Carver is a compact glass and concrete, standing room-only take-out restaurant that's devoted to serving up slow roasted meats.
This is the first outlet from Rob Bragagnolo, the former executive chef at Marben . He's partnered with graphic designer-turned-restaurateur Sergio Fiorino (of Royal Majesty Espresso , Mile High Poutine and Chuck Burger in Blue Mountain) at this Peter and Adelaide joint.
The menu is concise. It centres around porchetta and chicken served in sandwiches or loaded on top of herb crushed potatoes, which come drenched in jus and finished with crackling.
The chicken sandwich ($8.49) on focaccia starts with grain fed, free-run poultry sourced from Kunan Farms, which is two hours away from Toronto. The team at Carver brines the chicken overnight and marinates it in smoked paprika, cayenne and herbs and before roasting it. It's then torn to bits and layered with fresh basil, tomato chutney and tangy charred lemon aioli.
Carver crafts its porchetta using Duroc pork, with a layer of skin topped with thin slices of lemon, pork belly, fresh herbs and shoulder. It's all rolled together, tightly bound and then slow roasted for twelve hours.
When pressed between focaccia in sandwich form ($7.99), the porchetta comes dressed with a sweet apricot mostarda, pickled red onions and a crackling crumble. It is indeed a very good sandwich.
If you want it over a baked potato, you can ordered the Sunday Plate ($14.49), a mess of soft, almost gnocchi-like potato finished with sour cream and scallions and accompanied by a side of kale salad tossed with quinoa, chickpeas, carrots and brussel sprouts in a smoked avocado dressing.
There's no deep fryer on site, but if you're craving a dirty indulgence, the loaded baked potato ($6.49) will fit the bill. It's smothered in nacho cheese, sour cream, green onions and bacon.
While the meat spends hours in the oven, each order is designed to be assembled in about three minutes. Even still, lineups should be expected during peak hours; calling ahead is advised.
Photos by Jesse Milns