Delicious Banh Mi at Rose’s Vietnamese Sandwiches

Rose's Vietnamese SandwichesLocation: 601 Gerrard Street East, Toronto
Website: None

Like many banh mi joints, Rose’s Vietnamese Sandwiches is ridiculously cheap.  I had the standard cold cut banh mi, which is crammed with meat and pate, and costs a paltry three bucks.

This is simultaneously amazing — cheap, delicious food! — and crappy.  There’s an unfair expectation that a lot of Asian or Latin American cuisine should be served for rock-bottom prices, which makes it unnecessarily difficult for the people who run those restaurants to make a living.

Rose's Vietnamese Sandwiches

I’m not going to rehash what many other people have written on the subject, but it does kinda give you pause.

Setting that aside?  It’s a tasty sandwich.  The assorted meats banh mi is the classic — it’s got Vietnamese cold cuts, chunky pate, pickled veggies, and cilantro.

Rose's Vietnamese Sandwiches

It’s really tasty; there’s a lot of meat, but it’s perfectly balanced out by the sweet, vinegary pickled veggies, not to mention the abundant fresh cilantro.  It’s definitely a contender for  the best banh mi in the city, though I think there are a couple of things holding it back from greatness.

The biggest issue: I wish it had more pate.  It has a thin spread of pate that’s entirely overwhelmed by the sizable layer of cold cuts.  You miss out on the satisfying contrast between the meaty cold cuts and the creamy, minerally pate.

Rose's Vietnamese Sandwiches

The other issue is the bread.  It’s certainly not bad, but the exterior doesn’t quite have the light crispiness you’re looking for, and the whole thing is a bit dry.

Still, those are fairly minor complaints — it’s a solid banh mi, it’s just not quite up there with the best that I’ve had.

An Excellent Steak Sandwich at Completo

CompletoLocation: 5 Coady Avenue, Toronto
Website: https://completo.club/

There are a lot of ways that a steak sandwich can go wrong, but when it’s good, it’s really good.

Completo, a tiny little take-out spot on the east end that describes itself as serving “Latin fresh fast food,” has a steak sandwich that’s very, very good.

Completo

The steak sandwich is dubbed the classic churrassco.  Pork or chorizo are options, but trust me, you want that steak.  It’s topped with diced tomato, avocado, mayo, roasted red pepper sauce, and hot sauce.

Completo

It’s one of those sandwiches where everything is just right.  I don’t think there’s a single thing that I’d change.

The steak is outstanding.  You could put it on two slices of plain Wonder Bread and it’d still be an amazing sandwich.  It’s tender, it has a nice crust from the griddle, and a very satisfying beefy flavour.

Completo

The other stuff is just the icing on the cake.  The mayo and avocado add a nice creamy heft, though it’s the spicy/sweet combo of the hot sauce and the roasted red peppers that really makes the sandwich sing.  You have the choice between mild, medium, and hot; I went with hot, and yeah, it’s hot.  But the spice works so well with the sandwich’s other flavours.  And of course, the fresh bun suits the sandwich perfectly.  It’s pretty amazing.

Jerk Chicken at Rasta Pasta

Rasta PastaLocation: 61 Kensington Avenue, Toronto
Website: http://eatrastapasta.ca/

Rasta Pasta serves, as the name implies, a fusion of Caribbean and Italian cuisine.  It’s a bizarre amalgamation of flavours, but they’ve been a Kensington Market hotspot for years, so they’re obviously doing something right.

Their pasta wasn’t available when I visited, so I kept it simple and ordered the jerk chicken sandwich, dubbed the Vatican.

Rasta Pasta

The sandwich consists of saucy jerk chicken and coleslaw in a soft roll that’s nicely crispified thanks to a panini press.  It’s quite good.

However, despite the presence of a functioning grill at the front of the restaurant, the chicken tastes more braised than grilled.  It’s extremely tender, and the jerk sauce is flavour-packed and mildly spicy, but the crispy exterior and smoky flavour that you expect from jerk chicken is completely absent.

Rasta Pasta

And yet it’s so tasty that it isn’t particularly an issue.  The sweet coleslaw compliments the savoury chicken really well, and the crispy roll is the perfect vehicle.  It’s a very satisfying sandwich.

Quality Peameal Bacon at When the Pig Came Home

When the Pig Came HomeLocation: 3035 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Website: https://www.whenthepigcamehome.ca/

The peameal bacon at When the Pig Came Home, a delightful little deli in the Junction, is probably twice as thick as any other peameal that I’ve had.  It’s also twice as good.

They have a bunch of optional toppings, but the Original Peameal Sandwich is quite simple, with just peameal, baby kale, tomato, and Maple aioli.

When the Pig Came Home

The bacon is substantial and cooked to order; it’s phenomenal.  It’s super tender (and it isn’t dry at all, which tends to be an issue with peameal), and features a really satisfying level of saltiness that lets the flavour of the pork shine through.

When the Pig Came Home

None of the toppings particularly stand out, and I mean that in a good way — they step back and let the bacon be the star of the show.

The bun is great too — it’s nice and fresh, with a crackily exterior that gives the sandwich a decent amount of texture.

Buffalo Chicken Sandwich at Chica’s Chicken

Chica's ChickenLocation: 2853 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Website: https://www.chicaschicken.net/

Last summer, I tried just about everything on the menu at Chica’s Chicken, and decided that it was probably the best fried chicken in the city.

It’s still probably the best fried chicken in the city.  The Buffalo fried chicken sandwich is a newer addition to the menu, and it was every bit as amazing as I was hoping it would be.

It’s normally served on a brioche bun, but since they were out of those, it came on sliced bread instead.  I’m sure it would have been delicious on the bun, but the bread didn’t feel like a detriment.  It was an outstanding sandwich.

Chica's Chicken

The fried chicken was as crispy, flavourful, and juicy as ever, and the zingy Buffalo sauce just enhances it.  It’s topped with coleslaw and blue cheese sauce, and it’s absolutely perfect.  It’s the perfect Buffalo chicken sandwich.  I can’t think of a single thing I’d change.

Actually, that’s a lie — it’s only mildly spicy, and I wish it were a little bit hotter.  But the sandwich was so thoroughly satisfying that I only barely missed the spice.