Gordy Smiles is a restaurant and bar showcasing flavours from all over Mexico.
Another project of theirs, Schmaltz Appetizing, actually used to take up residence here. The daytime bagel shop has been transformed into a nocturnal hangout with disco ball lighting, cow hides and a single-line chalkboard drawing.
Matan shrimp aguachile verde ($16) is a play on a dish that's classically more of a ceviche, made with poached wild Canadian coldwater shrimp and presented on top of Maizal corn tortilla chips.
Salsa verde, red onion, chunks of cucumber and avocado, and a sort of crunchy salsa drizzle with pumpkin and sesame seeds bring everything together. Basically a lighter take on nachos, though there are Gordy Nachos Extra Vaganza ($15) that follow the typical beans, cheese and sour cream formula, if that's what you're craving.
Mulita carnitas ($18) are kind of like mini corn tortilla quesadillas with crispy tops, stuffed with Oaxaca cheese, refried black beans, and carnitas.
The carnitas are prepared by marinating pork shoulder in orange juice for two days and then roasting the meat in its own fat, resulting in a shredded, fatty, boldly-flavoured meat. Mandatory cilantro and onion brighten the dish, with very sour and spicy house pickled carrots and onions providing a palate cleanser.
A chivichanga seems pricey at $21 for what's essentially a small burrito, but it's absolutely packed with a labour-intensive guisado or stew of short rib that's been marinated, roasted, braised, picked and stewed.
The stew is wrapped in an organic Alba Lisa flour tortilla, and presented sitting in a pool of what's termed "xmas salsa" here, half the plate covered in salsa roja, the other half salsa verde.
These salsas make for bright, juicy, spicy accompaniments, but don't sleep on others like a chunky, mildly hot pequin, or crunchy macha with peanuts and sunflower seeds.
Desserts ($9) include a spiced chocolate cake and a sopping, sweet tres leche coconut cake with toasted coconut blended right into the cake, and airy house whipped cream on top.
Margaritas ($12) are part of a tight list of Mexican cocktail standards, conventional in pretty much every way with half a salt rim and mint to garnish in addition to the usual lime.
A Tequila Sunrise ($12) lives up to its name, a very simple combination of tequila, grenadine and OJ that nevertheless creates a pleasing visual effect.
Jamaica Mezcal Punch ($14) brings together smoky mezcal and fruity agua fresca flavours.
A Michelada ($10) is like a Caesar and a beer had a baby.
And yes, tacos are also on the menu here.