Location: 5 Coady Avenue, Toronto
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.
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.
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.
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.
Location: 923 Queen Street West, Toronto
Though Grand Electric doesn’t get nearly the amount of buzz that it did when it first opened, it’s still chugging along. In fact, they’ve just recently opened a new location a bit further east on Queen (though it’s still on the west end of the city).
When I visited the original location a few years ago, they had some pretty out-there stuff on the menu, like a scrapple taco and pig head fries.
The menu here is much less ambitious than that — there’s nothing beyond the usual suspects (chicken, fried fish, etc.).
It might not be particularly exciting, but if the two tacos I tried were anything to go by, they still know exactly what they’re doing.
The first one I tried was the shrimp taco, which consists of a few generously-sized pieces of fried shrimp topped with a zesty sauce, lettuce, onion, and cilantro.
The shrimp is nicely seasoned and perfectly cooked, with a crunchy exterior that doesn’t overwhelm. The sauce basically tastes like a variation on shrimp sauce, and the other components add a good amount of freshness. It’s a solid taco.
Up next was the Carne Asada, which features steak topped with cilantro, chopped onions, and a couple of salsas. This was even better than the shrimp; the steak was super tender and very nicely marinated, with a nice vibrant flavour that never overwhelms its beefiness. And the salsas compliment it perfectly.
Location: 300 Richmond Street West, Toronto
I’ve mentioned before that it’s surprisingly difficult to find a classic Philly cheesesteak in the city (i.e. just steak, onions, and Cheese Wiz or provolone on a roll).
But if every cheesesteak could be as delicious as what they’re serving at Illstyl3 Sammies, then classic shmassic. Because it’s far from traditional, but exceptionally delicious.
And it’s classic enough. The steak, the onions, and the gooey provolone are all perfect. In particular, the steak is exactly as it should be — it’s super tender, and has enough of a beefy taste to assert itself even among the very assertive flavours of the sandwich.
Specifically, they liberally season the beef with some kind of spice blend (the fennel stands out the most, but there’s definitely a lot going on here), and they add in hot peppers along with the onions. They also top the sandwich with a zesty house-made hot sauce that adds a ton of flavour and a very mild spiciness.
The taste is very far from a classic cheesesteak, but it’s got the three things you’re hoping for: it’s beefy, cheesy, and delicious.
My only real complaint is that the roll was a bit on the dry side, but other than that this was a top-shelf sammich.
Location: 3797 Lake Shore Boulevard West, Etobicoke
You can’t go wrong with a really good sandwich. And the folks at Woodfire Sandwich Co. certainly seem to know their stuff.
In particular, the First Date — a roast beef sandwich with crispy onions, arugula, gorgonzola, sauteed mushrooms, and mayo — was something special.
The sandwich is crammed with an absolutely absurd amount of rare roast beef; this would be overwhelming with lesser quality beef, but here it’s amazing. The meat is perfectly tender, with a really satisfying beefy flavour that’s only amplified by the fact that they serve it cold.
Beef and mushrooms are best friends, so I don’t need to tell you that this combination was great. The cheese and the mayo add a nice amount of creaminess, and the peppery arugula does a great job of keeping the sandwich’s richer flavours in check.
It’s served in a sesame seed roll that perfectly straddles the line between lightness and heft; it makes its presence known and holds up well to the onslaught of beef and mushrooms, but it never overwhelms. It’s a great roll for a great sandwich.
I also tried the fried chicken sandwich, which was less great (or more accurately: not great at all). It was fine, but nothing about it stands out. The exterior didn’t really have the crisp factor that you’re looking for in a great fried chicken sandwich, and the seasoning was ho-hum. Plus, the chicken itself (white meat, sadly) was slightly overcooked and a bit dry. It was a perfectly acceptable sandwich, but nothing about it stood out like the amazing roast beef.
Location: 817 Kipling Avenue, Etobicoke
La Tortelleria is apparently a chain, though I hadn’t heard of it until I drove by today looking for a place to eat.
It’s an interesting place, with a small seating area, some Mexican groceries against the wall, and a voluminous area behind the register where they make their own tortillas, among other things. I’m assuming they have some kind of wholesale operation, because the large, squeaky conveyor belt was pumping out fresh tortillas the whole time I was there.
There were a few interesting looking things on the menu, which was posted on a board above the register, but the Los Campechanos caught my eye. It’s described as “grilled steak and chorizo tacos topped with onions and fresh cilantro.”
After a wait of about ten minutes, they were ready to go. Wrapped in a double layer of fresh, tasty corn tortillas, these were pretty good, if nothing I’d go too nuts over. The steak was a bit on the tough side, but the chorizo was quite good. It was a bit bland, but the very spicy fresh salsa they had out definitely took care of that problem.
It came with a side of creamy guacamole that complimented the tacos fairly well. The best thing about that? The crunchy, fried tortilla bowl that you can eat like a big nacho when you’re done. Good stuff.