I once got handed a flyer about a year or so ago. Some “Fidel Gastro” guy was doing a food pop up. I was like “What’s a pop up?” Ah so much to learn! Time went on and as I immersed myself in the Toronto food scene more and more I kept hearing about Fidel Gastros and their ‘Extrem-O Sandwiches’ and other insanely good creations. I’ve caught up with the owner Matt Basile since then, both at his truck Priscilla and at the restaurant Lisa Marie. (noticing the King theme here?)
I’ve been a fan since first bite! He’s amazingly nice and such a genuine person to talk to. It’s absolutely refreshing to talk to a guy who is clearly passionate about his life and his life is his food and his food is his business. They base their menu on cichetti (chi-ket-tee – “Kind of like tapas…but not” lol) small bites of great things and it’s fun to share with friends. I found out that they were launching a new menu so I was eager to check it out. On a rainy Thursday after work, the queen bee of the #HamOnt food scene herself, Chanry and I checked it out. The atmosphere is alive, the chatter and the music loud and the servers always friendly. Chances are you’ll likely run into Matt himself as he’s always buzzing from table to table just making sure that “it’s all good”.
Moroccan Beef Short Rib
Slow roasted whole beef short rib smothered in Moroccan dark sauce and crushed pistachios – 16
It’s definitely an impressive Flinstones hunk of meat when it drops at the table. The sauce coating the fork tender beef was strong and smoky. You could taste cumin, paprika, and a host of other spices from the Moroccan blend. I liked the flavours in this dish a lot.
Torched Sriracha-maple syrup cauliflower w/toasted pumpkin seeds & garlic yogurt – 10
Winner winner veggie dinner! Both Chan and I loved this one and I know you’re gonna see this in a future Kitchen Bites post soon! The heat from the Sriracha was immediately balanced with the maple syrup and cooled by the zingy yogurt. Awesome.
Sugo & Bread
Braised Meat (selection varies by the batch) served with bread – 28
This. This is the dish that I rave about to anybody and everybody that will listen to me when FG comes up. It’s not new menu but I’ve been guaranteed by Matt that it will “NEVER come off the menu!” and rightly so. I ask people who went to Lisa Marie, “Did you try the sugo? No really did you have the sugo? YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE SUGO!”
Like many of their dishes it’s deceptively simple but outstandingly delicious. It comes to your table and you’re like: “Hmm red sauce and and a paper bag. Um…” But then you open that paper bag. The steam that rises from the hot crusty loaf inside is so inviting. Then you take your spoon and start digging into the pool of red sauce and find chunks of meat, we got beef brisket, pork belly and shoulder this time, that have been braised for hours and hours in a hearty tomato sauce that any Nonna would be proud of. Pile on the meat and sauce onto your bread and you take your bite and then you’re like: YES!!! You understand. You know what I’ve been raving about and you see the light!
Lol seriously though, there hasn’t been anyone who I’ve brought to Lisa Marie who didn’t absolutely go gaga over this. My Italian friend said it reminded him of Christmas with his family. High praise. Try anything you want on the menu but don’t.ever.pass.up.the.sugo. Trust.
At the back of Lisa Marie is a market where you can buy all sorts of pickled vegetables, pre-marinated meats for summer barbecues, bacon jam (!!!) and yes even Sugo in a jar. Stop in and see the King. You won’t regret it!
638 Queen St West Toronto, ON M6J 1E3
Follow on twitter to find out where Priscilla the food truck is setting up too: @