Introducing: Inigo, a Queen West churrasqueira, takes over Igor Kenk’s old space
While Dundas West is in the midst of a carnivorous craze with a serious emphasis on the pig (we’re looking at you, Porchetta and Co.), a new Queen West takeout spot at the southern end of Trinity-Bellwoods Park is putting its faith in the original white meat: chicken. Carlos Hernandez opened up shop at Inigo last week—in Igor Kenk’s old spot— where he’s offering his take on the Portuguese churrasqueira, those homey greasy spoons ubiquitous on College and Dundas West.
“At the end of the day, everyone seems to say they want something simple,” Hernandez, the former chef of the Kensington Market tapas staple Torito, told us. Simple, in this case, means free-range, grain-fed chicken that’s sprinkled with sea salt, then roasted in a convection oven in alternating bursts of dry heat and steam, to retain moisture. The result may not be rotisserie-gold, but Hernandez would rather have taste and moisture than colour any day.
Inigo espouses a create-your-own-meal ethos, with roast chicken as the mainstay (half $6.75, a quarter white meat $4.75), as well as “other species” (that’s actually what the menu says), like braised beef cheeks with root vegetables ($6.25) and braised venison with apples and currants ($6.75). Start by choosing a main; add such sides as mashed potatoes (made from scratch, $2.50) and brown basmati rice ($2.50). Ratatouille ($5.75) and a selection of salads, including French lentils and squash ($3.25), round out the vegetarian options. Food is prepared beforehand and set up on a steam table, so the wait is virtually nil. And with just over a dozen seats, the idea is literally to go in and out: “in-I-go,” as the name suggests.
The narrow space is adorned with paintings by Toronto artist Francesco Gallé, including two done in espresso. Countertops are decked out in pressed bamboo, while large windows at the front keep things bright—there’s nary a reminder of the space’s dingy, dubious past. Still, it’s impossible to completely erase such a legacy. “If you dig around in the back yard,” Hernandez quips, “you could probably find a bike.”
Inigo, 927 Queen St. W. (at Strachan Ave.), 416-645-6707.