What’s on the menu at Vilda’s, Taverne Bernhardt’s new sandwich shop across the street

What’s on the menu at Vilda’s, Taverne Bernhardt’s new sandwich shop across the street

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Name: Vilda’s
Contact: 209 Dovercourt Rd., vildastoronto.com, @vildastoronto
Neighbourhood: Beaconsfield Village
Owner: Carmelina Imola, Zachary Kolomeir, Tristan Eves (Taverne Bernhardt’s)
Chef: Thomas Creery
Seating: Takeout only
Accessibility: Accessible; no washrooms

The food

When Bernhardt’s temporarily pivoted to takeout during the pandemic, its menu shifted towards sandwiches and salads for optimal portability. The community loved the new offerings so much that Bernhardt’s owners decided to make a permanent home for them across the street. Like its parent restaurant, Vilda’s food is seasonal and vegetable-heavy (but not necessarily vegetarian) with a mix of Jewish and Italian influences, and a strong emphasis on sourcing ingredients from local suppliers including Blue Goose Farms and Harbord Street Bakery.

Striking a happy medium between homey and creative fare, Vilda’s tight, rotating menu features sandwiches stacked with layers on layers of flavourful accoutrements, like roasted, thinly-sliced squash and heavenly gribiche sauce; satisfying salads; and a mix of sweet and savoury baked goods. There’s also a well-curated pantry stocked with dry goods and a dairy section—the products reflect what the two restaurants use in their kitchens: high-quality butter and olive oil, pickles, hot sauce and pasta. That means if something from the shelves doesn’t sell, it won’t go to waste—a closed-circuit kitchen is a driving principle for these eco-conscious restaurateurs.

Gorgeously browned Saskatoon berry and cream cheese turnovers. Fun fact: Saskatoon berries look a lot like blueberries, but the sweet, almost nutty berries are actually closely related to apples. $6.

 

Another treat from the baked goods section, these flaky, puffy knishes are filled with potato and topped with poppy seeds. Co-owner Carmelina Imola says she doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, which guarantees a solid selection for those of us in the same camp. $5.

 

Clockwise from bottom: dill-adorned pasta salad with little shells, chickpeas, feta, and Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes; deeply flavourful roasted fennel salad with breadcrumbs, dandelion greens, lentils and roasted garlic vinaigrette; and sheet pan brassicas: a rotating selection of veg from the brassica family dressed with mixed seeds, quinoa, and a simple olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing. $6 each for 250ml, $10 for 500ml, $12 for a litre.

 

This is the XL ham and cheese: earthy L’Hercule de Charlevoix cheese and tender sliced ham are pressed on toasted sourdough with punchy remoulade sauce. $16.

 

Chicken salad laced with mayo and dijon piled high on a Harbord Street Bakery everything-onion roll and topped with peppery arugula, alfalfa and onion sprouts, and a mix of pickles: banana peppers, cucumbers and red onions. It’s bright, vegetal and delectable as is, but you can opt to add smoked cheddar and/or all-beef kosher salami for extra heft. $15 ($1.50 per addition).

 

Here’s what a cross-section of that same sandwich looks like.
The brisket sandwich comes on a hoagie roll and amped up with sticky-sweet caramelized onions, mushrooms, grainy mustard and Swiss cheese. Strolling around Beaconsfield Village with one of these in hand is a good recipe for a grade-A Toronto experience. $16.50.

 

A strictly uncompromising vegetarian option, the squash and gribiche sandwich on an everything-onion roll from Harbord Street Bakery—is a triumph of thinly roasted squash (butternut or kabocha, depending on what’s around), butter lettuce, pickled red onions and gribiche sauce—a classic, zingy French sauce with eggs, tarragon, mustard, capers and gherkins. $13.50.

 

As classic as it gets, Vilda’s matzo ball soup comes with one big matzo ball, carrots, dill and shredded chicken that’s walked across the street from Bernhardt’s. It’s a cuddle in a bowl. And we could all use a cuddle right now. $8.50 for 500mL.

 

From the bakery section, a classic iced lemon poppy seed loaf, heavy on the poppy seeds. $3 per slice.
The drinks

Hot drinks include drip coffee from Montreal-based PS Coffee and Toronto’s Java Roasters, and herbal tea from Collingwood’s Rosewood + Silver Holistic Studio (also available for sale in the dry goods section). In the fridge, you’ll find a selection of Greenhouse Juices, Niasca Portofino sodas, La Croix and Ontarieau water, among your classic Cokes and Dr. Peppers.

The space

Inspired by Rascal House, a now-closed institution of a Jewish deli in Miami, the sun-drenched room has a warm, whimsical palette of green, yellow and aquamarine, complete with Ontario Douglas Fir shelving. The aesthetic retains hints of its former life as a convenience store, but with a brighter, more modern feel.

Owners Carmelina Imola, Tristan Eves and Zachary Kolomeir