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The Carbon Bar; Red Sauce; and Bar Buca's Pastries

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<strong>The Carbon Bar</strong>
The Carbon Bar
Photo: The Carbon Bar/Yelp

The Globe and Mail's Chris Nuttall-Smith finds chef David Lee's The Carbon Bar "mediocre in too many cases," praising the chef's past endeavors but underwhelmed by too many dishes that are under spiced or just plain bland. The $19 grits plate "didn't taste even remotely of corn grits"; the seafood jumbo "could have passed for jarred spaghetti sauce"; and the restaurant's signature dishes like the pork ribs were the "biggest disappointment" and "consistently tasted like nothing." On the positive side, the reviewer's first visit offers praise to Lee's beef brisket, calling it "a work of genius," but not upon his return, which brings up issues of inconsistencies. Coming in at a star and a half, the kitchen is commended for "some very good non-barbecue dishes," such as "the ridiculously light, crunchy and creamy cheese croquettes" and a "kale Caesar salad topped with buttery fried beef tongue." Shifting gears from the food, "the service is everything you'd expect in a restaurant run by Yannick Bigourdan: it is quick, friendly, sophisticated and professional." [The Globe and Mail]

NOW's Steven Davey heads into Little Italy's newest resident Red Sauce and comes out a fan. The space, formally home to beloved Acadia, is now "a 50-seat room decked out in warm yellow walls and olive-green wainscoting that looks straight out of Scorsese's Mean Streets." The menu boasts familiar dishes such as "Italian-style veal, chicken and garlicky pigs' knuckle sandwiches, all cooked sous-vide, then breaded 'n' deep-fried, layered with simple tomato sauce – the red sauce in question – creamy fior di latte from Cheese Boutique and fresh basil, and served on crusty kaisers ($9) or sub-sized hoagies ($12) from nearby Riviera Bakery." Davey's only complaint is a "subpar Caesar salad ($6 small/$9 large) – more anchovies, please – and pedestrian chopped lettuce salads in overly roasted lemon vinaigrette ($8/$12)." Though the neighborhood is not lacking in Italian restaurants, Red Sauce must warrant its three-star rating. [NOW]

Post City taps into Italian breakfast culture with Bar Buca's pastry selection. "Under the watchful eye of executive chef Rob Gentile and chef de cuisine Danny Hassel, pastry chef Cora James creates a selection of a dozen Italian dolce and biscotti daily." For those with little time to spare in the mornings, try the "assaggi di pasticceria… At $12, the two-tiered tower of pastries offers a taste of Bar Buca's best such as the tortina della nonna, pear or chocolate cornetto (sure, they look like croissants, but they're in fact, distinctly different!), semolina cookies, marmalade cookies, mini chocolate torta, baci di dama or 'lady's kisses,' dark chocolate sandwiched between two tiny cookies—and of course, Bar Buca's already-famous cannoli." This may not be a "typical" breakfast for some, which is why the offerings are available throughout the day. [Post City]