burger bar, kensington market
Hubby and I went to Burger Bar for lunch today. I know this won't be entirely relevant to all readers, as my husband and I almost entirely stuck to vegetarian items. FYI, we had one of those group buy coupons for $30.00 worth of food.
Upon arrival, we considered the lunch special, which was a burger (there were beef and veggie options) and a bowl of the soup of the day. I asked what the soup of the day was... Sweet potato, but no point, as they were out of it. But we could have sweet potato fries to accompany the burgers instead. Could one of us have sweet potato fries and the other have regular fries, I asked. No. So, we decided to order two veggie burger specials, a side of onion rings and regular fries to share, since we had the money to spend, anyway, and neither of us is that crazy about sweet potato fries. Oh, and gravy for the fries!
Hubby asked for a diet pop. They were out of stock.
They had no onion rings. I made some fuss about this, because this was the one thing I was particularly looking forward to after having had good things about their rings. I will travel some distance for great onion rings!
They had only one veggie burger left, so they agreed to substitute a portobello burger at my request.
The food arrives, but there's no gravy. I ask for the gravy, and the waitress calls out to the cook who replies there isn't any.
The waitress did bring a big bowl of salad to our table to make up for everything they didn't have... Alas, my husband and I just felt that instead of getting all the things we wanted, we got something we didn't, though it was a nice gesture.
The most unfortunate part is that, while both versions of fries were quite scrumptious, both our burgers were terribly disappointing--bland, boring, in need of serious help. We are fans of the portobello burger at Great Burger Kitchen, which is a great mess of deliciousness (mushroom, brie, aioli, etc.).
It was a waste of a trip. To top it all off, we had $5.00 remaining unspent, and the waitress told us there was nothing she could do about this. If it were my business, I would have offered free onion rings for a future visit, so they could have an opportunity to show their restaurant isn't always this lame.
Great Burger Kitchen
1056 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1Z8, CA
Augusta ale? Yeah, a session beer, light, crisp, not too interesting. Then again the style isn't one I crave. It's also been served at other spots in the city (volo, c'est what, only cafe).
Service is pretty crap at Burger Bar when it's busy, they're just very unorganized. I see food languishing at the window waiting forever to be picked up. Getting a drink order from them takes ages, even if you stand by the bar w/ cash in your hand. I've been twice, same experience both times.
Had lunch here yesterday, and honestly, I had a great burger. My partner wasn't thrilled with his, thought it was just okay.
I got the Cowpoke (4 oz patty) with everything plus the avocado and tomatillo salsa, with sweet potato fries. I noticed earlier posters reporting 'skinny' fries, but these were chunky, and really good. The burger was pretty flavourful, but the salsa may have overcompensated. Yes, I guess the bun could have been toasted, but overall I was satisfied, and I'd happily go back.
Went here last week - disappointed.
Saag Poutine ($9
)Fries were very soggy due to the dumped sauce. A better idea would have been to serve this on the side - just like Saag dishes in Indian restaurants.This got better as the ones near the bottom were still dry and crispy.
House-Cut Fries & Sweet Potato Fries
We got the 50/50 so we could try both the sweet potato and house cut fries.The sweet potato fries were nestled on the bottom of the dish, which a friend kept fishing out. They were thin and crispy, and I liked them - but still think that Ackee Tree serves the best sweet potato fries in the area. Still, good sweet potato fries!
Onion Rings ($6)
These were actually really good! I have yet to try W Burger Bar's panko-crusted onion rings, but I am now a fan of this. Much better than battered onion rings. I especially liked these in the dips that came with the fries
The 6 Cheese Burger ($13)
This was loaded with cheese - rather than a blend, it's a helping of each type of cheese on top of each other.
We asked for no blue cheese...unfortunately it was not left out and it overpowered the burger, as expected. I would have probably liked it if all of the cheese was blended, melted, and then topped on the burger. Without the blue cheese.
Looking back at the menu - where were the pickles and onions? They weren't on the burger...
Gaucho ($9+$3 for organic beef)
I liked the chimichurri on the burger - but I wish they used something more similar to Segovia's instead of what was smeared on. The fact that it was organic may have helped, as the patty tasted better. Unlike Market Burger (below) it wasn't overcooked. Would have been nice to get tomatoes on this too...."Smothered" in chimichurri was a gross overstatement - it was more of a smidge than a smother.
Market Burger ($10)
The picture looks as burnt and disappointing as it was. The patty was black and charred, and there was nothing special about having toasted rice in the patty
Overall, the above burgers were quite disappointing. One was burned, they all came with a bland white bun and iceberg lettuce. Pricey for what you get.
The OMGTMJKM Burger (oh my goodness this might just kill me) ($18)
8oz pattie w/ chili, a fried egg, blue, brie, chevre, bacon and an onion ring on whole wheat
As the name suggests, a crazy burger arrived. The fried egg was good on the burger, the single onion ring didn't contribute anything, and the chili was just okay (not enough punch).
There were so many elements about this burger that should be applied to the rest. A better bun, topped with a tomato, and pickles inside. As with the 6-cheese, we asked for no blue cheese but we got it anyways! I mentioned it to our server and she apologized but there was not much that could be done. I wasn't about to toss a whole burger and ask for a new one, but I couldn't pick the cheese out since the burger was so busy.
Overall, my impressions of Burger Bar were not that great. The only burger that was satisfactory was the $18 OMGTMJKM burger...but for that price I'd rather eat 4 empanadas. Otherwise, they were bland, skimpy, and disappointing. If you want a nice, pink, juicy burger in the downtown core I suggest Grindhouse's Bison burger or W Burger Bar's Pure Beef Burger (with all the toppings!) for far less. The service was okay, aside from the blue cheese not being omitted as requested. I wouldn't return.
319 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2M2, CA
Used my coupon for a third visit (I wanted to try it, took friends back bc we were in the area and then figured a free burger is a free burger)
-The regular patty was juicier and tastier than usual
-The pickles taste really good and my free burger also had free pickles
-For ten or so days in the service is fine by me. There inexperience hasn't affected my experience.
-I actually really like the decor (especially the Classic Canadian Cocktail placemats), the soundtrack, and I'm okay with the dim lighting. Remember that "bar" is the second half of the name. To me, the brightness at places like Caplansky's feels unnatural.
-Both sweet potato and regular fries. Good seasoning, sweet potato fries taste more like sweet potatoes, and I like the softer, more-potato-less-crispy-greasy texture of the fries.
-Adding Flying Monkeys to the tap list is appreciated.
-Despite begging and pleading for med-rare or med I was told that 71C (well) is health code mandatory. Pisses me off to hear that others are getting medium. Could be a control issue.
-Saag poutine is, as stated, watery and under-flavoured. Maybe I'm not meant to like vegetarian poutine but every bite left me wanting richness. Also, imo, they should switch to plates from bowls for poutine bc that way some fries can stick out at the edges and not go soggy.
-I want a much softer, richer bun. Chewy buns like this are fine for peameal sandwiches but distract from the beefy texture with hamburgers.
The price isn't horribly out of line. If they changed the bun, dropped the pickle surcharge, and most importantly cook my burger the way I like it (med-rare to med) I wouldn't mind paying a couple bucks less than the sixteen bucks that buys an excellent Drake Burger with bacon, cheese, and fries.
Any try the brunch?
ok, here's the bf's lunch review today - i'm sad that it's bad news but his words are pretty funny...
venue: the interior is unimpressive, music is the blues
drinks: "..dumb waitress brings us drinks and thens says she never tried them because they're 4 bucks each. we didn't know that either..."
food: He got the burger w/ egg, cheddar and peameal. He says it "fell apart and the $2 peameal was the size of an egg yolk". The "beef was good but not memorable" and that he should have got a plain burger with nothing else.
sides: The reg fries needed double frying. The onions rings are not from frozen but "tasted like paper".
Overall: It was a good outing, and his coworker who he describes as having pretty simple tastes was happy...
The dim lighting seems to be the cool thing for restaurants with modern motifs. I am a huge fan of excellent lighting (I would put fluorescent lights in my house if I was allowed). But dim lighting is expected at nicer restaurants. Although based on these posts, most would not deem this place nice. The lighting is not a big deal.
PS I sat at the bar the other day and I absolutely love it. I plan on making an office desk like that when I am an old man like Andy Rooney.
I'm going to the restaurant tonight, but I'm pretty busy this weekend, I'll post my review as soon as I can.
Alright.. I tried it for myself today at 1pm for lunch.
As mentioned by other posters, lighting is poor and decor isn't great. For the country western theme, Double Deuce Saloon does a better job aesthetics wise...
I ordered a reg burger and a side of sw. potato fries. The patty was cooked med-well but was juicy. The beef flavour was only noticeable to me in the first couple bites after which it seemed rather bland and in need of salt or some other seasoning. I didn't hate the bun since it was thinner rather than thick and crumbly or doughy but i did end up leaving most of it behind.
The big surprise - the sw potato fries were the best I've had. They're cut skin on in 3/8" sticks and stayed crispy the entire meal. I think the thinner cut is the secret to sweet tato fry with good texture that doesn't make you feel heavy like you ate a bowl of mashed potato.
I also enjoyed the chipotle ketchup though wished there was more than the 2 tbsp on the plate. When I asked for more I was given the reg red sweet stuff they put in the burger (boring!)
Service wise I found the wait for my meal to be quite long considering I was a table for one. I was served by 2 waitresses. One who was very nice and another who was so rude I almost didn't leave a tip (though I did leave a very generous tip on the value of the whole meal as the one girl was helpful.) Ironically, after telling the story to my bf (see post above) it turns out that girl was the girl he referred to as dumb...(!)
If I came back, I get the sweet potato fries but not the burger. Overall though, I think it's too pricey and with so many other good options in the market, I doubt I'll return.
Had lunch today. In a word, I liked it. The burger was quite good and the sweet tater fries were quite tasty.
The good; the burger (regular) was medium well, juicy and tasted good. The sweet tater fries were nicely seasoned and also tasty. The cane sugar cola was nice. It was milder and less carbonated than coke.
The bad; the lighting in the place is terrible. Prett dim to the point that I didn't bother trying to take a picture. For $8 the burger should be awesome, not good. $4 for the fries is too much. The chipotle ketchup was bland. It certainly needed salt. The fries were better without it. For getting my burger free, they still dinged me nearly $12. It's expensive.
I can't see me going back. Too expensive for not good enough.
I went today to use my free burger coupon. I added an egg and peameal bacon to the burger (trying to replicate one of the Red Robin burgers).
The burger was cooked well done this time. Kinda disappointing. But there seemed to be more flavour this time - though that might have come from the sauce on the underside of the burger patty or the egg and peameal bacon on top.
The beverages menu listed the pop as $3.25 but the bill showed $4.
The fries were skinny. I prefer steak fries (second would be curly fries). Otherwise the fries were good (but expensive @ $4). Not sure why places have gone to fries with the skin left on.
Other than Allen's and maybe Bamburger, I can't think of a place that has a decent thick burger (as opposed to the thin things that you get at McDs, BK, Wendys, or Harvey and their lookalikes like GoldenStar, Burger Shack) for less than $12.
That's the dividing line I see these days - approx. $12 for a good thick juicy burger. If there's a place that has it for less, lemme know. :)
It is dark in the restaurant and they could use some cushioning on the back of the bench of the right side of the restaurant. Table decor consists of old-school Italian restaurant table (red-white checkerboard tablecloth) with a sheet of newspaper on top.
It seems the restaurant avoids any mainstream commercial restaurant food.
It's like an alternative version of Bamburger.
This may sound like crazy talk, but the burgers served at South St. Burger Co. (the hamburger side of New York Fries) are really great. They're 1/3 pound, never frozen and they've got a huge selection of topping choices. They even have whole wheat buns if you'd prefer that. We routinely eat at the one on Islington a few blocks north of The Queensway and there's one particular guy who works there who is some kind of hamburger genius, he cooks them perfectly every single time (hot all the way through yet still juicy). Price for a cheeseburger there is in the $6-$7 range.
I looked on the web and there's one near Young & Eligible - in the death trap for restaurants in the area - NE corner at the first light north of Eglinton.
I went and got the Burger Combo. Like Burger Bar, burger came medium, but not as juicy, more flavour though - decent set of toppings included (similar to Groucho's, more than Harvey's offerings).
As South St. is affiliated with NY Fries, the fries look/taste the same as NY Fries. I had a Mtn Dew. Next time I'll try a milkshake.
Total was just under $10. I'd go back.
That makes third decent burger option in the area:
Burger Shack, South St. burger, and Bam Burger (in order from low to high)
you can always grab something from A&W, BK, or McDs if you feel like it.
Harvey's and Lick's left the area though.
"Other than Allen's and maybe Bamburger, I can't think of a place that has a decent thick burger (as opposed to the thin things that you get at McDs, BK, Wendys, or Harvey and their lookalikes like GoldenStar, Burger Shack) for less than $12."
try zet's homemade burger. I like it, its thicker than the ones you list however I don't think its as thick as Allen's (which I liked but thought it was too thick). I think zet's is just right.
edit:looking at the pic posted, it looks just as thick as Zet's...but the pic is kind of small and I'm not sure.
i went last night with a friend and had a decent meal. started with the cheeseburger spring rolls, which were tasty, but as greasy as expected. also tried the saag poutine, which wasn't very good, the saag was a bit runny and washed out the taste of the fries and cheese.
then we had the a regular (ie non-wagyu/kobe/organic) with gruyere and mushrooms and a side of rings. it was very juicy and beefy flavored. i prefer a medium rare burger, as many do, and even if they didn't ask how i'd like it prepared, the result was quite good. had some onion rings as well, which were a little bland, but a had a very nice crunch.
service was very friendly and nice. we sat down to relax and have a chat, and i think that the waitress caught onto that and let us do our thing.
all in all, it was a bit expensive for a burger meal, especially for a non-medium-rare burger. i'd go back, as least once for the sole reason that the place has only been open for a couple of weeks and they're probably still working out a kink or two. overall, not my favorite burger in town, but probably the best one in my books in kensington (even if it's a couple bucks more).
I would say it isn't worth the regular price but worth trying for free. I will not be going back for a $8 burger.
I had the burger in the coupon and while the meat itself was tasty (I did taste some flavour in the meat itself) the bread/bun was nothing special (MCDs has some better bread!).
I ended up ordering takeout because I was in a bit of a hurry. It took a good 15+ minutes to prepare my burger and sweet potato fries which seemed long for a takeout order when I was waiting at the bar. There were three waitresses there but it appeared one was going off shift. Listening to them talk it sure seemed that they were confused about a lot of things (how to enter things into the computer, etc). They were slow to move too, like, there was food out on the pass and the one girl kept on entering stuff into the computer vs. getting the hot food out to customers. (restaurant was not all that busy).
I realized after that they didn't give me a little container of the sauce that was suppose to come with the sweet potato fries either.
As for the appearance of the restaurant itself, I found the lighting to be very dark considering it isn't exactly a "romantic restaurant". The decor as a whole was pretty plain. The most interesting part was the bar itself made from a slice of a tree.
Overall, there are definitely better options in Kensington for a dinner or lunch. I am not sure how it compares to the other burger options in the market but I know I won't be returning.
Funny, I didnt get a burger coupon but I went yesterday for lunch.
I have been a big fan of Brock Shepperd (sp?) since his days at Azul so I was eager to check out his latest concept.
I had a salmon burger with a tomatillo avocado salsa.
I would have loved the bun to be toasty and the salmon portion to be a tad bit bigger.
However the overall impression due to the delicious salsa was great.
I got one of those emails from them earlier tonight and was pretty surprised. To email potential customers and tell them they've got less than 24 hours to redeem the coupon is pretty iffy customer service considering the customer had nothing to do with the reason why the incoming email wasn't discovered until late. My response in their shoes would have been to extend the deadline a bit just for the people whose emails went undiscovered. Based on what appears to be a customer-second attitude I'll be avoiding them.
When I went there with the wife, the burgers (ordered one natural and one organic burger) were cooked medium, but there wasn't much taste to them. Burgers cost $8-$13 or so. Sides (fries, onion rings, etc.) are extra.
I'm not sure I'd be willing to spend $13 on the Wagyu burger if there's no taste to the burger.
No mainstream commercial pop available - just expensive bottled stuff ($4) - Boylon (?sp)
Sweet potato fries were good, but there were a lot of skinny little bits.
Panko-encrusted onion rings were also good.
Service was good and attentive.
Only three other groups were there - maybe 20% full.
If everyone who emailed them received one of these free coupons that will expire today, then they may be pretty busy today.
At least Caplansky's is only a block away...
37 Kingston St, Goderich, ON N7A3K2, CA