Simba Grill’s Sultan Jessani
375 Donlands, at O'Connor, 416-429-6057, simbagrill.ca.
Meal deals don't get much sweeter than the $10 rib special at Sultan and Rashma Jessani's foodie-friendly Tanzanian trat.
Cut across the bone like Korean kalbi, their gas-grilled halal beef short ribs come lightly doused with garlic powder, crushed black pepper and an undertow of cumin. And if you still can't kick-start the heat with one of the east African eaterie's four incendiary chutneys, there's always the chili-pepper-fired Pili Pili version ($16) to light your fire. Both get sided with fries dredged with cayenne and a standard iceberg lettuce salad knocked up a notch with a zesty lime vinaigrette.
Quench the heat with cassata ($6), a tasty take on the chocolate-coated Sicilian ice cream dessert that goes back to Tanzania's days as an Italian colony.
Wednesday and Thursday 1 to 9 pm, Friday and Saturday 1 pm to midnight; $10 AYCE vegetarian thali brunch Sunday 1 to 6 pm, à la carte menu till 9 pm. Closed Monday and Tuesday. Unlicensed. Access: barrier-free, washrooms in basement.
Ho Ho BBQ
3833 Midland, at McNicholl, 416-321-9818.
Ho Ho Who? Such was the reaction of most local foodies two summers back when they learned that no less an authority than Gourmet Magazine had declared this obscure hole-in-the-wall round the back of an Asiancourt strip mall not only the best Chinese barbecue in the GTA but the best in North America.
And who are we to argue with beautifully lacquered roast ducks ($16.99), their fat expertly rendered and skin crisp, or chopped char-siu-style boneless pork in licoricey five-spice syrup ($5.99/lb)? Go the whole hog with 10-pound party-size suckling pigs ($118) or stick to a budget with capon-sized chicken wings ($4.99/lb).
Thursday to Tuesday 9:30 am to 9 pm. Closed Wednesday. Unlicensed. Cash only. Access: barrier-free, no seating, no washrooms.
R. Jeanette Martin
1000 College, at Havelock, 416-539-8239, bairrada.ca.
Forget the Beast and the Black Hoof!
If it's true nose-to-tail dining you're after, head to this long-running Portuguese resto every Wednesday from noon, when they spit-roast an entire 40-pound pig on the gorgeous backyard patio. There, under a leafy canopy next to a burbling water feature, chow down on plates of obscenely fatty skin and super-moist pork sided with black olives, orange slices, a whack of seasoned rice and a dozen or so of those little deep-fried potato balls for all of 15 bucks.
Ask nicely and they might even save you the snout.
Wednesday noon to 11 pm. Licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms in basement.
422 College, at Bathurst, 416-929-9222, sheherzaderestaurant.com.
When you own Pomegrante, the GTA's pre-emininent Persian restaurant, why open a second one right next door?
"The menu at Pomegranate is what we call home-style," says the eight-year-old restaurant's co-owner, Danielle Schrage. "Slow-cooked stews and the like. Sheherzade serves the kind of grilled food you'd eat when you go out but never eat at home."
And so we're served certified halal kebabs marinated in saffron and lemon like beautifully executed Bakhtiari - alternating cubes of triple A beef tenderloin and chicken breast ($14.99) - and succulent loin of lamb Shishlik ($16.99). Astonishingly yummy chunks of Cornish hen arrive on the bone tossed with tart barberries ($14.99). All come with steamed Persian chelo rice finished with butter, grilled tomato and an East-meets-West chopped cucumber salad pimped out with parsley, mint and pomegranate seeds.
Tuesday to Thursday 5 to 9 pm, Friday and Saturday 5 to 10 pm, Sunday 5 to 9 pm, bar till close. Closed Monday, holidays. Licensed. Access: five steps at door, two steps to washroom floor.
Lahore Tikka's Nipu Islam serves up breads to Patty Letourneau.
Lahore Tikka House
1365 Gerrard East, at Highfield, 416-406-1668, lahoretikkahouse.com.
When it comes to Subcontinental 'cue, it's all about the tandoor, the charcoal-fuelled clay oven that gives everything cooked in its chamber that indelible smoky stamp.
That's why they line up all day and long into the night at this riotous Indo-Pakistani resto. And whether it's sizzling cast-iron platters topped with a trio of peppery lamb kababs strewn with sweetly charred bell peppers and one wayward green chili ($13.25) or whole slash 'n' burn boneless red snappers with potatoes and spinach ($16.99), they're even more delish when followed with house-made sugar cane juice ($3.99) and pistachio kulfi ice cream ($2.50).
Stop the presses: Lahore's long-delayed grand opening is now slated for late August. 2012! No, really!
Sunday to Thursday noon to 1 am, Friday and Saturday noon to 2 am. Unlicensed. Access: barrier-free.