Mediocre Tacos at Wilbur Mexicana

Wilbur MexicanaLocation: 552 King Street West, Toronto
Websitehttp://wilburmexicana.com/

Wilbur is one of those places with a perpetual line out the door, and having just tried it for the first time, I’m not sure why.

That’s not to say it was bad. I just had two tacos, and they were both fine.  But in a city as suffused with taco joints as Toronto, “fine” isn’t much.

Wilbur Mexicana

I will say that their hot sauce selection is impressive.  They have a few dozen bottles to choose from, not to mention a bunch of homemade sauces as well.  If you want to add some spice to your taco, I can guarantee you’ll find something that strikes your fancy.

I tried a couple of tacos: al pastor (“pork, grilled pineapple, onion, cilantro”) and bulgogi (“Korean beef, cabbage, pear, sriracha, sesame seeds”).

Wilbur Mexicana

I was most excited to try the al pastor, which is essentially Mexico’s take on the shawarma.  But there were none of the crispy bits you associate with shawarma; it was just dry, personality-free lean pork brought to dessert levels of sweetness thanks to whatever they marinated it in and the pineapple.

It came on a corn tortilla that was dry, crumbly, and stale.  A note to all restaurants serving corn tortillas: cook them fresh or GTFO.

Wilbur Mexicana

The bulgogi, surprisingly enough, was way better.  It was also quite sweet, but it had some savoury complexity to round things out.  The beef was a little bit dry, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as the pork.

The tacos came with a handful of tortilla chips on the side.  They were a huge upgrade over store-bought; they were way better than the tacos.

Nashville Hot Chicken at Porchetta and Co.

Porchetta and Co.
Location: 545 King Street West, Toronto
Websitehttp://porchettaco.com/

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.

Porchetta and Co.

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.

Sausage Perfection at Wvrst

WvrstLocation: 609 King Street West, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.wvrst.com/

I tried Wvrst once, around when it first opened.  It was good, but nothing about it really jumped out at me, so I never felt particularly compelled to go back.

Well, I just found myself back there, and clearly I was wrong about the place, because the sausage I ate was probably one of the best that I’ve ever had.

Wvrst

They have an intimidatingly long list of sausages on their menu.  I got the Kaas: “pork/beef/parrano cheese/light smoke.”  You can either get it on a bun or as currywurst.  I went with a bun, and had it topped with sauteed onions and jalapenos.

Wvrst

Oh man, that sausage.  The texture was absolutely perfect.  To me, the meat in a sausage needs to retain some of its essential meatiness; it shouldn’t have been ground into oblivion.  It should still be sausagey, of course, but the texture should be more rustic than a hot dog.  Wvrst absolutely nails this.

And the flavour was great: meaty and smoky, not overly salty, and with surprisingly generous pockets of gooey, melty cheese.  I was actually pretty blown away by how good it was.

Wvrst

I got the duck fat fries on the side, and they were just as good.  You could pick from a bunch of dipping sauces; I went with the Wvrst sauce (rule of thumb: if something on the menu is named after the restaurant, you should probably be ordering that thing).  It was tangy and delicious, and complimented the fries perfectly.