Shawarma Hunt 2007: Red and White
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Shawarma Hunt 2007: Red and White

2007-02-24redandwhite2.jpgAfter a brief hiatus, the shawarma hunt is back on. No vertically roasted meat is safe.

Red and White

519 Yonge St.
Monday – Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

There’s something really nice about a restaurant where you can take your sandwich, sit down and watch some Family Channel with the owner’s tween daughter. Everyone wants to eat at the kind of place where you’re greeted with something verging on exuberant enthusiasm.
This sort of homey charm isn’t enough to save a place with bad food. It may, however, be enough to make one gush a little more than necessary. The food at Red and White is good.
The bedrock of a chicken shawarma is chicken. Without the chicken, there’s not a vegetable, pita or squirt of tahini in the world that can save the endeavour. The chicken at Red and White is tender. Over several visits, the chicken was consistently tender enough to chew with your tongue. It’s savoury and gently spiced, but you can still completely taste the bird.
The vegetables are verging on exciting. A far cry from the masses of soggy undifferentiated crap that some shawarma places use to top their meat, Red and White’s veggies are veggies as God intended. The tomatoes are juicy, flavourful and almost supernatually red. The lettuce is crisp. And yes, for those of you who are wondering, there are pickles turnips and they are excellent.
The tahini and hot sauce are both good, albeit not exceptional, but do well to compliment the meat and veggies. However, if there’s one area where Red and White is less than excellent, it’s condiments. The garlic mayo is potent as all get out, and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing the staff could be a little more judicious in their use of it. One would be well advised to ask them to go easy. Similarly, the option of having chili flakes put on your shawarma above and beyond the hot sauce is just overkill. Not only does it make the sandwich spicier then need be, it really starts to take away from the flavour of the chicken. Say yes to the hot sauce, but give the chili flakes a pass.
All in all, though, these are minor flaws in what is an over all excellent shawarma experience, as well as one of the friendlier eateries in the city.