Mustachio is an institution. Located at the center of the lower level of the St. Lawrence Market since 1995, this purveyor of hefty and tasty sandwiches is busiest during the noontime feeding frenzy, where long lines form as orders are speedily put together. This is one of the busiest kitchens I've ever seen, and also the most effective.
Mike, the manager, has been in the food business for a long time, with numerous successful restaurants under his belt. This wealth of experience certainly shows in the efficient service of the long line of customers waiting to pick up these near-famous sandwiches and pasta dishes.
Mustachio is best-known for its generous sandwiches made of veal ($6.20), fried eggplant ($6.20), grilled chicken breast ($6.20), and veal Parmigiano ($7.08), all served in the Italian tradition. These are monsters served with layers of thick, cooked-from-scratch tomato sauce, ample sautéed mushrooms, fried onions and peppers on a warm Kaiser roll or -- if one prefers -- on freshly baked Foccacia.
We order a veal sandwich on a kaiser roll with an addition of fried eggplant ($ 7.20) only to realize that it's humongous.
The huge roll can barely hold together the mass of eggplant, veal, mushroom, pepper and tomato sauce. Even cut in half, the sandwich requires the full attention and calculated grip of two hands in order to keep everything together.
It's not much to look at, but it tastes awesome. The fresh tomato sauce co-mingles with the sautéed mushrooms and the delicious fried eggplant and veal to provide that winning combination of weightiness and acid. This meal-in-one has just the right interplay of moistness and crispiness from the sauce and the fried veal and eggplant.
This is a sandwich that'll fill you up very quickly, and you'd have to be really starving to eat the whole thing in one sitting. One sandwich is perfect for two hungry adults or can be divided into two meals -- half now, half for later.
Mustachio also offers pasta dishes, soup, salads, spaghetti and submarine sandwiches, all with fast and friendly service. We wanted to try the soup of the day but there wasn't any left when we arrived.
That's fine today -- its not like we would have had any extra space for it. Visitors can opt to eat at the busy counter, or take it out and enjoy the (hopefully) good weather.
Mustachio's is open Tues-Thurs 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.