Location: 1418 Dundas Street West, Toronto
I like surprises. Actually no; scratch that. I like pleasant surprises.
This was supposed to be a review of the burger at The Federal, but they were absolutely slammed, with a half hour wait. So we walked a few shops over and found ourselves at Royale’s Luncheonette, with absolutely no idea what to expect. I’m definitely looking forward to checking out the burger at the Federal, but man am I glad they were so busy on this particular day. Because spoiler alert: Royale’s was a very pleasant surprise.
It’s a tiny little place with just a couple of tables. The menu is posted on the wall, and you order at the counter. The burger is dubbed the Royale with Cheese. Given the name and rating system on this blog, I think you can guess that I approve of the reference.
It’s a fast-food-style burger done right: griddled patty, melty American cheese, shredded lettuce, pickle and tomato. It’s topped with a sauce that, if you’ve ever had a Big Mac, is going to taste very familiar.
I honestly wasn’t expecting all that much from this place, but I was surprised by how good it was. The patty had a good amount of crust from the griddle, and when cooked to a pleasing medium, retained an impressive amount of juiciness. It also had a nice, beefy flavour that easily cut through the zesty sauce. Beefy flavour? Juicy patty? Not overcooked? Why, I believe it’s time to do the dance of joy!
It wasn’t completely perfect, however. It was way too small for the bun — the circumference of the patty was probably about two thirds of the circumference of the bread, leaving you with a lot of bun overhang. That was a shame, as was the grind of the beef, which was ever-so-slightly too fine. But those are minor complaints for what is otherwise a superb burger.
The lightly toasted Wonderbread bun (I could see the bag in the tiny open kitchen) suited the very unpretentious burger quite well, as did the classic burger toppings — though I wish there had been slightly less of the Big Mac-esque sauce.
No fries on the menu, sadly (I doubt that the ridiculously tiny kitchen could even accommodate a fryer), but when the burger is this good, it speaks for itself.
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