Location: 3401 Dufferin Street, North York (inside Yorkdale Mall)
Since I’ve already established that the restaurant at the Restoration Hardware in Yorkdale is better than it has any right to be (I was shocked at how decent the burger was), it shouldn’t be a surprise that the grilled cheese is quite tasty.
It’s a classic, no-frills grilled cheese. This is a dish that a lot of places feel the need to gussy up, with toppings and condiments aplenty. But grilled cheese is perfect on its own; all you need is good quality bread, cheese, and a whole bunch of butter. No ornamentation is necessary.
And that’s exactly what the RH Courtyard Cafe gives you: the cheddar cheese is sharp and gooey, and the bread has the perfect amount of substance, with a crispy exterior and a soft interior.
It’s also ridiculously buttery, as it should be; if you can hold a grilled cheese sandwich without your hands instantly becoming slippery with grease, then you need to throw it right in the garbage. It’s worthless.
But then there’s the price. It’s 19 bucks. As good as it is (and it’s quite good), it’s still just a grilled cheese sandwich, which might be the easiest (and cheapest) thing in the world to make. So it’s hard to justify spending that much on it.
Location: 92 Ossington Avenue, Toronto
I love the cubano sandwich at La Cubana. Or at least, I usually do.
I was going to order something else, but then I realized that I’ve never actually written about the cubano here, and I really don’t need much more of an excuse than that.
And here’s the thing: it was good. It certainly wasn’t bad, per se. That’s the problem with serving truly great food; there’s nowhere to go but down, and even something that’s quite good is going to seem like a letdown in comparison.
The cubano here is normally the perfect amalgam of gooey cheese, savoury meats, and zingy pickles. It’s astonishingly good. Usually.
This time? It was off. Though the cheese was nice and gooey, the pork had a mildly gamy, leftovery flavour, there were almost no pickles to cut the richness of the cheese and the meat, and the bread was dry and overly crunchy. I ate the sandwich as carefully as I could, and it still thoroughly mangled the roof of my mouth.
Has La Cubana gone downhill? Or was the kitchen just having a bad day? I’ll feel bad if it’s the latter — but they served me what they served me, so I don’t feel too bad about it.