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Feelin’ “Foxley” – Restaurant Review

March 27, 2010

Sorry I’ve been so quiet this week.  I managed to book myself for dinner every night.  That’s FIVE consecutive nights of eating out; a recipe for disaster on the Elimination Diet.   So I took responsibility for finding the restaurant destinations, and only ones that would accommodate my limitations.   The alternative would have meant me watching others indulge, while I sit there sipping water and snack on carrots sticks.   No thanks.   Don’t get me wrong, the company was fantastic but let’s not forget that I love eating out.  Putting a foodie in a restaurant where they can’t freely sample the food in front of them is pure torture.  

There are more places than you would think that cater to dietary restrictions, which made me realize how prevalent these allergens (gluten and dairy) must be.   

The other night we had plans to meet Mike, Keith’s good friend from highschool and his gorgeous Venezuelan girlfriend, Melissa (they’re both so cute I had to sneak a photo of them in here).   Anyhow, I was nominated to do the research which was good and bad.  Good – I could weasel my way into a place with gluten-free, dairy-free options.  Bad – I had only met his friends once (over a few drinks) so still needed to make a good ‘first’ impression.  They both appreciate food, so my restaurant of choice could make or break this second encounter.   I was relieved when I called Foxley earlier that day and they acknowledged that they could modify most of their dishes.  No further research required! 

Foxley Bistro 

 

Location:  207 Ossington St.   This was my second night eating in the former ghetto of Toronto.  Ossington has  come a LONG way and now has some fantastic bars and eateries.  Lucky for us it’s only a hop, skip and a jump from Liberty Village.   We worked up the appetite walking there, and worked off the meal going home (well, that’s what we convinced ourselves from a 10 minute stroll).   Look for the Watusi review in a few days.

The Menu:  Tapas ranging from $8 to $22.  I’m a HUGE fan of tapas and being able to try a variety of smaller dishes.  If you’re not enjoying one item, it’s no problem.  You can try the next, then the next.   At Foxley, it’s the contrary – trying to balance your consumption across their palate pleasing menu is the real challenge. 

Our Order:   When each dish came to the table I whipped out my camera to snag the photos below.  I may have lost a few points on the ‘first impression’ scale but hoping that the restaurant selection neutralized that. 

Avocado stuffed with blue crab ($10) –  Our last time at Foxley the two guys next to us shook their heads when we told them this wasn’t one of our selections.   I wasn’t making the same mistake again.   The stuffed avocado was the first dish I ordered.  NOW I understand why they expressed such disappointment months ago.  The shredded (and real) crab meat is so flavourful and a perfect match for the smooth avocado (still in its shell).  

Grilled calamari and shrimp with mango ($14) – This was refreshing but didn’t make it into the top ranks when comparing to other calamari dishes.  The sweetness of the mango didn’t seem to come through in the calamari rings themselves.  I might get my hand slapped for saying this, but it reminded me of one of the signature appetizers at Spring Rolls or similar Thai takeout place.  Having said that, the shrimp on top was a nice added touch.  Worth a try if you enjoy mango salad. 

Sea bream ceviche with yuzu and shiso leaf ($15) –  They have a few ceviche dishes on the menu.  This was one that did not contain soy.  The fish was thinly sliced and blanketed with fresh herb (shiso) and the juice of a Japanese citrus fruit (yuzu).  It was so tender it almost melted in your mouth.  Mmm…mmm.   When we got down to the last piece I was tempted to snag it, but held myself back.  Remember, I still had to win over Keith’s friends.   When Melissa went in for half I was relieved.  I assumed it gave me free rein to take the rest.  That I did, without guilt.

Curried vegetables ($15 I think) –  Keith and I had this previously and it stuck with us.  A good excuse to get some veggies into the variety.  The waiter claimed that it’s creamy texture (think yellow thai curry) came from the coconut milk, and nothing else.  I wasn’t going to dispute this.  I dove in and selfishly had more than my share.   It had some kick so if you can’t handle spice, rethink this one.

Grilled hanger steak with chimichuri sauce ($) – I had a little taste of this but it was a little too chewy for my liking.  Apologize in advance for saying this, but it’s not ideal when you have to discreetly spit pieces of fat into a napkin.  I enjoyed the topping, which helped moisten and flavour the sliced beef, but not so much the beef itself. 

Asian Style Greens ($8) –  Just what we needed.  A splash of green at the table to offset the abundance of meat and proteins around us.  I would have guessed the asian broccoli and green beans were flavoured with soy sauce but the waiter indicated otherwise.  Crunchy, tasty and green.  Perfect.

The Damage:    The guys treated the ladies that night but I believe it came out to $160 +tip.  This included 6 glasses of wine (2 for everyone, water for me). I had a sniff of Keith’s Valpolicella but sadly, no wine touched these pseudo-Italian lips. 

The Scene:  Cozy spot with few tables and dim lighting (it got progressively darker as the hours passed).  Foxley doesn’t take reservations so I was surprised to be seated without a wait.  Perhaps because it was a weeknight and we arrived by 7pm.  Our table was right by the door so every time it opened I felt the gush of cold wind.  Good thing the curry had some kick and kept my blood pumping.

You should go if:

  • You enjoy foods with Thai and/or Japanese flare but can’t quite decide between the two.
  • Socializing over food and about food is your thing.  You’ll naturally end up in foodie conversations for most of the night, discussing flavours and textures and debating which dish selection gets the top rank.   You’ll need some extra time to do the catching up you had planned for.  Three and a half hours passed us by in no time.
  • You’re going with people that respect the tapa etiquette.  If the person next to you thinks they can devour the food the way they do at Kelsey’s, your experience (and friendship) could be ruined.  The dishes are small, so it’s about taking bite size amounts first (and putting them on your side plate) until everyone has had their share.  Only then can you go in for more.   

Foxley on Urbanspoon

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