The Black Hoof // 1-year anniversary


The Smoked Sweetbreads
What? The Black Hoof for dinner
Where? 928 Dundas st w (505 Dundas east streetcar)
Price? $30-$60
The skinny: This is probably THE place to go for a stout-to-tail meal in Toronto. Owner Jenn Agg and (ex-owner) Grant van Gameren opened this not-for-the-feint-of-heart restaurant a little over 3 years ago. Highly notable charcuterie and “odd” cuts normally overlooked are staples of this always packed restaurant.

Although this post comes after the date-of, and the actual day of this food adventure is almost a week prior to, this is my celebratory post for the 1st anniversary of my carmenhungry blog!! :D
My top 9 most-viewed posts: Coconut sago & taro dessert // Grand Electric (tuna ceviche) // Guu Sakabar (temari zushi) // Woodlot (grilled maple sweetbreads & bacon) // WVRST (duck fat fries) // Enoteca Sociale (grilled octopus) // Sik Gaek(seafood hotpot) // SchoolBakery & Café (black & blue buttermilk pancakes) // Fuel House (pork belly banh mi) 

YAY! Happy Birthday to my blog! haha :D  It's been such a great ride so far. So many good eats; all documented. Thank you so much everybody for reading!! It really means a lot to me.

My first time at The Black Hoof (@TheBlackHoof) was over two years ago and I still dream about it. My awesome friend surprised me with a dinner here (The Hoof Café—now-turned into the temporary Cocktail Bar) and it was revelatory! I feel like it’s a rite of passage for any foodie in Toronto to dine here. 

As a gift to myself (I’m such a dork haha), I hopped onto the subway as soon as I was done my placement in the morning and stood in line behind over 300 people for the Jason Wu for Target pop-up shop at the retail space (used during TIFF) at the corner of Blue Jays Way and King st w. After (only) 1½ hours in the chilly outdoors, I received my “letter” for admittance. 
I grabbed from what was left and proceeded to try the garments on right there in the showroom, which had long ago been turned into a giant changeroom. The mini-collection ranged from $10-$45 so I didn’t even look at the price tags (a first for me!). I left with a cardigan, a skirt, and a shirt (that I’m so in love with now!). So worth the wait. :D:D Plus, 100% of the proceeds went to United Way Canada.

Sorry, too much writing already. The bar at The Black Hoof is really well stocked! If anything, there’s Cocktail Bar across the street too to get your fix.

I came here with my boyfriend, a friend from the gym and his friend. We around about 15 min before they opened and a line-up had already begun. It was a welcome change to have a seat as soon as we walked in. Scratch that, it made me so HAPPY!

The long panel mirrors on one of the walls presents a perfect view into the kitchen action. I love how they have a regular, coil-element stove/oven! The meals they prepare on it however, anything but ordinary. 

House-cured meats / Charcuterie (19)
A must. A no-brainer. :D The idea is to eat from the lightest cuts, building on the flavour intensity as you go along. My memory’s horrible so I won’t even attempt to throw any specific names out there (there was duck, beef and pork). 

Three guys + one girl. And we all regularly hit the gym. Getting the large order of bread (4) was also a no-brainer. 

Bone Marrow (mp, 7)
My first bone marrow experience was at Hoof Café. I won’t ever forget it and now my friends won’t either! We ordered two and they all loved it! 

Spread on toast with Black Hoof’s own chimichurri and a little bit of Maldon salt, heavenly!!

Spicy Horse Tartare (16)
My friend Jon was anticipating this the most. Ever since our first conversation about horse as meat several weeks ago, we’d planned that reading week = The Black Hoof. I didn’t know what to expect but it turned out to be such a delight. 

Tartares let the natural taste of the meat shine and it’s enhanced with whatever else the chef tosses it with. The horse tartare was so pleasant and with the tiny kick, a great dish. 

Beef Tendon with White Cheddar Grits (16)
This was my first time having grits and I really enjoyed the grainy yet smooth texture of it. I thought it was pack a little more bang in terms of flavour. Too bad there isn’t much beef tendon to be found its deep-fried cocoon. It sort of fell flat for me in comparison to everything else.  

Tongue on Brioche (14)
I had this during my first visit. Along with the bone marrow, I needed my friends to try this! It’s so perfect. Veal tongue sliced so thin, it almost melts in your mouth. 

Drizzled atop is a tarragon mayo. Like any meat sandwich done right, pickles and grainy mustard are both present. It wasn’t as hard to share as we had thought. You just have to take it all apart and divide! 

Smoked Sweetbreads (16)
I’ve only ever had good sweetbreads experiences (Globe Bistro and Woodlot) so I wasn’t surprised when we were recommended this dish. This was my boyfriend’s favourite dish of the night. :)

Pork Carnitas Tacos (11)
I suspect this is the mark ex-chef Colin Tooke left here before he ventured south to Chicago to work at Big Star (Mexican fare) then returned to Toronto to open Grand Electric (“Mexican food, craft beer, brown liquor and loud music”) with ex-foh manager Ian McGrenaghan. 

Although not as good as the tacos I had at GrandElectric, these pork carnitas tacos were a great way to end our meal. :D One order will give you 3 tacos so we added another one so it cost $14 in total. 

The menu = chalkboard on wall. Perfect. On the left, “FOIE + NUTELLA = BEST FRIENDS” I wanted to try that dish but everyone was already quite satisfied. Next time! ;)

This is where the magic happens!! So thankful that they've got an open kitchen. :) Thank you for letting everyone sneak peeks at the action!
Verdict? Amazing meal as expected. I’m so glad and relieved (don’t know why I was ever worried) that my friends really loved the meal as well! The service is prompt, friendly, and runs like a well-oiled machine. Can’t wait to go back!! :D:D

Check ‘em out!  http://theblackhoof.com/

5 out of 5 NOMs
Black Hoof on Urbanspoon 


  1. you mention the horse tartare, but for the reader can you provide a comparison of this dish relative to a more common protein such as beef?..that is, can you compare this experience to others that you have had previously (e.g., beef tartare). In this case would you simply say that it's...the same?, more gamey?, or is there any other nuance that distinguishes it from beef.

    AND più importante!!!!! Felice Ricorrenza CARMENHUNGRY!!!! = Happy Anniversary (practicing my italiano :/)

  2. haha thanks darian!! :D When are you leaving?
    Hmm, i'd say it's got a little more umph than regular beef tartare. I've only had tartare a few times but this one really stood out positively haha If I remember correctly, it wasn't gamey.

  3. Congratulations on your one-year anniversary!

    I LOVE reading your blog, and I am always waiting anxiously for your next update! Great pictures and variety, please keep doing what you are doing!


  4. Thanks Maria! :D It actually makes me so happy to learn that you enjoy my blog!

  5. Belated Congrats =D
    Aww I was just missing Black Hoof and was saying that we should go back.

    And you make to Jason Wu pop-up, so jealous... so regretted of not having taken the day off for it =P

  6. Thanks Vickie! :D Yep, def go back! It's always a good time ther.
    The line-up at the pop-up shop was insane. I did the math, figuring as long as less than 700 people were in front of me, I'd get a shot at some of the remnants haha