I don’t want to bury the lede: yes, Hambrgr is in Hamilton. It’s far. I’ve never reviewed a hamburger outside of the GTA for this blog, but after seeing Hambrgr on John Catucci’s new Food Network show, Big Food Bucket List, I kinda had to try it.
While I was mulling over whether I wanted to expand this blog’s range into Hamilton, I discovered that something called the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (or GTHA) exists. I’m not making this up; it has a Wikipedia page. That was really all the excuse I needed.
And seriously: watch that segment on Big Food Bucket List and tell me you don’t immediately want to check that place out. I dare you.
I’m happy to say that it is absolutely, positively worth the drive to Hamilton. It’s so damn good.
The burger from the show is the #HamOnt: “double 1/4lb patties, grilled onions, ‘merican cheese, mustard glazed bacon, brgr sauce, iceberg.”
Sadly, my pictures turned out terribly — the lighting in the restaurant is a bit wonky, so in the photos, the griddled patties look like they’ve been completely blackened. They were not completely blackened.
You’ll just have to take my word for it: they were perfect. They had an absolutely amazing dark brown crust.
They also tasted fantastic; they were profoundly juicy despite being cooked to medium well, with a thunderclap of satisfying beefy flavour. According to the show, they’re made from a blend of chuck, inside round, and navel. Unlike so many burgers in the GTA, you can tell that a great deal of thought was put into the blend they used. It’s juicy and flavourful in a way that puts most burger joints to shame.
The patties were maybe a bit too finely ground and tightly packed — they’re ever-so-slightly tougher than they should be, but that’s a very minor complaint. Considering how superlative they are in every other way, that’s easy to overlook.
The toppings are just as good. The gooey American cheese is perfect, griddled onions are always welcome on a burger, and the shredded lettuce adds some nice crunch and freshness. Then there’s the mustard-glazed bacon, which is honestly kind of ingenious. The zippy flavour from the mustard enhances the bacon and helps to cut through the burger’s richness, but doesn’t overwhelm the burger the way mustard as a condiment does.
The bun is great, too. I mean, it’s all great. If you have a car, it’s totally worth the drive to Hamilton. And if you don’t… I dunno, take the bus, I guess? Just get over there. It’s worth it.
As for the fries, I ordered the half & half, which comes with regular and sweet potato fries. It also comes with two dipping sauces: ketchup and sambal mayo. The fries are very good, and that sambal mayo makes them even better. It’s a great dip; it’s spicy, zesty, and addictive.