Archive | November, 2015

Nader’s Middle Eastern Grill & Bakery

22 Nov

naders
Location
: 3900 Grand Park Drive, Mississauga
Websitehttp://www.naders.co/

Have you ever been bored, browsing Instagram, seen a photo of a burger that looked good from a restaurant you wouldn’t expect, then thought “hey, I should review that for my burger blog!”

No? That phenomenon is weirdly specific to me? Well then.

Let’s face it, a burger isn’t exactly the first thing you’d typically order at a Middle Eastern joint like Nader’s. Or the second. Or the third. Or even the tenth. It’s weird that it’s even on their menu, but hey – it’s there and I’ve got this burger blog, so let’s do this.

I visited around lunchtime on a Thursday, and despite the fact that the impressively enormous restaurant was about 90% empty, the people behind the counter seemed frazzled. My burger took about twenty minutes, and I overheard another customer complaining that he had been waiting for his shawarma plate for over half an hour.

There were other issues. The guy behind the counter asked what I wanted on my burger; after telling him mayo, pickles, and tomato, he immediately started putting ketchup on the burger. I clarified what I wanted. He apologized, then reached for the lettuce.

Yeah, the service wasn’t great.

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This is the part of the review where I wish I could say “but it was all worth it once I tasted that burger. I definitely didn’t waste my time eating the latest in a long line of depressingly mediocre hamburgers!”

You have no idea how much I wish I could say that.

I ordered the single patty option, and it came glistening, with an impressive amount of crust from the griddle. I often complain about burgers that are weakly browned, with little to no crust. I have the opposite complaint here; the exterior of the patty was borderline burnt. It had a dark, crunchy exterior that makes you realize that yes, it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

I think they mostly use the griddle to crisp up already-cooked shawarma, which necessitates a surface that’s far hotter than you need to cook a burger.

Though the beef actually has a pretty nice flavour, it’s finely ground, tightly packed, and lean. Which means it was crazy dry and unpleasantly tough, despite being cooked to medium with a bit of pink remaining.

The toppings were fine, though the bun, despite being toasted on the griddle, was stale and dry.

As for the fries, they were pale and underwhelming, both in appearance and flavour. They were about on par with the burger.

1.5 out of 4

Nader's - the outside Nader's - the restaurant Nader's - the burger and fries Nader's - the burger

Broncos Slider Bar

8 Nov

broncos
Location
: 127 Strachan Avenue, Toronto
Website: http://www.broncosrestaurant.com/

Broncos Slider Bar – a spinoff of Branca, a tapas joint – is the latest restaurant in the city to specialize in so-called sliders.

No, they’re not sliders in the original sense of the term, but I’ve come to accept two things about this:

1) The definition of the word “slider” has now lost all connection to what it used to mean. It went from referring to a very specific style of hamburger, to a small burger of any style, and now to any small sandwich that’s served on a bun. And the way things are going, it will soon refer to any food that happens to be bite-sized. The English language is constantly evolving; no point in trying to fight it.

2) The specific style of burger that originally birthed the word “slider” will never be served in Toronto – or at least, not until I finally make good on my idle chatter and open my own burger joint.

Both points make me sad (particularly number two), but it is what it is.

Anyway, word-nitpickery and burger-style-snobbery aside, Broncos actually serves a pretty good hamburger.

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It’s a classic, fast-food-style cheeseburger – griddle-cooked, and topped with melty American cheese.

The patty has a good texture, a decent amount of juiciness, and a satisfying beefy flavour. Combined with the nice brown crust from the griddle and the gooey cheese, it’s clear that someone in the kitchen knows their way around hamburger cookery.

I would, however, ask for it without mustard next time, or at least ask for less mustard, because the amount applied here just detracted from that great patty.

The other toppings are solid – the pickles did their usual hamburger-improving thing, and even the onions were pretty good. I’m normally not crazy about raw onions on a burger (or anywhere, for that matter), but these weren’t too strong, offering some mild oniony flavour and a little bit of crunch, without overpowering.

Sadly, the bun was an absolute disaster. It’s way, way, way too big and dense for the task at hand. It works well on their other sandwiches, which tend to be messier and crammed to the gills with stuff, thus necessitating a bun with more heft. On the burger, however, the substantial bun throws the beef-to-bun ratio so far off that it’s almost ruinous. Seriously: it comes alarmingly close to flat-out ruining the hamburger. It completely overwhelms the beef. It’s a damn shame, because with a better bun this would be a great burger, and now it’s merely good.

The fries, on the other hand, were great. They look kind of pale but they taste amazing – crispy, creamy, perfect.

3 out of 4

Broncos Slider Bar - the restaurant Broncos Slider Bar - the restaurant Broncos Slider Bar - sliders and fries Broncos Slider Bar - the cheeseburger Broncos Slider Bar - the cheeseburger