Who is Emmet Ray anyway? Some say he's a figment of jazz history...That thought crosses my mind as we step into the latest little west end spot. The room is speakeasy small and spare, like a little saloon, circa 1920s. A jazz trio is just warming up in the front corner.
The drinks list has an eclectic beer selection, wines by the glass. The whiskies are divided up by country and Scottish malts, by region, which is an intelligent touch.
The Coopers sparkling ale is cool; our server brings t
he bottle, lays it on the table, rolls it, then stands it up to remove the cap. "The beer has some sediment so this is the way to make the beer sparkle," she adds with pizzazz. There's even a gluten free sorghum-rice beer called New Grist. It tastes like a wheat beer and goes down real easy with sourdough pretzels and warm spiced olives.
Rillettes are listed, that classic French dish made with almost any kind of fatty meat, for a rib sticking delicious appetizer. We have rabbit with smoked chorizo and a whimsical Berkshire Pork -Dr. Pepper mix. There are several other shareable starters listed.
We decide to share an unusual sounding beer, Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier. I wonder if our server knows anyone who can say that after a few!! The smoked German beer is dark and rich, a perfect match for the fatty splendour of the rillettes.
Back to the menu; it's tiny, with just three entrees; pot pie, pot pie and pot pie. Chicken and chorizo pot pie arrives looking photographically beautiful. It's flavourful and filling and suits the weather and casual atmosphere.
A dram of 'Isle of Jura Superstition' and 'Smokehead' Islay malt with Derek Ullenboom's jazz trio makes for a sophisticated finish.
Hopefully the menu will expand. Otherwise, it's a meeting place over beer, wine and whisky, trying to figure out if there was an Emmet Rayâ€¦and if all he ate was rillettes and pot pies.
Price: $40 and up
Hint: Try some whisky or beer off the beaten track
Wine & Spirits: Eclectic beer and whisky list,
Wheelchair Accessible: No
Surprise, Surprise: Cash only!