Sardinha O Rei Dos Frangos
Sardinha, Toronto's self-appointed King of BBQ Chicken, thrives on a loyal contingent of Bloorcourt locals: a succession of portly retirees, skinny hipsters, kerchiefed grandmas and leather-jacketed bruisers. With this motley queue rotating as smoothly as the chicken-laden spit, Sardinha serves up enough bird legs to keep customers doing the chicken dance all day (if they were so inclined).
Unlike the matron in the long blue coat, who likes hers well-done ("Give her a well-done piece," said the boss, "She likes it that way"), or the guy who came to commiserate after losing $500 at the slots, I don't come to Sardhina enough for staff to know I like my chicken juicy. This is too bad, because the leg in my quarter chicken dinner had some dry, chewy bits I could've done without.
Although not exactly a regular, I have been here enough to be surprised by these rogue bites of rough poultry. I usually order a whole roasted chicken, and like most Sardinha fans, I get it to go. Taking my dinner home means I can eat it with my hands, licking the tongue-tickling hot sauce from my fingertips as loud as I like.
I can also make that $9.00 bird last several meals. After I've finished lip-smacking the sauce, and tearing through crispy skin and tender flesh, I take the bones and remaining jus in a pot of water, add starchy leftovers (rice, potatoes, pasta) and a bit of veg and boil it down to a savoury soup that is as delicious as its first incarnation. Sardinha chicken is my kind of whole food.
The whole, spit-roasted hens are always juicy and delectable to the bone, as was most of my quarter chicken dinner. Dry bits aside, my meal was tasty, filling and economical: $7.00 for a piece of chicken, generous heap of rice (or choice of Greek or Parisian potatoes) and a crispy iceberg salad slathered in homemade vinaigrette. Best of all was the spicy sauce, equal parts pepper and vinegar, all delightful. This set came with a pop, but for an extra $.50, I ordered pomegranate juice instead, delighting in the intriguing blend of pomegranate, apple, elderberry and cinnamon.
Next time I might opt for a breast instead of leg, or stick with my regular whole chicken. Or maybe I'll get funky with a sole dinner, slab of moussaka or slice of lasagna. In any case, I will be back. It might take until I'm portly and kerchiefed myself, but one day I want the boss to recognize me and say, "give her that big juicy one. This lady, she likes her chicken juicy!