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Mar 29, 2008 04:17 PM

Mustachio's at St. Lawrence: Disappointing

I have always enjoyed getting a veal and eggplant sandwich from them after doing my shopping at the market on Saturdays. Today, however, changed my mind about them.

1. They were out of all the toppings, except for hot peppers and sweet peppers. Which, is understandable (KIND OF!) since they are sooo busy on Saturdays but it was only noon! And I'm the kind of girl to ask for extra, extra mushrooms. I asked for sweet peppers and the lady starts putting a HEAPING pile of the hot peppers on my sandwich. I tell her that I wanted sweet peppers, not hot, and she gave me a glare and starts to take them off. However, lots of the seeds were still sticking to my foccacia bun, so it was still preeeetty hot (I hate spicy foods)

2. The veal was CHEWY and tough. I could barely chew through it. It was worse than an undercooked baseball steak at The Keg. Oh, and the eggplant was cold and soggy (I could tell from the unsauced portion).

3. Whoever cut my sandwich did a terrible job. They ripped the bread on top and everything was kind of falling off the bread, onto the paper. It was such a mess to eat. (All the dispensers were empty, and when I asked if they had any more napkins, I got ANOTHER glare from them)

Seriously, I was nothing but nice and polite to them, even after the glares. I understand that they're busy and probably irritated from the business and stuff, and it's not Splendido or Canoe, but is a smile too much to ask for?!!

Anyway. They're going downhill in my books.

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  1. I've eaten there many times and always left underwhelmed. Sort of pathetic that this is viewed as a Toronto institution...

    2 Replies
    1. re: stephen

      Sometimes it rocks though!

      I have had some bad experiences there also... similar to yours...

      But I will still go back.

      Occasionally it just hits the spot for me.

      1. re: Non Doctor

        I always like Mustachio's and have found them to serve a solid sandwich. I don't get eggplant on mine so I can't comment on your issue. Their turnover of veal is so quick mine has always arrived steaming. I've never really had a bad sandwich from them but I avoid the market on Saturdays because it's too crazy. I agree with you on the attitude of the main serving lady there though, I feel like I'm ordering from the 'veal nazi' most of the time.

    2. I began to eschew Mustachio's immediately after being in the market at about 6am on a Saturday only to see them prepping trays and trays of cooked eggplant. I know they have to advance prep, but this was ridiculous. Mountains of cooked eggplant. I have no doubt that explains the cold & soggy you experienced. I should mention that the same morning of the eggplant discovery I also witnessed What-A-Bagel making a huge delivery to Carousel. Just what DO they bake?

      I prefer the wares of their next door neighbour, Yianni’s Kitchen. My faves when I make the mistake of enveloping myself in the aromas of the market on an empty stomach are Ukrainian Store Dnister downstairs for anything she has to offer that day or Churrasco for the yummy bifana one of the other hounds turned me on to.

      The appeal of Mustachio's and Carousel Bakery eludes me.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Googs

        Funny thing, is that the line from Mustachio's always takes over Yianni's space. I will try them the next time I go. Thanks!

        1. re: pinkprimp

          I NEVER EVER understood why people go to Mustachio's. Pretty much the most flavourless, tough veal sandwich in TO. Maybe it's the people that don't know any better. I think the people that line up at Mustachio's should try California, San Francesco's or especially Vinny's. They would never go back to Mustachio's again.

          1. re: pinkprimp

            If you want a sandwich then you might want to try the bifana I mentioned. They tend to be fresher than the chicken sandwiches at Churrasco as they're ordered less. One of them between hubby and I is enough to get us through to the next meal. Get plenty of napkins. They're stacked rather well. I really can't thank NovoCuisine enough for turning me onto it. Here's a recipe so you can see what you're missing:

            1. re: Googs

              That recipe sounds crazy good.

        2. Yes, Mustachio's is inconsistent. I've had great sandwiches from there and not-so-good sandwiches and everything in between. Also, the service can be very abrupt: even when it's not busy, they rush you along so fast as if there's a massive line. Thankfully they have changed their previously confusing signage so people can actually figure out what they want to order before they get yelled at.

          But yeah, I'm going there less and less often as the quality seems to be slipping a bit.

          As for Saturdays? Too busy, don't even bother.

          1. I’ve not had one good experience there. There sandwiches taste so disgustingly sweet, and stale. It’s popular because people love Italian style sandwiches and have limited to no options in that area. Most people probably aren’t fussy like us. It’s convenient and the portions are big. So people go.

            I for one always thought they were damn gross.

            2 Replies
            1. re: magic

              I love Mustachio's, I love the anticipation of not messing up my order (yes the service is not 'with a smile' so to speak), I love their sauce, and their toppings. I go to San Francesco's more often now as it's down the street from my home...but I think about Mustachio's all the time.

              Do they make the best veal sandwich? Everyone will have their own opinion. As for mine, I think they make a pretty darn good one.

              1. re: magic

                Borrowing from another thread, sounds to me that Mustachio's is the SLM answer to Tim Horton's.... definitely on my "don't bother" list.

              2. I've been to Mustachio's many, many times and still love it. I agree, they're not perfectly consistent, but consistent enough to keep me going back. I've had stale buns, poor service, funny glances, etc etc. But you know what, you just accept it as that's just the way it is. It's a $6 fully loaded sandwich (vs $10 at California if you get all the same toppings, and is not my preference). I never get the veal, rather the chicken and eggplant. I usually go before 11:30am on a Sat morning and it's never too busy.

                As for prepping food ahead of time, I usually sit at the counter there and watch them as they freshly fry the meat, cut the buns, make the eggplant, etc. Yes, it may sit for 10 mins, but there is absolutely no other way to handle the volume they go through and keep the prices so low. Perhaps I've been lucky, because I go at prime time when everything is fresh. But running out of toppings is a different story - I think that's totally inexcusable!

                Either way, I love it and am salivating for a nice, juicy, overly saucy sandwich!