WallflowerLocation: 1665 Dundas Street West, Toronto

Here’s a hot tip for all the restaurants out there: if you don’t want to serve a hamburger, don’t serve a hamburger.  Please don’t feel obligated to have one on the menu just because everyone else is doing it.  If all the other restaurants were jumping off a bridge, would you do that too??

The burger at Wallflower feels like it was made by someone who doesn’t like hamburgers, doesn’t particularly get what makes them so delicious, and who decided he was going to try to put his own spin on it.  The subsequent burger is an unpleasant misfire that’s unlikely to please anybody.


I can’t find the menu online, so I’m not sure how they describe it, but it’s topped very simply with lettuce, tomato, and a grainy mustard.

The grilled patty is the biggest offender here.  It’s a meatloaf burger through and through — I’m not sure what they seasoned it with, but it tastes more like kofta than a traditional burger.  Not only that, but it’s overseasoned to the point that there’s zero beefy flavour.  None.  The burger could have been made with pork, chicken, or kangaroo for all of the flavour it had.


It’s also way too dense and finely ground, giving it an unpleasantly tough, chewy texture.  So you can’t even say “well, it’s an untraditional hamburger, but at least it tastes great!”  It’s a chore to eat.

The lettuce and tomato were overbearing, but basically fine.  The sweet grainy mustard was way over-applied, and tasted completely out of place on the vaguely Middle Eastern-inspired patty.


The bun wasn’t much better — it was too wide and too thick for the burger, and was dry and unappealing.

It came with a side of salad and potato wedges, both of which were about on par with the hamburger.  The salad tasted like it was completely undressed, and the wedges were chalky and lukewarm.

0.5 out of 4


: 299 Adelaide Street West, Toronto

Montecito is the brainchild of Canadian-born director Ivan Reitman (who also had a strong hand in the TIFF Lightbox around the corner).  That said, the question is whether it’s more Ghostbusters, or My Super-Ex Girlfriend.  Twins, or Six Days Seven Nights?

I’d heard good things about the burger (which is described simply on the menu as “milk bun, bacon, fontina”), so I had high hopes.

I won’t lie — I got pretty excited when the hamburger showed up. It was picture perfect: glistening patty, toppings just so, and a perfectly proportionate bun (with the sesame seeds so evenly spaced it looked like they were placed individually).  It’s easily one of the most immaculate looking burgers I’ve been served recently. It was photoshoot-ready.

I got a little bit less impressed when I cut into the burger, revealing a well done patty that was fully gray from edge to edge.


I got even less impressed when I took a bite.  Certainly, it’s not a bad hamburger, but it’s sort of like meeting someone who’s supermodel-attractive, only for them to turn out to be a hardcore Trump supporter.  You might be able to make it work for a while, but there’s no future there and you know it.

I will say that the patty, despite how well done it was (and it was cooked right to the very edge of well done) remained somewhat juicy; they must have actually started with beef with an appropriate fat ratio, which is always delightful.  But the patty was very tightly packed, so it was a little bit too tough, despite its juiciness.

It also didn’t have much of a beefy flavour, though in that regard the very salty toppings were a pretty serious impediment.  Between the salty cheese, the salty bacon, the mayo, and the seasoning on the patty itself, it’s salt overload.  It makes it nearly impossible to taste the beef, which doesn’t exactly have an assertive flavour to start with.

The buttery toasted bun was mostly pretty great, though I think it was toasted for a few seconds too long, giving the surface a bit more of an in-your-face crunch than you want on a hamburger.

It’s too bad, because seriously, look at that thing.  That looks like it should be the best burger ever, but a few serious hiccups hold it back from being anything much better than good.

It comes with a side of salad and a small bowl of house-made chips, both of which were quite tasty.

3 out of 4

Montecito - the outside Montecito - the restaurant Montecito - the burger Montecito - the burger, chips, and salad Montecito - the burger

The Lakeview

1132 Dundas Street West, Toronto

The Lakeview was just featured on the popular Food Network show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, which probably explains why it was so packed when I checked it out on a recent Sunday afternoon.  Though the burger wasn’t one of the items sampled by Guy Fieri, I figured I’d give it a shot.

This, it turns out, was a blunder.  If you go to a restaurant featured on that show, you should probably get what Guy gets.  Or, just skip The Lakeview altogether.  That’ll work too.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Why should you skip The Lakeview?  Read on, friend.  Read on.

The Lakeview was originally opened in 1932, and its charmingly retro diner decor is probably the best thing about it.  I think it’s likely a big reason for its inclusion in DDD.

They have a few burgers on the menu, but as per my general policy, I went with the namesake item: The Lakeview, topped with “Peameal, Melted Cheddar, Grilled Portobello, Onion Ring + Fixings.”


It took a while to arrive (like I said, the place was packed), but it came looking impressively large and fairly appealing.  A big red flag went up when I struggled to cut it in half; my knife was just barely sharp enough to make it through the despairingly tough patty.

Still, I took a bite hoping for the best; the burger quickly took those hopes, smashed them against the wall and stomped on them for good measure.  This was not a tasty burger.

The first thing that hit me? Not only is this a meatloaf burger, it’s an especially meatloafy meatloaf burger.  The spices and whatever other junk they mix in there completely knock you back.  I honestly don’t even think they should be allowed to call this a hamburger.  It is a meatloaf sandwich, plain and simple.

If you served this “hamburger” to an American, they’d laugh in your face.  Here’s an analogy that I think pretty much sums it up: the Lakeview’s burger is to a real, American-style hamburger what chop suey is to real Chinese food.  It is imitation; a photocopy of a photocopy.

That’s not to say that an imitation can’t be tasty.  A meatloaf sandwich can be perfectly delicious.  This, however, was not.

It was absurdly dry, for one thing.  Make sure you’ve got a big glass of water handy when you eat this, because it’ll suck the moisture right out of your mouth.  The patty is way too tightly packed, too lean, and overcooked.  The grilled burger was also over-charred and blackened in spots.  Burger jerky, essentially.

I normally like my burgers sparsely topped, and this is the opposite of that.  In this case, however, the myriad of toppings are a godsend; they’re the only things keeping your mouth lubricated against the assault of the mouth-drying patty.

Between the peameal bacon, the cheddar, the onion ring, and the mushroom (not to mention the lettuce, tomato, and pickle) there is a hell of a lot going on here.  Unlike the burger at The Samuel J. Moore, however, the toppings are good and the flavours all meld together in a somewhat cohesive fashion, so that was good at least.  The toppings didn’t taste bad, I’ll give it that.  But they still weren’t enough to save the insipid patty.

The sesame seed bun bun was too wide for the task at hand, resulting in a fair amount of bun remaining after the patty was but a memory.  The dry bun was also a bit more on the stale side than I would have liked.

The burger came with a side of fries and a salad.  The salad had clearly been dressed far too long in advance, and was vaguely mushy and kind of horrible.  The fries, on the other hand, were surprisingly decent and easily the highlight of the meal.

I will note that my dining companion had one of the items featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives (the freedom toast — essentially a peameal grilled cheese sandwich with French toast for bread), which he quite enjoyed.  So if you absolutely have to go to the Lakeview, stick with what Guy ate; if someone offers you the burger, run screaming in the other direction.

The Lakeview - the outside The Lakeview - the restaurant The Lakeview - the menu The Lakeview - the burger and fries (and salad) The Lakeview - the burger The Lakeview - the burger
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