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It seems like Toronto, or the Greater Toronto Area, has an endless amount of burger joints around and there are more and more popping up all the time. Some are amazing, some are okay, some are pretty crappy, some are generic and no different than a million other places. One thing that is very common is the Signature Burger or Burgers on the menu. ‘Chef’ inspired toppings to make their burgers unique and different from the competition.
But it is not the toppings that make a burger different or better than it’s competition. It is most importantly the meat and secondary the bun and lastly the condiments and toppings. When it comes to the meat it is based on freshness, taste, quality, texture and juiciness. The bun is all about its bounce, freshness, taste and how it holds together as you eat. The toppings and condiments need to be fresh, cut correctly and taste good. That’s it. It’s not rocket science to make a good burger.
So a few days ago I hit up a place called OBQ Burgers out west in Southern Etobicoke. It’s another gourmet burger shop located in a nondescript mall with very little signage. I almost drove right past it. Walking in there were two tables, a bar rail to eat at and the counter to order from. It was small, there was not much design to the place but the food looked good.
This was another place with those signature burgers on the menu. I of course opted for my regular plain burger with the usual toppings. I had to decide between a 6 0z double or or 4 oz double. I went for the double 4 oz (8 oz is the perfect amount) with fries and a Dr. Pepper. This was a Pepsi establishment and Pepsi is like the bastard son of Coke that never lives up to his dad’s greatness.
So after my order the cook takes out two fresh balls of ground beef. He puts them on the flattop and smashes them with a spatula. I’m very excited at this as fresh smashed burgers are the best burgers. Once they are smashed though he takes them off the flattop and throws them on the grill. My excitement dissipates.
Maybe 6 minutes later I have my food. First things first I taste the fries. Oh! My! God! Are these the best fries I have ever had? I think so. Words cannot describe how amazing these fries were. I was super stoked for the burger. I took a sip of the doctor then unwrapped the burger and took a bite. And that’s where the glorious OBQ experience came to an end. That may of sounded like the burger was terrible but it wasn’t. It just wasn’t as good as I was (at this point) expecting.
You see, this burger falls into the generic category. The bun was good, hefty and starchy and a good size. The tomatoes, pickles and onions were fresh and tasty and cut just right but the lettuce could of used some work. Then there was the meat. Not bad but generic. It was fresh but it wasn’t that juicy. It had a good texture but I don’t think it was the greatest quality (or cut) of beef used. Let’s just say cut, the quality was fine.
But it was really the taste that left me wanting. I drove quite a distance for this burger and it tasted like a burger I could get anywhere. Stupid Burger and Big jack’s come to mind. And those are about a 10 minute drive from me. It wasn’t a bad taste, like Mama’s Boys was, but is just wasn’t anything special. Am I asking to much? I mean how different can ground beef taste in the end if you go to 100 different places. Well I’m not asking for every burger to taste different (Burger’s Priest and Holy Chuck are very similar; Retro Burger and Apache are too) but when it tastes like this burger does, to me, it just doesn’t cut it. It’s generic, it’s average, it’s what I expect when I go to a generic American chain restaurant. Maybe I’m the only who feels this way about this kind of burger (and taste) but it’s my blog and I’ll say what I want.
Yeah I’d eat this burger again but only if I was passing it and was hungry. I wouldn’t go out of my way and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who has to drive more than 10 minutes to get there but it was edible and okay and I wasn’t unsatisfied by the end. But the fries. They were worth the drive alone.
Out of 7 The Burger Hut scores 4