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: All over the place (check their Twitter account)
Over the last few years, Toronto’s food truck scene has gone from a handful of trucks selling stuff like hot dogs and fries to something much, much more interesting (there are enough to necessitate a website like this one to keep track of them). It’s certainly been a welcome phenomenon, and has made events like the recent Woofstock much more interesting, food-wise.
On this particular day, Hogtown Smoke had a few interesting looking items on their menu, though I decided to go with the Brisket Po Boy. The sandwich featured a fairly substantial amount of brisket dipped in au jus sauce, cheese, onions (which I honestly couldn’t even taste), and horseradish aioli.
It was a perfectly tasty sandwich, though I kinda wish I had just gone with the plain brisket. Good brisket is hard to prepare; it has the tendency to be a bit dry and tough, but this was moist, with just the right amount of fattiness and a nicely subtle smokey flavour. It was good enough that the other stuff felt more like a distraction than anything else; with brisket this good, all you really need is meat and bread, with maybe a little bit of barbecue sauce for flavour. There were a lot of flavours going on in this sandwich, and ultimately they just took away from the brisket.
The bread was perfect po boy bread — lightly crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. The whole thing was pretty good, but I’ll definitely be going for the plain brisket if I ever find myself back in the vicinity of this truck.