As a wise man once said: you don’t win friends with salad.
If you’re of the same mind and think that vegetables are what your food eats, swing by these five spots and assert your place at the top of the food chain.
1. Big Crow
Step one: find Rose and Sons. Step two: look for a big crow painted on the east side of the building. Step three: follow that alley to the back yard, which is also known as barbecue heaven. By us. And soon, you too. Service is family style on picnic tables and the menu changes pretty regularly, so what you want to do is assemble a group of meat-minded friends and order a bit of everything. Or a lot of everything.
The Barberian family has had a steakhouse on this spot since 1959, and damn does it still feel like the fifties in there. Your meaty victuals (get 24 ounce ribeye with a side of mushrooms) will be accompanied by Group of Seven artwork, a copy of the Globe dated July 1, 1867, the day Canada became a country, Inuit carvings, one of the first clocks made in Canada, a statue of John A, a bust of Champlain, and enough historic guns and sabres to outfit an army. Oh, and the service is as old school as it comes.
Every carnivore can dig steak—but what about beef heart? Sweetbreads? Pork jowls? Foie? Tongue? Marrow? And all the other odd bits? If you aren’t eating from nose to tail, boy are you missing out. Pretty much every Toronto restaurant since 2008 has some kind of charcuterie offering, and that’s largely thanks to the Black Hoof’s ceaseless evangelism on behalf of the neglected but delicious parts formerly bound for the sausage bin.
If there’s such a thing as a beef nerd, said nerd can by satisfied at Jacobs. There are thirty plus steaks on the menu, which means there’s something for everyone. Their dry aged beef starts at thirty-five days and go to 130. Their Canadian beef is prime—no AAA here—and if you want to stretch your horizons they have Wagyu beef from the States, AA9+ Wagyu from Australia, and A5 Wagyu from Japan. And if that isn’t enough, you can add a lobster to your meal—but why this selection of steak wouldn’t be enough is beyond us.
Will our love affair with the humble smoked meat sandwich ever end? Not in this life, baby. In an ideal world, there’d be a deli on every corner and we’d never be without aforementioned sandwich (or other deli classics like blintzes, chopped liver, or knishes with meat gravy). But this is the world we’ve got, so we’ll have to settle for limiting our smoked meat intake. Although, Caplansky’s has just opened a location in Pearson’s Terminal 3, so at least you can bring an amazing sandwich on your next flight and watch the airline’s inferior pre-packaged fare wilt in the face of smoked meat’s obvious superiority.