Location: 592 Sherbourne Street, Toronto
As far as I’m concerned, a great burger doesn’t need much when it comes to toppings. Is the the patty made from good quality beef? Is it juicy? If the answer to both of those questions is yes (and the answer to both of those questions should always be yes), then please just step out of the way and let the burger do its thing.
Sure, throw a couple of toppings on there that enhance or compliment the beef — but that’s it. A lot of chefs tend to overthink it or want to put their own stamp on a tried-and-true dish. Don’t do that. The beef is the star. It’s been the star for over a hundred years. You’re not better than that kind of history. If the toppings are getting in the way of what makes a burger great, you’re doing it wrong.
Of course, I probably should have known that something called a “French Onion Beef Chuck Burger” would be over-condimented. But how could I resist? French onion soup is delicious. Hamburgers are delicious. Surely combining the two should be delicious?
And yeah, it kinda is. That’s the thing. This was a Tasty Burger. But it was all about the toppings.
In my defense, caramelized onions and gooey cheese are both a hamburger’s best friend, so I had high hopes for this. But the sharp Gruyère was way too assertive, as was the voluminous pile of rich, flavourful onions (not to mention the dijonnaise, which adds another strong flavour into the mix).
It’s too bad, because the patty was decent. The waiter asked if medium was okay, but it actually came out closer to medium rare — a delightful surprise. And it was quite juicy. But even aside from the fact that it was way over-condimented, the quality of the beef itself was only so-so.
That’s pretty much moot, however — the only way I was able to tell what the patty tasted like was by specifically pulling out a piece so I could try it on its own. Underneath all of those assertive toppings, the patty is more about its texture than anything else. And the texture is great.
I don’t know. I’m probably just being a curmudgeon and/or a burger snob. I enjoyed eating the burger at Maison Selby. It tastes good. But for all the creativity on display, is it better than a plain burger that’s well prepared and made with great quality beef? No. No it is not.
As for the fries, they could have been fresher, but were otherwise quite tasty. In particular, the herby aioli that comes on the side is fantastic.