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Sugo pays homage to classic Italian red sauce joints like Commisso Brothers and California Sandwiches where owners Conor Joerin and Alex Wallen of next door The Emerson grew up. The Italian word “sugo” typically refers to this red sauce.
It’s a daytime spot that elevates casual Italian fare like hot sandwiches, pasta and salads with quality ingredients and professional technique while still offering them for a reasonable price point.
This place previously housed a string of fast food restaurants.
Though it hasn’t been transformed massively, it’s a far cry from what it used to be, with checkered tablecloths and floors, bar seating, big screen TVs and the foosball table from The Emerson.
Caprese salad ($10) is made from thick medallions of squeaky, shiny mozzarella pulled fresh from curd every morning, with tomato, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Fresh mozzarella ($6), pasta ($3) and sauce ($10) is available to go with your takeout.
A caesar salad ($8) is simple but done right with pancetta, parm, croutons, fresh cracked black pepper, and a great house caesar dressing.
Calamari ($12) and a few slices of hot banana pepper are battered lightly with gluten-free chickpea flour and served with sweet marinara, savoury mayo, and some fresh lemon.
Olives ($4) are marinated in house, a little spicy, and aren’t too large or green for my taste, served with some bread sticks from Fred’s Bread (like all the bread here).
Stuffed peppers ($3 each) are a winner, hot banana peppers stuffed with sausage and loaded up with red sauce and cheese.
The veal sandwich ($13) laden with sauce, cheese and a little basil is made with white veal, as opposed to the much cheaper and more common red veal. It’s about twice the price, calves fed vitamins and minerals and treated well so the meat is super tender.
Ricotta gnocchi ($10) is similarly bathed in fresh red sauce and topped with a fluffy dollop of whipped ricotta.
Tiramisu ($6) is super boozy without being harsh, made with black sambuca, dark rum, Bailey’s, anise, ladyfingers, ricotta, eggs and espresso topped with cocoa powder.
The refreshing Benny Bianco ($7) named after a character from Carlito’s Way is made simply with vermouth and muddled lime.
Classic martinis and Manhattans ($10) are also available along with Italian bottled beers ($6.50).
Boxing-themed decor includes a portrait of Rocky Marciano and old Ring magazine covers, one featuring Torontonian Eddie Melo. Sugo supports the local boxing community, hiring young fighters.
The name of the game at Sugo is talking the talk, and they do it loudly.