Sherman's Food Adventures: Big Lou's Butcher Shop

Big Lou's Butcher Shop

Here we go... Another sandwich joint. Just like the ramen craze, there seems to be a new player in the gourmet sandwich scene every month. Hey, it's not a bad idea. Sure, there are places where one can get a sandwich; however the days of relying on the Sandwich Tree and Skyway are over. And let's not get into a discussion about Subway or Quizno's either, despite the fact I don't mind them personally. Then we also have ethnic sandwiches in the torta and the beloved Banh Mi. Add the ever popular pulled pork sandwich at Re-Up and the prosciutto and pear sandwich at Finch's, you can see that there are lots of sandwiches out there. Yet, the gourmet sandwich is a different animal. Following in the footsteps of Meat & Bread and the Dirty Apron, Big Lou's combines a butcher shop that happens to sell sandwiches. The brainchild of the owners of Two Chefs and a Table, Big Lou's is located not too far away, kitty-corner to Sunrise Market.

On the topic of Banh Mi, there is one available here. Of course it is not exactly what you'd find at a Vietnamese shop; but that wouldn't be any fun would it? Served on crusty bread, there is no absence of pulled pork shoulder. Bathed in a sweet sauce and spicy mayo, it went well with the predominantly tart pickled carrots. With that being said, it was still a bit too sweet for me. 2 long "sticks" of pate and cilantro completed the sandwich. Although I liked the herby gaminess of the pate, it really should have been distributed more evenly. I didn't get any hit of pate unless I bit into that side of the sandwich. Honestly, it's tough to sell a non-traditional "Banh Mi" in Chinatown since you can get a real one for 1/3 of the price down the street. Now for the second sandwich, it was a no-brainer - the Porcetta. Served on more of a less substantial bun, there was an overflow of moist and tender roast pork. A simple chimmichurri completed the sandwich. What I liked about it was the ample meat and the simple flavours. What I didn't like was the absence of cracklings. I would give the edge to Meat & Bread on that one.

Now in case you were thinking that my appetite had gone wild, I didn't eat these alone, I shared them with Viv. We both liked the Whole Roast Beef sandwich. Once again, it was overflowing with tender, medium-rare slices of AAA beef caressed with pan mayo, onions and pickles. The large wedges of pickles were somewhat overwhelming; yet I love pickles so it was no issue to me. This was a solid and filling sandwich. Big Lou's Chicago Style was recommended by the staff and I can see why. Consisting of a meaty house-made sausage, pickles, onions, banana peppers, cucumbers, mustard, tomato mayo and celery salt, this was a spicy concoction. I personally liked this one the best since it had the most impact in terms of flavour. It was spicy while not being too much so. The sausage was not fatty and had a nice kick to it with a minor hint of fennel. Pretty solid sandwiches in my books. I wouldn't say it was any better than Meat & Bread, the Dirty Apron or La Ghianda; yet it holds its own. I thought the price points to be very reasonable, especially taking the portion size into account. As for the butcher part of the store, the meats looked really good and I was eying the duck prosciutto the whole time. I think that will be included in my next visit, when I give the Bulgogi Chicken a go.

The Good:
- Good amount of meat
- Reasonable pricing
- Good sandwiches

The Bad:
- Not the most scenic of areas, if that matters to you
- It's mainly takeout, not many seats

Big Lou's Butcher Shop on Urbanspoon


Darina said...

I've been by this place a couple of times now and thought it looked like an interesting addition to the neighbourhood. Will have to check them out. Those sandwiches look pretty dang good.

Sherman said...

Darina, try the roast beef sandwich... Very good.