Home of the Brave

589 King Street West, Toronto

Home of the Brave opened a few months ago, and word very quickly got out that it’s a place you should probably check out. They serve their take on classic American comfort foods like fried bologna sandwiches, BBQ ribs, and tater tots, in a trendy, hipster-friendly environment (read: it’s dark and loud). The burger isn’t on their regular menu — it is, however, on the late night menu (served after 11:00 PM) and it’s the daily special on Saturdays.

I didn’t even realize they had a burger on the menu, but as soon as I saw it I knew that I had to have it. Called The Altar Boy, it’s described as having “house ground beef, tartar sauce, house made processed cheese, tomato & lettuce.”

After a string of mediocre (or worse!) hamburgers, this was just what the doctor ordered: beefy, juicy, and seriously satisfying. It’s a bit busy; it actually reminded me quite a bit of the burger at Wallace & Co. Like that one, it’s a saucy, juicy mess with a little bit more going on than it probably should. And like that one, it’s really good.


I think the quality of the beef is better here than at Wallace & Co. The griddled, medium rare patty has a pretty solid beefy flavour (or at least it seemed to in the few less condimented mouthfuls I got).

The tangy tartar sauce is a little bit more assertive than I’d like, but it tastes good and mostly compliments the burger pretty well.  Though they’re going to the trouble of making their own processed cheese, there’s so much else going on that you can’t really tell.

The fresh sesame seed bun has enough heft to hold up to the messy burger without ever tipping the scales and throwing off the beef-to-bun ratio. It’s pretty great.

It’s a shame that this burger isn’t on the regular menu. It’s kind of sad that a burger that they only occasionally serve here is head and shoulders above what they serve at a lot of burger joints (I’m thinking specifically of my most recent review, the mediocre-at-best Patty & Frank’s), but there you go.

The closest thing on the menu to fries are the tater tots — though with their creamy interior and cripy coating, they’re more like fried mashed potato bites than tater tots. But whatever they are, they’re pretty darn good.

The Buffalo cauliflower is also quite tasty. If you have to eat cauliflower, battered, deep fried, and dipped in house-made Buffalo and ranch sauces is probably the way to go.

Home of the Brave - the restaurant Home of the Brave - The Altar Boy burger Home of the Brave - The Altar Boy burger
Home of the Brave on Urbanspoon
(Image of the outside of the restaurant in the header photo courtesy of kiki’s B.F.F. I totally forgot to take that picture. Whoops!)

Patty & Frank’s

467 Danforth Avenue, Toronto

Every time a new burger place opens in the city, I immediately perk up. Will it be Toronto’s next great burger joint? Who knows! It’s like an unwrapped present. Exciting!

As the name implies, Patty & Frank’s serves both hamburgers and hot dogs, though it should be fairly obvious that I’m much more interested in the former and less in the latter (this isn’t Tasty Hot Dogs, after all).

The restaurant is bright, cheerful, and incredibly spacious. I don’t think you’ll have to worry about finding a place to sit.

I typically try to order a burger joint’s namesake burger, assuming they have one, but in this case the P & F Signature is so comically overstuffed (it comes topped with, among other stuff, cheese, a hot dog, and french fries) that I knew I’d never be able to taste the patty.

So I just ordered a plain burger, waited for my name to be called, then had it topped with pickles, tomato, and mayo.

Their cooking method is a little different than most Toronto burger joints. The uncooked patty is first placed on a griddle, then finished off on the grill. You’d think that this method would result in some browning on the surface of the patty, but nope — aside from the grill marks, it was completely gray. So I can’t say I quite understand the point of the two-step cooking process.


I sat down and took a bite. Sadly, it was clear pretty quickly that this wasn’t quite the present I was hoping it would be. Is there a gift receipt…?

It’s a meatloaf burger, though by the standards of this style of hamburger they’re fairly conservative with the seasonings. There’s definitely something more than salt and pepper in the patty, but it’s subtle. Still, it’s enough to knock out whatever mild beefy flavour this particular meat might have once had, which makes me sad.

The patty is also a bit on the salty side. At first I thought that perhaps this was from the mayo that was very liberally applied on my burger, but my dining companion found his burger to be a little bit salty as well.

The well done burger is somewhat juicy, which I definitely appreciated. But the patty has been really tightly packed, and is a bit more dense than I’d like. It’s odd, because you’d think that the one benefit of their two-step cooking process would be that they could grab a fresh ball of beef, smash it on the griddle and then transfer it over to the grill, which would allow for a much more loosely packed and texturally satisfying patty. But nope, the patties are formed in advance and are quite dense.

The bun tasted fresh and suited the burger well, and the condiments were fine (aside from the fairly obscene amount of mayo).

So no, Patty & Frank’s is not Toronto’s next great burger joint. It’s barely even good. I mean, it’s fine. I’ve certainly had worse. It’s a big fat meh, and honestly, I’m getting a bit sick of big fat mehs.

As for the fries, though they tasted a bit oily, they were pretty good and actually kind of reminded me of chip truck fries.

Patty & Frank's - the outside Patty & Frank's - the restaurant Patty & Frank's - the burger Patty & Frank's - the fries Patty & Frank's - the burger
Patty and Frank's Gourmet Burgers and Hot Dogs on Urbanspoon