À la table de Madame Marie: Crosley’s – Takeout you want to order again (and again)
Introducing À la table de Madame Marie – a new pandemic series that provides in-depth experiences of restaurants in and around Toronto.
If two guys know how to do stellar takeout, it’s Myles Harrison and Joachim (Joe) Hayward, the co-owners of Crosley’s. You might be wondering why you haven’t heard about this new kid on the block — or maybe you’ve heard rumblings by now. This two-man pop-up is less than one month old, and is temporarily operating out of Bar Piquette while they patiently wait to put the finishing touches on their brick-and-mortar space on Ossington Avenue. Until then, they decided to dive right into the turbulent COVID waters — and treat Toronto with their soul-satisfying takeout meals.
Crosley’s five-course menu (for $55 per person), which starts as a blank page each week, is a reflection of this duo’s passion for uniting people through food. This dedication to the craft became quite evident after I picked up my takeout order. I had to stop myself from savagely ripping open the bags due to the tantalizing aromas that wafted into my nose. Upon arriving chez moi, I opened the bags to reveal neatly packaged and labeled containers, a menu card in the most beautiful cursive, and a note of “Gentle Guidance,” which confirmed not only their culinary prowess and commitment to sustainable sourcing, but also a genuine adoration for their craft.
A keen eye for detail was given to each dish’s preparation and presentation. After admiring the food for a brief moment, I promptly grabbed some cutlery, uncorked the bottle of Domaine Courtault Tardieux Touraine Sauvignon that Harrison recommended to pair with my meal, and let my senses take over. First, I popped open the clamped lid of a mason jar and dipped my fork into the leek and cardoon conserva — Crosley’s take on a winter vegetable escabeche. A hit of acidity danced on my tongue as I took my first bite. It was done right, and was a highly addictive starter. The use of cardoon, a thistle plant that tastes like a bitter artichoke, was an unexpected addition here that opened my palate to something new.
Next up was a rarebit — but not your ordinary rarebit. With the addition of succulent crab meat, this one was première-classe. One bite of the robustly flavourful, cheesy, bready goodness was simply not enough. A hint of the Worcestershire and splash of beer for slightly bitter balance brought the creamy sauce to greater heights. This is the comfort food you dream of on a cold winter evening — and the one you wish you had on those hazy post-bar nights.
Crosley’s places importance on sourcing sustainable ingredients, and supporting communities in the process. The turbot, for example, was sourced from Baffin Island — some of the most pristine waters in Canada — and this sourcing practice supports the creation of sustainable fisheries in Inuit communities. The subtly sweet, whole turbot had been slow cooked on the bone to preserve its tenderness and flavour. Its glistening skin peeled back without effort, revealing the meaty white flesh that flaked into chunks with the light touch of my fork. A salty bottarga and seaweed topping married with fragrant fresh thyme and dill was the ultimate accompaniment. One bite was absolute perfection.
The turbot was also extremely satisfying when paired with the crisp butterball potatoes and charred baby gem lettuce with burnt lemon dressing.
To finish, a slice of pear and treacle tart was an elegant alternative to something chocolaty and predictable. A pungent slice of Celtic Blue cheese downplayed the sweetness of the poached fruit as well as the tart’s dense texture.
There’s so much more I could say, but I’ll leave you with one parting thought: If this takeout experience is a glimpse of what’s to come when Crosley’s finally opens its doors, you’re going to be spoiled rotten.
Mme. M. xoxo
Hungry for more? Check out my other weekly roundups.
Operations are subject to change during this crisis so please contact each restaurant for the most up-to-date information.