Meat & Bread: Part 1-First Impressions

There really is nothing like a good tease; one that plays with your senses and holds you in suspense, craving more. I will admit that I was aroused from the start—right from the first street poster I saw in September. It was the clean wordmark and animal heads in black and white that caught my eye, but it was the name that grabbed my attention—Meat & Bread. A fantastically simple name and if the name was any indication of what was to be on the menu, this carnivore begged to be satisfied.


First impressions are big in my book. Some say it takes about two minutes to form your opinion and about four minutes for this impression to be locked in. The boys at Meat & Bread, however, had me in about a minute and a half.

00:00 – 00:15: Frankie Harrington greets
Warm and charismatic. Casual, yet confident. He briefly explained the concept, highlighted the menu and guided the dozen or so guests trickling out the door to snake around the counter. I felt welcomed.

00:15-00:20: The oversized magnetic menu
An uncomplicated listing of four sandwiches posted with magnetic letters in the same clean font as the wordmark. A brilliant touch.

00:20 – 00:30: Porchetta
My eyes fixed on the glorious slab of pork loin spotlighted under the hanging heat lamps. Mmmm-meat! I wondered if I was the only person considering asking for the bread on the side.

00:30-00:40: Joseph Sartor carves
Joe wielded his knife through the tender porchetta. I watched him load the bun with the bite-sized pieces and then drizzle the salsa verde atop with care. Despite the growing line, he seemed unfazed. He calmly took more orders, each with a smile and a bit of banter.

00:40-00:50: Breadboards
The sandwiches are served on a breadboard flanked with precise dollops of mustard and chutney. Once again the theme of simplicity wove its way in.

Photo by Heather Johnston

00:50-01:00: The space
Huge. High ceilings adorned by hanging lamps. Crisp white walls. Subway tiles. A four-foot magnetic strip housing knives of all shapes and sizes. Patina mirrors. A communal table. A punching bag and taxidermy. (What the…?) Part butcher, part Parisian bistro and a healthy heaping of circus sideshow. There were stories to be had here and I knew I had to return to uncover them.

1:00-1:30: The first bite
I relished the first bite and let the zing of the curried lamb fill my mouth. The concept of Meat & Bread may be based on the theme of minimalism but the taste is anything but minimal.

After a minute and a half my impression was not only formed but locked in. A simple concept, a solid place. These boys have something good going. It is clear that nothing has been overlooked; whether in the details of the decor, the presentation of the food or the branding. Yet, despite the OCD-like attentions paid, they have retained a laid-back environment.

The waiting, the yearning, the teasing had come to an end, but I know my cravings for more haven’t. I was satisfied once and know that I will be with each return.

(More stories about the decor to come.)

    • andrea
    • November 1st, 2010

    I can’t wait to see more of your images for the space – I’ve heard it’s gorgeous!

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