Location: 364 Danforth Ave., Toronto
Well, this has to be a first – a burger joint opened partially to promote a kitchen gadget. The gadget, in this case, is the Burger Stomper, a tool whose purpose is to streamline the apparently arduous task of forming a hamburger patty. It doesn’t strike me that patty-forming is exactly a job requiring a piece of kitchen paraphernalia, but then again I’ve certainly seen more useless gadgets.
The restaurant has a fairly typical layout – the menu’s posted up on the wall, you order with the person behind the register, pay, get a number, then go to your table and wait for your food.
Seeing that the name of the restaurant has “milkshake” right in it, I figured that I would be remiss if I didn’t order myself a shake along with the usual burger/fries. For you, of course. Not because of my gluttony. No, not that.
As for the burger, I ordered the Classic Stomp, which is a plain burger with tomato, onion, lettuce, and ketchup. I asked for mine sans-onion, and with mayo substituted for ketchup; my dining companion accused me of violating the integrity of the burger with these substitutions, thus making my review less relevant. I argued that I was reviewing the burger itself, and that with a no-frills burger such as this, condiment-substitution is to be expected.
To explain my modifications: I’m just not a fan of raw onions in any context. I know that they’re a classic burger topping and that I really should learn to like them, but alas, I do not. Ketchup, on the other hand, I do like. However, while it works well with fries or on a hot dog, I find that its vinegary sweetness is a little bit overwhelming on a hamburger.
The burger is quite good. There is potential for greatness, but there were just a few things that were off. The base is definitely there – they’re using good quality beef, which has a nicely robust beefy flavor. It’s quite tasty. The bun is also pretty much perfect – it’s supple and fresh, and is a fantastic match for the burger at hand. It has just the right amount of pliancy to hold up to the burger, without ever becoming overwhelming.
The beef, however, is a bit too tightly-packed, and thus a bit denser than it should have been. I’m not sure if this is the result of the Burger Stomper itself, or if the beef had been overhandled prior to stomping. I also suspect that the beef is a little bit too finely ground — the texture was slightly off.
Perhaps most seriously, the griddled burger was completely under-seared, despite being cooked past well done (it was a bit overcooked). The patty had some vague amounts of sear, but for the most part was far more gray and wan than it should have been. This is quite unfortunate, as the caramelization that results from the cooking process (whether griddled or grilled) contributes a lot of flavour and textural contrast to a hamburger, and that flavour was lacking here. Clearly, their griddle needs to be quite a bit hotter.
It’s telling that despite these misgivings, I still enjoyed this burger. They’re doing a lot right here; there are just a few small improvements needed to turn these burgers from good to great.
As for the previously mentioned milkshake, I got the “Nutella Chocolate Peanut Butter Heaven,” which tasted exactly how you would hope a Nutella / peanut butter milkshake would taste (which is to say, awesome).
I also got an order of fries, which had a slightly oily flavor and were a smidgeon on the soggy side, but were otherwise quite tasty.