Figures (137 Avenue Road) is officially one of my favorite new restaurants in Toronto, and it’s about more than just the food, the style, or the very fun comic book theme. Figures is a great restaurant because they do all of those things so well, and they do it all with heart, and excellent attention to every detail.
Yorkville is full of upscale dining options, but Figures does it all a bit differently too. First timers coming to the restaurant, can come in through the “secret entrance” that appears in a wall layered in comic book memorabilia. Hit the secret button and Bam, there’s the entrance.
I can only imagine that this is how Bruce Wayne must feel every day entering the Bat Cave.
Inside, the space is iconicly dabbled with themed art, mashing up characters in ways that feel like they deserve to be framed, or tattooed on a diehard fan. It’s absolutely one-of-a-kind art, and it’s seriously smile-worthy the way the characters have been used in the space.
Even the menu looks like a comic book, and when you leave, the bill comes in a comic book that you take home.
Exposition, is where you get started in the menu, and while the names are not comic-centric, they’re gorgeous dishes. There’s the Trio of Cauliflower, served charred, fried and pickled with roasted garlic, avocado, and poblano. Or the Québec Duck, which is foie gras, served with leg confit, wild blueberry, ice wine, and black pepper focaccia.
My pick, the Tataki Bahn Mi, is a gorgeous trio of Chinese pancakes, topped with daikon, Sambal, cilantro, and deliciously tender Salmon belly. The appetizer features a zip of spice that’s salty and tangy, while the pancake is a mix of crisp and chewy. The salmon practically melts in your mouth, and the size of the appetizer is great for sharing, or makes for a solid appetizer for one if you’re really hungry.
At the same time, I ordered a cocktail, and what a cocktail! The Johnny Blaze is a bit like an old fashioned, but like none you’ve probably tried before. The cocktail includes Bruichladdich whisky, Laphroaig, and Creyente Mezcal, with rosemary and tobacco smoke. Here’s the thing though, the cocktail comes out a bit like Ghost Rider himself, spewing “smoke” thanks to a clever dry ice trick.
While the serving is pure show–and it does look ridiculously cool–the cocktail itself is perfect. It’s sweet and smoky, highlighting the blend of whiskies with the smokiness of the mezcal and of course Laphroaig’s perfectly peaty heart.
For my main, or the Climax, there’s a lot to choose from. Fried Chicken, Poke, or a Personal Pan Pizza that includes smoked tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, pepperoncini, and fresh basil.
I had to try the Ontario Lamb though.
The lamb is crusted with garlic and herbs, and served with grainy mustard gnocchi, preserved tomato, local beans, olive and lemon vinaigrette. It’s a hearty meal, and it’s amazingly well balanced and well seasoned.
The gnocchi practically melts in your mouth, and the spices on the lamb are surprisingly light and simple, with a creamy and sweet mix of vegetables to accompany it all. And the lamb is like you always dream lamb will taste like–soft, slightly delicate, and layered in those herbs–served on the rarer side of medium.
The dish is perfectly presented on a large plate, with the crust on the lamb showing outward, just begging for you to sample first. I would also call the lamb the perfect fall dish–warm and comforting, filling, and rich.
For the Resolution, or dessert, there’s Chocolate Funnel Cake, served with dark, milk, and white “Callebaut” chocolate, and passionfruit, S’Mores, Banana Split, but I went for the Figures Doughnuts.
This trio of doughnuts features three flavour combos: one topped with cotton candy and filled with a warm, wild blueberries; a second that’s topped with caramel popcorn and filled with salted dolce de leche; and the third is a Nutella-filled doughnut topped with popping candy.
The great thing about the doughnuts is not just that they’re great for sharing, and utterly delicious, partly because they’re served warm, but also because they come in a box so you can take them home if you’re just a bit too stuffed from the lamb.
To finish off the meal, they brought out their Poison Ivy cocktail for me to try, and it hit all the right notes. The cocktail bubbles and boils like a cartoon potion, thanks to a little piece of dry ice that’s safely hidden at the bottom of the glass.
The cocktail is made with thyme infused Ciroc vodka, Bombay Sapphire ging, elderflower, two sprigs of thyme, and basil water, and it has a beautifully floral aroma that’s both sweet and salty on the tongue.
Figures is an inspired, original restaurant, with a commitment not just to their theme, but to the way they serve the food, interact with their guests, and make the dishes stand out. The restaurant is a lot of fun, especially for comic book fans, but you definitely don’t need to be a fan to enjoy the space, and the food.
I would definitely recommend Figures for the next time you’re planning a birthday, or especially for your next private event. Book your reservations at figuresto.com or call them at (416) 900-1022.
Oh, yes, and they accept Bitcoin too.
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