What do you need to turn something as ordinary as a sandwich into a sublime experience? Great ingredients, imagination and a fine sense of balance. Like a really good cocktail, it should satisfy but not overwhelm; it shouldn’t be too simple or too complicated. We found precisely what we were looking for in three very different locations – by the fisherman’s wharf opposite Granville Island in Vancouver, on a busy street in Dartmouth, N.S. and in downtown Toronto. Our chefs were generous enough to share their recipes and we matched them to some fine Canadian brews. Enjoy!
The Canteen’s first life was as a 20-seat sandwich bar that closed at 6 p.m. so owner-chef and food writer Renée Lavallée could spend time with her young children. This year it reopened downtown, “all grown up,” as Lavallée says, a family restaurant that welcomes the whole community.
Here’s a dazzling take on the classic lobster roll with lemon, tarragon, mustard and truffle flavours that enhance but don’t hide the taste of the seafood.
The Crobster is great with french fries and a dry pale lager like the James Ready 5.5, brewed by Moosehead in Saint John, N.B.
Disappointed by the smoked meat sandwiches on offer in Toronto, Zane Caplansky started curing and smoking his own briskets, then opened his first deli on College Street in 2008. Now with five locations and a food truck, his places make sandwiches that are the equal of any in Canada – including the delis of Montreal.
For years, Zane Caplansky resisted customers’ entreaties to put a Reuben sandwich on his menu, considering it “a mish-mash of things that aren’t authentic deli.” Then he gave in, creating his own version – an instant best-seller.
Waterloo Original Dark Lager has the easy-drinking, malty, roasted-grain character to play this sandwich’s sidekick.
Matt Christie started out as a fish butcher at Go Fish!, the iconic restaurant shack right beside the dock where Vancouver’s fishing fleet moors. Twelve years later, he’s the chef, taking his pick of the daily catch and turning it into sandwiches, burrito-like tacones and awesome fish and chips.
Asian seasonings and pickles keep this great sandwich’s flavours lively and bright while the soft Portuguese-style bun is just sturdy enough to hold all the savoury shrimp mayo, tartar sauce and tender salmon.
Creamy but refreshing, with aromas of citrus, clove and banana, Side Launch Wheat Beer is a fine accompaniment.