Directly across Wellington Street from the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre, Absinthe aims to evoke a hip, casual mood set in a Parisian bistro of the mind. While there's little mistaking this for the real Paris, chef-owner Patrick Garland does a good job at creating a faux-French experience -- right down to the noisy atmosphere and the slightly arrogant stance of refusing to cook his signature hanger steak beyond medium rare. That suits me okay; in fact, I lean the other way and it's just fine -- nicely marinated and with the edges perfectly seared. A pricier cut of Black Angus is just so, as well, as is pork tenderloin that's stuffed with apple and topped with a combination of cauliflower, goat cheese, and cranberries. With its sponged pumpkin-colored walls, extensive use of mirrors, and bare wooden floor, Absinthe is a beautiful room, and Garland's waitstaff strikes just the right note of knowledge about the menu and cheeky playfulness. On Friday and Saturday, a DJ takes over after the food service ends, and the place stays open well past midnight.