Location: 1249 Queen Street West, Toronto
My visit to The Rhino was completely unplanned — I was in the area, I wanted to check out a burger, and hey, that place looks like it serves a hamburger. No recommendations, no research, just a random pop-in.
My dream in situations like this is that the burger will turn out to be amazing, and that I can announce a hidden gem to the world. I mean, anyone can go and review a place that everyone’s talking about. Who cares? Finding a restaurant that people wouldn’t have heard of otherwise — that’s a service to the world.
That absolutely, positively isn’t what happened here, but hey, I can keep dreaming. One day.
The Rhino burger: “hand-pressed ground beef patty, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickle, brioche bun. Served with fries or house salad.”
It’s not good. And it’s not good in such a boring way that I don’t even particularly feel like talking about it. It’s the usual bad burger trifecta: the beef is too finely ground, it’s packed too tightly, and it’s too lean. It’s crazy dry. I normally eat a burger as it comes, but in this case I just couldn’t stomach it. I had to put on copious amounts of mustard (which I typically find to be way too assertive as a burger topping) just to give it some moisture, and to give the bland, personality-free beef some flavour.
I will say that the medium well patty is perfectly grilled, which gives it a great amount of smoky flavour. Not enough to save it, of course — but it that element was nice nonetheless.
And the fresh brioche bun was quite good (not that it particularly matters).
As for the fries, they were delicious, with a delicate exterior crispiness and a perfect amount of fluffiness. They were seasoned with big, flaky grains of salt that added more texture and nice pops of flavour. They were top notch.