Crosley’s is a new neighboorhood restaurant located at 214 Ossington Avenue in Toronto, that opened in the midst of the Covid pandemic in January 2021. Diners are not coming here for beautiful decor but rather for the food. This narrow restaurant was originally an old house and at one point, an electronics store. The 50 seat restaurant is dimly lit, with a bar up front, and an open kitchen in the back. There is a nice outdoor patio that seats up to 45 patrons with navy blue and white striped umbrellas. The space is casual, laid back, and has a low-key, rustic vibe. Each table has a bud vase with freshly cut flowers to help add some warmth and there is soft background music that gets drowned out once the restaurant gets filled up. And obviously, word has got out about the skill in the kitchen, because it does fill up!
The chef is Joachim (Joe) Hayward, who was the head chef of one of my prior favourite haunts, Brothers Restaurant (now shuttered). The front of the house and sommelier is Myles Harrison, another Brothers Alumni. They have partnered with JP and Laura Adamo of Bar Piquette. The menu offers about 12 choices and they change a few items every couple of weeks – it’s fresh, thoughtful and seasonal. There is detail given to each dish’s presentation and preparation.
Our server Danielle was knowledgeable and very friendly in providing us with some excellent recommendations. We began with a fabulous seeded sourdough bread made by Patty at Robinson’s bread, served with a caramelized onion butter. This was followed by Ontario melon and cucumber, with a shredded ricotta salata and fresh mint. The tomato dish was bursting with flavour, with sliced plums in a lemon verbena. The halibut, served in rounds, along with fresh Ontario corn and Tropea onion, was a very attractive presentation but a touch overcooked. We loved the carrots, on a bed of creamy fromage frais, and liberally sprinkled with bagel spice. Next up, Ontario duck, cooked to medium-rare alongside some duck confit, kale and a lovely mushroom ketchup. We devoured an off-menu cabbage dish that was braised and served with house-cured pancetta, shallots, garlic, Dijon, cream, cider vinegar, and finished with fresh herbs (thanks for recommending this dish Danielle, because I never would have ordered it on my own). I’m usually not a fan of cabbage but this dish was outstanding and paired beautifully with the duck.
For dessert we tried the pistachio fragipan tarte with wild plum and crème fraiche. We also tried an off-menu panna cotta, but I wasn’t a fan of their interpretation, it tasted like whip cream to me.
All in all, this farm-to-table, seasonal dining experience had us humming. Crosley’s is a relaxed, casual restaurant serving palate-pleasing food, and is a welcome new addition to Toronto’s dining scene.