spice-infused comfort foods and fun festive bar snacks." Ipsum tries a cold salad called chaat made with sweet potatoes, various legumes and a coleslaw-type veggie blend, saying "the dish is delicious and exciting to eat; it could even rival Susur Lee's famed slaw for its multitude of ingredients, contrasting textures, and bold, unique flavours." [BlogTO]
[Photo: Dangerous Dan's/Yelp]

Pukka Restaurant

778 St Clair Avenue West, Toronto, Ontario M6C1B6

Rhum Corner

9926 Dundas Street West, Toronto, Ontario