Two Brothers Shawarma
If you know, and I mean really know, then you know that Eglinton has been under construction for 47 years. Maybe 63 years. 85 years? Who knows man. For as long as I can remember I've tried to avoid Eglinton because it's shit and it's forever being worked on and it's never worth it. But, if you've been around the block as long as I've had, then there's one reason for Eglinton to exist. Just one. It's a gem that I've gone to for a long time, and it's Two Brothers Shawarma (you're a real one if you remember Euro Shawarma in the same spot).
Shawarma places are everywhere. Literally from where I'm sitting right now I can get to one in ten minutes, and if I don't like that one there's another 5 minutes from that. They're like Starbucks man; they're scattered everywhere and you can realistically have shawarma whenever you want. But, as you fine, young, intelligent readers already know, more often means mediocre. What makes a good shawarma? Why is Two Brothers so fucking good? Why am I so handsome? Keep reading kids, I'll answer all (most) of these for you.
I'm a cultured man, so I need to be in a bad place for me to order beef or chicken on the rocks (on fries). It's greasy, the fries are usually sad and wimpy and blah, and it's definitely not good a day later. I like variety and I prefer the idea of being healthier. I'm more of a chicken shawarma plate guy myself, where I can have my rice and veggies and all the pretty colors from all the options.
There are three things that I look for from a shawarma spot, and these are the three reasons why Two Brothers sets the bar for everywhere else.
This one is obvious. The meat needs to be the star of the show, no questions asked. I'm not coming here for the fire salad. I'm coming here for that vertical spit with the meat stacked into a cone and I'm watching it slowly turn and become more and more gorgeous. Almost every spot has something like this, but it's the spices that separates Two Brothers from the rest. I can taste the cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric. I love the crispy bits that make their way into the box and give me that texture. I have yet to go to a spot in Toronto that values their meat as highly as they do.
The backbone of the plate. The hero that everyone knows is there but you only notice when it's really bad. The amount of times I've had shawarma rice that was overcooked and it ends up turning into this trash mush ball is too damn high. I need it to be fluffy, and I must be able to pick up each grain on its own, a sign of well cooked rice. It's long grain, it's not over spiced, and it's cooked the way it should be. There is nothing I love more than mixing everything up and getting that perfect spoonful of meat rice sauce. I appreciate you rice, I know how important you are.
I'm not going to pretend I can taste everything that goes into all of their sauces. They add it to my plate and I mix it all up. It becomes a mother sauce, and sometimes I think of that instead of my own mom. That's how much I love sauce. I add the garlic sauce, tzatziki, hummus, and their house made hot sauce. A trinity force of sauces but there's four instead of three. You go to a meh shawarma spot and their sauce is mayo based. You know what I'm talking about. I want my garlic sauce to punch me with garlic. Not be mayo that's thinking about garlic. Get that weak shit out of here.
Honorable mention: the sides
This is the salad, the tomato, onion, tabouli, pickles, etc. It's the others stuff in my mind that makes the plate complete. Although I don't really think about this stuff, it's important to the integrity of the shawarma plate. You need the brightness from the pickles and everything to give you a break from the meat rice sauce. A pillar of the plate, you need it.
Usually I like to stand across the street from the spot and take a picture of the storefront. It's the image I have in my mind and the image I want to showcase of the spot. Now, because Eglinton is so shit the storefront for Two Brothers has literally been covered by a metal fence with a construction sign thing over it so if you didn't know Two Brothers was there then you probably wouldn't see it. How comical, right. Well here I am trying to promote a true gem that has been part of the rotation for a while. They're at 2631 Eglinton Ave W. Now you have no excuse.