Archive for June 10th, 2011

June 10, 2011

WVRST is best on King Street

Aldo Lanzillotta at WVRST

Cheerful Aldo Lanzillotta has given Toronto a reason to smile with WVRST. (Julia Pelish photo)

You’re going to love this place.

On May 26, Aldo Lanzillotta opened the doors on WVRST, serving Toronto something new and refreshingly unpretentious. It’s about sausages and beer, and is done in the sort of inclusive atmosphere that defines the best of our city.

Long communal tables that encourage touching fill the 4,000-square-foot space at 609 King Street West, just east of Bathurst. A striking bright red wall is adorned with the restaurant’s name on one side of the room and on the other is a sleek bar that pours out 16 draft beers (Weihenstephan hefeweizen and Urthel IPA among them) and 15 bottles that include Dieu du Ciel’s Corne du Diable ($7) and Derniere Volonte ($7). Strings of tiny light bulbs hang from black wires overhead, a DJ spins a mix of funky tunes, and Aldo and his cheerful staff walk around making sure empties are cleared and the tables remain uncluttered. On the far end of the room is the starring attraction: Trays of plump sausages behind a case, presented the way you might expect to see them at a butcher’s shop.

These aren’t anything like you’d find at Loblaws, Whole Foods or even the St. Lawrence Market, though. Lanzillotta has created a line of wildly interesting and delicious combinations. The Duck sausage includes foie gras and maple flavours, the Bison has blueberry and maple, the Wild Boar features mushrooms and tea. There’s also Guinea Fowl, Pheasant, Rabbit, Venison and Kangaroo sausages. All of the game meats are $9. Vegetarian Bratwurst and Kielbasa are $7 each, and so are the three poultry choices (two types of Chicken and a superb Turkey/Chicken with chilies and cilantro). Six varieties of traditional sausages are just $6. (Check the menu for the full list.)

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