What’s on the menu at Gordy Smiles, Anthony Rose’s new Mexican restaurant on Ossington

What’s on the menu at Gordy Smiles, Anthony Rose’s new Mexican restaurant on Ossington

More on Anthony Rose

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

The food

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.

These East Coast shrimp are poached, then tossed with cucumbers, romaine, avocados, chilies, cilantro and lime, before being piled on tortilla chip from Maizal Tortilleria. A sesame-and-pumpkin-seed mix is sprinkled on top. $16.


For this dish, heavily paprika-spiced chorizo gets cooked up with poblano peppers and charred onions. The chorizo rojo fundido isn’t complete without a thick layer of bubbly mozzarella and a side of flour tortillas. $16.


“The chivichanga is a rip off Sonoratown’s,” says Rose, referencing the popular Los Angeles restaurant. “And I’m proud of that because theirs is just so fucking good.” Although it looks simple, a lot goes into making one. Short ribs are marinated and left to sit before they’re slow roasted for two hours, then braised for a final three. Charred onions and tomatoes, and a generous helping of Oaxaca and cheddar cheeses are folded into the warm flat bread that sits on a bed of red and green salsas. $21.


Rose has been making this chicken mole recipe for years. He uses a combination of ancho, pasilla and poblano chilis. It’s served with fresh organic yellow corn tortillas from Maizal. $21.


This chocolate cake gets warmth from cinnamon and heat from candied Anaheim chilies. The buttercream frosting is made using Abuelita (the Mexican hot chocolate mix), and the drizzle on top is cajeta, a goat’s milk caramel sauce. $9.


Rose adds coconut shavings to his tres leches cake. $9.


The drinks

The drink list is simple: five beers, three wines (white, red, sparkling), four cocktails, three liquors (tequila, mezcal, whisky), and two aguas frescas.

Here’s the lineup now.


A classic margarita. $12.


Tequila Sunrise. $12.


The Jamaica Mezcal Punch is made with hibiscus agua fresca, mezcal, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and allspice. $14.


The space

“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.