Location: 4 Temperance Street, Toronto
Little Fin is, as the name implies, mostly a seafood joint; it probably would have been very low on my list of places to check out for this blog, but then I saw the header photo on Toronto Life’s write-up of the place and that was pretty much that. A visit was inevitable.
It’s a tiny little place that’s obviously meant to be a take-out joint for local office-dwellers, though they do have a few narrow tables (but no stools, so prepare to eat standing up like a horse).
The menu’s up on the wall, and though it’s mostly an array of fish sandwiches, there is a cheeseburger that can either be had single, or double. The aforementioned photo made it look a bit small, so I went with the double; bacon jam is optional for an additional $1.25, but I passed on that.
It’s actually not quite as small as it looks. They don’t say how big the patties are on the menu, but I’m guessing they’re somewhere in the ballpark of five ounces.
It comes topped with shredded lettuce, tomato, cheddar, and a sauce that is unmentioned on the menu, but which Toronto Life calls a “sea-urchin sauce.”
It’s good, though like last week’s review, Cardinal Rule, I’m loathe to even call it a hamburger. The patty is so thoroughly suffused with onions and spices and who-knows-what-else that the simple beefiness that makes a good hamburger so special has been completely annihilated. It’s meatloaf. It certainly looks like a hamburger, but if appearances are all that matters I’m pretty sure I could take brownie batter and make it look like a hamburger, but that doesn’t make it so.
Put simply, if I wanted meatloaf I’d order meatloaf.
I think I need to calm down. Especially because, unlike at Cardinal Rule, what they’re serving here is actually not bad. While I would argue until I’m blue in the face against it being a traditional hamburger, it’s okay for what it is. It’s a decent meatloaf sandwich. It’s not a hamburger, but it’s tasty.
It’s fairly well spiced, though it’s strong enough that the beef’s natural flavour has been almost entirely wiped out. It’s also a bit too finely ground, with a slightly odd, overhandled texture. It’s fairly juicy, however, which is nice, and which helps to compensate for some of the patty’s textural deficiencies. The cheddar is also fully melted and nicely gooey.
The condiments are mostly okay, though the tomato was a bit mealy. The very tangy sea-urchin sauce would easily overwhelm a traditional hamburger, but with a through-and-through meatloaf burger like this, all bets are off.
The bun has been off-puttingly dyed jet-black (because charcoal black is clearly the colour you want your bread to be, right guys?), but aside from its weirdly dark colour, it’s above-average. It’s fresh, soft, and slightly chewy, and holds up to the burger quite well (though I suspect it might be a bit overwhelming with the single-patty option).
As for the side… there wasn’t one. I’ll admit that I only gave the menu a cursory glance, but given the fairly steep $14.25 price tag for the double burger, I just assumed that a side of some sort would be included. Nope. Suffice it to say, it’s a bit overpriced.
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