Location: 545 King Street West, Toronto
I love Porchetta and Co. Their porchetta sandwich? Classic. Best porchetta in the city. Their fried chicken sandwiches? Usually delicious! Their Nashville hot chicken sandwich? Uh…
Hey, they can’t all be winners. And it wasn’t all bad. The fried chicken itself was superlative, as usual: perfectly-cooked chicken with a crispy, crunchy, tasty exterior. It’s good stuff.
Nashville hot chicken is a notoriously spicy dish that involves a post-cooking dunk into spice-infused oil to give the chicken additional flavour and heat. It’s typically sprinkled with more spices, just to kick up the heat factor. Porchetta and Co. appear to have remembered the oil — the sandwich was absolutely dripping with it — but forgotten the spices. The oily coating on the chicken was bland, and worse, it wasn’t spicy. At all. The spice level here never registered beyond a mild tingle. WTF?
The other components of the sandwich — lettuce, mayo, pickles, plain white bread — were fine, though the sugary-sweet pickles were a bit overpowering.
Location: 1900 The Queensway, Etobicoke
I’ve been to Scaddabush a few times now, and it continually surprises me. Not that it’s anything particularly special, but they serve consistently good food; for a casual chain restaurant in Canada, that’s a minor miracle.
Granted, it’s easy to look good when your competition is dreck like Boston Pizza and East Side Mario’s, but we are where we are. The bar for a casual chain restaurant is low.
And so Scaddabush, which is very keen to boast that they make their pasta and mozzarella in-house, is comparatively pretty amazing.
The fresh mozzarella is pleasantly toothsome, and with a bit of the sun-dried tomato spread on the side, quite tasty.
The roasted fennel and sausage fettuccine was one of the better pasta dishes I’ve had in a while, with a really nice interplay between the hearty sausage, the spicy pop of the sliced hot peppers, and the crispiness of the seasoned breadcrumbs.
Alas, the meal ended on a sour note — the zeppoli tasted stale, with a sodden exterior and an unpleasantly sponge-like interior. The chocolate hazelnut sauce was fine, but was mostly just bland sweetness; there wasn’t much of a chocolate or hazelnut flavour.