Moxie’s Classic Grill, Toronto, On

Posted Monday October 5, 2009 11:03AM

Categories: "gourmet" burger, Dave N., Moxie's Classic Grill, Toronto On

Moxie's Classic Grill, Toronto, On Address: 30-3401 Dufferin Street, Toronto, On (inside Yorkdale Shopping Centre)
Visited: Sunday September 27, 2009 1:30PM
Ordered: Mediterranean Burger with sweet potatoe fries (x1), beet/goat cheese salad (x1), banana bread (x1), coffee (x1)
Total Cost: $52.16
Photo from yorkdale.com
 

Dave N.’s Review

The Experience

I first ate at Moxie’s when Caryl and I lived in Vancouver for a year. They were peppered around the city and we found it to be a decent place to get a fairly consistent, if somewhat overpriced, meal. After we moved back to Toronto, I guess they expanded eastwards because, well, here they are.

The atmosphere is like a Milestones or something like that — think (somewhat phonily) fancified bar and grill. It’s too dark for my tastes, and the lack of lighting comes off as kind of pretentious. It also makes it necessary for them to put insanely bright spotlights directly over the tables, which frequently blind you while you’re eating and conversing. The weird lighting and my colour-blindness also combined to trick me into using a pack of fake sugar for my coffee, though this is a problem few others will probably run into.

The service was friendly, but we waited for too long in my opinion. I was getting pretty antsy by the time the food showed up. It was kind of brutal. Once stuff arrived, things went OK. The house Euro-style beer was decent; got the job done. That job being, you know, to quench my thirst and make me a little tipsy. I made a super smart move in substituting the regular fries that came with my burger for their sweet potato fries. They were soooooo good. Damn. They came with a curry-mayo kind of sauce that was great, and also ended up going on my burger.

I like Moxie’s, but it had enough stupid crap going on to annoy me. The lights, the slow service, the price — it all added up to me being kind of cranky, which isn’t exactly what I want in a burger experience. Also, it made me miss Vancouver, so I ended being cranky and sad. The place is good, but they could stand to step their game up a bit.

Experience rating: 3.1/5

The Burger

The menu had a few different burgers to choose from, and I decided to go with the Mediterranean Burger that was topped with feta and goat cheese and basil pesto. It was served with lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, pickles and sweet pepper aioli. (I removed the tomatoes and red onions and Caryl took my pickle.) I also added the previously-mentioned great curry-mayo kind of sauce that came with my fries and some mustard.

All of that seems like a hell of a lot of flavours to be mixing together. But, you guys, let me tell you that it was SO GOOD. All the condiments and melty cheeses and things mixed together to form this amazing, delicious awesomesauce. It ended up being a little messy and sloppy, but that worked out to my advantage because I was then able to dip my fries in all the discarded liquid fantastic coming off the burger. I was worried that the feta would make everything too salty, but it did not.

Clearly I liked the burger but, if I’m being honest, it did have some stupid bits. First, the bun was far too bunny — it was too big and poufy, and too dry. The actual burger patty itself was also sub-par. It tasted very familiar to me in a grocery-store-frozen-burger way; I think it might have been a President’s Choice burger. It wasn’t actually bad, but I expect something better (or at the very least different) than that when I go out and drop a small fortune.

So yeah, not the perfect burger. But, if a restaurant’s going to serve some shitty Loblaws burger, then this is the way to do it.

Burger rating: 4.32/5

Bottom Line

Average rating:

3.71/5

 

The Burger Stand, Los Angeles, Ca

Posted Wednesday September 30, 2009 10:14AM

Categories: Los Angeles Ca, pub/diner burger, The Burger Stand, Vin S.

The Burger Stand, Los Angeles, CA Address: 3413 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles, Ca
Visited: Tuesdey September 29, 2009 5:43PM
Ordered: Double Cheese Burger (x1)
Total Cost: $5.95
 

Vin S.’s Review

The Experience

So some sudden changes in plans found me driving home from work on a different route than usual. Specifically, I found myself driving straight down Crenshaw Blvd. While I oftentimes do not take the freeways home, I also must admit, I do not usually take Crenshaw. I’m not sure what area of LA this is — I don’t think it’s quite South Central, it’s just south of the 10 at the Crenshaw/Jefferson intersection. It’s all LA to me. So what to do on a relatively unfamiliar route home? Find a burger place, and review it!

The first place I saw after deciding on finding a burger was the aptly named, The Burger Stand. I pulled over immediately. Now, don’t get me wrong — this place is not for everyone. The style, the location, all that, are surely offputting for a lot of people. I’m sure it’s out of most peoples’ ways, unless you happen to find yourself heading down Crenshaw for some reason. While The Burger Stand is in a building, and not technically a stand, there is no restaurant part, you walk up to the window and order through the glass. The pretty ladies at the grill then spin your food out to you in one of those rotating bulletproof window things. A guy was relieving himself in the alley in the back. There was a pay phone (!) next to the order window, and a bunch of mannequins modelling on the sidewalk next door. Not everyone would dig this atmosphere, which is either pretty irrelevant, or very strong, depending on your point of view.

Me, I dug it.

Experience rating: not for everyone, but if you like that sort of thing — 3.77/5

(Docking .5 points for lack of chili. See below.)

The Burger

I had trouble deciding today what to order. While there wasn’t a ton of menu items, there were a number of options. The burgers were broken up into normal, king and double. I’m not sure what a king is. I ended up asking for a double chili burger, but damn–they were out of chili. What? So I just went with a double cheese burger. Other topping options included egg or bacon. (Or the egg bacon chili monstrosity.)

And let me tell you, this was the best burger I’d eaten in a long time. It was basically too big, that’s for sure. But is that a flaw? I did ask for a double, so I can’t complain at least. The two meat patties were gigantic, and quite tasty. The meat probably overwhelmed everything, but it was so good, I don’t mind. The patties tasted like they were just ground right there and grilled and definitely not frozen or anything like that. Superb.

Also the toppings surprised, which were a sort of lettuce/onion/mustard/pickles mix. I’m not usually a mustard fan–I don’t hate it, but it’s not something I usually turn to. I found the mustard and pickles gave the massive amounts of meat a real nice bite. The spiciness was just right, and very tasty. The only flaw in the toppings was maybe the cheese, which wasn’t overly noticeable among everything else. On the other hand, the bun was also unmemorable, but in my mind, that’s good. Too much bread is overwhelming and I don’t like that.

GIANT MEATY DELICIOUSNESS Burger rating: 4.66/5

Bottom Line

Average rating:

4.22/5

 

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

Bottom Line

Average rating:

3.75/5

 

J&I Burger . BBQ, Toronto, On

Posted Friday September 25, 2009 12:14PM

Categories: Dave N., fast food-style burger, J&I Burger . BBQ, Toronto On

J&I Burger . BBQ, Toronto, On Address: 22 St. Clair Avenue East, Toronto, On (inside the St. Clair Centre, lower level)
Visited: Monday September 21, 2009 11:55AM
Ordered: Cheeseburger (x1), Coke (x1)
Total Cost: $5
 

Dave N.’s Review

The Experience

J&I is a little food court-type thing by the subway entrance on the lower level of the St. Clair Centre. It’s kind of tucked away in a corner, and I never noticed it until this Monday when I was hungry and on my way into the office. I needed something fast, and since a burger presented itself… well, who am I to resist?

Now, here’s the thing: I’m a font nerd/snob. The menus were all written in comic sans, the worst font ever. This was a huge, huge turnoff for me. I may have avoided this place entirely if I had noticed before ordering, but by the time I glanced over at the menus it was too late. (The specials board I ordered off of was not in CS, which is why I didn’t notice immediately.) So major point deduction there.

The ordering process itself was easy/friendly/straight-forward/fast. The food is cooked to order, so there was a slight wait, but it wasn’t long at all. The biggest annoyance, other than the font, is that the place was crawling with loud kids/teenagers. I guess there’s a school nearby? They weren’t being rowdy or bad or anything like that, but I just wasn’t in the mood for all the commotion. If you care at all about these kinds of things, keep in mind that noon on a weekday is potentially a bad time to show up.

Experience rating: 2.8/5

The Burger

I got a cheeseburger and a coke, and the price was right: exactly $5.

The cheese was a thin piece of cheddar. At first I was disappointed, but it was surprisingly flavourful, so that was a nice surprise. When adding other toppings I was pretty jazzed to see that they had sriracha, so I got some of that. They put the right amount on, but unfortunately it seemed all concentrated into one tiny area of the burger, making for an uneven flavour experience. I also got some lettuce and yellow mustard, which were entirely unremarkable.

The burger itself had the same weird meatloaf taste as the one I got from BBQ Express. I can’t put my finger on exactly what’s so weird about it, but it’s definitely an odd taste for a burger. I think both places were Korean, though, so now I’m wondering if there’s some typical Korean way to prepare burgers. Something to investigate further I guess.

Burger rating: 2.85/5

Bottom Line

Average rating:

2.83/5