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Dec 11, 2009 06:44 AM

The Grindhouse on King Street

In the area and starving, we stopped in for a late lunch yesterday. I had the fish and chips which were excellent. Really light batter, almost tempura like. It came with housemade ketchup and tartar sauce and very tasty fries. My friend had the turkey burger which she wolfed down.

The restaurant apparently just opened and as of yesterday they were still waiting for the liquor licence. I will definitely go back just for the fish and chips alone.

It's near Peter Street, anybody else been?

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  1. I saw it and got excited, then I went to the website and I changed my mind. But now I'll give it a try, thanks for the heads up.

    2 Replies
    1. re: gastronom

      Yeah, I agree the website needs some work. Thankfully the food was much better.

      1. re: gastronom

        Seriously, one of the worse websites ever. However, I saw mention of it on Tasteto as a place that is doing pretty much everything in house (including buns, condiments, etc for their burgers) so I am interested in checking it out!

      2. I went there the other day; all the following comments are keeping in mind that it's a soft opening (I was actually the only one there, although it was at about 3pm on a Sunday, so that's not too surprising anyway).

        I had a burger and onion rings and my girlfriend had a turkey burger. My burger had a very good taste, but it was a bit more done than I'd ordered (I'd ordered medium rare) which is a fairly large black mark at a burger bar in my opinion. I generally don't like the 'breaded' style onion rings (as opposed to battered), but I really liked these. The breading was sort of falling off the rings (which was fine) and the rings themselves were a good size and tasted great. My girlfriend's turkey burger was pronounced "about as good as a turkey burger can get" (she's not much of a burger fan, so that's about the best you'll get from her). To finish off, the black cherry soda was very sweet but quite good.

        In summary, for a soft opening I thought they did quite well. One of the three owners told me that they were planning for fancier foods after the grand opening (like risotto and various other things I don't remember) which is impressive. They also plan to stay open late on weekends (like 3am late), which is good for night owls. I'm planning on going back for the fish and chips and to try a burger that's actually medium rare, but in the mean time I think that's a good addition to the neighbourhood, and I'm looking forward to what they become.

        Grindhouse Burger Bar
        365 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1K1, CA

        1 Reply
        1. re: Strongbad789

          Hubby and I dropped in this afternoon after a visit at the AGO. I really wanted to try something new but the fish and chips kept calling me. They were so good the first time and I couldn't resist. Very good choice, they were excellent! Nice light battered cod with house made ketchup and tarter sauce. Loved it.

          They've added a few new items to the menu and the guy beside me seemed to be enjoying his pulled pork sandwich.

          Great little spot.

        2. Went today for lunch - 3 of us had burgers, one veggie burger, onion rings and fries. Burgers were very good, onion rings were great, fries were ok (not crispy enough). Veggie burger wasn't enjoyed by my pal - staff asked her for feedback which she provided - they seemed eager to improve. Very good service and fast! Very good overall.

          2 Replies
          1. re: thebutcher

            Which burger did you have thebutcher? I've heard that their elk burger is excellent. And yes I agree the 3 owners seem very eager to please. Apparently they will be trying different things each week. One of them told us that next week they may do a salmon burger and even some pastas to round out the menu. Oh, and their ceasar salad is wicked!

            1. re: millygirl

              Hi Millygirl - we had the classic burger. I added cheese to mine. Very good.

          2. I went there before the holidays and I found the food to be good but expensive for what you get. $9 for a burger that's 2/3 the size you get anywhere else. Plus very skimpy with the lettuce and tomatoe. The port reduced "gravy" was runny and flavourless. Gravy should be
            able to coat a fry and not have it drip off before it reaches your mouth!

            7 Replies
            1. re: sbug206

              Each to his own sbug206. With all due respect, I prefer my gravy on the runny side rather than gluey. Although I must admit I have not tried The Grindhouse version.

              1. re: sbug206

                Need to increase burger size to 8oz min. + Larger fries portion, Gravy was great!
                Decent presentation but even on King west presentation isn't everything.

                1. re: adrdesigns

                  8 ounces minimum? A half pound minimum? Nobody needs a half pound burger at a minimum...they currently have 5 ounce burgers, which is about a third of a pound, which is fine as a minimum. They also have a two-patty burger for people that want more. I also don't see how you can complain about the size of the fry portion...the burgers are perhaps smaller than the ones you get at dangerous dans, but the fries are fine.

                  I think it's a great addition to the neighbourhood, and I'm glad that they've decided to focus on quality over quantity.

                  1. re: Strongbad789

                    I can't comment on the burger 'cuz I've been on a fish and chip kick there but I agree with strongbad79, the portion of fries is huge! I must try the gravy next time.

                    1. re: Strongbad789

                      Lots of people need 8oz burgers. I need them. In general, I think the world would be a better place if it had more choices for 8 oz. burger joints. And if the burgers were loosely packed ground chuck, even better. Just because 4 oz is the recommended serving size doesn't mean I'm gonna be happy about it. Still, a well cooked 5 oz burger is preferable to a poorly made 8 oz hockey puck.

                      1. re: GoodGravy

                        I totally agree that many people will want an 8oz (or larger) burger; lots of people wouldn't want a burger that big, though, so having all burgers be 8oz at a minimum (which would likely mean that they would either have to cost more or be of lower quality) would not be an improvement, in my opinion. As I also mentioned, they do have a two-patty burger as well if you want a larger burger (I'm not sure how big that is, but I would guess that it's probably around 8oz).

                        1. re: GoodGravy

                          So my wife and I tried this place out when she stated shopping tired her out and she wanted a hamburger for dinner. First, it's in the neighborhood of 4-5 oz. Second, they actually asked how we wanted it cooked so we said medium, and it came nicely charred on the outside and a wonderful pink inside. Moist, but not juicy, and dressed with grainy mustard, relish, tomatoes, lettuce, fried onions and ketchup. So with all that, how'd the meat taste? No idea! Too much stuff! Even after I took the lettuce, tomato and onions off, I couldn't really scrape the mustard and relish off enough to taste the meat. Which led me to believe that it must not've been all that beefy tasting to begin with. A nice grass fed burger tastes beefy. Even McD's Angus burger tastes beefy. This one didn't taste beefy. We also split an order of onion rings. They were tasteless which is surprising because they're onions, but they had a nice crunch. Afterwards, we went home and I had a snack because I was still hungry even after dropping $20+.

                          tl;dr: if you like non-gmo, local, organic, blah blah blah, and over-dressed extras that mask the taste of burgers, go here. If you like beefy burgers that aren't so dressed you can't taste them, go elsewhere like Craft.

                  2. Before I begin, I agree, the website is definitely in need of some work.

                    Checked it out a couple of days ago. Really good. My bison burger was really nice, I liked it. Fries were fresh and also very nice. Personally, I like my fries a bit more salted (or at least the option of salt and pepper shakers at the table, which were not available on tables it seemed) but they were very good fries. I absolutely love the fact that they make their own buns (which were fantastic btw) and their own ketchup, mustard, and aioli. All of which were really good. It would be nice to have regular ketchup brought to the table as well, as I would have liked to have enjoyed both housemade and bottled.

                    My friend’s pulled pork sandwich, to me, was the surprising highlight. It was absolutely delicious. BBQ purists might take issue with the presentation as it was served on a housemade focaccia bread. The bread was amazing though, just as good if not better than the hamburger buns, so soft and flavourful and perfect for the pork. The pork was moist and smoky and a little sweet with some subtle heat as well. Beautiful coleslaw on top. Really, an excellent sandwich which I will likely get next time I’m there.

                    The guys running this place really really care about good food and it shows. Not only in the food, but in that they are supernice and genuine and are developing a place which has zero pretension yet is still (slightly) upscale. Which is tricky to do. Craft Burger on King, which I am definitely not a fan of, has a rushed, cramped, stressed out pretension I find. Totally not like that at Grindhouse. Relaxed and warm and much roomier than I thought – not cramped like Craft Burger. And I think that comes from the guys who run it. Well done.

                    I do see what some are saying about portion/burger sizes. While not small they are certainly not big. I found them perfectly adequate, but no, not huge, and this includes the fries. I think because the meat is local, non-GMO, hormone-free product, size will have to be sacrificed somewhat if prices are to be kept in check. As a growing boy, I like my burgers at least 8 oz, but I was happy to sacrifice size in this case as I knew what I was eating wasn’t loaded with garbage and was very reasonable in price – especially for that area! If the burgers were bigger they’d have to charge. And as it stands I love that their menu is VERY reasonably priced for what they are providing, esp. considering that area.

                    Btw, Strongbad789, the two-patty burger is not bigger….. it is a regular portion divided into 2 patties and served as their take on a Big Mac. It’s not a double burger in portion size, no.

                    I think what really impressed me though is that in addition to doing so much from scratch they are running a place very well after only two or three months of being open. I can’t tell you how many places STILL don’t have their acts together after being open much longer. So bravo, Max. As long as they hire good staff to maintain the relaxed and friendly vibe they’ve set up I’ll continue go back.

                    Look forward to some more of that pulled pork.

                    14 Replies
                    1. re: magic

                      Thanks for the info on the double burger...I assumed that it would be larger; guess not. I wouldn't have thought that two thinner patties could be as good as one larger one, but perhaps so.

                      I do like this place and I'm fine with the portion sizes, but I also think that it might be worth their while to offer a larger size burger for a bit more money. As you say, the prices are pretty good (especially since they include tax), so offering an 8oz patty for three or four dollars more would at least give people an option.

                        1. re: Strongbad789

                          I find it odd that they do a two patty burger. especially for the same weight.

                          As we all know, two patties increase surface area which has high char and is typically less juicy in comparison to one patty of the same gross weight.

                          one could cook two patties to medium, but it doesn't taste the same as one larger burger cooked medium.

                          However, if you like you're welldone hockey pucks, then the amount of patties is not consequential.

                          1. re: Jamie Eats Burgers

                            Not sure if "welldone (sic) hockey pucks" is in reference to the regular Grindhouse patties, but the ones I had last week were far from hard and dry. Quite juicy and pink in the middle.

                            1. re: LTL


                              no it wasn't a specific reference to the grindhouse burgers.

                              I was speculating on well done burgers in general.

                            2. re: Jamie Eats Burgers

                              The two-patties thing is their take on a Big Mac I think. And I don't think it's a regular menu item at this point, just something they've added to a temporary rotation, from what I was told. I haven't had it but I'd be surprised if it was dry. They cooked the burgers pretty nicely when I visited...

                              1. re: magic

                                Wasn't dry at all when I tried it; I highly recommend people try it. Originally I was interested in the ostrich burger but they'd run out already.

                                1. re: magic

                                  I had the two-patty burger last night and I thought it was delicious...the patties were definitely thinner than their regular burger but were still a nice juicy pink inside and had a great taste. I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to; almost more than their regular burger.

                                  As an update, they've also added an 8oz 'big boy' burger to their regular menu (at $10), so those asking for a bigger burger should be happy. Seems like they listen to what people are saying...good for them.

                                  1. re: Strongbad789

                                    We were there to watch the hockey game on Sunday night and the placed was packed. So much so, they had to close the doors and not let anyone else in until it thinned out a bit.

                                    1. re: Strongbad789

                                      Thanks for the big boy burger update. Nice. Will have to check that out. It's great that they did that.

                                      Glad you enjoyed.

                                      1. re: Strongbad789

                                        A concern I was told of was that their bun size is small and may not be able to house a bigger patty.

                                        my argument was to make the patty thicker and not wider in diameter.

                                        is this what has happened?

                                        1. re: Jamie Eats Burgers

                                          I haven't had the big boy burger, so I'm not sure whether it overflows the bun or not. I'll report back next time I go with friends (one of whom will definitely get the big boy, I'm sure). As a comment to the comment below, I agree that the onion rings are a bit too battered and not as good as others I've had. I think the fries are amazing, though.

                                        2. re: Strongbad789

                                          I just tried the regular burger and fries today, my only other previous experience being their two-patty burger and onion rings. I prefer the regular burger. The thicker single patty is bursting with juicy beefy goodness (I asked for medium), the romaine was crisp which is a rarity with burgers nowadays, and the bun was crispy with grill marks on the outside while nice and soft in the middle. Although I also enjoyed the two-patty version, I felt that the sauce it comes with overwhelmed the beef and of course two 2.5oz patties aren't as juice as one 5oz patty.

                                          The fries were a bit too soft for my liking as many have already reported, but were still delicious once dipped into the homemade ketchup. The onion rings I had on a previous visit were good, but I don't love them as most CHers do. I found that because they were so thickly coated with batter, I could only eat a few before tiring of them.

                                  2. re: magic

                                    I really enjoyed my pulled pork sandwich yesterday, it's very good. I agree with GoodGravy's comment about the onion rings, great crunch in the batter but the onions themselves were very flavourless. The front of house service was great, very fast, friendly and effiicent. Unfortunately the kitchen was very slow, it took 40 mins to get our food from the time of ordering. They were busy though, all the tables were taken and some of the bar seats. I will definitely return most likely in the evening for a leisurely meal or when I have more than an hour for lunch!