Toronto’s taco craze heads east


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These days, it’s difficult to tell whether Toronto is more obsessed with tacos, hamburgers, Neapolitan pizza or espresso. A case could be made for any of them, but those who need proof that tacos are hip need only pay a visit to Grand Electric. In the time it takes to get a seat there, one could just as easily migrate all the way to the east end, where a new taco joint has opened up in the former digs of Le Rossignol.

Opened today from the team behind Le Rossignol, Toucan Taco Bar is an attempt to woo Riverside’s lunch crowd. The good news, in addition to the infusion of tacos, is that owner Richard Henry has no plans to shut down Le Rossignol for good. It’s currently amalgamated with its sister restaurant, Le Canard Mort, and will eventually reappear in a new location. 

Le Rossignol’s former sous chef, James Petrin, is in charge of the kitchen. The young chef spent six years living in Florida, where he became well acquainted with Latin flavours. His current task is to serve up a selection of Mexican standards like tacos, enchiladas, burritos and nachos.

Tacos, of course, are front and centre on Toucan’s menu. Selections include pulled pork ($4.50) with tomato salsa, yellow mole and queso panela, or blackened catfish ($5.50) with mango salsa, yellow mole and crema (Mexican sour cream). They’re served on deep-fried, crispy, handmade corn tortillas with a selection of house-made hot sauces.

Size-wise, these tacos are slightly bigger, and slightly more expensive, than the ones found at Grand Electric. A platter of two tacos ($10-19) comes with a side of rice and refried black turtle beans. Wash them down with a selection of Mexican cocktails ($9-$12) or Mexican beers, like Dos Equis or Negra Modelo ($6).

Yes, tacos have migrated east. And judging from the stream of curious passersby, they are completely welcome.

Toucan Taco Bar, 686 Queen St. E., 416-461-9663

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