Sometimes a sandwich is a quick bite on the run, eaten rapidly and forgotten moments later. At Sandwich Box, it is a thing of beauty and worth savouring. In the past, in order to eat a sandwich this good, I would have had to stop at a market for the kinds of gourmet, high-end ingredients available at Sandwich Box – artisanal breads, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, pinkish rare roast beef that is almost a carpaccio, chicken grilled on the premises and some real choices in the cheese department.
For their grilled, made-to-order sandwiches, it all starts with the choice of 12 types of bread from Ace Bakery, seven types of spreads, vegetables, meats and cheeses (choose 3 toppings for $6.48, additional toppings $1.00 each). Although it’s quite busy whenever I stop by, especially at lunch, I’m always pleased by how quickly everyone gets served. The staff of sandwich makers are skilled, efficient and seem to really care about getting all the details right – each sandwich is finished with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkled with lemon juice, a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper before being placed in the panini press. Once grilled, the sandwich is carefully tucked into a lightweight cardboard box with a side of salad greens dressed in tangy balsamic vinaigrette. If you’re in a hurry, they also have a large selection of pre-made sandwiches (prices range from $3.50 to $6.25).
I usually order grilled chicken breast with roasted sweet peppers and goat cheese on slices of country boule, but I was in the mood for something different the other day. Without missing a beat during a lunch rush, the friendly staff steered me toward my new favourite sandwich. I mentioned that I wanted to try the roast beef, and asked which spread, vegetable and cheese would be best. My sandwich maker, chatting with me as he worked, chose roasted garlic and cumin aioli, caramelized onions and gruyere as great companions to the roast beef. Bliss!
Sandwich Box also offers two soups of the day – I chose Yukon Gold Potato and Celeriac with Saffron, a comforting, earthy, mildly spicy homage to late summer ($2.95 for 8 oz., $3.95 for 16 oz.). For those watching their carbs, there are 10 ready-made salad meals, everything from classic Caesar ($5.50, add grilled chicken for $2) to their version of salad niçoise with seared ahi tuna and quail egg ($8.50), as well as a salad bar ($1.75 per 100 grams). To round things out, they have a large assortment of pop, juice and mineral water, and for dessert, crème brulée, tiramisu, and chocolate or mango mousse ($3.25).
There is a generous amount of seating in both the back of the restaurant as well as a number of modern white tables and lime green and white chairs spilling out onto the street.
Sandwich Box has become our Friday night ritual. Whether we got for just sandwiches or splash out and get soup and dessert as well, it’s a far superior experience to standing in an indifferent submarine shop staring at sad, jet-transported produce.
67 Richmond Street West
Lunch for two with all taxes, tip and drink: $20
Originally published on Taste T.O.