It’s the name of a haircut. It’s also a sound. Or it’s the latest news, the top tittle-tattle, the current enthusiasm. It’s a happy, hummy sort of noise; the sound of industry, of communication. And, of course, a bit of post-drink mellowness or post-drug productivity.
This is the meaning of buzz, and this is the name of a Bank Street restaurant aptly named for many of those senses of the word. Except maybe the coif.
This long, narrow restaurant on Bank Street resounds with the purr of people having a nice time. I like the décor, the generosity of candles, the mix of seating options. It tends to draw upon a young crowd, particularly on $5 martini nights, and there are clearly Buzz regulars who are greeted as friends. The music is well chosen and played at a comfortable dinnertime volume. I like the caring service. Staff seem to enjoy each other as much as they do their patrons.
I just wish I could be as enthusiastic about the food. Four years ago, it wasn’t uniformly excellent, but there was enough here to be a bit buzzed about and I said as much back then. It would seem I liked The Buzz Restaurant’s victuals better in 2008.
The menu seems to be trying too hard to be many things for many people: it’s too long, too all over the place to inspire much confidence. The mistakes I tasted during my recent meals suggest a kitchen that’s over burdened.
There was a very tasty curry, but marred by crunchy rice. The house steak frites was tasty, but enjoyable only after I had scrapped off the icky amount of raw tasting garlic on top. Empanadas came with a fine little slaw and with some smack at their centres (filled with duck and smoked gouda) but the centres were miserly in quantity, and the commercial puff pastry wrapping was not only wrong for empanadas, but also doughy and undercooked. These we really couldn’t eat.
Sweet potato fries (with the steak) were very dull and arrived cold. Calamari was tasteless. I liked the red snapper enough (just a bit overcooked and the toasted coriander seed cream sauce was a bit odd) but it was the coconut rice that was off – still crisp and served cold. The vegetables on every plate were the same, and all were undercooked.
I’ll give the soup a shout out though – the roasted red pepper and mushroom with lots of fresh thyme was perfectly good. And though the crème brûlée (with blueberries) was more pudding than custard, it was comforting (lose the sweet whipped cream please) and better than the apple-berry crumble, the predominant flavour for which was burnt almonds.
The Buzz house martini (Polar Ice vodka, pear liqueur and lemon juice) was undrinkable. The booze may be real, but everything else tasted medicinal, as though from a package. Nothing fresh about the juice.
So long as you fork out for a main course, the Buzz offers BYOW Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays for a fee of $5, which is one of the least expensive corkage rates around. That, at least, has me buzzing.