First Look: Figures hopes to add an eclectic dash of fun to Yorkville


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Image: Amanda Nunes

If you’re a food lover and a comic book nerd who enjoys the finer things in life, listen up. Figures, a new restaurant is bringing a little fun to Yorkville. The 2,000-square-foot, 80-seat space has been meticulously designed by Prototype Design Lab.

They worked with the owners, brothers Nader and Patrick Marzouk and local artists to create a space filled with local art that you’ll have to see in person to experience. Surprisingly, social media use is discouraged at Figures. 


(IMAGE: AMANDA NUNES)

 

This is not the brothers’ first restaurant. That’s in Mississauga and is called &Company. There, their goal was to introduce something different to Mississauga. It’s now the largest independently owned restaurant in Mississauga. 

“Yorkville is having a resurgence,” says Nader Marzouk. “What does Yorkville still need? It has great food, great service, fantastic venues, but is lacking a bit of fun. Takes itself too seriously. We’re going to have the same level of service, high quality, great cocktails without the pretentious feeling.”


(IMAGE: AMANDA NUNES)

 

Because each individual artistic piece could be taken out of context, the owners don’t want the space to be misinterpreted on social media. “Come and experience the entire restaurant, not just one piece,” Nader invites.

“We are also affiliated with several celebrities. We’ve only been open for a few days, and already have been visited by Jonathan Cheban (Kim Kardashian’s best friend) and a few Raptors. Sometimes celebrities just want to relax and have a good meal without being bothered.”

The sense that Figures is different than other Yorkville restaurants is something you feel from the moment you enter the restaurant through their vintage toy and comic book store.

The first thing that you’ll notice is the custom mural that envelopes the foyer. The artist, Anthony Ricciardi, took six months to complete the piece. Each comic strip was handpicked and layered on top with his poetry and art.

Some of the rare finds that you’ll discover in the Figures store include original Archie comic drawings ($600), the first ever Superman statue and a collection of the first ever Mickey Mouse book from 1921. There’s also a first rendering model of Darth Vader, of which only 100 were made. It’ll cost you a cool $5,000. 

The hostess welcomes guests by pressing a Captain America button and the door automatically swings open to welcome you into the space.

“Let’s give people a full experience. From the moment they call, to when they step into the door, says Patrick. “We want to intrigue people, very against the grain for Toronto.”


(IMAGE: AMANDA NUNES)

 

Their website doesn’t have a menu.

Executive Chef Ron Stratton has worked with some prominent chefs such as Daniel Boulud, David Lee and Marc Thuet. His cooking is inspired by his childhood and experiences working in Bermuda, Alberta and Muskoka. The menu describes the small-plate dishes by what ingredients you can expect your meal to have, but doesn’t explain how they’re prepared. 

This gives Stratton the ability to easily change the menu daily or weekly because it’s built around fresh ingredients. The pasta could be spinach gnocchi one day or linguini the next. “You have an idea of what you’re getting, but there’s an element of surprise when you get your dish,” he says.

Take the pasta dish. Today the pasta is an oversized ravioli filled with butternut squash and finished with a hand poured squash puree.  The menu simply describes it as Pasta Chanterelle, Macadamia ($22).


(IMAGE: AMANDA NUNES)

 

Today the lobster ($38) is served two ways, as a tempura lobster claw with caviar, and also as a lobster salad topped with a fried egg. For dessert, the beignets ($14) come as a trio and come in Nutella, plain and blood orange. The Mexican Chocolate with Fleur de Sel ($18) arrives as a hard shell that you must crack to get to the rich chocolate square topped with 22 Carat Gold flakes and chocolate robots.

At the bar, you’ll find mixologist James Bailey (Furlough) serving up classic and contemporary cocktails. The cocktail menu features a traditional Pisco sour and a Hemmingway Daiquiri based on the original way that Daiquiris were made.

Only time will tell if Yorkville takes to the Marzouk brothers’ unusual take on restaurants and keep the seats at Figures full.

Figures, 137 Avenue Rd., 416-900-1022


(IMAGE: AMANDA NUNES)

 


(IMAGE: AMANDA NUNES)

 


(IMAGE: AMANDA NUNES)

 


(IMAGE: AMANDA NUNES)

 


(IMAGE: AMANDA NUNES)

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