Counter Culture: Carbon Bar, a BBQ restaurant from team behind Nota Bene


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Image: Carbon Bar

Just in time for the new year, the team behind Nota Bene—including restaurateur Yannick Bigourdan and chef David Lee—added to Toronto’s buzzing BBQ scene with Carbon Bar.

For Lee, the obsession with BBQ began over a decade ago after buying a Big Green Egg. He would smoke pork bellies in his backyard at 2 a.m. and then bring in the goods to feed his team at Splendido for breakfast (“they loved it,” he says). Two years ago while attending a Jack Daniels’ BBQ competition in Tennessee, he decided on opening a restaurant where flavours of Texas-style BBQ—seasoned with salt and pepper (not with sauce) to highlight the quality and flavor of the meat itself, and cooked over white and red wood for ultimate smokiness—could be accessible to everyone.

When you visit this temple to BBQ, the Pit Master Platter is the crowning jewel: a protein-heavy plate that comes with ribs, beef brisket, jalapeno sausage, pulled pork and turkey that rings in at $29 per person with a minimum order of two. Each of the meats, which are locally-raised and sourced from Cumbrae Farms, are prepared and smoked daily—“similar to babysitting,” says Lee, “where each day is slightly different”—and comes out of the smoker just before dinner service.

While you’re there, don’t miss the crispy chicken skins ($7), the goat ribs ($18, available on Fridays only) and the “hot mess” ($11): a sweet potato topped with cheese curds, crema, pickled jalapeno, and chopped brisket.

Carbon Bar, 99 Queen St. E., 416-947-7000

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