Modern Electric Lunch
Address: 232 Main St
Sandwiched amid some of the city’s oldest buildings lining Main street, a new lunch diner was added to the mix of downtown eateries this summer. Modern Electric Lunch is a celebration of day eating, opening early enough to entice those still doing breakfast meetings in the core. Named as an homage to a former tenant from the mid 1950s (famed for being the first eatery to have its own electric refrigerator), it now welcomes diners with the sounds of milk steaming at a state-of-the-art electric espresso machine.
Front window seats offer a direct view of the iconic CMHR and interior touches like the line of green plants on the top shelf are spare and precise. A quick glance around the room hints it is a place for coffee obsessives; shelves of coffee beans, pots, coffee making toys and mugs are displayed for sale. Bags and shirts bear the eatery’s branding and champion the business lunch. The well-crafted menu of contemporary coffees successfully whets the appetite for the thoughtful food that follows.
The concise line up of options for breakfast, lunch and salads shows rare restraint and proves to be a key ingredient in delivering exceptional food. The menu, a love letter to timeless classics, presents refreshing takes on comfort food.
Jalapeno cornbread acts as the base for garlic confit mushrooms topped with arugula and poached eggs. This modern eggs benny is covered with a vibrant hollandaise and generously garnished with fresh dill sprigs.
A chai-flavoured sweet waffle is covered with espresso-infused whipped cream and stacked with strawberries, candied dates and brûléed banana. The dish is sprinkled with a few mint sprigs and pumpkin seeds, enhancing the contrasting textures.
Framed receipts from the former luncheonette reveal Reuben sandwiches have been a long time go-to, and the rendition today starts with house-made corned beef layered with apple sauerkraut and grainy mustard on marble rye. The signature “burger” sandwiches an herb laced falafel patty, cashew cheese, red pepper hummus, arugula and garlic aioli in focaccia.
Fruit, mixed greens, tomatoes and contrasting vegetables characterize four distinct salads. Arugula (this is no place for iceberg lettuce) is the choice green for a mix of beets, pickled oranges and fennel, accented with house-made dilly ricotta and croutons.
This is not the dinette of our parents’ generation. Yet it is delighting people of all ages with its delicious, fresh ingredients and casual cool flair. For those who are not downtown on the daily, trust us when we say this wee spot warrants a visit.