Location: 100 Front Street East, Toronto
My last review was of a burger joint with two different tongue sandwiches on the menu. Speaking of incongruous pairings, we have b.good, the latest American restaurant chain to head north. Their theme? Health food and hamburgers.
I’m going to let that sink in for a second: Health food. Quinoa. Kale. Salads. And hamburgers.
To me (and to any rational person) the words “health food” and “hamburgers” should never be in the same sentence, other than to say “hamburgers are not health food.”
Needless to say, I was skeptical, but still hopeful; perhaps b.good’s definition of a healthy burger was merely one without any unnecessary chemicals/additives/preservatives. Maybe you can make a hamburger with high quality beef and call it healthy. Maybe I wouldn’t have to suffer through a dried-out patty made under the ill-advised notion that any food can be made healthy if you wish hard enough.
Maybe I’ll win the lottery tomorrow.
No, b.good’s burger isn’t healthy in the “we used good quality ingredients” sense of the term. It’s healthy in the “lean beef” sense of the term. It’s healthy in the “let’s ruin something good” sense of the term. It’s healthy in the “what the hell have you done to this hamburger” sense of the term.
They have six pre-topped burgers on the menu; I went with the simplest choice, the Cousin Oliver. That one comes with “lettuce, tomato, onions, Chef Tony’s homemade pickles.” They have beef, chicken, turkey, and veggie patties, as well as white or whole wheat buns. Do I even need to mention I picked beef with a white bun? Because of course I picked beef with a white bun.
I’m not going to sugar-coat it: it’s dry. Oh good heavens was it dry. If you poke around this blog for longer than a few minutes, you’ll probably see me complaining about overly-dry hamburgers, but this one takes the cake. I’m not a hundred percent sure if it’s the driest burger I’ve had in my life, but it’s a contender.
It’s way too tightly packed, which doesn’t help. It also doesn’t help that it was cooked all the way to well done, but there were still vague hints of pink in there, so it wasn’t overcooked. But it’s obvious that they started with ridiculously lean beef, because there wasn’t even a hint of juiciness. As you chew it, the beef just sort of crumbles into sad little pellets of desiccated meat. It sucks all the moisture out of your mouth. It needs it.
It also tastes weird. It tasted odd enough that I actually looked at the menu to make sure bison wasn’t an option, because it didn’t really taste like beef; it didn’t taste right. It was gamy and funky and weird. It was unpleasant. It tasted like maybe they had cooked it yesterday and reheated it today (that would also account for some of the absurd dryness), but don’t take my word for that. That’s a serious accusation and I don’t make it lightly. I’m just trying to figure out what could possibly make beef taste like that.
My dining companion had the same complaints vis-a-vis taste and texture, so this wasn’t just the case of one burger gone awry. In fact, he posted a Yelp review, and if you’re noting similarities between the two reviews? Yeah. That’s inevitable. The burgers here are dry, and they taste weird. It’s hard not to take note of that.
The toppings and the bun were fine, though the bun was too big for the patty, and the burger oddly doesn’t come with any condiments like ketchup or mustard or mayo. That didn’t help matters, but you could have dunked this patty in a bath consisting of all the condiments in the world, and it still would have been unpalatably dry.
As for the “fries,” they weren’t fries. B.good proudly proclaims that they’re “oven finished” a.k.a. baked, a.k.a. not fried. If you don’t fry a fry, is it still a fry? Do I really need to answer that? They tasted baked. They didn’t taste anything like fries, though they basically looked the part. They weren’t terrible (they were well cooked at least) but they weren’t fries.