Tagged: Sandwich

HEY MEATBALL | *

Another great concept that fails to deliver on the food, Hey Meatball left our meatball sandwich desires unfulfilled. Or maybe we just went to the wrong location.

http://www.heymeatball.com
Sandwiches | Queen & Carlaw
Dinner for two ~$30 incl. tax + tip.

FOOD
First, the highlight of the meal was the bright and sharp side salad — bursting with flavour (pickled veggies, zesty vinaigrette) and crisp greens (arugula, kale, lettuce), and the house-made lemon and cream sodas, refreshingly hitting the spot. However, if we were Thumper’s father, this review would end right here.

Four types of meats are available: chicken, beef, pork, and vegan (oh, and the blue balls they gave us, after our fantasies of chowing down on delicious sandwiches went unsatisfied). The Rodfather included three bland pork meatballs, sized small, topped with tomato sauce (not enough) and basil pesto (too much). The ingredients were all good quality, and the meat was soft, but it lacked the intense, classic Italian red-sauce taste that the name “Rodfather” connotes. The Burger Ball came with three even more bland beef balls, with runny special sauce, lettuce, and pickles. It was flavourless and boring, and the puréed Scotch bonnets didn’t rescue it (by the way, Hey Meatball: how do you have Scotch bonnets, but no Italian peppers or chili oil? Whassamattafuhyou?).

SERVICE
The service was fast, friendly and helpful, and we were asked if it was our first time there, followed by a short tour of the menu, and recommendations.

ATMOSPHERE
Cozy, well-kept, and inviting, with communal tables down the side. A decidedly Italian vibe, with jars of olives, pickled beans, and olive oil occupying the shelves on the wall. The mural of three messy kids with sauce on their faces made me wonder how they got so messy, considering the lack of sauce on our sandwiches.

VALUE
At $4 per smaller-than-a-golfball meatball…you do the math (ok fine, plus the salad; sadly, you don’t win friends with salad).

HIPSTER SCALE
Other than one guy who looked like he worked at the tattoo parlour down the street, the hipsters had taken the day off on this Tuesday evening.

WASHROOM
We didn’t bother taking a look, although we’re sure it’s small and sterile…like their meatballs.

BUZZ
One thing to note: pay attention to the comments and reviews by location. Seems as though the west side is the best side.
Anonymous, Toronto Life: 1/5 stars
Yelp: 3.5 stars (at time of writing)
Banh Mi Boys on Urbanspoon
…and for some reason, they got onto this (maybe we really should try the other location).

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BANH MI BOYS | ***

Simply put, dollar for dollar, this has to be one of the best places to eat in the city. A Viet-fusion menu with something for everyone, we will be back in a heartbeat.

http://banhmiboys.com
Banh Mi | Yonge & Gerard
Dinner for three (a guest joined us, let's call her Forky) ~$33 incl. tax + tip.

FOOD
The obvious items of note here are Bahn Mi sandwiches, and they were top-notch. The duck confit was succulent and juicy, a luxurious treat fit for a king, yet priced for a pauper. We topped ours with jalapeno, which was a nice compliment to the richness of the confit and the onion chutney. The grilled chicken (ordered by Forky) was dressed with garlic soy and was, as a result, quite salty. Aside from this, it was flavourful. Each sandwich came on a soft, crispy baguette bun, and were topped with fresh and pickled vegetables, delivering a nice, crunchy touch.

On to the sides. The kimchi fries were excellent, with tangy and spicy kimchi smothered atop fresh-cut fries. The jicama papaya salad was a great coleslaw-y accompaniment to the sandwiches, and took the edge off the spice of the fries and the sandwiches.

The highlight for us, however, was the 5-spice pork belly steamed bao. The steamed bao was so perfectly soft and chewy, it could have been enjoyed alone. Throw in the pork belly, whose spice sneaks up on you and brings a smile to your face, and you’ve got the perfect snack. Oh, and it’s only tree-fiddy.

We’re looking forward to returning soon to try their kalbi beefsquid and meatball banh mi and/or taco (let’s face it…and).

SERVICE
Simply order your meal at the cash, and wait by the counter. Fast service ensures you aren’t tortured too long by the intoxicating aromas that makes you more and more hungry.

ATMOSPHERE
Banh Mi Boys is small and simple, with a bright red menu on a TV monitor above the cash (and, for some reason, there’s one above the exit). The graffiti murals of Angry Birds-esque birds on the walls are pleasant, vibrant, and painted by local graffiti artist, Uber 5000.

VALUE
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a deal like Banh Mi Boys. The bao is only $3.49, and the most expensive banh mi was the duck confit at a mere $7.49. For that, you get the freshness, quality, and tastiness that you’d expect for double the price. If they raised their prices by $1 or $2, it’d still be a bargain in this high-priced city.

HIPSTER SCALE
Other than the graffiti artwork on the wall (which wouldn’t be hipster if Banksy wasn’t famous), the hipster level was quite low, so you’re safe. That said, we were at Yonge & Gerard, not its Queen West location.

WASHROOM
Spotless and well-stocked, just like their open kitchen.

BUZZ
Anonymous, Toronto Life: 1/5 stars
Ryan Spencer, BlogTO: 4/5 stars
Joanne Kates, Post City: #58 on Kates’ 100, 2014
Yelp: 4 stars (at time of writing)
Banh Mi Boys on Urbanspoon