MUSTACHIO (lower level, St. Lawrence Market, 95 Front East, at Jarvis, 416-368-5421) Complete lunches for $7, including all taxes, tip and a soda. Open Tuesday to Thursday 8 am to 6 pm, Friday 8 am to 7 pm, Saturday 5 am to 5 pm. Closed Sunday and Monday. Unlicensed. Access: barrier-free. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
The best sandwich in the St. Lawrence Market used to be back bacon on a bun. Now it's got to be the Italian eggplant from Mustachio.
Don't be put off by the lunchtime lineups. Platters loaded with breaded veal, chicken and eggplant are constantly refreshed as the hefty sandwiches are efficiently prepared to spec.
I had some difficulty finishing the $4.59 eggplant, which is stuffed to a thickness of 3 inches. Served on two large wedges of soft focaccia, it oozes tomato sauce, red and green peppers, fried onions and mushrooms. Sitting at one of eight seats at the little counter, I'm a bit embarrassed by the mess I'm making, but everyone's in the same situation.
The veal sandwich ($4.89) is also good, but mine is a little bit overcooked, and the kaiser could have been fresher. Served with tomato sauce, a choice of hot and/or sweet peppers, fried mushrooms and onion, it's less generous than the eggplant but equally messy.
It's possible to get a combination of veal and eggplant for $5.29, breaded chicken ($4.89) or meatballs ($4.35). At 1:15 pm on a Thursday, I find the meatballs are gone, testament to the popularity and quality of this little operation.