Archive for “gourmet” fast food burger

South St. Burger Co., Toronto, On

Posted Monday December 7, 2009 9:59AM

Categories: "gourmet" fast food burger, Dave N., South St. Burger Co., Toronto On

South St. Burger Co., Toronto, On Address: 2383 Yonge St, Toronto, On
Visited: Saturday November 28, 2009 1:30PM
Ordered: Veggie Burger Combo with fries and root beer (x1)
Total Cost: $9.84

Dave N.’s Review

The Experience

My girlfriend Caryl and I decided to eat vegan for the month of November. That means no dairy, no eggs, and certainly no burgers. Or does it?! Veggie and soy burgers were obviously a possibility, but it’s pretty hard finding ones that a) are completely vegan, and b) don’t taste like a cardboard asshole.

By the end of the month I had eaten one burger at home that was really gross, and I was dying to get out and have something delicious. I found out that South St. Burger Co. — a newish burger chain owned by New York Fries — had a veggie burger, so I gave them a shout via their Twitter account to find out if it was truly vegan. I got a fast, friendly and helpful reply with the information I needed, and made plans with Caryl to eat there (though we did so in different cities).

Now, my vegan diet may not have been as strict as some, and my research into their ingredients was fairly limited. If you are interested in a veggie burger from South Street, I recommend emailing them at for a full list of ingredients, to make sure it fits your needs.

So far, my (pre-visit) experience with the company had been super good. I was impressed and happy. Once I got to the clean, modern-looking restaurant, things stayed more or less positive. The ordering procedure is like a Harvey’s or Lick’s: order your burger, shuffle down the line and, once your burger has been grilled up, order your condiments. The staff were fast and friendly, and the whole thing was efficient.

But I did say "more or less", didn’t I? There was something that came close to ruining my whole meal for me: Rush. The restaurant had the radio (Q107 I believe) on really loud. I generally like Q107, but having it on in the restaurant sucks:

  1. In addition to really loud music, I have to listen to really loud commercials. I’ve already paid for my meal, I don’t want to also have ads drilled into my brain while I’m eating it.
  2. If terrible, terrible music comes on, like fucking Rush, I can’t change the channel. I have to sit and listen to their 14-minute epics about trees, all the while gritting my teeth and wishing that I were deaf. I hate fucking Rush, man.

So yeah, the music situation was not cool. Significant points lost there, but your mileage may vary.

Another problem that I think is actually a bit of a bigger deal: the drink that came with my combo was tiny. The cup itself seemed like a decent size — smaller than I’d like, but decent — but it was packed with ice. Completely full. The amount of actual pre-melting liquid in there was enough to get me through about half my meal, after which I just had to suffer. I know there have been lots of points made about how much pop sizes have grown over the years and how bad it is for you, etc. But I don’t care, man. Give me a drink that’s big enough that I don’t get thirsty while eating. Pop costs practically nothing for these companies; skimping on that is pretty bushleague in my opinion.

A word about the fries: mmmm. I’ve always loved New York Fries, and having them with a burger was a nice treat.

Experience rating: 3.7/5

The Burger

South St.’s veggie burger is actually mostly soy-based. Before going to South St. I was very conscious of the fact that I’d never had a soy burger I’ve really liked. And… much to my surprise, I found myself really enjoying this burger.

So I can set the flavour-scene a bit: I got my burger on a white bun (you could also get whole wheat if you like), with Dijon mustard, ketchup, lettuce, guacamole, banana peppers, salt and black pepper. There were lots of toppings to choose from, which was nice. There are some sauces (e.g. garlic aioli and I think a Dijon horseradish or something like that) that I’d like to try if I go back.

I must admit, my tastebuds were pretty confused while eating the burger. At no point did I think it was bad. I did, however, have all of the following thoughts (all of which I wrote down, naturally):

  • Smells not burgery.
  • Tastes good! Not really like a burger, but good!
  • OK, it is pretty burgery. Not exactly like meat, but totally decent.
  • Nice seasonings. I can’t exactly place what it tastes like.
  • Maybe it does taste like meat, but not like a burger.

In hindsight, I’d say it was like a comedian doing a funny impression of another comedian. The impression will have some of the same characteristics of the original, some exaggerated and some understated. Though the original is good, the impression is also good, albeit in a different way. That’s a bit laboured, but I think you get what I’m trying to say.

All that said, there were aspects of the burger that could have been better. First, the burger seemed a bit small. I’m not sure if this was an illusion caused by a slightly too-large bun, or if it was actually small. I didn’t leave hungry, so that’s something to consider. Second, the toppings were applied skimpily, especially the guacamole. I’d say for more than half my bites, the toppings were more or less undetectable. The only saving grace is that none of them cost extra, which is nice.

Despite my weird ramblings and those two complaints, the bottom line is that South St. delivered a tasty burger in my hour of need, and I left a happy customer. I have no doubt I will return at some point to try their real burgers out, and maybe even give the veggie burger another go.

Burger rating: 4/5

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Hero Certified Burgers, Toronto, On

Posted Tuesday September 29, 2009 8:17AM

Categories: "gourmet" fast food burger, Hero Certified Burgers, Sarah C., Toronto On

Hero Certified Burgers, Toronto, On Address: 55 Avenue Road, Toronto, On (inside Hazelton Lanes Shopping Centre, lower level)
Visited: Saturday September 26, 2009 1:00PM
Ordered: 4 oz Hero burger (x1), 6 oz peameal bacon burger (x1), fries (x2), vanilla milkshake (x1), iced tea (x1)
Total Cost: around $21; I didn’t get a receipt for some reason
Photo from Hero Certified Burgers

Sarah C.’s Review

The Experience

Today I was supposed to go with Dave to the new Gourmet Burger Co. that just opened up on Charles St. W, but tragically, Dave’s work thwarted our plans. To drown my sorrows, I went to Hero Burger with my husband instead.

We currently live pretty much equidistant between Hero Burger and Craft Burger, and I think we eat at both places about equally. To my mind, Craft Burger makes the better burger hands down, but Hero Burger provides very good value for your money and a fine burger experience, as it did today.

The Hero Burger in Hazelton Lanes only provides a couple of tables inside the store proper, but there are more spread out in front. The cashier was friendly and very polite (and also cute, which helps). Our food was ready within 6-7 minutes, which was impressive given that it was Saturday at 1:00 and they were fairly busy.

The milkshakes claim to be "90% ice cream, 10% milk," and I am here to tell you that this is FALSE. The shake was very thin up front. There was a reasonably large deposit of ice cream at the bottom of the cup, but even then, it wasn’t as much as I would have expected. This didn’t bother me a whole lot, as I like a thin shake, but it was definitely not as advertised.

One thing that Hero Burger does REALLY well is fries. They were hot, not overly salty, thick, and substantial. I generally like them a bit crispier, but these were very good nonetheless.

Experience rating: 4/5

The Burger

As I said, I’ve always enjoyed Hero. Today, however, I was struck by how industrial the burger seemed: perfectly round, perfectly flat, with a slightly rubbery texture. The taste was fine, and the patty was nice and juicy, but I wasn’t at all fooled into thinking I was eating something made from scratch. They have a wide selection of toppings, which they apply generously. This results in a slightly messy burger, which doesn’t bother me as long as there are plenty of napkins to hand.

The Hero burger doesn’t hold a candle to the "gourmet" places, in my opinion, but it’s a decent, reliable, reasonably priced burger, and at the end of the day, sometimes that’s all you need.

Burger rating: 3.5/5

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Original Motorcycle Gourmet Burgers Etc., Toronto, On

Posted Sunday September 13, 2009 10:20AM

Categories: "gourmet" fast food burger, Original Motorcycle Gourmet Burgers Etc., Scott M., Toronto On

Original Motorcycle Gourmet Burgers Etc., Toronto, On Address: 4 Temperance Street, Toronto, On
Visited: Friday September 11, 2009 12:15PM
Ordered: Philly Burger (x1), Fries (x1), Root Beer (x1)
Total Cost: $16
Photo from Original Motorcycle Gourmet Burgers Etc.

Scott M.’s Review

The Experience

Well Fridays do deserve burgers for lunch so I headed down with a friend to the Original Motorcycle Gourmet Burgers Etc. at Temperance and Yonge.

The place is not a greasy spoon type but instead the more polished "I’d rather a chic experience than authentic experience" type place with a lot of wood grain and polished steel. Scaled back and classic. It really does remind you of the mid 40′s types who wear leather jackets and drive mini-vans and a lot less of "I lost an eye when I was 10 in meth lab explosion" attitude I’d expect from a biker theme. Think more "Wild Hogs" experience than "Easy Rider".  I digress.

The ordering style is pretty much the typical Acme, Hero and Craft type – walk in, pick your burger and your toppings, go sit down and wait.  And they ask your name instead of giving you a number… we all know that numbers are degrading (and hard to remember).

No nonsense order placement, which is good.   For the first time you need to read through a list of condiments just to find out if they have any really special sauces (which they don’t and I’m good with that – chipotle mayo is almost a cliché to me nowadays).

The seating was good and no wait staff meandering about – although the dude did almost clear my root beer before I was finished.  For a Friday, the place was pretty empty – I’ll have to keep my eye on that.

Experience rating: 3.5/5

The Burger

Their shtick is that its not a burger… its a STEAK burger.  Which is like saying that your tuna sandwich isn’t a tuna sandwich, its sushi avec la pain.  They come from the same animal and yes, you used a better grade meat – but don’t be a retard – when you grind it up and put it on a bun, its a burger.

They offer a number of burger styles – like a banquet, philly, pesto etc…  I usually am not into that so much but mushrooms and swiss cheese is pretty much my favourite burger topping so I went with the Philly (which is Mozzarella, grilled onions and mushrooms) –  added fries and some overly inflated root beer in a bottle.

The burger is 6oz and served on a nice soft brioche type sesame seed roll.  Excellent choice for the bun as its airy, supplies substance to the burger without being chewy or tough.  Kudos.

The burger is definitely beefy (must be the steak), about 1/2 inch thick and tasty – although I found it a bit salty.  The ground is packed pretty tightly which in turn meant the burger was pretty juicy and held together. I find it hard to tell with a tight grind if the burger is medium (as their menu suggests).

Toppings were decent – soft grilled onions and mushrooms and the mozzarella is nicely chewy.  Cheddar or other toppings (like bacon) might be salterific as the burger is pretty salty.

I realize that this is a burger review, but the fries here are worth a mention – nice and crisp but fluffy inside.  Not too much salt and hot throughout.

Overall – I actually liked this burger quite a bit even though I commented on the salt a few times.  Maybe I’m getting old.  The bun really saved the burger for me – soft and airy is king.  The price, however, I thought was a little dear and I’m not sure why.  It was 11.95 for a burger which is typical if you were in a pub – however fries and the expensive cane sugar (?) root beer came out to $16 for the whole thing.

We DID however get a couple of keychains out of the deal –  nice swag. There are probably a bunch of minivan keys dangling off of these things all over the city :)

Burger rating: 3.75/5

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