Claudio Aprile recently opened the latest in his burgeoning chain of Origin restaurants, this one right next to Bayview Village. I took this as an excuse (like I needed one) to finally try their much-ballyhooed burger — among other accolades, Toronto Life called it the 13th best burger in the city.
Aprile obviously has very high hopes for this location; it’s a ridiculously enormous, cavernous space. There’s no middle ground here. It’s either going to be a huge hit for Aprile, or a very high profile flop.
However, if he can keep serving food of this caliber, he has a lot less to worry about.
Though it’s certainly not Toronto’s cheapest burger at 17 bucks (with fries or a salad), in this case you get what you pay for.
They don’t advertise the size of the patty on the menu, but it’s fairly substantial — I’d guess at least eight ounces.
It’s a great quality burger. Seriously, seriously good. For one thing, it’s obviously made with sufficiently fatty beef, and is really juicy. This doesn’t seem like a huge deal, but when you eat as many depressingly lean, way-too-dry burgers as I do, it’s like manna from heaven.
The juiciness and the lack of any meatloaf-esque ingredients is enough for me to give this burger a solid thumbs up. But the flavour is also pretty great, with a really complex, satisfyingly beefy taste. It’s always a pleasure to eat a burger at a restaurant where the chef actually takes care to source the beef he uses in his hamburger.
It’s topped, as per the menu, with “avocado + smoked mayo + arugula.” You don’t find too many burgers topped with avocado, and I’m not sure why. I wouldn’t want it on a griddle-cooked, fast food-style patty, but it’s perfectly suited for a more substantial burger like this one. Its creaminess and mild flavour are a perfect fit for this particular style of hamburger.
The smoky mayo and peppery arugula also compliment the burger pretty darn well, as does the fresh, soft yet substantial bun. It’s very easy for the bun to be an afterthought, but it clearly isn’t here.
So what’s the deal? Is this a perfect burger? Sadly, no. Though it didn’t appear to be, and it is cooked to a perfect medium rare, the outside of the burger is a bit over-charred, giving it a slight acrid bitterness. It’s not too strong, fortunately, so I was still able to enjoy the hell out of this hamburger — but it’s there, marring what could otherwise be on a shortlist of the best burgers in the city.
Maybe this was just a one-off mistake. Maybe it’s something that almost never happens. I don’t know. Sadly, I’m not a professional reviewer, and I don’t have the luxury of visiting a restaurant multiple times. I can only review the burger I was served that day, and that’s what I was served.
As for the fries, they were truly outstanding. No caveats here: just perfectly cooked, amazingly flavourful fries. Good stuff.