New chefs have taken over The Citizen’s kitchen. Vv Magazine’s Ama Scriver dives into their new menu to give us a look at what’s on the new menu.
While The Citizen might not be a new destination on the King Street West block, they have made some new and notable changes to their kitchen. With up-and-coming chefs Jonathan O’Callaghan and Binh An Nguyen taking over the pans, what they will be cooking up is something to talk about.
The pair who have worked closely together over the last three years, most recently at Maple Leaf Tavern, have decided to recreate a menu that would showcase their balance together as two different chefs but also emphasizing the importance of the products they were using. Nguyen explains, “We wanted an opportunity to do the food we loved to cook and The Citizen gave us a platform to do that.” Watching the rapport that O’Callaghan and Nguyen have together is something special and something you can’t replicate.
The 200-seat hangout is casual and geared towards courting King West professionals for after work nibbles and sips. Taking their crowd in mind, O’Callaghan and Nguyen were tasked with creating a menu that was approachable but unpretentious. They wanted to remove the barrier between fine dining and comfort food by showing that no matter where you dine, food can be fun. In doing so, they’ve created dishes that evoke what Nguyen tells me should be, “positive feelings” and should remind you of old favourites.
Take, for example, their El Caliente Stuff Chicken Wings or Gnocchi Mac & Cheese, both $13 and found on their starters menu. They are both spins on old classics, which they are hoping that customers old and new will appreciate and love. Nguyen explains, “We want people to have fun (with the food they are eating) and want to come back to experience that good time again.”
While the menu has many of these comforting classics, the dish that O’Callaghan and Nguyen are most proud of is their Citizen Cheeseburger ($18). Perfected over three years, they claim it is everything you would want in a burger with 7-ounce house ground, dry-aged beef striploin, secret sauce and house-made American cheese.
“Food should be presented nicely, taste good, sourced ethically and substantially,” explains Nguyen. They make nearly everything in-house, claiming to produce nearly 99% of their own products besides salt and flour.
If you’re looking for a place on King West that is serious about good food and providing a fun, relaxing environment – perhaps it’s time to add The Citizen to your list of go-to’s.
What are you most excited to try off the new menu at The Citizen? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.