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Ah… The Burger Shack. Another old school burger joint in Toronto that people have been eating at for years. It’s the typical old school diner variety and it’s been open for a very long time. I’m going to say (I’m not really sure) at least since 1970. I’ve eaten there a few times and was never that impressed but it’s been years and I might never of actually tried their homemade burger.
So I decided to go out and try it for purposes of eating a burger and reviewing a burger. I parked (in a full minus one spot lot) and walked in. The layout hadn’t changed since I was there last. Signage on top of the order counter with the menu listed, the cashier in the centre of the counter, drinks to the left and toppings (like old Harvey’s) to the right.
I ordered my home made burger, my fries and my drink. Then I sat and waited to be called up to pick my toppings. While I waited I spent my time slyly (maybe not that slyly) staring at this amazingly gorgeous girl who was with three friends eating. My burger was ready, they called me up and can you guess what I had on my burger? Lettuce, mustard, pickles, ketchup, onions, tomato, surprise surprise.
I took it to my table along with the fries and coke and grabbed a refillable squeeze bottle of ketchup for the fries. I tasted the fries. Mmm mmm good. So tasty, so yummy, so fresh cut, so delicious. Then I squeezed some ketchup onto the burger wrapper and dipped the fries in. Yuk! It was that age old ketchup that tastes kind of off. Unlike Heinz you can’t slather fries in this ketchup. You have to use the bare minimum or else you risk tasting that off putting off taste. No matter I ate more fries without the ketchup and they more than satisfying on their own.
Next the burger. It was 6 ounces, it was cooked to perfection, it looked yummy. It fit the bun well with no extra bun girth. The bun was a nice soft traditional kaiser. The toppings looked fresh enough, the lettuce shredded and green, the pickles and tomato not to thick and not to thin and the onions chopped up and a plenty. I bit into the burger.
First impressions from the first two bites. Delicious and much better than I remembered or previously thought. This impression though didn’t last long. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy this burger because I did. And it’s not that it tasted bad because it didn’t. And it’s not that it wasn’t ground well or that the texture was off because it was (ground well) and it’s texture was perfect.
No the problem was that the patty itself was just not big enough. It was 6 ounces but honestly it felt more like 3 or maybe 4. It just wasn’t enough meat on the burger. You could taste the burger itself at times and it tasted good. Not as good as Apache (not homemade) and nowhere near as good and as juicy as Golden Star (homemade) but it still had a nice flavour. It was a little dry but not enough to throw me off. It just bothered me with every bite more so that there was not enough beef. The bun and toppings and condiments overpowered the minimal beef that was in my mouth, on my tongue, going down my throat.
It is that reason alone that I cannot 100% recommend this burger. It’s good and it works in a pinch (and late at night as they are open pretty late). And maybe a double would work better although the price goes up significantly (if they even will serve you a double). Ever eat at Johnny’s in Scarborough (not reviewed here yet)? They say their burger is 4 ounces but I tell you it’s the biggest 4 ounce ever and probably twice as big as this burger.
So in short: really good fries, shit ketchup, decent burger (and choice of Coke or Pepsi products). It was good but too small. Maybe I should of got a double like I usually do. Ah well, you live and learn.
Out of 7 The Burger Shack scores 4