Volo, Toronto, On

Posted Saturday November 21, 2009 5:15PM

Categories: "gourmet" burger, Dave N., Toronto On, Volo

Volo, Toronto, On Address: 587 Yonge Street, Toronto, On
Visited: Wednesday October 21, 2009 5:30PM
Ordered: Veal Burger special (x3), Beer (x5), Juice (x1)
Total Cost: $93.88
Photo from urbanspoon, by Robert.

Dave N.’s Review

The Experience

I’m not sure exactly what this place is called. I’ve seen Caffevolo, Caffe Volo, Cafe Volo, Bar Volo and just plain Volo. I’m sticking with Volo, because it’s easier.

Anyway, this is a really nice Italian beer bar and restaurant on Yonge, near Wellesley. It’s a bit pricey, but it generally has great food and always has an amazing selection of beers. Their normal menu is always good, but it’s often worth checking out what’s on special (for both drinks and food).

The day I was there I was in a bit of a bad mood, as I was meeting a friend to help me resolve some labour/money issues I was having. (Bad mood because of issues, not because of friend helping me.) I offered to buy him drinks if he’d help me talk through it, which he agreed to. Dickhead that I am, I forgot to pay for his share, but I’ll pay him back later, I swear.

We ended up staying for more than just a drink, and we were eventually joined by his girlfriend, and the whole thing turned into quite a nice evening.

I’ve found that the service at Volo can be spotty, but that night I had absolutely no complaints. Our servers were fast, friendly and accurate.

My only complaints about the experience are that, as I said, Volo can be expensive; it can also be fairly dark in there, and I like a well-lit restaurant.

Experience rating: 4.6/5

The Burger

The night we were there, Volo’s panini special was a 5oz veal burger with caramelized onions, mushrooms, pancetta bacon, and gorgonzola cheese on an egg brioche bun served with potatoes and mixed greens, all for $15. All three of us ordered it — mine without mushrooms, naturally – and I believe we all enjoyed it.

You can’t really go wrong with toppings like that — I mean shit, man. Onions, pancetta and gorgonzola? Fuck yeah. Why don’t more burgers have pancetta? Pancetta is great! And Volo’s not really the kind of place to dick around; the ingredients were top-notch, and the burger tasted awesome. Sure it was smallish, but it was really densely flavoured and rich. I loved it. Also, the bun was really nice. Why aren’t more burgers served on brioche? Brioche is great!

So, I’m not 100% sure if Volo even has burgers on their menu normally, but if you happen to be there and if there happens to be a burger special, for the love of God, order it. And have some great beers, too.

Burger rating: 4.8/5

Bottom Line

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Duke of Somerset, Toronto, On

Posted Saturday November 21, 2009 4:17PM

Categories: Dave N., Duke of Somerset, pub/diner burger, Toronto On

Duke of Somerset, Toronto, On Address: 655 Bay Street, Toronto, On
Visited: Monday October 5, 2009 8:30PM
Ordered: Big Ben Burger (x1), Beer (x2)
Total Cost: $21.74

Dave N.’s Review

The Experience

I had been working late, and needed to grab some food. I ended up meeting up with some friends, who highly recommended the burgers at this pub, so we hit the mother up.

The Duke of Somerset is part of the ‘Duke’ chain of pubs that can be found around Toronto. I had been in here a long time ago, when my girlfriend used to live nearby. I’m pretty sure it’s undergone some renos in the years since I had last visited and the place looks really nice. I’m a big fan of pubs, and this one hits a really sweet spot where it’s nice and classy and clean, without being pretentious.

The service was excellent, we got a nice big table in a prime location, and overall the night was good. There was some weird music playing that straddled a fine line between amazing and terrible. Selections included a disco medley of The Streets Have No Name and Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You, and some Blur.

Also: really good fries.

Experience rating: 4.5/5

The Burger

Despite my friends’ recommendations, I didn’t actually intend to have a burger. However, the Somerset had this Monday night special that I found impossible to resist: any burger on the menu plus a pint of Keith’s for $12.99. Considering the burgers can cost $12.99 anyway, that’s a good bargain.

I opted for the Big Ben Burger, which has Stilton cheese, mushrooms, and beer-braised onions. I got it without mushrooms because mushrooms are gross, y’all. The burger was really beefy, in a good way; the meat had a nice, strong flavour. Oddly enough, the sesame seeds on my bun were also surprisingly strong (which is also good in my book). Unfortunately, these robust tastes just made the very lackluster stilton and onions all the more obvious and disappointing. While they tasted good, they also definitely struggled to be noticed under the beefy-sesamey double-whammy.

The burger was definitely good, but I was not satisfied with the toppings at all. I would definitely return to give the Duke of Somerset another shot, but I probably wouldn’t have the Big Ben Burger again.

Burger rating: 3.3/5

Bottom Line

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Classic Burger No. 3, Redondo Beach, Ca

Posted Saturday October 17, 2009 10:31AM

Categories: Classic Burger No. 3, pub/diner burger, Redondo Beach Ca, Vin S.

Classic Burger No. 3, Redondo Beach, Ca Address: 622 Torrance Blvd., Redondo Beach, Ca, 90277
Visited: Friday October 12, 2009 6:30PM
Ordered: Bulgogie Burger (x1), Onion Rings (x1), Root Beer (x1)
Total Cost: $6.26
Photo from Yelp, by Joan S.

Vin S.’s Review

The Experience

Last month, I reviewed Classic Burger, my favorite local diner. Their burgers are just fine, though each one on the menu is basically the same, just maybe with one different topping (avocado, bacon, etc.). Having tried one, I know what most will be. Except… they do list a Pastrami Burger. Does that mean there is pastrami on the burger? Or some sort of alternate pastrami patty? I returned to Classic today, with full intent to try this.

However, as I parked and walked in, I noticed a sign on the front window, announcing Korean Style BBQ burgers and tacos. What!? Now, I’m an LA guy. I’ve had the famous Kogi tacos from the travelling van, and think they’re delicious. (Haven’t tried their kimchi quesadillas yet though.) Regardless, I was surprised to see my local diner advertising this. All thoughts of pastrami went out the window, and I ordered the bulgogie (sic) burger. The guy taking my order seemed slightly confused, it must be a brand new item. I showed him the handwritten "specials" menu on which the bulgogie burger was listed.

You can read my atmosphere experience review on my prior post. I’m docking some points for the local diner jumping on an LA hipster bandwagon (esp. because Redondo Beach isn’t exactly LA).

Experience rating: 4.01/5

The Burger

As I said, most all of the burgers at Classic taste the same. Very good, but not much variety in tastes. That’s why the bulgogi was an intriguing turn of events. However, in the end, there was almost no distinction between this bulgogi Korean flavor, and the usual Classic hamburger. Perhaps this is because they are still learning to make it, I may give it another shot some time. But for the most part, this was a Classic hamburger, with lettuce and onion mix, with what I assume was a bit of bulgogi mixed in. I could barely taste it, if it was (and it sort of looked like there was something in there to make it a slightly different color). I do like the regular burgers here, they’re a good size and taste fine. But I wanted something a little more unique, something bulgogi to stand out, and I just didn’t get it.

Burger rating: 2.12/5

Bottom Line

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McDonald’s, Toronto, On

Posted Monday October 5, 2009 11:13AM

Categories: Dave N., fast food burger, McDonald's, Toronto On

McDonald's, Toronto, On Address: 89 Yonge Street, Toronto, On
Visited: Wednesday September 30 2009, 11:45AM
Ordered: Double cheeseburger (x2), Coke (x1), chocolate sundae (x1)
Total Cost: $7.64

Dave N.’s Review

The Experience

No, I’m not going to write a review every time I go to McDonald’s, nor are our other reviewers. However, I don’t mind writing up a few a) to cover different menu items, or b) if it was an interesting or exceptional experience. This experience was neither interesting nor exceptional, so this review will simply focus on how sweet it is to get double cheeseburgers.

I don’t have much to say about going to McDonald’s. It was a pretty typical McDonald’s trip. I ended up missing my Queen subway stop on the way to work, so I got off at King and walked up. Recognizing that this was my only chance to eat lunch, and possibly dinner, I popped in for something quick. This particular McDonald’s was spacious and clean — far better than the one I sometimes hit at Queen and Church, which is a tiny scuzzhole.

Experience rating: 3/5 — it’s McDonald’s

The Burger

When I was in LA visiting Caryl’s brother last year, we were in search of something fast and cheap to eat before going out drinking at a tiki bar. McDonald’s fit the bill and I was, for the first time, introduced to the dollar menu. Now, in LA, items on this menu actually cost a dollar, which is pretty spectacular. Here in Canada they cost $1.39, which still ain’t nothing to shake no stick at. Included on this menu is the absolutely delicious, if somewhat wee, Double Cheeseburger.

For years, when I ate at McDonald’s, I ate Quarter Pounders. Since I’ve discovered the Double Cheeseburger, I’ve almost never looked back. The one time I tried to have a Quarter Pounder again I ended up being kinda put off by the taste, so I guess they’ve been ruined for me. The Double Cheeseburger is exactly what you would expect. It’s like a Double Quarter Pounder, but far smaller and flimsier, and with a slightly different taste. Though it still tastes like McDonald’s, of course.

Ok, I’m bored of writing this. What you need to know: the Double Cheeseburger is a better value than other McD’s burgers and just as good, if not better. Order up a couple of these bad boys next time you’re here.

Burger rating: 3/5 — it’s McDonald’s

Bottom Line

Average rating:

3/5 — it’s McDonald’s


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