Location: 385 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto
Though the term “slider” has come to mean any little sandwich on a bun, it used to refer to a very specific type of hamburger where onions, beef, and bun all mingle together in a way that can be downright magical. I’ve decried the absence of this style of burger in the GTA a few times over the years; most recently, in my review for Broncos Slider Bar, I predicted that we’d never get a true slider joint in the city.
Well, I’m happy to say that I was wrong. Gold Standard, a tiny little take-out window just off of Roncesvalles, serves a Telway-style burger — a variation on a slider that originated in Detroit.
And while it’s not quite as delicious as I might have hoped, I’m very, very glad that it exists.
The burgers here feature a diminutive patty that’s been cooked with a generous amount of thinly shaved onions, which allows the beef and the onions to cook together, and for the flavours to mingle (they remain completely distinct from one another, however — this is a far cry from a meatloaf burger). They also put a pre-cooking application of mustard directly on the patty and/or griddle to amp up the flavour. It’s served with gooey american cheese and pickles, and comes tightly wrapped in foil so that the bun absorbs some of the flavour from the beef and the onions.
It’s a very respectable slider, but alas, nothing about it got my heart rate up. The best part is the interplay between the beef and the griddled onions; that is a boffo flavour combination, and Gold Standard executes it perfectly. The gooey melted cheese was also quite good, if a bit too salty.
The patty was solid — it had a good texture and it wasn’t too tightly packed — but it could have been beefier and juicier. It wasn’t exactly dry, but it wasn’t particularly juicy, either, and the beefy flavour was more muted than I’d like. It doesn’t help that the mustard was surprisingly intense, and dominated all of the other flavours in the hamburger.
The bun was probably the weakest part. That’s a shame, because the soft beef-and-onion infused bun is a big part of the appeal of this style of hamburger. I’m pretty sure that it started out as a good-quality bun, but it had been so thoroughly mashed down and squashed into oblivion that all of the fluffiness had been compressed right out of it. It had the approximate texture of a really dense marshmallow. It wasn’t completely unappealing, but it was firm and chewy in a way that was odd and off-putting.
This would normally be the part of the review where I talk about the fries. There aren’t any. There are only three things on the menu at Gold Standard: the burger, a breakfast sandwich, and a vegetarian sandwich (or vegan? I honestly didn’t even read that portion of the menu).