What’s on the menu at Gordy Smiles, Anthony Rose’s new Mexican restaurant on Ossington
Name: Gordy Smiles
Contact: 224 Ossington Ave., 647-350-4400, gordysmiles.com, @gordy_smiles
Neighbourhood: Trinity Bellwoods
Previously: Schmaltz Appetizing
Owner: Wilder and Rose (Fat Pasha, Fet Zun, Rose and Sons, Schmaltz Appetizing)
Chef: Anthony Rose
Accessibility: No barrier to entry; two steps to washroom
Anthony Rose isn’t putting on any pretense of authenticity here. He hasn’t gone to the Chihuahuan Desert and dropped peyote looking for some sort of culinary inspiration. He’s not importing rare chilies or even making his own tortillas. “Do you know how much work making tortillas is?” asks Rose. So why is Rose—who’s best known for hip Jewish nosh—slinging quesadillas and stewing birria? It’s simple: he’s tired of matzoh balls and brisket, and he wanted some new flavour in his life. Plus, he freaking loves Mexican food.
“Working in kitchens in New York and San Francisco, we mostly ate Mexican food. While I was working for Jonathan Waxman and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, most of the other chefs I learned from were Mexican, so that’s the food we ate together,” says Rose, whose menu is a compilation of dishes from various regions in Mexico.
The drink list is simple: five beers, three wines (white, red, sparkling), four cocktails, three liquors (tequila, mezcal, whisky), and two aguas frescas.
“We wanted the vibe to be cowboy country rock and roll—kind of like my favourite genre of country: outlaw country,” says Rose, who completed the flip in just 30 days. (He says the change from Schmaltz Appetizing, which now has a single outpost on Dupont, had been in the works for a year.) The room is now swathed in cow hides, with a variety of seating areas, including three communal tables, an art deco couch and a clutch of marble bistro tables. In true Rose fashion, it’s a hodgepodge of pieces (mounted deer heads, crystal chandeliers) but it works somehow.