Where to eat lunch this week: Chuck and Company

Where to eat lunch this week: Chuck and Company

Lamb and portobello burgers (Images: Catherine Hayday)

Liberty Village may be late to the party when it comes to the fancy burger trend, but good things come to those who wait

Lamb and portobello burgers (Images: Catherine Hayday)  

The place: Chuck and Company is restaurant number two for Liberty Noodle owner and food-baron-in-the-making Arshad Merali. The no-nonsense space is bright at lunch, accommodating diners at narrow bars and tables along the walls.

The crowd: Liberty Village’s office workers are a diverse bunch—well-heeled execs, massage therapists, techies—but the mighty power of ground meat unites them all.

The deal:
Rather than presenting the standard topping list, Chuck and Company spices up the meat itself (e.g., the jerk and masala offerings). We opt for a lamb burger ($8) and the day’s veggie special: a spicy portobello mushroom patty with light salad and a drink ($10.50). Past specials have included a pork souvlaki burger or wild Pacific salmon with roasted tomatoes and fried onions ($8.50). Specials change every three days.

The meal:
The “Company” of “Chuck and Company” indicates that the chef plays with both what’s in and around the burger. The lamb is seared, succulent and slathered with lemon-mint mayo. The juicy portobello avoids the stringy chewiness one usually finds in a mushroom patty. This is meat-like, allowing for clean, thick bites. The burgers have a six-ounce patty that makes them tall (not wide) and easy to hold without being sloppy. Multigrain ciabatta absorb juices but remain intact.

The time:
43 minutes. Payment is made while ordering, so there is no waiting for the bill if the office beckons.

The cost:
$10.50 plus tax for a portobello burger, salad and diet Coke.

Chuck and Company,
126 Atlantic Ave., 416-533-3500, chuckandco.com.