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Parts and Labour Burger - Queen/Spadina area

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So, this was mentioned in the White Squirrel Snack Shop thread. P&L are opening up a burger joint a stone's throw from Burger Priest's location there. It is in the White Squirrel Snack Shop space -
Opens to the public on December 4th (This Wednesday) and open every day 11am to 11pm according to the GridTO preview. I will definitely check it out one Sunday or one later evening:

If anyone goes please post reviews. Looks like media preview is tonight as I saw some pics on Instagram (including from Abbey - http://instagram.com/abbeyskitchen )

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  1. I'm starving. Really bad timing for those pics!

    2 Replies
    1. re: justxpete

      I didn't take a billion years to process photos for once:

      It's nice that it'll be open late. Matty was saying that he'd like to open even later on Fri/Sat.

      This shop is pretty much a direct result of their win on Burger Wars (I didn't even know!). The burger can be had at their restaurant proper too, but at a higher cost.

      However, my faves were the Beaverton and the Italian. I'm meh on their onion rings (I prefer a lighter batter). And fries were fine.

      http://www.foodpr0n.com/ -- food. is. love.

      1. re: jlunar

        I thought I spoted you on a pic but I decided not to call out a potential review from you this time :)

        Thanks for the posting!

    2. Definitely looking forward to this place.


      1. Had a burger tonight. Not gonna lie, it was pretty great. Fries were good but needed a little more cooking.

        1. Just to add, I had a full burger (The Italian) today and that hit the spot. I was trying to wait until after lunch rush and just couldn't do it.

          1. I walked by P&L around 10ish out of curiosity. It wasn't too busy so gave it a try. Had the Castor. Liked the combo of peameal bacon, crispy onions and bbq sauce. Noticed the burger was still a little pink which was appreciated while having a good crust. I also liked that they aren't trying to adhere to the American cheeseburger aesthetic that BP does. Especially when it comes to having real cheddar as opposed to only American cheese and a bit more substantial bun than the white squishy kind.

            But as mentioned by Justxpete, the fries were definitely soggy yet had a lot of useless nearly burnt fry bits. BP has them beat in this dept.

            Can't wait to do a shake comparison.

            6 Replies
            1. re: num nums

              Mine weren't soggy. They were under-cooked. They were more firm and raw than "soggy". "Soggy" to me are fries that have been cooked and have sat in a closed container for an extended period of time.

              1. re: justxpete

                Ah yes, al dente fries. Hate that.


                1. re: Davwud

                  It's interesting the fries have been undercooked when the pictures in the OP all looked to be dark golden brown and well done.

              2. re: num nums

                "Noticed the burger was still a little pink which was appreciated while having a good crust."


                Is it uncommon in Canada to have Burgers that are actually Medium Rare?

                i ask because the best burger joints i've been to around the U.S. serve great quality beef (e.g., USDA Prime Dry-Aged or Wet-Aged) and the standard is usually Medium-Rare.


                1. re: chowseeker1999

                  Not my findings at all in the US. Some will C2O but most don't.

                  I can't speak for "Canada" but it seems in Ontario you can cook to M/W if you grind inhouse.

                  In a larger sense, we live in a pretty litigious time. Few places will risk a lawsuit over food poisoning.


                  1. re: Davwud

                    hi davwud,

                    thanks for the reply. interesting.

                    For sure most places in the U.S. just cook the burger to Medium-Well or Well-Done, but I was referring in my original post to the top notch burger joints (that grind their own meats, or source it from some local butchers fresh daily). in that context, "yes" they always cook to order and customer's preference and usually serve them Medium-Rare.

                    Parts and Labour sounds like a burger specialist and prides itself on burger making so i was surprised to hear the previous comment is all. just curious. :> thanks!

              3. Heading for lunch. Should be there noonish

                If any hounds are there, say hello. Black jacket, grey shirt, glasses no hair on top but goatee.


                10 Replies
                1. re: Davwud

                  I'm jealous! I want to go try the veggie burger ... for once, a veggie burger that looks appetizing instead of a deep fried grease bomb.

                  The BP veggie burger looked really unappetizing for me. I know of a deep fried cheese filled portabello mushroom might appeal to others.

                  I'll admit that the Castor and original P&L might make me eat a beef burger for the first time in 2 years.

                  1. re: Nevy

                    I want to try the veggie burger as well! I agree Nevy...it looks pretty good...as opposed to BP which is not appealing at all...and a heart attack waiting to happen :)

                    1. re: kwass

                      Exactly! a heart attack waiting to happen... now if they grilled the portabello mushroom and drizzle on some chimchurri sauce or a reduced balsamic... MUCH BETTER. But then I think that 'style' doesn't go with the BP ethos.

                      I personally cannot stand the ultra chewy texture protein veggie burgers. I like veggie burgers that don't pretend to be a meat. So tempeh, grilled portabellos, and mashed beans/potato with veggies inside are my preferred veggie burger. It's too bad I haven't found a place in GTA that does that well. I'm really curious to see if P&L can fill that void. Seeing how everyone in this thread is loving the beef patties, I doubt any of them would bother to order the tempeh and report back ;)

                      1. re: Nevy

                        If that's what you like Nevy, you have to try the veggie burger @ W Burger Bar. I haven't had it in a while, but it's by far, the best veggie burger in the city!

                        1. re: Nevy

                          I know that it's been a year since you posted this Nevy, but I tried the tempeh "burger" at P & L today, and thought it was one of the best veggie burgers I've ever had. I think it comes standard with onion, lettuce and tomato, but instead of those toppings I got it with sautéed onions and mushrooms and it truly was fantastic! I'd go back for it in a heartbeat.

                    2. re: Davwud

                      i might see you there!

                      - khao san road

                      1. re: KhaoSanRoad

                        If you did, you did not say "Hi."


                        First things first, how a place can call itself a burger place and not have mustard is completely nonsensicle. The classic condiment triumvirate is mustard, onion and pickle. Those 3 things are a must. Not a deal breaker though if the burgers are really good.

                        They are. I went with the P&L burger and left off the rabbit food and had the mayo on the side. I added it on after and the burger was even better. So all in all it's a great burger that needs some fine tuning.
                        It was cooked to WD which mean it wasn't juicy. I wouldn't say dry but no juice flowed out. Not even when given a bit of a squeeze. So I'll ask for MW next time. I think the beef is a bit on the lean side but was otherwise a perfect patty.
                        Cheddar is fine and didn't have so much sharpness that it distracted from the beef.
                        The bun is perfect.

                        The Onion Rings are a tich on the salty side but nothing too bad. I always dip in ketchup and I didn't notice the salt come through so those who love salt, may think they're perfectly seasoned. I'm a bit salt sensitive.
                        Pinch test: pass
                        Pull test: fail
                        Taste test: Aced

                        It looks like about all they did in the on WSSS space was paint. Pretty close to the same. The set up is identical.


                        1. re: Davwud

                          didnt see you there when i arrived at 2pm.

                          i liked the castor burger quite a bit. great crust on the patty. excellent bun. liked the bbq sauce as well.

                          thought the rings were best ive had in a long time!

                          - khao san road

                          1. re: Davwud

                            Man, I seriously need to try this place.

                            I would, however, take issue with your statement that a well done burger won't be juicy (though that does tend to be true more often than not in Toronto, sadly). I prefer medium rare myself, but a sufficiently fatty patty will be juicy even when cooked all the way to well done. The burgers at BP come out well done more often than not, and they're still abundantly juicy. But maddeningly, most burger joints in this city are under the impression that using lean beef for a hamburger is a good thing, even going as far as to proudly proclaim how lean their beef is, as if this were somehow desirable. Newsflash, Toronto burger-purveyors: lean beef makes juiciness almost impossible. Burgers are not and will never be health food. Fat is your friend.

                            1. re: Michael N

                              Maybe the difference is juice compared to fat. Juice evaporates away through "over cooking" while fat remains. P&L maintains the juice while Priest cooks it all away leaving only grease.

                      2. Back again for lunch today.

                        Had The Castor and it was delicious. The BBQ sauce is one of those smoky styles. It was good although as a general rule I don't use BBQ sauce on a burger. I decided that I'd just go with their creation unaltered. Which also meant violating my no lettuce on a burger rule as well.

                        So, after 2 visits I think I'm fairly qualified to say this; The Priest has nothing to fear. This is a terrific burger but it aint perfect. I'm convinced now that there isn't enough fat in the mix.

                        I also ordered the Poutine and was underwhelmed. Not sure what it was but it just wasn't great. It was fine in an obligatory way (as in, "Hey, let's put poutine on the menu) but doesn't come close to the best this city has to offer.

                        One last note: It seems noon is your line of demarcation. Before is slow. After is swamped.


                        12 Replies
                        1. re: Davwud

                          Unfortunately arrived when they were totally swamped at 1:30 (overheard some mutterings about mucking up an order and addressing some issues on the line) - took 20 min to get my burger - the Philly. It looked like it had been thrown against a wall, badly squished with a huge gob of mayo oozing on one side, and no noticeable onions and mushrooms. However, still tasty juicy but will try again when it's slower.

                          1. re: Degustation

                            <Unfortunately arrived when they were totally swamped at 1:30 (overheard some mutterings about mucking up an order and addressing some issues on the line) - took 20 min to get my burger - the Philly. It looked like it had been thrown against a wall, badly squished with a huge gob of mayo oozing on one side, and no noticeable onions and mushrooms. However, still tasty juicy but will try again when it's slower?

                            To me this is total bullshit! No one should have to go to any restaurant during off hours to guarantee themselves a decent meal..unless they're doing a "soft opening" and offering food at a discount.
                            I've said this in the past..If you're ready to take my money when you open your doors, you better be ready to give me the goods, no excuses..

                          2. re: Davwud

                            visiting 2 time in the first 2 days of opening doesn't really show anything....hard to say how they'll do once they get up and running

                            1. re: brushfire

                              They've been making this burger for many, many months.


                              1. re: Davwud

                                It's a new restaurant with new flow and a new team. Too early to judge 'matter-of-factly'.

                                1. re: justxpete

                                  Oh look. Pete's disagreeing with me!! All is right in the world.


                                  1. re: Davwud

                                    lol.. I'm all about balance (and reasonability!)

                                    1. re: justxpete

                                      So I assume, come next election, you and I just skip voting and meet at the bar?? Obviously our votes will cancel each other out.
                                      Of course, we wouldn't be able to agree on which bar though.


                                2. re: Davwud

                                  no they haven't... they've been making one burger, the plain one, that isn't even the same as at the restaurant, and the rest are all new additions. plus the place is still hiring line cooks now so i doubt anyone on the line has been cooking these burgs for more than a few days

                            2. We tried P&L last week and thought it was pretty good. It's quite a different beast to Burger's Priest. I have to say that I like Burger's Priest's overall taste a bit better, my rationale being that if I'm going to have a burger I want it to taste like junk food even though it may not be. The patty in the P&L burger tastes beefy, extremely fresh (pink in the middle) and grilled nicely (slight bit of char for a bit of crunchiness). It's missing the juice and ooze that a fatty burger from Burger's Priest has. The fat also imparts another level of yummy aroma that meat lovers will appreciate.

                              The bun was more substantial than the Burger's Priest bun, and again, there are junk food moments when you just want the bun to soak up all that juice and melt in your hands while you sloppily mop away the drool from your mouth! I do like that the Burger's Priest has a gluten-free bun option.

                              I was disappointed when I got my gluten-free option burger from P&L that it was 2 pieces of dry kale. There was no upcharge for the option, but I would have gladly paid additional for a bun. I suppose I should have asked what the option was rather than assuming the option would be a substitute bun.