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The Burger Cellar


3391 Yonge Street, Toronto, M4N 2L8



Once before, many moons ago, I ate at The Burger Cellar. I sat at a table by myself and ordered a double burger. This was about a week after The Burger’s Priest opened two stores over. I didn’t think to highly of the burger and thought why go here when you can go to the priest. Cut to today and I’ve returned to rank, blog and review (if these can be called reviews) the Cellar from my discerning and critical eye.

Having parked, gone to the parking meter and being unable to pay due to it being out of order, crossing the street to pay at the next meter, recrossing the street to pay and display the parking receipt, crossing the street for a third time and finally entering the Cellar, I had a decision to make. Would it be the restaurant, the bar, or the patio. I considered the dining room and the patio but being by my lonesome I chose the bar. There is something sad about being served when by yourself. (And yes this is a sit down, server at your table kind of burger joint).

Sitting at the bar I looked over the menu and ordered a drink. I ordered an orange pop because they had Pepsi and I try my hardest not to drink Pepsi. I’m a Coke guy, always have been, always will be. I looked over the menu which was smaller than I remember and saw a bunch of traditional ‘new wave’ signature burgers listed. I wanted my regular and I decided to go for a single as last time, if memory serves correct, a double was to much.

Ordering my burger though wouldn’t be so simple. It wasn’t just ordering a hamburger with my toppings (onions, pickles, lettuce, tomato — condiments you do yourself) it was choosing between Angus, Prime or Bison. Bison was out right away because I’m a beef guy and a burger should be beef and every other burger on this blog is beef. So Angus or Prime? Speaking with the barkeep he told me the Prime was fattier. I chose the Angus.

Ten minutes later my orange pop was refilled and my food had been delivered to me. The side was of course fries and of course I dug into those first. Crispy, hand cut, skin on, delicious. The best fries I’ve ever had? No. The worst? No. In the middle of the road? No, these fries were better than middle of the road. In fact they were very good, very tasty and delicious. In three words: better than average.

But let’s get to the burger. That’s why I’m here, why you are here reading this and what this blog is all about. The bun was a gourmet white bun. The patty looked to be about 5 ounces. The toppings were sitting on the patty. Lettuce, a full leaf (but sparing); tomato, two slices; onions, not enough; pickles, less than two, no more than one. I spooned on ketchup and then spooned on mustard. It was time for a taste.

I mentioned earlier that I wasn’t so impressed all those years ago. This time around it was much better. The patty had a nice flavour, the toppings didn’t overwhelm, the bun was tasty, different and original. It had good heft, was nice and airy, and like the toppings it didn’t overwhelm. My patty was a grilled patty a la Big Smoke and many of the old school burger joints. Grilled perfectly it was juicy, flavourful and the texture was perfect. Not to fine a grind and not to tough a one. Yeah, I was happy with this burger, happier than I thought I would be… but there were problems, two of them in fact.

First problem: I ordered a single, not a double. As mentioned, the double was huge last time. This time it would of been a perfect amount. The single patty was too small. It was like a kids patty which brings me to problem number two: the patty to bun ratio. It was a kid’s patty on an adult bun. There was way to much bun and not enough patty. I didn’t measure but I am pretty sure there was at least a centimetre of bun around the whole edge of the burger patty, a big no no. Think a pizza from Domino’s where the cheese and sauce is the patty and the crust is the left over bun.

With those problems on the table I still had a more pleasurable burger experience than I expected. I enjoyed the burger and the fries and I can’t really complain. So would I be back? Umm… maybe. It’s tough. A single burger and fries and drink was almost twenty bucks with tip. I imagine a double, or signature burger adding at least five bucks. So the price, too small a patty and being right next to the Priest makes the Cellar a hard sell. Even though I am giving it a ranking of five, I’d be hard pressed to return. It could happen though…

Out of 7 The Burger Cellar scores 5

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