Elvis Presley is one of my favourite crooners of all time. Maybe it’s his hip swaying, or simply the glimmer in his eye – whatever it is I love this king (of rock).
The first time I encountered Fidel Gastro‘s was at a Toronto Underground Market (TUM) event and it was their bust of Elvis that drew me to the table, but their energy and enthusiasm that made me want to sample their food. This TUM-success, founded by Matt Basile, has gone from pop-up vendor, to food truck owner. And now the cuisine of Fidel Gastro’s has a permanent home with the opening of Lisa Marie, where he’s still serving up his signature Sgt. Slather sandwich, alongside new menu offerings.
The dinner menu consists of cicchetti which, as the scroll of text above the bar describes as “Kind of like tapas… but not really.” They more recently started serving lunch, and on a leisurely afternoon I decided to check them out.
Their lunch menu consists (as at the time of this blog post) solely of sandwiches. On this particular day there were 5 options including the signature Sgt. Slather with your choice of 2 sides (salad or “Pad Thai” fries).
I opted for the Root-Beer Braised Beef Short Rib sandwich with kimchi and a side of fries. I put “Pad Thai” in quotation marks as the fries to me were more like Tobasco fries with the elements of sweet and sour lacking in the mix. Labels aside, the fries were still delicious. The short ribs for me were lacking in flavour, be it the sweetness I expected out of association with a sugar-laden soda (maybe even as a component of some sort of caramelized glaze) – there just wasn’t a whole lot of flavour in the meat itself, though it was definitely tender. The kimchi provided all the flavour in the sandwich, though I would say that this is a kimchi that tries to appeal to the masses instead of picking an identity and sticking to it. It wasn’t particularly spicy nor particularly dominant in either radish or cabbage. More of a “playing it safe” kimchi.
We also ordered the Paisano sandwich with a side salad which was everything you could possibly hope for in a spaghetti and meatball sandwich. The spaghetti was cooked al dente (no doubt in salt water as the noodles themselves were flavourful), with a nice crust to it (reminded me of baked spaghetti). The meatballs were moist and tender and the tomato sauce was delicious! The salad was minimalist with mixed greens tossed in a tangy vinaigrette.
The cocktails also deserve praise, specifically the Malocchio Sour made from Sailor Jerry‘s (rum), egg whites and limonata – like an adult cream soda! I also tried the Testa Dura because I love Tromba tequila and it was also a nice refreshing drink – perfect for summer sipping.
The cost of lunch with 2 drinks came just shy of $50 which is a bit steep for a sandwich combo-lunch. However, given my love for the FG team, I will most likely return to check out the cicchetti and for a few more Malocchio Sours