Williams Landing is a relative newcomer to the Liberty Village scene, perched atop a CIBC and looking down at the classic brick buildings surrounding it. The product of chef Marco D’Angelo (formerly of e11even), Williams Landing markets itself as a sports bar, but don’t dismiss it as a casual eatery. It has a sleek interior and is quite spacious while maintaining stylish gloom. The patio looks quite fun but I went in February and couldn’t check it out.
The menu at Williams Landing is a globally-inspired upscale take on pub food. To start we shared the Seared Sea Scallops ($17), served on a strip of crispy pork belly. The dish was coated in a tasty maple glaze and topped with dainty mustard greens. The scallops were nicely seared, though a shade more cooked than I prefer. The pork belly was crispy and delicious, but difficult to cut with the butter knives provided.
For mains we gravitated toward comfort food for the chilly evening. I ordered the Village Gnocchi ($18) and my companion had the Bliss BBQ Burger. The pasta was warm and tender (“pillowy”, as they say) and served in a tomato sauce bursting with sundried tomatoes, mushrooms and prosciutto. The menu mentions the olive oil in the sauce, but I wasn’t prepared for how oily the dish was. It was so heavy I’m amazed that the weight of the sauce didn’t crush the delicate gnocchi.
The Bliss BBQ Burger ($17) is served with fries, grilled to order and incredibly juicy. Actually too juicy – as it was lifted from the plate a literal stream of liquid poured out of it. The bottom layer of bun was soaked within seconds and nearly impossible to pick up. It was topped with Gruyere, BBQ sauce, and a chunk of pulled pork. For such a wet dish the pulled pork was strangely dry and nearly devoid of sauce.
The dessert menu has some classic items on it (cheese cake, tarts, sorbets) but also features homemade s’mores and Chocolate Dim Sum. The s’mores were tempting, but dim sum ($9) won. It features wontons stuffed with fruit and rich cheesecake, served with a little pot of melted Toblerone fondue. The cheesecake wontons are brilliant and the gooey Toblerone is decadent. Unfortunately they don’t work well as a set. The chocolate overwhelms the flavour of the cheesecake, and the crispy wrappers are difficult to dip into the pot (which had a tendency to skid around the plate). We abandoned our forks and had better luck with fingers, but it was still a struggle.
Over all the meal was fine…but just fine. Nothing to rave or complain about, except for the soupy burger. I found the atmosphere and décor a bit confusing. They are trying for posh sports bar, but instead it just seems like someone took a swank place and stuck giant TVs around. The service was fine, but not outstanding either. Ultimately I wasn’t disappointed in Williams Landing, but rather more perplexed. It was also eerily quiet the evening we went (the night before Valentine’s Day), so perhaps it was just an off night. Weekly they host Thirsty Thursdays (a sort of extended Happy Hour) and I think I’d like to go back on a night when it’s bustling and give it another go.