Though it’s been around in Ottawa for over a decade, The Works has only recently made its way into Toronto, opening a location on the Danforth earlier in the year, and more recently, in Bloor West Village. There are supposedly more locations on the way; if my recent experience at the Bloor West location is any indication, this is definitely, as Martha Stewart would say, a good thing.
Unlike many (most?) of Toronto’s burger joints, The Works is a full service restaurant, so don’t expect to pop in for a quick bite.
The menu is full of choices, with six different patty choices, three buns, and over 70 customized burgers, with toppings ranging from standard fare like bacon and various cheeses to more bizarre selections like mac and cheese and peanut butter.
Scanning right past the novelty items on the menu (peanut butter!), I landed on the Plain Jane, and asked for it topped with my usual mayo, tomato, and pickles.
Most of the burgers seem to be in the 12 dollar ballpark, which does seem bit pricey; that does, however, include a side, so it’s pretty much in line with what other places are charging.
The grilled burger came out looking nicely charred and attractive; I took a bite and was heartened to discover that it tasted just as good as it looked. It’s not a great burger — but it was a very, very good one.
For one thing, the well done burger was actually reasonably juicy. It could have certainly been juicier — the meat was still, like pretty much every other burger in Toronto, a bit too lean. But it was far from dry, and I guess that’s all you can really hope for in this city.
The loosely packed patty, seasoned only with salt and pepper, also had a nicely beefy flavour, and a decent amount of crust from the grill.
The soft, fresh bun complimented the burger perfectly, and the toppings were fine (though the burger did come out with onions instead of pickles, a mistake that was quickly rectified).
It’s not exactly a burger I’ll remember forever, but it was one that was very well executed on every level.
As for the fries, they were a tad soggy, but were otherwise perfectly cooked and quite tasty.