Gourmet Burger Co.

Location: 843 Kipling Avenue, Toronto
UPDATE: This particular location is closed (it’s been replaced with Big Butcher Barbeque); check their website for other locations.

Some burgers, like everything else, are just average.  They straddle that line between really good and really bad, without gathering much buzz; they’re just there, receding from your memory almost immediately after consumption.  The burgers at Gourmet Burger Co. fall squarely into this category.

The restaurant has a clean look to it, and it’s laid out much like many burger joints in Toronto; you order your burger, pay, then pick up your food from the counter when it’s ready.

I went pretty simple, ordering a plain burger topped with tomatoes, pickles and GBC sauce (described as a mixture of mayo, ketchup, hot sauce, mustard, honey, and roasted garlic).

My first impression was that the burger had obviously been cooked on a griddle, resulting in a moderate amount of crust on the patty.  Not as much as at a place like Burger’s Priest or Holy Chuck, but it was there.

The beef has that muddled flavour typical of mediocre quality beef.  It’s okay; it’s a bit bland, but it tastes fine.  It’s also too lean and a bit overcooked, resulting in a drier texture than you might like.

The GBC sauce is a bit on the strong side, with an overpoweringly salty/vinegary flavour.  I wouldn’t get it again.  The pickles and tomato were fine, and the soft bun, though a tad on the large side and a bit more substantial than I’d like, complimented the burger fairly well.

I ordered the onion rings on the side, and they were fresh, with a crispy, tasty batter.  The onions were yielding and well-cooked; they were definitely a highlight.

All in all it wasn’t the best burger ever, but if I found myself in the area again, I wouldn’t object to eating another one.  Like I said, it’s average; it’s not a burger that anyone is going to swoon over, but it gets the job done.

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Goody’s Diner

Location: 133 Manville Road, Scarborough
UPDATE: It appears that, sadly, Goody’s Diner has closed down.

When a place gets a 300+ post thread at Chowhound, you pretty much have to sit up and take notice.  When that thread deals largely with the greatness of the establishment’s burgers, you can pretty much guarantee I’ll be there at some point.  So of course, I eventually found myself at Goody’s Diner, an unassuming little place tucked away in a drab business park.  Not the most auspicious of locations, but it’s the food that counts.

A quick glance at the menu reveals a burger called the Goody’s Burger; since it’s my general policy to to get any burger named after the restaurant, the selection process was quite easy.  The friendly waitress came by; I ordered.  Fries or salad?  Yeah, okay, I’m really going to order a salad.  With a hamburger. (to be fair, my dining companion ordered the salad and said it was above average.)

A short while later, the burger came, and it is enormous.  The menu labels it as an eight ounce burger (i.e. half a pound) and that’s definitely no exaggeration.  The thing is massive.  It’s not kidding around, that’s for sure.

The Goody’s Burger comes topped with “grilled peameal bacon, mushrooms, jalapeno havarti, caramelized onion, lettuce and tomato.” First things first, this is a meatloaf-style burger; they tell you right on the menu that it’s mixed in with “roasted garlic and our secret spice blend” (and I have to thank them for this — there’s nothing worse than expecting a standard burger, only to get one perfumed with onion, garlic, and who-knows-what-other-spices.  This style of burger can be perfectly tasty, but there is no doubt that it is very different from a traditional burger and should be labeled as such).

And it is actually pretty tasty.  Meatloaf-style burgers are not my favourite, however this was definitely one of the better ones that I’ve had.  It was quite juicy, and the spicing wasn’t too aggressive, allowing some of the burger’s beefiness to shine through.  The burger was a bit chewier and more sausage-like than I would prefer, but that seems to be par for the course for this style of hamburger.

As for the many toppings — they would almost surely overwhelm a smaller, more traditional burger.  But between the gigantic size of the patty itself and the strong spice blend, the burger is definitely the dominant flavour here.  The toppings compliment it quite nicely, as does the soft yet substantial bun.

Though the fries are of the battered variety (like the meatloaf-style burger, this is generally not my favourite), they are above average; crunchy, potatoey, and without the overly processed flavour that battered fries tend to have.  They’re also lightly seasoned with rosemary, which makes them pretty tasty on their own without much need for a dipping sauce.

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