Location: 296 Gerrard Street East, Toronto
Sometimes, I wanna put on a tight black T-shirt, bust into the kitchen at a burger joint and pull a Whiplash on the chef. Oh, is this the burger you’re serving me? NOT MY TEMPO. MAKE IT AGAIN.
I just don’t get it. It’s not like we’re talking about some finicky souffle or a complex molecular gastronomy creation that requires years of training and thousands of dollars in equipment — it’s a burger. It doesn’t require much from a chef. You get good quality, reasonably fatty beef, you grind it coarsely, you form it loosely into a patty, and you cook it on a hot surface. Put it on a fresh bun that’s the right size, and you’re good to go. It’s so easy that I really don’t get why every burger isn’t great.
The myriad ways Toronto burger joints manage to mess it up can sometimes make me want to throw my hands in the air, yell out “DONE” to no one in particular, and then become a vegetarian.
Which isn’t to say that the burger at Oh Boy was particularly bad. It was fine. I didn’t dislike eating it. But there are a few frustratingly common mistakes that hold it back from being anything better than “meh” (clearly, there’s a reason why it’s been around for years with so few people even knowing about it. Even I hadn’t heard of it until a few months ago, and I go out of my way to keep up with such things, as you might imagine).
I ordered the classic burger, which comes with two four ounce, griddle-cooked patties, topped to request. I went with pickles, tomatoes, and Oh Boy Roasted Garlic Mayo.
The quality of the beef is obviously pretty good; the patties had a decent beefy flavour that’s fairly subtle, but definitely there. There’s some crust from the griddle (not a lot, but some), which is always good. I also quite enjoyed the roasted garlic mayo, which has a nice pop of garlic flavour without slapping you in the face or overwhelming the beef.
But, like so many other Toronto burger joints, the well done patties are more dry and more tough than they have any right to be, thanks to beef that’s obviously too lean, that’s been too finely ground, and that’s way too tightly packed. It’s a bit of a tough chew.
The bun was bordering on being too soft and insubstantial for the task at hand, but it basically got the job done.
The fries, at least, were great; crisp, but not too crisp, with a creamy interior and a nice potatoey flavour. They were about a million times better than the burger.