Unlike a lot of burger places in Toronto, the W Burger Bar is a real, no-foolin’ restaurant: waiters, tables and all. The prices, though, are about in line with what you’d typically pay at a burger place in Toronto, so you’re not getting charged extra just for the pleasure of sitting down in a restaurant and being served (aside from the tip, of course). That’s not to say that this place is cheap, only that paying in the ballpark of seven bucks for a burger is, sadly, pretty much the norm in Toronto.
The menu lists a variety of daily specials; thinking it was Wednesday, I was all set to order the Kobe burger, which normally costs 19 dollars (!) but is marked down to ten in the middle of the week. In fact, I did order it, or attempted to do so, at which point my waitress patiently explained to me that no, it is not Wednesday, it’s Tuesday. Whoops.
Tuesday’s special is the bison burger, but since this is a burger blog and not a sandwiches-that-kind-of-look-like-burgers-but-aren’t-actually-hamburgers-at-all blog, I opted to take a pass on that one.
I wound up ordering the regular beef burger. Which is fine — it probably makes for a more useful review, as I suspect that most people will be reluctant to spring for the pricier Kobe and will be getting plain ol’ beef.
I’ve been to the W Burger Bar once before, and I recall that last time I was given the choice to have my burger griddled or grilled. This time I wasn’t asked, and it came grilled. It wasn’t a problem for me, as I like both cooking methods pretty much equally, but if you have a preference one way or the other I’m assuming you can still request it.
The burger is actually pretty damn solid. Nicely grilled and not too densely constructed, this was probably one of the better tasting burgers I’ve had recently. It had a surprisingly complex beefy flavour, and was obviously made from higher quality beef. The biggest issue here is the pervasive dryness that plagues so many Toronto burger joints. The burger had some juiciness to it, but it was definitely drier than it needed to be.
Toronto burger establishments, take heed: fat is your friend. You’re not doing us a favour when you use leaner, “healthier” beef. A hamburger needs a a good amount of fat, especially when cooked to the legally-required well done.
Boy, do I wish that more burger places in the city would cook to order (there are a few restaurants that do this, but it is very, very rare). If this burger had been cooked to medium or medium rare, the too-lean issue would have mostly faded into the background. This could have been a great hamburger, instead of merely a good one.
As for the toppings, there’s a fairly lengthy selection to be had; I went relatively simple, with pickles, tomatoes and chipotle mayonnaise. The mayo added a creamy tanginess, though no actual heat (chipotles are supposed to be spicy, are they not?). The pickles and tomatoes were fine. The soft sesame seed bun was fresh and complimented the burger well.
My dining companion ordered the 50/50 fries (half regular fries, half sweet potato) of which I sampled a few. The thinly cut fries were a little soggy, but tasty nonetheless.