The Carbon Bar’s New Lunch Menu Makes the Perfect Grab-and-Go Meal
In 2013, Yannick Bigourdan and Franco Prevedello decided to open a swish, southern-style bistro in downtown Toronto. The Carbon Bar was born! The eclectic decor was inspired by the building’s storied history: it used to be the nightclub Electric Circus in the 60s and 70s, a Citytv broadcast studio and a Disney rehearsal space. This vaulted space on Queen East has remained one of the city’s best barbecue destinations for the past six years. Until recently, the main attraction has always been drawn-out dinners over shareable, unpretentious platters of perfectly smoked brisket, fried chicken and wood-fired pork ribs.
Now there’s some great news for nine-to-fivers who work in and around the Financial District: The Carbon Bar is opening for a casual lunch! Local professionals can sit down for a quick and delicious lunch paired with a refreshing Stella Artois or opt for convenient takeout to experience the restaurant’s mouth-watering flavours over a meeting or park break. The Lunch Box, as the new menu is dubbed, offers a selection of sandwiches, salads and “fixin’s,” all of which will certainly satisfy any midday southern cravings.
Most of their lunch menu options come in sandwich form, meaning you don’t have to worry about hunting down a knife and fork in your office kitchen, and, if worse comes to worse, you can always inhale it in a hurry over your laptop (just beware of the saucy goodness). If you’re in the mood for something fried, the Dirty Bird fried chicken sandwich packs a wallop of flavour with its secret KFC sauce, house slaw, American cheese and pickles. The Smoked Brisket Reuben, on the other hand, is a southern take on a deli classic, with shaved smoked brisket, house-made sauerkraut and gruyère on rye. We love the rich Odds and Ends, made with the burnt ends of beef brisket, kimchi, barbecued pork crackling, kimchi mayo and Boston lettuce on baguette (you could probably impress your co-workers by telling them you crafted it yourself from last night’s leftovers). Fans of pork will love the Pot Belly Princess, which is an assembly of smoked sweet and spicy pork shoulder, coleslaw, dill pickle and Alabama white sauce.
Non-carnivorous lunchers don’t need to fret: The Carbon Bar makes an incredible green tomato po’ boy, with fried green tomatoes, smoked tomato remoulade, watercress, pea shoots and pickled peppers on French bread. Their salads are nothing to scoff at either. The Texican is a delectable blend of Mexican and barbecue flavours, with pulled pork, pickled peppers, guacamole, charred corn, fresh tomato salsa, feta and a creamy aji amarillo lime sauce. And the Smoked TCB is guaranteed to satisfy even the most skeptical salad eaters, with double-smoked bacon, smoked turkey breast, smoked cheddar cheese, hard boiled egg, avocado and fried chickpeas with a jalapeño ranch dressing.
The “fixin’s” are not your standard sides: grilled corn with feta, a cabbage slaw with corn nuts, a duck-bacon caesar salad with crouton crumbs, and daily-cut french fries. While we still certainly recommend spending an evening around one of their mahogany tables, sipping intricate cocktails and filling up on the Pit Master Platter, we love that fans of southern-style dishes now have a flawless new lunchtime destination downtown. A round of Dirty Birds and slaw is guaranteed to make midday Monday meetings way more enjoyable.