Sherman's Food Adventures: Colony (Northwoods)

Colony (Northwoods)

"If you build it, they will come".  You may recognize this from Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner (well assuming you are a movie buff or aren't a millennial...).  This phrase holds true when it comes to restaurants and other services.  Now you might think that I'm referring to these aforementioned businesses, but I'm actually talking about the condos and high rises that have sprouted up on the North Shore close to the 2nd Narrows Bridge.  You build those and the businesses will follow suit.  That is a bonus when restaurants show up.  Selfishly, it benefits me as it is close by to where I play hockey on Friday nights!  So I was naturally intrigued when we were recently invited to check out the newly opened Colony Northwoods.

As the Loaded Tater Tots arrived, Diana grabbed it immediately and we started chowing down.  As much as these were deep fried until golden and crispy, they were not overly greasy.  Loved how the inside still retained a soft potato texture.  These remained crispy despite the drizzle of chipotle mayo, plethora of banana peppers, green onion, jalapenos, pico de gallo and sour cream.  As you can imagine, there was a "nacho" like quality to this dish that was accented by the creamy spiced mayo.  Heading completely off to the other side of the food spectrum, we had the Rainbow Glory Bowl consisting of quinoa, spinach, fried tofu, cucumber, beets, carrots, pumpkin seeds, almonds and tahini dressing.  Yes, the ingredients were indeed fresh and full of textures, but the dressing is what made the salad.  It was nutty, aromatic, sweet and lightly tangy.  This didn't look filling, but it was so packed, there was still plenty after we took our own servings.

Although they were serving hot wings, Diana asked for their Lemon Pepper.  What a great idea as these were on point.  Medium in size, the wings featured crispy skin that was properly rendered.  This, combined with the tender and nearly juicy meat on the inside, meant that the wing ate well.  They weren't messing around as the wings were aggressively coated with a tonne of black pepper.  Therefore, the pepperiness was at the forefront.  However, there was an equal amount of tang from the lemon juice which added a touch of "Phnom Penh-ness".  Very tasty and I would totally order these again.  Next, 4 cute little Corn Dogs were presented in a slanted bowl and accompanied by dijon and ketchup.  The fairly thin layer of batter was lightly crunchy and spiked with herbs.  Inside, the Nathan's weiner was juicy and flavourful.  I enjoyed dipping it into the dijon more than the ketchup as it added a vinegary sharpness to balance off the saltiness.

One of my favourite dishes was the Crunchy Chicken Sandwich with house pickled red onion, arugula and herb mayo.  Sure, the white meat wasn't exactly juicy, but it wasn't dry either (maybe the edges, but that is understandable).  I found the coating to be well-seasoned and crunchy while still airy and light.  The right amount of herbed mayo added both moisture and another layer of flavour while the pickled onion took care of the acidity.  This was completed by a soft toasted bun.  Staying on the same theme, the CJ Burger was pretty solid.  It wasn't anything crazy consisting of aged cheddar, butter lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles and burger sauce, but there wasn't anything to complain about.  The charred patty was fairly moist while the rest of the ingredients were fresh.  On the side, we found house-cut fries which were on point.  These were crunchy with a soft potato centre.

Onto some larger dishes with a full rack of Danish Baby Back Ribs with house made BBQ sauce.  To be frank, I'm never a fan of ribs at restaurants that are not true BBQ houses.  Maybe it has something to do with my trip to Texas...  However, this one here featured a unique BBQ sauce that set it apart from most chain restaurants.  It was very tangy from the apple cider vinegar and not extremely sweet.  The ribs themselves were not par-cooked to death, which meant they retained a meaty chewiness.  They were still tender though, so it wasn't difficult to eat.  All-in-all, a respectable version from a non-BBQ joint.  When the Salmon Cobb Salad arrived, I was a skeptical.  The salmon looked overdone and dry.  Yet, I was wrong.  It was actually moist and flaky while well-seasoned.  That was a good thing as the goddess dressing was on the milder side albeit creamy.  

We had a few bonus dishes (ordered by the table) in the Dry Fried Squid with sambel oelek, green onions, green beans and chili garlic sauce.  This featured pronounced flavours that were spicy, salty and aromatic.  The squid itself was tender and lightly battered.  There was a bit too much grease though when they wok (or pan) tossed it.  Ending off the meal, we had Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches.  Nothing particularly complex here, but they were nice little bites nonetheless.  The macarons themselves featured a crispy shell that gave with to a chewy centre.  So as you can see, the food here at Colony is not particularly fancy.  It isn't meant to be, rather it is accessible, well-priced and solid.  Good place to enjoy the atmosphere and dining space while grabbing a drink and some eats.

*All food and beverages were complimentary*

The Good:
- Reasonably-priced compared to other chains
- Nice dining space
- Solid

The Bad:
- Limited menu in terms of larger dishes
- Parking lot is rather tight

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