Fitzroy – a tapas-inspired restaurant and the latest addition to the Sherbrook Street food scene – stays true to its mission statement, “No pretense, just honest cooking.”
Speaking to a lack of artifice, Fitzroy has a discreet storefront that I almost missed, which gives it a kind of aloof “Hey, come eat here. Or don’t, that’s cool” kind of feeling.
The place looks like an understated interpretation of a cozy lodge. It’s charming in a very subtle way, a great place to take a first date when you don’t want the walls to scream “Fall in love already!”
The price range was conducive to any budget with appetizers as low as $4 (a warm pretzel) and the priciest entree coming in at $21 (rib steak with parsley and horseradish). There were vegetarian friendly meals but sorry vegans, not much for you. Though, judging by the accommodating atmosphere, I’m sure there are off-menu options available.
My date and I ordered BBQ pork under corns and crackling ($15), because it sounded dynamic. We decided to pair it with golden beets under buttermilk and wheat ($11) because, well, it rhymed.
I was a little worried this was going to be one of those fancy celebrity-type places that has tiny food and makes me feel like a glutton, but the portions were exactly right and elegantly presented.
My date and I were proud of our choices. The golden beets had a nice, bright flavor and the pork was tender, complex, and soothing. Just like my date!
At one point, a very pleasant man in a plaid shirt came out from the back to ask us how the meal tasted, which made me feel very well cared for. I’m pretty sure he was the owner, but if he was just a nice man who likes to talk, that’s okay too.
The Fitzroy experience to that point was plenty satisfying, but I was excited to remember that we’d also ordered dessert.
The milk chocolate and marshmallows with toffee ($8) had been recommended to us by a friend and it was every bit as good as she described.
Initially it looked like a small dish, but it packs a powerful density that leaves you satiated after a few bites. I especially enjoyed the crisp pieces of toffee that melted on the tongue; so much more sophisticated than the cruel, gum-cutting Crunchie bars from my past.
I’d be remiss to not point out Fitzroy’s fantastic bourbon selection. I’m not a huge fan of the stuff, but my date is. The top-shelf brands they offer include Knob Creek, Woodford Reserve and Buffalo Trace. A shot of the hard stuff will cost you $6 or $10 for a double – reasonable compared to other bar menus.
Fitzroy is one of those places that just begs to be Instagramed, and I mean that in the nicest way. You will feel very hip for having gone there.
Hip, but not pretentious.