Where to eat lunch this week: Chuck and Company
Liberty Village may be late to the party when it comes to the fancy burger trend, but good things come to those who wait
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.