Frida's - A Mexican Lover's Review
After a most disappointing meal at Milagro's new location a few weeks back, I was a bit dubious to try out another 'mid-high end Mexican' restaurant, but my love for all things Mexican tipped the scales.
We arrived at 7:30 last night and sadly saw only 2-3 other tables occupied - we were seated by the host (and I believe a co-owner?) and were brought a small bottle of sparkly on the house as I had informed them when making the reservation that this was our last meal together before getting married next week - a great way to start off the night.
They brought out some nachos and home made salsa's - one a tomatillo salsa, the other a roasted poblano, both good, the poblano fantastic. We started off with the house Guac - nicely made, but a touch lacking on the acidic side for my tastes (that seems to be a trend with me!)
Then we were brought out an amuse of braised onions in a habanero tomato sauce that was absolutely amazing, tons of layered flavors, some great heat as well! I could have eaten at least 10 of those.
We were sharing pretty much everything and not wanting to be rushed, we ordered fairly slowly to which they were extremely accommodating. We then had their pulled duck taquitos, which were great - after I asked for some 'hot salsa' - our (lovely) waitress brought us out a 8/10 on the heat scale of a roasted poblano salsa that when paired with anything we ate, was just phenomenal - one of the best salsa's I have ever had!
After the duck, next up was the sizzling Oaxaca Cheese plate served with house made tortillas, which was fantastic, gooey Mexican cheese covering strips of roasted poblano's with some Mexican mint which the name eludes me, which you slather on their tortillas - fantastic!
The only thing I would not order again was our next dish, the braised lamb - far too much fat in the lamb plus a few pieces of bone which eluded the kitchen forced me to not finish the entire plate - you live and you learn!
After being near bursting, I still wanted to try out their Mole, so we ordered a 'small' of their Quail with Mole main - nice dish, great flavored Mole, but I think I was just too damn full to really appreciate it!
Total with Tax & Tip and 2 Margaritas - $120
Finally - some great Mexican food in Toronto - hope they stick around!
I've posted that I've been happy with this place. I think what's holding them back is the location. Its a great neighbourhood if you live there, but one would never go there unless you had something specific to do. Like most restaurants in the city, I think they have been a little slow. I hope people make the effort to try this place.
I think one the restaurant's biggest problems is that the signage is awful: just a tiny, inconspicuous "frida" at the bottom right corner of the window. The large awning above the window is completely devoid of signage. Their name (and the fact that it's a Mexican restaurant) would likely attract more attention.
I've been there a few times and have enjoyed my meals. But if I didn't live in the neighbourhood and/or read Chowhound and/or have read Joanne Kates's glowing review, I would not know that it exists.
Regarding the location, people who love good food are usually willing to drive/take transit to access it. This restaurant is a couple of blocks from the Eglinton West subway station and is easily accessible by car from all parts of the city. Parking is not a problem.
A bit of local advertising might help to draw attention to both the restaurant, catering, and retail/wholesale of the chef/owner's Mexican products lineup.