Assembly Chef’s Hall is Toronto’s first food hall — it’s basically like a food court, if food courts were amazing.
There’s a bunch of interesting restaurants here, though I was homing in on the burger from Resto Boemo, which I wanted to review for my burger blog. But then I saw that Cherry Street Bar-B-Que was serving lamb shoulder as part of a St. Patrick’s Day special, and it was game over. I love southern-style barbecue, and I love lamb. Barbecued lamb? Hell yes.
It comes served on chunky mashed potatoes, and is topped with a generous amount of their Murphy’s Stout BBQ sauce, which was amazing. It was extremely untraditional — it wasn’t nearly as sweet or as acidic as you’d expect, with a rich, tomatoey flavour that’s rounded out by the stout, which adds notes of chocolate and coffee. It sounds odd, but it worked incredibly well with the lamb. I should have asked if I could buy a bottle.
And that lamb was quite tasty, though like pretty much every barbecue place in the GTA, it had almost zero smokey flavour. But in this case I didn’t even particularly mind — the amazing flavour of the lamb was front-and-centre, and it’s hard to complain too much about that. It was tender while still retaining some texture, with some really tasty bark, and just enough fat to keep things interesting, but not enough to overwhelm.
Location: 1550 South Gateway Road, Mississauga
Driving by, you wouldn’t be blamed for completely missing the food court in Dixie Park. Housed in a nondescript building in a somewhat industrial stretch of road along Dixie, it doesn’t look like much. The seemingly perpetual construction right outside certainly doesn’t help matters.
Those who venture inside will find a pretty good Asian food court. It’s generally nothing you’d want to go too far out of your way for, but most of the vendors here serve decent quality Chinese food (they’re mostly Chinese, with one Vietnamese place and one Japanese), with cheap prices and voluminous portions.
The best one is easily Dynasty B.B.Q. (Well, there was a Korean place that I used to really like — their pork bone soup was particularly delicious. Sadly, it closed down and was replaced by the aforementioned Vietnamese place. R.I.P., Korean place. You are missed). They have a typically comprehensive menu, though the real gem is the dish that comes with a combo of roast pork and BBQ pork.
Featuring a heaping portion of both types of pork served on top of rice (it also comes with a cup of mediocre soup that you should probably skip altogether), it’s a steal at $5.50. Though the less showy BBQ pork is certainly tasty and absolutely worth eating, it’s the roast pork that is the real reason to come here. I can’t claim to be an expert on this particular dish, though I have had it at a few different places. This is the best version of it that I’ve had. Perfectly cooked and yieldingly tender, with a satisfying layer of unctuous, melt-in-your-mouth fat, not to mention the salty, addictively amazing crispy, crunchy skin, it’s pretty outstanding.