“DicAnn’s” Not an official registree…probably a good thing for the (hopeless) competition #gnarlyburger #burgerweekmtl @leburgerweek @burgerweekworldwide #bestofalltime #leagueofitsown (at Dic Ann’s NDG)
Our next stop hit close to home and close to our hearts. Home being NDG, hearts being our actual hearts, which took on another triple-meated assault at Bofinger’s flagship location on Sherbrooke St. Known mostly for their BBQ, Bofinger nonetheless decided to offer up a sampling of Burger Week hospitality known as the “Bo-Licious Burger”. As far as I can tell, this is not a regular menu item. In fact, I’ve never even ordered a hamburger there, so that might also be new.
The Bo-Licious Burger (Burger Week MTL) Price: $10
Bo-Licious Burger Garnishes:
Smoked and fire grilled all beef patty
House smoked bacon
Piquant fou BBQ sauce
On a grilled Portuguese Roll
First the good news. This was an adequate burger. And maybe Bofinger has the same definition of “adequate” as Bill McNeal…
Now for the bad news. I do not share the same definition of “adequate”. And trust me, if I had anything in common with Bill McNeal I’d flaunt it, celebrate it and share amongst the masses by screaming from the mountain tops. Pretty over the top, right? Well, this burger was decidedly under the top. Which is precisely where the problems started. You know on those food competition shows where they don’t get something on the plate for the judges or miss a secret ingredient? That’s what happened to the swiss cheese. It was missing on both of our burgers. I don’t need to go into detail how important cheese is. It changes the whole name of the dish. Then there was the matter of the sauce, or lack thereof. My partner mentioned how he liked the spicy kick while his burger dripped BBQ sauce onto his plate. Mine had but a thin layer that didn’t even cover the pork. Then there was the patty of beef itself… the very burger of the burger! It clearly was not a fresh patty. It was definitely a pre-patty. Pre-frozen. Pre-packaged. Pre-cooked. It was at least two of those things. Which two were are up for debate. All in all, there were a lot of failures going on here.
However, I will not end it on a sour note… I have yet to mention the bacon! Bofinger claims it is “house smoked bacon”. Maybe it was house smoked, I couldn’t tell for certain. But it was definitely deep-fried. And that, my friends, is a thing of beauty. It was irresistibly crisp with the fat of the bacon fried into a pork rind. Whether that was even intentional or not, bravo. It just barely rescued the sandwich from being an outright disaster.
As for the sprinkling of coleslaw and the Portuguese roll, I would put good money on them being bought along with the patties at Costco, the true hallmark of adequacy.
This blog will be dedicated to showcasing and describing the different burgers being served around Montreal during the inaugural Burger Week(taking place September 1-7, 2012). Of course, during our burger tour, we will also pass judgement on how they’re presented, the way they taste, and the ambiance and hospitality of the restaurants that serve them.
We’re two classy homegrown talents who’ve eaten many a cow. Our goal here is to find the most delicious burger in town, and announce our discoveries publicly through various social media outlets.
On Wednesday we stopped into Biarritz on St Laurent to get our burger week on. Biarritz is a beautiful restaurant that’s been satisfying customers for well over a year now, to the delight of many Montreal food connoisseurs.
Biarritz owner and chef Stephane really stayed true to what makes Korean food so delicious. The flank steak was perfectly cooked, and the marinade created a taste explosion that still has me buzzing. The sesame bun was the perfect outfit for this tasty concoction, as it was sturdy enough to hold all the ingredients perfectly without much spillage (all that spilled were some drippings, which made for a delectable dipping juice). The crunchy lettuce and savory kimchi were the perfect compliment and helped make this burger one of the best we’ve tasted.
Yesterday was Oysterfest in Montreal, so the burgers had to share some of the spotlight. Luckily for us, just a block away from all the mollusk mayhem was Le Gros Jambon, a dinner owned by the same team as L'Orginal. Their Burger Week specialty is always on the menu, but definitely worthy of it’s signature status.
Le Gros Jambon Coca-Cola Burger (Burger Week MTL) Price: $10
Coca-Cola Burger Garnishes:
All beef patty
Deep fried dill pickle
This beauty had a lot going for it. In my opinion the best condiment of all is caramelized onions and our man behind the counter did not skimp. Actually, this is a great time for a quick tangent… you see, Le Gros Jambon is a tiny little dinner that seats no more than 20 or 30 people and that may be a generous estimate, I didn’t count. Meanwhile, the entire kitchen is smaller than the one in your own house and in plain view for anyone seated at the bar. Watching the crew pump out plate after plate of quality grub in a space the size of a walk in closet is fine entertainment and part of the Jambon’s charm. Back to the burger… there was a healthy dollop of onion topped with the real clincher, a two thick slices of deep fried pickle. I could eat a basket of these any day. The crunch and sour flavour really helped contrast both the rich flavour and soft texture of the beef and onions. The Coca-Cola mayo was really unique and inventive, but was almost too sweet, especially with the onions already on there. The buns are homemade and delicious. Who can say anything bad about a homemade bun? It’s a good thing this is on the daily menu, because I’d definitely order it again.
All this talk about Burger Week got me thinking. And all that thinking got me hungry. I couldn’t wait until September 1st. Just like cardiac arrest, I needed a jump start.
Luckily, I work a 5 minute drive away from one of the few remaining Wendy’s in the Montreal area. In fact, it wasn’t even on the island. You know there’s a problem when I had to go to Laval for the closest Wendy’s. But I digress, that’s a whole different rant in itself. I went there because they offer what I consider to be the best burger of all the major fast food chains. Behold, the red-headed child of the dearly departed Big Bacon Classic… the Bacon Deluxe.
McDonald’s is great if you’re drunk or hungover. And a Whopper from Burger King will certainly regulate your system. But anyone who prefers either establishment to Wendy’s is a person simply doesn’t enjoy eating. Wendy’s is so good that when they say their beef has never been frozen, I actually believe it. The lettuce, tomato and onion are all crisp, immediately recognizable and seemingly fresh. The bacon is thick enough that you actually need to bite through it. It’s not merely a garnish, it’s the highlight. Topped off with a buttered bun. Classic. Deluxe. By any name, it’s Wendy’s.
Why is this all so important? Because this is the burger bar. (Not really, this is The Burger Bar.) This burger will serve as the base for which all burgers this week will be judged by. It’s a solid 7/10 no matter how you look at it and any stand alone restaurant worth it’s salt and pepper should be able to serve a better burger than a big box brand.
Today (two days ago) we made our way to Burger Bar to consume our 9th and 10th burgers of Burger Week, respectively.
Burger Bar is a trendy two-floor establishment located between Sir Winston’s and Electric Avenue in American Tourist central/Montreal’s Meat Market District (Crescent street). It features a wide variety of creative burgers to block your arteries (as well as some excellent music if you ask politely).
Burger Bar’s The Hangover (Burger Week) Price: $15
The Hangover (Burger Week) Garnishes:
6oz AAA beef patty
Topped with a mini poutine
Their featured burger this week was the Hangover, but as an added ingredient, featured an egg on top (which you presumably won’t be able to get on September 8th).
First thing I noticed: the burger was about 10 inches high (and I know what 10 inches looks like… trust me), making it nearly impossible to eat inconspicuously. It took a strategic three average sized bites from top to bottom in order to get it all down the hatch in one gulp. After that first triple-bite, I gave in and used a fork and knife (hey, at least it wasn’t a snickers bar).
One thing is for sure, this was definitely the messiest burger of the week so far. I may have used an entire trees worth of napkins, I’m not gonna lie.
What was great about this burger was that none of the flavours really overtook the others. The poutine gravy was classic Quebec style, and the Bacon was perfectly crisped. The caramelized onions complimented the bun, which was delectable and “cute” (i.e.: small), and the egg on top made it feel like breakfast at night. Alright, maybe I lost the truffle oil in all those calories, but I’m a consumer… as in, I consume.
Oh, and as far as hangovers go… hanging out at the bar at Burger Bar while eating a hangover burger and taking shots will give you a hangover… trust us (and the bartender).
As has been stated, we were at Cheeburger Cheeburger and m:brgr last night. First, let me explain why I did not review anything at Cheeburger Cheeburger. I have been there several times before and even finished off the “The Pounder” to have my photo taken and put on their Wall Of Fame. I have always been a big fan. They make delicious burgers. However, not having a special for Burger Week was a huge disappointment for me. I was expecting something great from them and instead they just offered up their regular menu. I responded in kind and ordered a regular burger, no fries and a glass of water. It was tasty, but that’s as far as I’ll go. For shame, Cheeburger Cheeburger, for shame.
SCORE: DQ Mad Cows out of 10
On to the main event! After the disappointment of Cheeburger Cheeburger, I really needed a pick me up and the fine people at m:brgr did not let me down. The only special they had advertised on Burger Week was the $10 Kobe Burger. When we took our seats at the bar we were presented with a special menu giving 3 options. Along with the Kobe there was a $5 Angus Slider and a $15 Poutine Brgr. I think you can all guess where this is going…
m:brgr Poutine Brgr (Burger Week MTL) Price: $15
Poutine Brgr Garnishes:
AAA Angus beef patty
BBQ Pulled Pork
This was one serious burger. It grabs your attention and demands a closer inspection. Two kinds of meat? Fries, cheese curds and gravy? Check marks all around. And when you have your moment of doubt (Trust me, you’ll take a moment) it gently whispers to you “Let’s do this”. The BBQ sauce drowns out the gravy a little, but that’s not such a bad thing. Eventually, every bite is like 3 different meals battling for your attention. You wouldn’t think that a sandwich topped with a poutine would have such structural integrity, but it was incredibly manageable thanks to the bun and the proportions of each ingredient… not that it really mattered, since the burger droppings were just as delicious as the burger. Once you’re done eating, there’s a mini pulled pork poutine on your plate. Really, the only downside is was how unappetizing it looked. If it were a book it would be called “50 Shades of Brown” and would sell millions and millions of copies despite itself.
Our second stop on the tour was m:brgr located on Drummond, downtown. There were three Burger Week options, and my cohort and I chose to try two of them.
m:brgr Kobe Burger (Burger Week MTL) Price: $10
Kobe Beef Burger Garnishes:
Semi-dried cherry tomatoes
Grilled all beef salami
Holy hell. What a delicious burger. The bun was strong and powerful, and there was no chance for it to crumble. The kobe beef had such a delicious and unique taste, and the arugula, while lettuce normally impedes me, was an extremely great compliment to the beef, and cherry tomatoes. While it’s fun to say that there was some salami layered on top, its taste wasn’t as discernible as I’m sure the chef would like, mainly because of the other flavourful flavours overtop.
This was our first stop on the tour, and right away we had a minor hiccup. Cheeburger Cheeburger didn’t have a specialty burger prepared for Burger Week! There was just the regular menu, with regular burgers, and nothing super duper to showcase.
At the recommendation of our waiter, I chose to tackle their “Burger Serieux” as my first official burger of the week. The cool thing about this restaurant is that they offer you a fantastic selection of garnishes for your burger. I could have tried this burger three days in a row, but with so many different toppings, it’ll be a different burger every time.
Cheeburger Cheeburger Serious Burger Price: $12.99 plus tax and gratuity
Serious Burger Garnishes:
Sautéed Onions (at an unbeknownst $1.79 up-charge)
I went for a mexican style topping infused burger, and was generally impressed with the outcome. While the bun was fairly tasty, it was also minuscule and soft, and fell apart before I finished. The meat itself was cooked to my specifications (medium), but didn’t have a signature taste to it.
As my Let’s Meat Up!™ cohort slash default best friend mentioned previously, Burger Week doesn’t start until Saturday, at which point he and I are going to try and consume 30+ burgers in those seven days… so why the hell would we be eating burgers from other restaurants before the competition even starts?
Honestly, I look at it as (convinced myself of) trying to improve ones immune system. Say you’ve got a low tolerance to alcohol… if you start drinking more booze, more frequently, your tolerance will improve (and your loved ones will leave you). Now, replace the word alcohol with hamburger, and I believe my point has been made.
Impenetrable arguments for eating meat aside, the real reason I ate this burger was that I haven’t done groceries in two weeks, and Restaurant Copoliis on the way to my place (the life of an extremely lazy man).
The Copoli Burger has an extremely large diameter and circumference. Unfortunately, I left my protractor in my other pants so I can’t give you an exact measurement, but their menu insists it’s 8 inches (where have I heard that before? Am I right, ladies?).
Let’s just say if you were to put the burger in front of your face, the bun would cover your face entirely.. yes, even this guy’s face:
The burger itself is very thin, making it manageable to eat in one sitting, but easy enough to share with somebody if you’re on a date (and less inclined to pig out). Having it “all dressed” includes lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, and a signature spicy mayonnaise squirted on top. Additional options include cheese and bacon, which I happily accepted.
As is often the case, the burger was just right. The toppings and sauces mixed with the hamburger patty spice and the crunch of the thin, crispy bun made for quite the delicious combination.