Famous BBQ Express (385 Queen West, at Peter, 416-593-0713) Complete meals for $12 and under per person, including all taxes, tip and a soda. Average main $6.50. Open Monday to Friday 9 am to 8 pm, Saturday 11 am to 6 pm. Closed Sundays. Unlicensed. Access: washrooms in basement. Rating: NN
Famous BBQ merges the elements of all the restaurants you'd go to after a night of hard partying: greasy spoon, burger joint, deli, sub shop, wing hut and souvlaki house.
Located where the legendary Barney's once stood, the bustling operation has been open six months. The family running it owns the franchise, which includes three other locations in the city, all with similar menus.
Calling it retro can't save Famous BBQ's hideous yellow, red and blue decor. Eat quickly or do takeout, though the interaction between the calm, soft-spoken order-taker and the crotchety, orange-kerchiefed cooks provides good lunchtime entertainment.
Famous BBQ is the philosophical antithesis of eco- and health-consciousness. Chicken souvlaki ($6.99) comes with a pile of bland but fresh coleslaw, pasta salad with a taste indistinguishable from that of the slaw, iceberg lettuce with your choice of several old-school dressings, battered fries and rice. The spicy chicken pieces are juicy and addictive but could lose a little gristle.
All dinners come with the same sides. The bulgogi dinner ($6.99) offers strips of tender grilled beef glazed with classic honey-garlic sauce. The pork ribs ($8.99) are a moist delight, cooked so the meat can be sucked cleanly from the bone.
The chicken wings ($6.99) are meaty but their sauce needs more zing. Avoid the pork on a bun ($5.99) - its processed cheese is a nostalgic experience, but otherwise, woodchips on a bun is a more accurate description.