Bareburger

25 Jan

bare
Location
: 111 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Websitehttp://111-dundas-st-w-toronto.bareburger.com/

It makes me really happy when I think about how good it’s gotten for burger-lovers in Toronto over the last several years.  A few years ago, with the dearth of great burger choices in the city, Bareburger would have been a breath of fresh air.  But now?  Not so much.

And Bareburger is a fairly popular chain in the States, with most of its locations around New York City.  I’ve been under the impression that New York had us handily beat in the burger department, but if this place is good enough to thrive there, it might not be so clear-cut.

It’s not even that Bareburger is bad, per se.  It’s fine.  There’s just nothing particularly noteworthy about it.

It’s a nicely designed restaurant, with lots of light coming in from the windows.  Unlike a lot of burger joints in the city, it’s waiter service, with more than just burgers on the menu (and more choices than just beef for the burgers).

You can either pick one of their handful of pre-topped burgers, or you can customize your own.  I went with the Standard: “beef, colby, stout onions, dill pickles, special sauce, brioche bun.”

Like I said, it’s fine.  The griddled burger comes cooked to well done (they say medium well on the menu, but this sucker was gray throughout), and while it was vaguely juicy, it was dryer than I’d like.  It was also a little bit too dense, and somewhat tough.

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The patty has a very mildly beefy flavour, which was entirely wiped out by the burger’s toppings.  In particular, the zesty special sauce completely knocked out any flavour from the beef itself.  It wasn’t bad, don’t get me wrong — it was just a bit overwhelming.

The other toppings were pretty good as well.  The fully melted colby cheese was mild and creamy, and the caramelized stout onions were dark brown, with a sweet, rich flavour.

I wasn’t as keen on the brioche bun. It was okay, but it was way too dense and substantial for the task at hand.  It was also a good thirty percent wider than the patty itself, leaving me with a ridiculous amount of bun on my plate after the patty was long gone.  Come on, guys.  Seriously.  This is burger making 101.

I feel like I’m piling on more criticism than this place deserves (again, it’s not bad), but I have to mention that it’s alarmingly expensive.  The burgers are all in the 12 to 15 dollar price range, and that doesn’t include a side.  Fries will run you another three bucks.  Factor a drink and a tip on top of that, and you’re looking at spending well north of twenty bucks.  I don’t always pay a ton of attention to this in my reviews, because it’s the quality of the burger that really concerns me, but these prices are a little bit intense, especially considering the only-average quality of the food.

The fries, too, were good but not great.  But hey, let me close things out with a couple of things I really liked.  They have a handful of interesting sodas on the menu — I have a hard time saying no to a unique soda, so obviously I got one.  I went with blueberry, and it was surprisingly good.  The blueberry flavour was really outstanding; it almost tasted like a blueberry pie in soda form.  It was one of the best sodas I’ve had in quite a while.

For dessert, my dining companion ordered the Snickerdoodle ice cream sandwich; I wound up splitting it with him, and oh man was it good.  I think it might even have Bang Bang beat for the title of best ice cream sandwich in the city.  The cookie was cinnamony and chewy, with the absolute perfect ice cream sandwich consistency — dense, but not too dense, with just the right amount of chew.  And the super creamy ice cream had a satisfyingly intense roasted marshmallow flavour — I think it was either from Greg’s, or very similar to what they serve there.  It was the absolute perfect match for that cookie.  I’m not even kidding: you need to go there just for that sandwich.  It was outstanding.

2.5 out of 4

Bareburger - the outside Bareburger - the restaurant Bareburger - the menu Bareburger - the burger and fries Bareburger - the burger Bareburger - the burger
Bareburger on Urbanspoon

3 Responses to “Bareburger”

  1. Jdawg (@JasperLoudawg) February 2, 2015 at 12:19 am #

    Dude, you just lost all street cred! I occasionally visit your blog to find out the new burger hotspots in tdot, cus I love burgers! But after reading your latest reviews on Wahlburgers and Bareburger, I have come to realize you have no clue what a good burger is…First, Wahlburger sucks! I cant believe you think they put out a good product? And Bareburger? awesome and all organic!!! best new burger in Toronto. I knew them from my time in NYC during my med school years. Was SO excited to see they decided to expand to Toronto. So tasty and their food is organic. I dont mind paying a couple of bucks more for quality and organic products. But of course you probably shop at no frills for your meat so of course you would think they are expensive. Only two burger spots worth visiting in Toronto are Bareburger and second best burgerpriest, for when you feel like a fast food takeout burger. Def dont feel good after eating burger priest, but it does taste good :)

    • Michael Nusair February 2, 2015 at 5:13 pm #

      Wahlburgers and Bareburger are both okay, but not much more than that. I personally prefer Wahlburgers because the flavour and texture of the beef are slightly better, and the bun is much better. But neither of them are anything to get too excited about.

      Have you actually been to the Toronto location of Bareburger? I’m wondering because I find that sometimes, something will be lost in translation when a restaurant expands from the US to Canada. So it’s definitely possible that their NYC locations are much better.

      If you have been to the Toronto location and you still think it’s one of the best burger joints in the city? Well, I think that’s insanity, but different strokes for different folks. You’re probably right about this not being the blog for you, then, because clearly our burger tastes are quite different.

      • Jdawg (@JasperLoudawg) February 3, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

        3 times my friend. We use to order from BB all the time on overnight rotations so I know what BB is supposed to taste like. The Toronto location is spot on to the NYC locations. Those brioche buns are to die for! And they have amazing poutine in their Toronto location, so a very nice touch. But you;re right, we have different burger taste profiles. I prefer a more refined burger experience with high quality meats and ingredients which Bareburger delivers vs. the fast food crap the majority of the other places put out.

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