Let’s be honest bro, some of these restaurant trends are stupid and pointless. Dining in the dark? Korean food you hafta cook yourself? All-you-can-eat vegan buffet!? Ixnay on the Hombre, Jose! But Signs Restaurant serves a much greater purpose—and a mean chocolate cake for dessert.
This funky joint opened up at the corner of Yonge and Wellesley in 2014 (where I think it actually replaced a Korean BBQ joint), and it’s the first restaurant in Canada staffed entirely by deaf servers, bartenders, food runners and busboys. The hostess will lead you to your table in English, but from there, you’ll do more hand-talking than a Sunday dinner at the Jersey Shore, capiche?
Their Winterlicious menu offered up some delicious dishes for wicked-low prices, which you ordered in American Sign Language. Even their drink menu was in ASL—turns out the international sign for Steamwhistle is awfully similar to the Alberta Sign Language for “Honk your horn, trucker dude!”
I started off with the veggie spring rolls, which was the awesomest thing to order in sign language—kinda like a gopher coming out of its hole and rolling up a big fat doob. That said, the rolls weren’t really anything special…but the meal only got better from here.
Turns out, you can order a veal chop by making a chopping motion with your hands. This one was a perfect medium-rare, nice char marks, with some creamy mashed potatoes and slivered veggies on the side. I’m not used to eating veal without the parmesan, but man, I would take this veal chop over Sbarro any day of the week, and twice on Tuesdays!
And for desert, they’ve got this bomb chocolate cake. Rich, moist chunks of chocolately goodness, with a little chocolate drizzle and some berries on the side. I don’t always eat cake, but when I do…who am I kidding, this is body by chocolate cake, bro!
Honestly dude, chatting with the wait staff wasn’t all that tricky. Turns out the sign for “excellent” is two thumbs up, and I think the sign for “party time” is rocking out on air guitar. Our waitress didn’t get the reference, though. I guess she’s never watched Wayne’s World!
But hey, when it’s not Winterlicious, this place serves up the good stuff, like pork belly bahn mi, duck confit poutine and deep-friend mac ‘n cheese balls. Sign me up for sign-language classes Ah-nold, cuz I’ll be back!