After seeing pictures of the various burger specials at the Wren roughly a billion times on Instagram over the last few months, my excitement level was pretty much at a fever pitch; it’s not easy to get me to venture too far east in Toronto (I’m lazy, you see), but for an amazing burger? Yeah, I’ll go out of my way for that.
Alas, this place suffers from a very pronounced case of Sweet Jesus-itus — highly Instagrammable, but otherwise not particularly great.
I ordered the Backyard Burger, which is the most bare-bones burger they serve (they also have a much more Instagram-friendly creation called the Uncle Buck Burger, not to mention the veritable Instagram-catnip that is their rotating special).
The Backyard Burger comes topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup, mustard, and mayo.
Sometimes, you can just look at a burger’s cross-section and know you’re in trouble. If you can tell just by looking at a burger that the grind is too fine and it’s too densely packed, you’re in trouble.
And yeah, of course the grind was too fine and it was too densely packed, because just look at it. Look at it and weep.
It was also cooked all the way to the wellest of well done, and was almost entirely moisture-free. It wasn’t the worst patty I’ve ever had, but it was kinda unpleasant to eat.
The taste, while not offensive, was non-existent; there was no particular beefy or meaty flavour. Aside from the subtle smokiness from the grill, it didn’t taste like anything.
Everything else was fine. The burger comes topped with ketchup, mustard, and mayo, which is more condiment-heavy than I’d usually like. Here, however, those condiments are actually fairly essential to provide the burger with some much-needed moisture. I actually could have used more.
The bun, though a little bit too crackly on its exterior, was mostly quite good. It held up to the patty and the toppings nicely, and didn’t overwhelm.
The fries were the clear (and only) highlight. They were perfectly cooked and tossed with a seasoned salt that made them taste pretty great on their own — no dip required.