Location: 1 Richmond Street West, Toronto
People have been raving about the burger at Richmond Station since it opened a couple of years ago. So of course, the place has been on my list for quite a while (and this is a literal list, FYI – I have a Google map that I keep updated with about a hundred burgers I need to check out. I’ll empty out that map one day. One day).
The chef here, Carl Heinrich, previously worked at Marben, and set out on his own after winning Top Chef Canada. The Marben connection is super obvious when you taste the burger; it is very, very similar.
In fact, you could probably just read my Marben review and get a pretty good idea of what I thought about this one, but they are different enough that I guess I should write a few words.
The Stn. Burger, as per the menu: “lettuce, beet chutney, aged cheddar, milk bun.”
The biggest connection between the two restaurants is unmentioned on the menu. Like the burger at Marben, the one here is stuffed with braised short ribs.
They’re also both about the same size, and though they appear small, they’re substantial. There’s very little risk that you’ll walk away hungry.
Fortunately, though the short ribs at Marben were a bit overpowering, they seem to have a more subtle flavour here. I compared the burger there to an upscale sloppy joe, and that’s less of an issue here. It tastes more like a traditional hamburger.
The ground beef at Marben was also a little bit too lean, resulting in a slightly dry burger. Again, that’s less of an issue here. The burger is quite juicy.
What is an issue, however? The beef (which has a mild but satisfying beefy flavour) is way too densely packed, and has an oddly chewy, rubbery texture that’s closer to sausage than to hamburger.
There’s a video online of Heinrich making the burger, and you can see him squeezing the hell out of the patty with some kind of industrial squeezing machine. I guess that’s necessary to keep the short ribs from bursting out during the cooking process, but it definitely doesn’t do the burger’s texture any favours.
As for the sausage-like texture, I’m not sure; it’s possible that they’re making and salting the patties well in advance, with the salt affecting the beef from the outside, and the short ribs affecting it from the inside.
Still, despite the textural weirdness, it’s definitely tasty, and it’s definitely satisfying. The melted cheddar isn’t too overpowering, and the beet chutney and pickled onions add some zing while still allowing the beef to be the star of the show. The toasted bun is nice and fresh, and holds up nicely to the messy burger.
The patty is grilled, apparently, though I couldn’t see or taste any evidence of that on the patty. If I hadn’t watched the aforementioned video, I honestly wouldn’t have known how they cooked it.
As for the fries, they were amazing. Perfectly cooked and tinged with rosemary, they were delicious on their own but even better with the horseradish-infused dipping sauce. Seriously, seriously good.
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