While wandering through Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, my foodie friend Grayelf and I stumbled across Big Lou’s. We were doing a bit of a food crawl and had already hit up Notturno Paninoteca to try out another one of their paninis and Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q for their exotic flavoured soft serve so were weren’t terribly hungry but we decided to stick out heads in anyways to check it out.
Big Lou’s is more than just a meat shop. They have a sandwich counter as well. I’d heard of Big Lou’s before and had put them on my list of places to try for their western style banh mi. However, as we perused the menu we noticed they offer a porchetta sandwich.
Being foodies, Grayelf and I decided for “research” purposes, we had to share one of the porchetta sandwiches to see how it compares with the one from Meat & Bread. The Porchetta sandwich ($9.00) was presented in a tidy bundle, wrapped in butcher paper. The porchetta sandwich consisted of pieces of crisp pork belly tenderloin topped with a chimmichurri sauce. I was actually surprised at how big this porchetta sandwich was compared to the one from Meat & Bread and they are similarly priced. I would say this version from Big Lou’s is almost twice the size of the one from Meat & Bread so it’s definitely better value for the price. Having said that, I’m usually one that cares more about quality than quantity so the real question is how this one actually stacked up taste-wise against the one from Meat & Bread.
The bread tasted really fresh and had a nice chew to it. Like the version from Meat & Bread, Big Lou’s porchetta had bits of crispy crackling dispersed throughout the sandwich. Flavour-wise, I did enjoy the chimmichurri as it helped to cut the fat in the sandwich so it didn’t taste as fatty and heavy. If I were to rate Meat & Bread’s porchetta as a 9 out of 10 (I’m saving room at the top since I haven’t tried out Roli Roti in San Francisco yet and apparently, Roli Roti’s porchetta is supposedly to die for), I would say Big Lou’s porchetta is easily at least an 8 to 8.5 out of 10. I was actually quite impressed with how tasty this sandwich was. It’s all a matter of personal preference, but I like the tartness from the salsa verde on Meat & Bread’s porchetta a touch more and find it to be a bit more flavourful. On the other hand, Big Lou’s gets top marks for the bread they use for the porchetta sandwich. Vancouver is definitely lucky to have several great spots serving up top-notch porchetta sandwiches. Sadly, the ones I’ve tried in Calgary just don’t quite compare so I guess I’ll have to save my porchetta quota for my trips to Vancouver.
Big Lou’s Butcher Shop
269 Powell Street