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Foxley - am I missing something?

sochow Nov 13, 2007 04:48 PM

Just went to Foxley on the weekend - couldn't wait to try it after reading so many glowing reviews - including air canada's in flight mag., which has just listed it as one of Canada's top 10 restaurants (my impression is they weren't going after the big ticket/big name places but I digress). I just wanted to love it but I was underwhelmed. A too-loud room, cold air rushing in the door, no reservations (but they do let you go off for a bev. and are kind enough to call you on your cell when a table appears). Took forever to place our order and then the dishes all came firing out more erratically than I would care for.

I could and would overlook all of that if the food was fabulous but ... it just wasn't. We shared between us blue crab/avacado salad - ho hum, looked like it was prepared two hours before and presentation was a bit of a clunker. Vegetarian spring roles were pretty dull and almost chewy. Sea bream ceviche was very nice - best dish of the evening. Tea smoked quail was moist but seriously tasted like it was smoked over an illicit herbaceous substance - and hey, I'm ok with herbaceous illicit substances but not on my dinner plate! frogs legs were moist and flavourful with a nice sauce but nothing to "mop" it up with (prob. should have ordered rice but by then it was too late and sauce just got left on the plate.) We also ordered chinese greens which never arrived. Nice bottle of pinot noir from reasonable and diverse wine list was served a bit too warm. Bill came to about $120 with tip - not unreasonable.

Hate to sound cranky - as I said I wanted to love this neighbourhood place, but can't say I'll be in a hurry to venture back. anyone else experienced this? I left feeling the the emperor had no clothes but maybe it was just an off night.

  1. estufarian Nov 14, 2007 07:36 AM

    From my review posted last month! I agree.

    "Foxley had food that had probably been left in the fridge too long - dried out. "

    1 Reply
    1. re: estufarian
      gastronom Nov 14, 2007 10:51 AM

      I have been there twice...both times terrible service, long waits...but the food was really good. Some dishes were meh, barely a pass while others knocked your socks off (in relation to the price). Proper review to come shortly...

    2. JamieK Nov 14, 2007 03:40 PM

      I came across this story today - Foxley was just named one of 10 best restaurants in Canada by Enroute magazine -


      207 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J2Z8, CA

      2 Replies
      1. re: JamieK
        OnDaGo Nov 23, 2007 10:55 AM

        That is best NEW restaurants so the competition is a lot smaller...

        1. re: OnDaGo
          JamieK Nov 23, 2007 10:58 AM

          yes, you're right, that makes a difference, thanks for pointing it out.

      2. a
        alisonb Nov 14, 2007 04:00 PM

        unfortunately, i think you ordered what i would consider their weakest dishes (just my taste prefs, but nonetheless). also, ya, i agree, it does take some time to get used to the ordering but once you do, it works out.
        indeed three of the four items you had on your list were ones i felt were average (springrolls, frog and crab), but i'm happy to see that you loved the ceviche.
        if you go back, try the curried beef cheeks and the short ribs....if i think of anything else, i'll post..
        one other warning: the sweetbreads, while tasty, were too bulky in volume, which gets kind of gross after a while. :-)
        anyway, i hope you try it again. the wines are delish and reasonable. and the staff are fun and on the ball. was it a super busy evening?

        1 Reply
        1. re: alisonb
          sochow Nov 15, 2007 09:29 AM

          Yes it was pretty busy - and I'm usually pretty forgiving about the impact that has on wait staff (who were very friendly). So my comments really pertained more to the disappointment with the food itself, and trying to reconcile the accolades with our experience. (and in response to your reccos - we were avoiding meat purposely because we knew we were having a pile of meat the next night!) Maybe I'll try again.....

        2. Food Tourist Nov 23, 2007 10:51 AM

          We plan to go tonight with a large group of 10...if asked to wait elsewhere for a long time, which local bar would you recommend within a short walk?

          4 Replies
          1. re: Food Tourist
            pinstripeprincess Nov 23, 2007 11:01 AM

            the only bar i've been to enough times in that area to feel confident about giving a recommendation for would be sweaty betty's just north of queen st west. it's a bit of a walk but the servers are really nice. it also gets packed but you'll probably be there early enough to not have problems.

            one place that i keep meaning to drop into would be the new reposado which is a teeny block south.

            i've been to the place right across the street from foxley and it's pretty divey.

            my friends raved about communists daughter up on dundas.

            ah, the fruit of an ossington pub crawl.

            1. re: Food Tourist
              furhead Nov 23, 2007 11:06 AM

              I'm curious if Foxley will able to accommodate a group that large -- the place is really quite small.
              In any case, the crooked star (202 Ossington) is a cute bar nearby.

              1. re: furhead
                pinstripeprincess Nov 23, 2007 11:28 AM

                there's only one space i could see them fitting, the front right benches. it's usually split to two tables but i've seen a group of 6 and a group of 4+ there.. so together... 10+ although it might be awkward to try to get out to go to the washroom.

              2. re: Food Tourist
                Recyclor Nov 23, 2007 11:12 AM

                Resposado is great, just steps away...

              3. Food Tourist Nov 24, 2007 09:31 PM

                Well, our dinner last night didn't really work out as planned. We showed up before 7 pm to be told that it's impossible to have a group of more than 8 people, despite being told over the phone that a large group could get in before 7 pm. The wait time for a group of 8 was long, and made even longer by the hostess, so we opted for two groups of 4, seated at different times. We'll never choose a no-reservations-policy restaurant ever again for our dinner club or with a large group over 6. Unfortunately, Reposado didn't open til 8 pm, so we ventured into Indo-Chine, a Viet place that serves $4 cocktails and spring rolls that hit the spot while we anxiously awaited the hostess' phone calls.

                The electric heater under one of our tables was a welcome touch next to the drafty main entrance.

                Food was mostly high quality, but really heavy on cilantro in most cases, and you all know by now how much I hate cilantro. We loved the sea bream ceviche - excellent texture and taste. Sea bass ceviche was good, not excellent. Beef cheeks in red curry turned out a lovely texture but with overpowering one-note lemongrass flavour. Gamey lamb dumplings had great texture but prosciutto taste seemed to be missing. Tea-smoked quail was lovely with smoky aroma, and not at all reminiscent of illegal herbs. Sadly, Berkshire pork was overcooked, verging on leathery, the accompanying chinese-style white bread buns oddly interesting but not a good match. Steak summer rolls were decent, though not memorable. Beef short ribs (kalbi-style) could have been more tender, though maybe the "authentic" way is actually chewy. Should have skipped the texture-challenged tofu, but the grilled veggies were fine as expected. Reasonable wines by the glass, including a decent $8 Tempranillo-Cab Sauv. Food has to be shared, as it arrives willy-nilly. Very lovely festive herbal tea $2.50 seemed out of place in the mostly asian flavours preceding it. Skipped the two asian-fusion desserts.

                Dinner with tax and tip for one, including 2 wines by the glass and tea, is $60.

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