The churn of restaurants on Roncesvalles continues apace with the addition of The Westerly to the once Polish-dominated strip (indeed, we recently reported on the closing of Roncy mainstay Granowska’s). Like The Ace up the street, The Westerly focuses on classic dishes done right, which means making things from scratch. Focaccia and crusty baguettes baked on the premises? Check. Fresh homemade pasta? Check. Desserts made in-house? Check. And to top it off, The Westerly even features its own intrepid young mixologist and signature cocktail, the Sweet Roncy, a blend of gin, fresh apricots and Italian cherry liquor.
Opened by two ex–West Coast restaurateurs, Beth Davyduke and Tom Earl, the restaurant is laid-back and family-friendly. After toying with possible Polish names for their restaurant, the pair decided to go with The Westerly to reflect their West Coast origins and their west-side address. Davyduke and Earl are both avowed francophiles and New York lovers, which translates to a French-heavy wine list and decor choices that channel Minetta Tavern. The space, which once housed the not-for-profit restaurant River, has been transformed: the duo has lifted the ceiling, exposed the brick and pipes and covered an accent wall with old subway tiles. The warm front room features masculine art deco lights down the centre and a creamy white marble bar with classic bar stools below and crystal and brass chandeliers from the early 1900s above. The 50-seat back room, intended for private parties, is still under construction, but will be more playful than the front, with oversized art nouveau booze posters, barn-board tables and handcrafted wood benches.
The menu, courtesy of chef Geoff Kitt (The Swan), oscillates among French bistro fare, like steak frites with béarnaise or green peppercorn sauce ($24); pub grub, like pork and beans with grilled chard ($18); and Italian, like deep-fried risotto balls with Woolwich goat cheese and bolognese sauce ($9). Among the many sides on offer are Israeli couscous with lobster, peas and mascarpone ($7) and sautéed wild mushrooms with caramelized onions ($7). And while it won’t make up for the loss of Granowska’s up the street, we were promised that Polish dishes would make guest appearances here and there as specials at The Westerly.
The Westerly, 413 Roncesvalles Ave., 416-551-6660, thewesterlyrestaurant.com.