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Craft Burger

cynalan Apr 18, 2010 04:02 PM

I was looking for some comfort food downtown near the theatre district this afternoon. I recalled reading a review on another web site rating Craft Burger as the best burger in Toronto. Dine.to also nominated it best burger of 2009.

So... visited the place in the gentrified area of King St West. It's a small restaurant seating about 16 people. Furnishings are basic black, nothing fancy. When my SO and I visited, we felt strangely out of place. Nearly all the clientele were 20 somethings with significant body ink, not a demographic we fit.

On to the food... service is a bit slow. It took about 20 minutes for our organic and veggie burgers to be prepared. Quite frankly, the burgers underwhelmed. They were a bit on the dry side and did not have a lot of flavour. The bun was dry and uneventful. Although I enjoyed the burger more than South Street or BQM on Ossington, give me a Dangerous Dan's burger anytime over any of the above.

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Dangerous Dan's
714 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M1H2, CA

Big Smoke Burger
573 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M1, CA

  1. e
    ektoronto Nov 26, 2010 03:25 AM

    I had a burger at E11even this past week. New restaurant owned by MLSE on the west side of ACC. Best burger I have had in a long time. It was pricey at $17.00 but worth it. Freshly ground ribeye is my best guess. Done medium rare. Incredibly meaty, juicy and simple.

    The accompanying fries were unremarkable.

    Worth every penny.

    1. t
      tjr Nov 25, 2010 08:23 PM

      After 4 overcooked burgers in a row, I still like the fries and rings, but... I just walk to Cumbrae's and make my own burgers for lunch. If it's well-done, I don't want to eat it.

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      Cumbrae's
      481 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y, CA

      1. k
        kosherdill Nov 11, 2010 11:45 AM

        I agree wholeheartedly with this review. I finally went to Craft Burger last week for lunch and was also underwhelmed, but not completely disappointed. I order the organic burger, which I was told was the way to go and it was pretty good. I really hated the bun it came with - just because I want my meat to be without excess hormones, doesn't mean I want to have a nasty whole grain bun. The nicely burnt sesame buns looked so much better & I think that would have helped. The burger is too thin for it to be anything amazing. However, it was good enough that I would go back again and the price is right. Plus, I had the most amazing Strawberry Milkshake that was generously complimented with remaining milkshake that was left in the mixer. I'll close by saying the fries & rings were pretty damn good.

        All of this said, I'd agree with the other reviewer on Harbord Room - best burger in the higher end category and Note Bene is a close second. Haven't been able to top any of those in the city.

        For fast food type burger, I still love the old Burger Shack....just had a "Shack Attack" today actually!

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        Harbord Room
        89 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA

        Big Smoke Burger
        573 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M1, CA

        1. p
          peppermint pate Oct 25, 2010 07:54 AM

          We ended up at the Yonge and Bloor location the other day for a late night burger. Service was scattered ("Which kind of milkshake do you recommend?"..."Well, we just have 3 flavours" and "Please give us your name for the order" - okay but restaurant was closing in 15 minutes and we were the only ones in there...). Anyway, that aside, the burger was quite tasty. We had the cheeseburgers - I was a bit disappointed when the only option was for a smoked cheddar but the flavour was quite tasty. Burger was medium, a tad on the dry side but the bun was good, meat to bun ratio worked for me and overall, a tasty burger. And a very good, thick, ice creamy strawberry shake.to boot!

          1. t
            thebutcher Oct 23, 2010 03:10 PM

            Little known fact is that Craft Burger has the best grilled chicken sandwich. Generous chicken breast, very juicy, with all the fixings, on a whole wheat bun, is my lunch time choice.

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            Big Smoke Burger
            573 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M1, CA

            1. a
              apple_pie Oct 12, 2010 10:06 AM

              The new Craft Burger at King and Toronto Street is now open! Their signage isn't done but there are definitely people eating there and a piece of paper on the window saying they're open - not sure about hours though.

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              Big Smoke Burger
              573 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M1, CA

              2 Replies
              1. re: apple_pie
                z
                ziggystardust Oct 23, 2010 07:37 AM

                I ate at said location yesterday. The burger was delicious, the onion rings were so so, the Coke was as usual. The interesting thing was this; the woman who took my order keyed in all the toppings I requested, took my name and called me by name when my order was ready, the problem was the toppings I requested and the toppings on the burger had nothing in common. It was crazy busy though so I'll give them another chance.

                1. re: ziggystardust
                  a
                  apple_pie Oct 25, 2010 10:17 AM

                  really? that's disappointing...
                  I've been 3 times, twice during the lunch rush and have never had any mixups
                  definitely give them another shot, it gets really hectic in there at lunch

              2. c
                cherrysilk Sep 27, 2010 01:24 PM

                Honestly I don't get the hype about this place either. I was so excited to try it the first time with their wicked logo and all, but I was soooo disappointed. It wasn't anything special at all! It was normal. For it's price, I was expecting so much more. Not going back

                I think the best "diner" burger, is in Etobicoke, called Magoo's. Classic kinda road-side taste with lots of char-grilled flavour. They serve it in 4 and 6 oz sizes for about $4-6 I think. I like how they have alfafa sprouts as a topping too :)

                But the ultimate best gourmet burger is at Earth restaurant. It's expensive at $17 per plate (comes with fries) but you get what you pay for. They use high quality ground chuck, so it tastes practically like steak (not that diner burger taste). oh man, oh man.. it's sooo good

                6 Replies
                1. re: cherrysilk
                  p
                  phoenikia Sep 27, 2010 05:27 PM

                  Earth's burger tastes practically like Salisbury Steak (hold the gravy)!

                  ;-)

                  I like the burger at Earth, but I don't think it tastes much like steak.

                  1. re: phoenikia
                    f
                    fickle Sep 27, 2010 05:54 PM

                    We didn't like our burger at Earth, we prefer the burger from the Harbord Room. Much better for the same price.

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                    Harbord Room
                    89 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA

                    1. re: fickle
                      p
                      phoenikia Sep 27, 2010 06:14 PM

                      I preferred the Harbord Room's burger to Earth's burger, too. The HR burger was the best tasting upscale burger I have ordered in TO. It's been over a year since I last ordered one, so I should probably return to refresh my memory ;-)

                      That being said, I still enjoyed my burger at Earth, although I also prefer the Stilton burger at Caren's and the avocado/gorg burger at Craft to Earth's burger. Anyone reading this might want to take my list with a grain of salt since I also like the original hamburgers at Harvey's, and junior cheeseburgers at Wendy's ;-)

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                      Harbord Room
                      89 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA

                      1. re: phoenikia
                        f
                        fickle Sep 28, 2010 07:12 AM

                        Don't forget to add the burger at the Beast on your list to check out! I also like the homeburger with bacon at Golden Star ;-)

                        1. re: fickle
                          p
                          phoenikia Sep 28, 2010 07:03 PM

                          Thanks, fickle ;-) They're both on my list.

                  2. re: cherrysilk
                    t
                    tjr Oct 22, 2010 10:04 PM

                    Craft Burger isn't really a "gourmet" burger in terms of price. When you consider that a combo is $10 even, that isn't a whole lot more than eating at McDonald's.

                    As it is really close, I go here whenever I want a burger. Quality is variable -- I've had okay fries, brilliant fries, great rings, okay rings, awesome burgers and okay burgers.

                    The problem with Craft Burger is that no matter how I ask for my burger cooked, it comes out however they've cooked it. I supposed I could send it back, but there really isn't a point. There have been times where I've ordered a burger as rare as possible (which, evidently, is medium) and it comes out grey, whereas a friend's well done is medium. This is kind of irritating, but considering the price and the speed (and the people who work there are pretty nice), I won't be replacing it anytime soon. I just wish they'd be consistent; when Craft is on, they're on. The burgers at the least cooked as possible are great. I'd certainly rather eat here (even upon receiving a mediocre burger) than have a burger at most restaurants in Toronto.

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                    Big Smoke Burger
                    573 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M1, CA

                  3. Crispier Crouton Sep 25, 2010 08:31 PM

                    Just tried a Craft Blue combo to go today at Bathurst/King. Asked for medium-rare, got medium-well or so. No pink at all in the middle, but not dry either. The gorgonzola avocado combo was really nice and satisfying, and the fries varied from crispy to a tad chewy, which I actually don't mind. The patty had a decent beefiness to it, despite being married to powerful gorgonzola. I liked the toastiness of the bun and the fragrance of the sesame seeds. 7.5/10, and would be higher if it was cooked as requested.

                    For $11.50 or so, I enjoyed it more than the $15 Globe burger I had earlier this week.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Crispier Crouton
                      ekim256 Sep 25, 2010 09:20 PM

                      did you also get onion rings? I found mine to be less than stellar the last couple of times and I haven't been back since

                      1. re: Crispier Crouton
                        p
                        phoenikia Sep 27, 2010 06:19 PM

                        I also liked my Craft burger than the one Globe burger I've ordered. Not sure if it was a consistency issue, or whether the Glober burger always tastes like the burger I had ordered.

                      2. t
                        tjr Sep 25, 2010 12:23 AM

                        I've been to Craft Burger (Yorkville) a couple times recently. I just wanted to say that the burger I had there today was fantastic. The right amount of juicy greasiness, beefiness, and a bright pink centre: overall a delicious burger. Cheese was okay, toppings didn't take away from the burger. I had a couple fries, which were also good. Burger and fries came out very quickly.

                        The meal prior, the burger was okay, but was medium-well. Both times I requested as rare as possible, so I imagine it's pretty hit-or-miss. The other burger that time, however, was medium (requested well-done due to pregnancy), which leads me to believe that they just don't really bother cooking the burgers to a specific temperature. This time it took quite a bit for the burgers to arrive at the table. The fries were soggy this time.

                        When they're on, though, they're on.

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                        Big Smoke Burger
                        573 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M1, CA

                        1. a
                          AngelSanctuary Jun 2, 2010 04:01 PM

                          I don't know about best but I've had a fairly consistent meal every time I went there. My patty was very juicy and flavorful. I also enjoy their combination of toppings. The bun was...a bun so I guess I agree with you on that. And they did take some time to prepare the burgers but if the came fast I worry that it was just sitting there to be served or something.

                          1. ekim256 Jun 2, 2010 10:01 AM

                            I find that it's a hit or miss with Craft Burger. I've enjoyed the ones in Yorkville - sometimes they're okay, sometimes they're awesome. When it comes to burgers, everyone is a bit different. A lot of people don't like W Burger Bar, but I really enjoyed their beef burger last week - garlic mayo, chipotle, roasted red pepper, tomato...yum!
                            I have yet to try Danerous Dan's burger...

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                            Big Smoke Burger
                            573 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M1, CA

                            1. s
                              SMOG Jun 2, 2010 08:47 AM

                              I've been to the King/Bathurst location several times and have almost always had nothing but great burgers. It was dry once, but moist every other time. I always ask them to cook it as close to medium and juicy and possible. I think is the best fast food burger in the city. Aside from the meat, I love that they have smoked cheddar, make amazing chipotle mayo and other great toppings. Sides are also great.

                              Too bad to hear about negative experiences. I'll keep going back.

                              1. b
                                bogie Jun 1, 2010 10:36 AM

                                I often eat at the Yonge/Bloor location and have always had great food and service. I phone in my order and specify how I want my burger cooked. The organic burger has a beefier taste than the regular one, so I recommend it. I've never found their buns "dry and uneventful", quite the opposite as it is a egg/brioche bun. Both the frites and onion rings are excellent sides, and I like that they have Boylan's sodas.

                                Folks, if you want your burger less than well done take responsibility yourself and ask for it!

                                1. m
                                  milzhouse Jun 1, 2010 10:15 AM

                                  I just ate there for lunch and would have to agree that the burger was dry... but not as dry and stale as the bun it came on...

                                  no idea how this place is mentioned in the same breath as Dangerous Dan's... Johnny's... or even severely over priced Apache...

                                  I would skip this place...

                                  p.s. everyone in there seems like their second job is at a tatoo parlour... lol

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: milzhouse
                                    p
                                    Pigurd Jun 1, 2010 10:29 AM

                                    my burger there was very dry as well, but as i was eating i noticed a lot of people with nice red/pink burgers... i was never offered an option so i guess u need to ask...

                                    1. re: milzhouse
                                      b
                                      bogie Jun 1, 2010 10:38 AM

                                      milzhouse, you wouldn't be able to get a decent meal here in the city without us tattooed chefs:)

                                      1. re: bogie
                                        j
                                        JennaBean Jun 2, 2010 10:38 AM

                                        I was thinking the same thing. My BF is a sous in fine dining and he is has a full sleeve.

                                      2. re: milzhouse
                                        vorpal Sep 25, 2010 11:07 AM

                                        I also found the burger a bit dry when I ate there, but I enjoyed the onion rings, and certainly, it was leagues ahead of Dangerous Dan's. I don't see the thrill at all with that place: everything feels sloppily prepared and the flavour reflects that.

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                                        Dangerous Dan's
                                        714 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M1H2, CA

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