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Veal Sandwich Showdown

July 23rd, 2008 · No Comments

California Sandwiches California Sandwiches Commisso's Veals Commisso's Veals

So years ago when I went through a major culture shock – moving from Halifax to live in Bramalea for 2 years – some really great people befriended me and tried their best to open my very blind eyes to why Toronto is a great city.

One of them is a fantastic gent named P – and being very (rightfully) proud of his Italian heritage and the neighborhood in which he grew up – he took me out for a veal sandwich at an Italian bakery in the old neighborhood called Commisso’s. Even with my blinders on, I fell in love with these. Commisso’s is a commercial bakery that has a great Italian grocery store/lunch counter/deli out front. The lunch counter serves hot pasta, sandwiches and more. P bought me my first Veal and a Brio and I was hooked. On the several occasions that I had visitors in town, I always made sure to take them to Commisso’s for their Veal and generally it became a highlight of the trip.

So, having introduced D to the Veal at Commisso’s one night, we went on a mission in Toronto to find the best veal sandwich – as it turns out, there are about a million veal sandwich spots in hogtown…we couldn’t make it to everyone, but a bit of research and asking around lead us to the most popular. Background – the main components to the veal sandwich are: bun, veal patty, hot peppers, sauce and occasionally mushrooms (not all places offer the mushrooms).

The winner: California Sandwiches
The bottom line with California is – huge veal sandwiches, great hot peppers, great sauce – it all works together. The veal is the best of the bunch by far, and the size of these things is just ginormous. Bring a friend to help you finish it off. There are a few locations around Toronto, but head to the original on Claremont Street.

2nd Place: Commisso’s
As you might expect, the bread here is fabulous. The bun is perfectly soft but crispy on the outside, full of flavour, and it holds up well against the onslaught of oil from the sauce.

The veal itself is just fine, but doesn’t have the same depth of flavour that the veal fillet from California’s does. The hot peppers and mushrooms here are *awesome*, and all together, this one ‘just works’, much like California’s sandwich. The only thing is that the sauce is not quite as great, and the veal not being quite as great – I’ve got no choice but to give the second place ribbon here.

Third place (tie): San Francesco’s – small place, very good but not as good as California Sandwiches which is just around the corner. We loved the peppers and sauce here – the peppers were by far the hottest, at #1 on the list, but the bun, veal, and sauce just didn’t make the grade. Still, this is as authentic an Italian grocery as you’re going to get, so it got hugely high marks for authenticity – it’s still a fine memory from that cold autumn day sitting on the bench, eating their delicious veal and savouring its warmth.

Third place (tie): Vinny’s – a sit-down type of place where you can go for a bite to eat. This place definitely has its fans, and as an aside, their olives in pepper flakes are awesome. Probably, this place had the best sauce out of all the sandwiches – thick, rich, tomato sauce – miles of depth to its flavour, but the bun was a bit dry, the veal a bit underwhelming – and so while it was a decent sandwich, it still needed to step things up a bit to compare to the big guns in this group.

In summary – all of my veal eating was still quite a while ago. My last veal at Commisso’s was on June 26, 2007 while waiting for a flight to move to Vancouver. Maybe things have changed since then – my recommendation: try it out for yourself.

California Sandwiches
244 Claremont Street, Toronto, ON
Phone: 416-603-3317
California Sandwiches on Urbanspoon

Commisso Bros. Bakery
8 Kincort Street, Toronto, ON
Phone: (416) 651-7671
Commisso Brothers & Racco Italian Bakery on Urbanspoon

San Francesco Foods
10 Clinton Street
Toronto, ON M6J 2N8, Canada
Phone: (416) 534-7867
San Francesco Foods on Urbanspoon

Vinny’s Panini
787 Dupont Street
Toronto, ON M6G 1Z5, Canada
Phone: (416) 531-9454
Vinny's Panini on Urbanspoon

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Tags: Cheap Eats · Favorites · Italian · Toronto

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