Greenwood Smokehouse

: 673 Danforth Avenue, Toronto

I like having a burger blog, but sometimes it’s a bummer.  Greenwood Smokehouse is, as the name implies, a barbecue joint.  And when I went there the other day, it smelled appropriately smoky, and I thought: I could go for some barbecue.  But I hate to pass up a chance to review a burger, so yeah.  I ordered the burger.

And it wasn’t great!  Which just made me sad about the potential barbecue deliciousness I was missing out on, but then my dining companion had the brisket sandwich and wasn’t impressed, so there you go.  Sometimes you’re not going to win no matter what you do.

Greenwood Smokehouse’s Black Angus burger is really simply topped, with just lettuce, tomato, pickles, and nothing else.  You have to admire a place that’s so confident in their hamburger that they don’t even want condiments to get in the way.

And the large patty certainly looks impressive, with a decent amount of crust from the griddle.

But the texture’s a bit off.  It was dense and chewy, and the well done patty was pretty dry.  It’s certainly not the worst thing ever, but it’s not ideal.

The flavour, too, was off.  It had a vague beefy flavour, but also a mild gaminess that I found unpleasant.  Again, it’s not the worst that I’ve had, but… it’s not great.

Everything else was pretty good.  The toppings were solid, and the bun — though standard-issue supermarket fare — was fresh and suited the burger well.

As for the fries, they were easily the highlight.  They were perfectly fried, and were nicely seasoned with a tasty spice blend.  This can sometimes be overbearing, but in this case it really worked.

2.5 out of 4

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Patty & Frank’s

467 Danforth Avenue, Toronto

Every time a new burger place opens in the city, I immediately perk up. Will it be Toronto’s next great burger joint? Who knows! It’s like an unwrapped present. Exciting!

As the name implies, Patty & Frank’s serves both hamburgers and hot dogs, though it should be fairly obvious that I’m much more interested in the former and less in the latter (this isn’t Tasty Hot Dogs, after all).

The restaurant is bright, cheerful, and incredibly spacious. I don’t think you’ll have to worry about finding a place to sit.

I typically try to order a burger joint’s namesake burger, assuming they have one, but in this case the P & F Signature is so comically overstuffed (it comes topped with, among other stuff, cheese, a hot dog, and french fries) that I knew I’d never be able to taste the patty.

So I just ordered a plain burger, waited for my name to be called, then had it topped with pickles, tomato, and mayo.

Their cooking method is a little different than most Toronto burger joints. The uncooked patty is first placed on a griddle, then finished off on the grill. You’d think that this method would result in some browning on the surface of the patty, but nope — aside from the grill marks, it was completely gray. So I can’t say I quite understand the point of the two-step cooking process.


I sat down and took a bite. Sadly, it was clear pretty quickly that this wasn’t quite the present I was hoping it would be. Is there a gift receipt…?

It’s a meatloaf burger, though by the standards of this style of hamburger they’re fairly conservative with the seasonings. There’s definitely something more than salt and pepper in the patty, but it’s subtle. Still, it’s enough to knock out whatever mild beefy flavour this particular meat might have once had, which makes me sad.

The patty is also a bit on the salty side. At first I thought that perhaps this was from the mayo that was very liberally applied on my burger, but my dining companion found his burger to be a little bit salty as well.

The well done burger is somewhat juicy, which I definitely appreciated. But the patty has been really tightly packed, and is a bit more dense than I’d like. It’s odd, because you’d think that the one benefit of their two-step cooking process would be that they could grab a fresh ball of beef, smash it on the griddle and then transfer it over to the grill, which would allow for a much more loosely packed and texturally satisfying patty. But nope, the patties are formed in advance and are quite dense.

The bun tasted fresh and suited the burger well, and the condiments were fine (aside from the fairly obscene amount of mayo).

So no, Patty & Frank’s is not Toronto’s next great burger joint. It’s barely even good. I mean, it’s fine. I’ve certainly had worse. It’s a big fat meh, and honestly, I’m getting a bit sick of big fat mehs.

As for the fries, though they tasted a bit oily, they were pretty good and actually kind of reminded me of chip truck fries.

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