I can’t help, hearing the name Acme Burger, but to think about the Road Runner and his furry nemesis, Wile E. Coyote. Those cartoons were among the funniest and best shorts produced by Warner Brothers in the golden era of the 1940s and ’50s. I’m sad to say that this restaurant is definitely not the hamburger equivalent of the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote cartoons. Which is to say that this was not among the best hamburgers that I’ve ever had. Boy, that was a pretty tenuous connection, wasn’t it?
Driving up to the restaurant and seeing signs for chicken souvlaki and Greek salad, my expectations went down precipitously. Generally speaking, if a burger joint has souvlaki prominently on the menu, then the burgers being served up are probably going to be Greek style (ie. with onions and other spices mixed in). As I mentioned in my burger commandments, this is not my favourite style of hamburger. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that a burger like that shouldn’t be called a hamburger at all, but I know many would disagree on that point.
The restaurant is laid out a la Harvey’s or Lick’s — you order at the register, you wait, then you tell them what you want from the toppings behind the glass. It’s the usual assortment of toppings; nothing too exotic. I went with tomato, pickles and mayo.
I took my first bite, expecting my taste buds to be assaulted by an oniony, meatloafy patty, and… what’s this? Just meat? Let the good times roll! Sort of. Well, not really.
The patty is a little small. I ordered the six ounce, though I suspect that they gave me the four ounce by mistake. It’s kind of overwhelmed by the large bun, but the bun tasted pretty fresh and didn’t interfere with the burger too much. If the patty had been slightly larger, it probably would have worked much better.
The meat is tightly packed and mostly flavourless. It has a vague meaty flavour, but most of the patty’s taste comes from the smokiness imparted by the flame-broiling. It’s also fairly evident that the beef being used is far too lean, as the well done patty was completely dried out and without a hint of juiciness.
I suspect that the patties have been industrially made — certainly, it’s safe enough to say that Acme doesn’t grind their own meat in house. But I have eaten much worse as far as prefabricated burgers go. They don’t have that strange chewy texture that frozen burgers tend to have, so it’s likely that Acme uses pre-made, unfrozen patties.
I also had an order of fries, which were actually the highlight. Lightly crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, they were fresh, hot and had a good amount of salt. I suspect, however, that the folks at Acme are not changing the oil as often as they should be, resulting in a slightly stronger oil flavour than I’d like. Despite this, the fries are definitely above average, even if the restaurant itself is not.