Archive | April, 2016

Hangry Burger

24 Apr

hangry
Location
: 435 Yonge Street, Toronto
Websitehttp://hangryburger.com/

If you’ve ever wondered what the hamburger equivalent of a shrug is, look no further.  Hangry Burger now exists to answer that question.

That’s the thing: it’s not a bad burger.  There’s nothing offensive about it, and I didn’t dislike eating it.  But it’s not particularly good.  It’s just… it’s fine (you can’t see me right now, but I’m shrugging pretty hard).

This is going to be a pretty short review, because I honestly don’t have all that much to say about it.  It’s hard to muster up all that much enthusiasm to write about a burger that’s so thoroughly middle-of-the-road.

I ordered the Hangry Burger, which is their no-frills choice, and had it topped with Hangry sauce, pickles, and tomato.

hangryA

The patty had some colour from the griddle, though it was cooked all the way to well done and a bit dry.  It was also too finely ground, giving it a mealier texture than I’d like — but I’ve certainly had worse.  As for the flavour of the beef?  Remember all that shrugging I was doing earlier?  Yeah, I’m still doing it.

The toppings were fine, though if the Hangry sauce was anything other than plain mayo, I couldn’t taste it.

The bun, too, was fine, though it was clearly too big and dense for the simple single-patty option — the bun-to-patty ratio was way off.  The fact that it was cold and untoasted probably didn’t help.

As for the fries, they looked good, but they were a bit overcooked.  They were vaguely bitter, with a borderline burnt flavour.

2.5 out of 4

Hangry Burger - the outside Hangry Burger - the restaurant Hangry Burger - the burger Hangry Burger - the burger Hangry Burger - the fries

Cactus Club Cafe

10 Apr

cactus
Location
: 77 Adelaide Street West, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.cactusclubcafe.com/location/first-canadian-place/

Cactus Club Cafe, like Earl’s and Joey before it, is the latest Western Canadian upscale casual chain to make its way to Toronto.  A great burger from a chain like this is kind of like Bigfoot — some people claim it exists, but I haven’t seen any compelling evidence myself.  But in his (mostly unfavourable) review of this place in the Globe and Mail, Chris Nuttall-Smith singled out the burger as “a wide, deliciously sloppy mess.”  Okay.  Sold.

There are actually two burgers on the menu — the Feenie Burger, and the Cheddar Bacon burger.  As far as I can tell the two burgers are identical, save for the presence of mushrooms on the Feenie.  But that burger (created by celebrity chef Rob Feenie) is the one referenced in Nuttall-Smith’s review, so that’s what I ordered.

There’s a ridiculous amount of stuff on the burger.  Aside from the aforementioned mushrooms, it’s topped with aged cheddar, smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickles, red relish, mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard.  I’m actually kind of surprised that Feenie wanted to put his name on this burger, because it’s essentially like going to Harvey’s and asking for everything.  It might be tasty, but it’s more like a random hodge-podge of stuff than a chef-crafted creation.  In particular, the vinegary-sweet combination of the abundant ketchup and mustard are easily the dominant flavours here.

cactusA

As for the mushrooms that apparently warrant Rob Feenie slapping his name on the burger?  There’s so much else going on that I literally couldn’t even tell they were there.

Still, it’s a pretty good hamburger.  The patty has a bit of crust from the griddle, and in the rare bites where you get a taste of the beef without too much else getting in the way, it has a pretty decent flavour.  It’s also fairly juicy, with a nice coarse grind that hasn’t been overhandled.  It makes me a bit sad that it’s completely overwhelmed by the voluminous toppings (Nuttall-Smith called the patty “somewhat irrelevant” in his review, which is apt), but tasty is tasty.  Sometimes it’s best not to overthink it.

As for the fries, they were lightly battered, cardboardy, and personality-free.  They couldn’t have been more obviously from a bag if they came with a big lighted sign that said “FROM THE FREEZER.”

3 out of 4

Cactus Club Cafe - the outside Cactus Club Cafe - restaurant Cactus Club Cafe - the burger Cactus Club Cafe - the burger