The Sparrow has garnered a lot of attention in the last little while. Located on a stretch of St Laurent street just south of Little Italy, this low rent corridor is undergoing a face lift; new restaurants and home decor shops are replacing the "a louer" signs that have been plastered to the windows for as long as I can remember.
The Sparrow is a small, casual restaurant that only serves lunch during the week, and brunch on weekends. The atmosphere has a distinct, pub-like feel to it; the decor is antique British: tea cups and flatware line the shelves and old, manor lithographs grace the walls. The "English feel" probably comes from chef/owner Marc Cohen, who hails from jolly old England, London to be exact.
Cohen's heritage is well represented on the menu, as is his nose to tail approach to cooking; with a daring confit of pig's heart, liver and fennel ($8.50) listed among the appetizers. As curious as my culinary palate was at the prospect of eating a pig's heart cooked in its own fat, I opted instead for the beef carpaccio($9.00). The raw beef was served sliced with raw celeriac. No paper thin slices of meat here, the beef was perfect in taste and size, with a simple sprinkle of sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil, this dish was exquisite in its simplicity, great ingredients will make a dish every time.
For the main course, I had to try the hamburger ($13.50). A mammoth burger arrived served with thick cut fries and in house mayonnaise. The meat was unadulterated beef: loose and free of fillers. My only complaint regarding the meat was that it was slightly under seasoned. The bread was grilled and did a good job catching all of the meat juice. I was informed that the meat is ground in house, and, judging by the taste, quality and texture of the meat, I believe it, and had no problems eating The Sparrow's hamburger as the chef cooked it, medium rare.
With a menu that changes every week, the Sparrow is indeed a fine place for lunch. The place was crowded and deservedly so; weekend brunch is next on my list. I'm hoping that bubbles and squeak will be on the menu, I haven't had a good one since my last trip to England.