Address: 5 Crescent Rd, Toronto ON
When I visited: August 2014, lunch brunch, 6 people
Rating: $, 3
The Black Camel (@black_camel) is located outside of Rosedale station and a popular spot at lunch. The restaurant specializes in sandwiches with slow roasted meats and home-made sauces (menu here).
If you can’t find the restaurant walking up Yonge St., look for the small restaurant with a camel picture (which is in lieu of a restaurant sign) and a long line up. The restaurant is small and narrow with a row of tables outside so it is best to ask for take-out. With the restaurant adjacent to Ramsden Park, customers can find plenty of seating there.
I’ve heard so much about The Black Camel as my colleagues go frequently and the Yelp reviews were screaming perfection. I went with my colleagues with much anticipation but unfortunately was not blown away with my first visit. I ordered the beef brisket sandwich because I have heard that the meat takes a full week to prepare from the rub, marinating to cooking it.
The sandwiches range from $7.00 to $9.50 and it comes with 2 sauces. Additional sauces are $0.50 cents each and toppings are $0.90 cents each. With my beef brisket sandwich ($7.50), I chose the in-house made “Black Camel BBQ sauce”, creamy horseradish and added caramelized onions and roasted sweet red peppers ($0.90 cents each). I also ordered a side of coleslaw for $2.50 for a small cup. After ordering, we were given a small key tag with a number. When our order was ready, a gentleman called our number and gave us the order.
What I enjoyed about the sandwich and the restaurant:
- The meat was delicious and tender and the BBQ sauce had a dark sweet and savoury flavour. It was evident that the meat was slow roasted for many hours.
- We waited for 15 minutes in line but only waited about 5 minutes after I ordered. They had an efficient system to get customers in and out of the restaurant.
What I did not like about my experience and sandwich:
- Bread to meat ratio/too much bread.
- Stingy toppings. Paying 90 cents for each topping seems a bit steep, especially when they only gave me 2 pieces of roasted red peppers. I went back to let them know they forgot my caramelized onions but forgot to mention that they also forgot my creamy horseradish sauce. 2 forgotten items in one order is so not cool.
- I asked for a dab (not a container) of hot sauce and they said they had to charge me $0.90 cents cents because I have already gotten 2 sauces. Hot sauces, especially sauces not made in-house should be left on the counter like most fast food restaurants and not charged to the customer.
- Perhaps the restaurant should change up the pricing scheme. It would be nice to see free toppings such as onions and arugula and charge $0.50 cents for more specialized toppings.
The sandwich was really good but due to the pricing and my first experience, I am not in a rush to return. I know that the line ups will be there and people will continue to flock to the restaurant. The restaurant has even run out of sandwiches during a lunch service due to the demand. Follow them on Twitter @black_camel to get updates. I was borderline giving them a 2 star rating due to my experience of forgotten items but I enjoyed the sandwich. My meat was done really well whereas my friend’s pulled chicken sandwich could have done with more seasoning. I will return again to try more items but will enjoy the other great restaurants in the area first.
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