I find people here have a love/hate relationship with chain restaurants. Some of them can be horribly bad (Montana’s Cookhouse and Kelsey’s for example), but there are a few gems here and there that actually serve decent food and have generally good service. One of these, in my opinion, is Moxie’s Classic Grill.
Moxie’s has been around for a while; in the last 6 years or so, they started trying to upgrade their image to target a younger crowd. New locations had a brand new look, complete with a fancy bar, dark seats and walls, greeters/hostesses with skimpy black dresses, etc. (At least their wait staff dress sensibly.) I go to Moxie’s despite this, as the menu was revamped too so that instead of just steaks and burgers you could get food that was a little more upscale. In addition to their normal menu, they also feature a short menu of seasonal dishes.
I tend to stick to the tried and true, namely the sirloin steak salad with goat cheese (“seared medium-rare steak, mixed greens, roma tomatoes and Québec goat cheese, tossed in a spicy tomato vinaigrette with a hint of tomato clam juice and served with banana bread”*). But every once in a while something on their seasonal menu catches my fancy, like the ahi tuna crisps (“sushi-grade ahi tuna seared rare in a sesame-dijon crust, presented on a ginger shiitake salad with crispy wontons and lemon aioli”*). This dish was so popular that it eventually popped onto their regular menu. That is not to say that everything on the seasonal menu is excellent; I’ve found it actually hit or miss, but the hits are worth the risk.
On a visit to one of the newer locations, I happened to have my camera with me and snapped a few pictures of the meal. My mother was with me that day, and we both happened to order items on their summer seasonal menu.
The macadamia crusted mahi mahi was a “mahi mahi filet roasted to perfection with a crust of crushed macadamia nuts and asiago cheese, perched on garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed fresh spinach.”* The fish was not as moist as we would have liked, but the entrée as a whole made a good meal.
The ahi tuna niçoise salad was “a taste of what’s to come… a bocuse inspired salad of ahi tuna seared rare with fresh green beans, hard cooked eggs, grape tomatoes and a creamy garlic red skinned potato salad.”* This dish tasted better than the mahi mahi, but I was disappointed in the way that the tuna was cut. Instead of cutting wide, thin slices and giving a super quick sear, they cut long, thick slices instead. This meant that more of the tuna was cooked through and gave the fish a slightly tougher texture. They should have cut the fish in the same way they do for the ahi tuna crisps appetizer.
The star of the meal was the side dish that we ordered in addition to the entrées. I love sweet potato fries, so whenever I see them on a menu I try to order them if I can. They don’t show up as often as they should.
These sweet potato fries were thickly cut and perfectly fried. They were served with two creamy and flavourful dips, an aoli and something with curry in it. I liked both dips but the curry one disappeared first. I hope this dish goes on the permanent menu too!
Dinner was topped off by the best dessert in the place – the white chocolate brownie served with ice cream. I usually don’t have room for dessert, but at Moxie’s you can order a few of their regular desserts in a smaller form. The Bite of Brownie is the perfect size for a small sweet finish.
Moxie’s Classic Grill
various locations in parts of Canada
*Menu descriptions taken from the Moxie’s website.