The steak was great - the brownie was 'heavenly': Turtle Jack's had a full covid-level house - there was a reason for that

By Michele Bogle
October 21st, 2020

Originating in Ontario in 1992, two of Turtle Jack’s franchised locations are conveniently located at either end of Burlington. One located at the Mapleview Mall at Maple Ave and Fairview St; and the other at Appleby and Ironstone giving you the convenience of not having to travel far to this popular fine-dining eatery.

Taste Oct 18 Turtle Jack'sThis may be a chain of commercial restaurants but it doesn’t compromise when it comes to quality food and flavours. The decor is trendy and lighting is low for a stylish, yet inviting setting.

Of course, everyone donned a mask, both staff and patrons – evident when entering. There are direction markers on the floor in an effort to avoid close contact while moving within the restaurant. Much of their seating are booths and cannot be moved; temporary plexiglass partitions were erected in between them. No reservation is required for small groups when contact information is typically gathered, but rather it’s collected, at the door. Standard practices seemed to be in place; the tables weren’t pre-set.

Although it was a Saturday night, there was no evidence that the Appleby location was suffering from a decline in patronage. At 6:30 Turtle Jack’s was at full capacity, adhering to the new guidelines of safely spaced seating, and a two metre spaced lineup developed at the door.

There was a family of ‘energetic’ people with resounding voices seated near to us. The General Manager asked if we were at all bothered. Another time my answer may have been different, but today I was quite happy to hear the sounds of ‘life’ in an otherwise quieted environment of late.

Even having looked ahead at the Pre-Fixe Taste of Burlington Menu for Turtle Jack’s, I was still undecided when I arrived. Their three course menu choices, exclusive to this dining event, all looked entirely too delicious to pick just one from each course offered. I really wanted to try the ‘Seafood Chowder’, therefore reluctantly eliminated the blackened bass from my entree choice. My son chose the ‘4 Cheese Cajun Chicken Penne’, so I knew that I’d get to sample a little; and happily landed on the steak.

Taste Oct 18 soup

I really wanted to try the Seafood Chowder – it did not disappoint.

The seafood chowder has a blend of flavours that hits your palate in the most delightful way. While just the right serving size as an appetizer, it left me wanting more.

Taste Oct 18 steak

Steak that passed my touch test.

My family, well aware that I avoid ordering steak anywhere because of the exhausting disappointment expressed when the temperature of my steak is wrong. I had noticed them shoot one of those glances that expressed concern over my choice. I hadn’t ordered steak in some time and after tasting the well-balanced blend of flavours in the chowder, I thought I’d give this restaurant the heavy task of impressing me.

The presentation for me, is a great part of the sensory preparation for what is about to be enjoyed. On paper, I had ordered steak and potatoes. Quite straight forward. The plating of my “Certified Angus Beef 8OZ Top Sirloin” was 5-star quality. On my plate was a pillow of fluffy mashed potatoes with just the right amount of salt added; crisp sauteed green beans and mushrooms; then in the centre a perfectly-sized steak with a medium-rare cook that I just knew by looking, as well gestured with great approval when doing the finger touch and it sprung back; adorned with evenly cut, buttermilk-dipped onion strings. It’s quite easy to destroy a steak.

My tastebuds rejoiced at the ‘sight’ of this dish. When the General Manager came around to ask how everything was, I was quite pleased to respond with, “perfect’ followed by the sounds of my family unanimously exhaling, then resuming their conversation. The seasonings worked well together. I thoroughly enjoyed this dish.

Taste Oct 18 pasta

Cheese Cajun Chicken Penne

The ‘4 Cheese Cajun Chicken Penne’ is always going to be a palate-pleaser if you’re a cheese lover. The combination of cheeses: Asiago, mozzarella, cheddar and feta produced a very satisfying flavour combination. What was remarkable to me was the presence of cheddar that I could taste. It usually takes a back seat to the other flavourful cheeses, but I loved it! It was made with quality Barilla pasta; complemented with a tender piece of blackened chicken.

Taste Oct 18 brownie

Heavenly brownie covered w/ a layer of caramel & chocolate caramel mousse.

We moved on to the dessert, all of us ordering the ‘Turtle Pie’. Here is the restaurant’s description: “Heavenly brownie covered w/a layer of caramel & chocolate caramel mousse. Sprinkled w/walnuts & chocolate flakes.” First of all, the plating was beautiful. This dessert isn’t at all brownie-like. What I tasted was a slice of chocolate mousse that was exquisitely silky smooth, not too sweet. The drizzle of caramel was the right amount to complement this dessert. While the sprinkling of walnut pieces was present, I was captivated by the silkiness of the mousse.

During the course of the time spent at Turtle Jack’s, we had gaps when our server wasn’t present and would have made mention while there if it wasn’t for the General Manager who filled in those moments when we were looking for service, in a timely manner. I have never dined at Turtle Jack’s before last night, but I’d return. I give the food ‘3-thumbs up’.

For more information on the Pre-Fixe menu options during this dining event that ends on October 25, 2020, please check the Taste of Burlington website for more details. Remember to sign up for the Taste of Burlington Passport to make menu selections from the app, paperless. The more you check-in from the app, the more chances you have of winning the weekly gift certificate giveaway and eligible for the grand prize of a $500 gift card to a restaurant of choice. This is useful for family gatherings now that the holidays are approaching.

Turtle Jack’s
1900 Appleby Line , Burlington, L7L 6A1


Turtle Jack’s
900 Maple Avenue Mapleview Centre, Burlington, L7L 6A1

Michele BogleMichele Bogle is a Burlington resident who writes for the Gazette on community issues. Ms Bogle has taken part in the Food Network for the second year in a row to audition for the ‘Great Chocolate Showdown’ 2020 and 2021. She made it to the second stage of auditions for ‘Wall of Chefs’ 2019 and finished top 1% of auditions last year for ‘The Great Canadian Baking Show’.

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1 comment to The steak was great – the brownie was ‘heavenly’: Turtle Jack’s had a full COVID-level house – there was a reason for that

  • Wayne Brown

    Great to read a 100% positive review after seeing so many negative ones during the pandemic. I own Liaison College and certainly agree with your comments about presentation. Also doing a great job are restaurants such as Barra Fion, Gator Ted’s, Pepperwoods, and. across Burloak is CHOP in the Sandman Hotel.
    Let’s keep supporting these, and others, who are basically struggling for their financial lives.

    Kudos also to Kelly at Burlington Tourism for all she does to assist our culinary world.