Lesley Chesterman is the first Montreal food critic to assess the new Griffintown restaurant from Olive et Gourmando's Dyan Solomon and Éric Girard. The word on Foxy, which opened last November, is mostly good from the Gazette critic, who outlines the duo's bona fides from the jump: "Prior to opening O+G, Solomon and Girard met and trained in the Toqué! kitchen, which means they know a beautiful ingredient when they see one. The too-few times I have eaten at or purchased items 'to go' at their bakery, I’ve been impressed by their unwavering grasp of deliciousness."
Buoyed by Olive et Gourmando's ardent fanbase, Foxy has fast become one of the most difficult tables to nab in the city. Chesterman dines at the Notre-Dame Ouest restaurant on a stormy Tuesday and, to her surprise, the place is packed. "Foxy feels a bit like a bar, and if its ambience you’re after, look no further." Wine mavens will love the restaurant's list, but the lack of affordable bottles "seems incongruous with the casual feel" of the room.
On to the food. First up, a killer winter coleslaw with Parmesan and duck. Grilled cod, served on top of smashed cukes, smoked crème fraîche, peanuts, and chiles, is beautifully grilled, but undercooked. And yet, the "raw texture worked nicely in this Asian-inspired mélange." Two for two. Another winner, wood-fired flatbread with ham, raclette, potatoes, and red onions, calls to mind a tarte flambée. The final starter from Foxy's kitchen shows a lot of promise: baked tomatoes, homemade feta, grapes, and slivered almonds, served in a cocotte, with homemade pita for mopping and scooping. It's fun until "an odd lemony flavour" spoils the party.
Chesterman isn't enthralled by two mains either. Roasted chicken is "woefully overcooked" and in need of "a bit of TLC." Pork ribs don't offer much bang for the buck, meat-wise. But then Foxy's desserts turn things around. There's much to like from a dark chocolate cake with chocolate ice cream, and a cornmeal cake with mandarins and mandarin-buttermilk ice cream. The best of the lot, Chesterman writes, is a coconut ice cream with coconut flakes, grilled pineapple, and an oatmeal cookie. "The desserts here are a must, with those homemade ice creams really stealing the show."
New restaurants saddled, fairly or unfairly, with so much advance hoopla deserve time to acclimate and settle, Chesterman concedes. All the same, the critic contends that Foxy has some real hiccups to address — "there were several instances during the meal where we were searching for our waitress [and] by the end of the night, the noise levels were voice-crackingly brutal." Still, this is a "potentially great new restaurant." Final verdict: two and a half stars on four.