LOTS OF TOPPINGS, LIMITED APPEAL: Cheeburger Cheeburger
Photos by Erik Leijon
A bit of obvious advice to would-be restaurant critics: Do not attempt to consume two mammoth hamburgers in rapid succession.
That being said, when the relatively new burger joints sit within a stone’s throw of each other, it can be hard to resist the lure of a new challenge, even as your previous Matterhorn of Meat still lingers on your palette.
Burger the 1st was consumed at the Cheeburger Cheeburger on Metcalfe, which is actually the growing chain’s first Canadian location. As Five Guys has proven, an American franchise doesn’t necessarily mean conveyor-belt blandness, although for all its promises of a near-infinite selection of fixin’s, Cheeburger Cheeburger’s signature item was as middling as its supposedly ballyhooed malts (I had a vanilla-drenched Coconut Pie shake, if you were wondering).
Given the sheer amount of topping choices, a perfect combination may exist, but the options pre-chosen for this competition simply didn’t click. Fresh, chunky avocado pieces go great on a burger, but the pulverized guacamole liberally slathered over what was a respectable, albeit not salty enough, half-pound slab of medium beef (more like medium-well) overwhelmed my taste buds. The slice of pepper jack cheese was certainly no match, and the bread absorbed a fair bit of the green goop, although it didn’t lose its cohesion. 5/10
BURGER BAR CRESCENT
SUPERIOR BURGER ARCHITECTURE: Burger Bar Crescent
Burger the 2nd was the current front-runner in the MTL Burger Week competition: the Hangover Burger from Burger Bar Crescent. It’s the sort of visionary piece of architecture that will stop passers-by in their tracks (so, perfect for Crescent), but this leaning tower of foodstuff is actually a well-thought-out work of alchemy. Quite simply, it’s an unspectacular bacon cheeseburger with caramelized onions, a fried egg and a small poutine tightly packed inside.
It’s a good 25 centimetres tall, so it doesn’t actually fit in a human mouth off the bat. I might suggest starting with the cheeseburger portion at the bottom before picking off the French fries on the top floor a few at a time. The burger imploded rather neatly, and, thanks to a sturdy toothpick, never completely fell apart. The egg is a deft touch, but I was most impressed with the ever-present but not excessive poutine gravy, which simultaneously worked as a sauce and a condiment.
This burger is big but not daunting if you think of it as separate meal components stacked on top of each other. Strangely enough, it’s only when you get to the various pieces that fell onto your plate that you realize the ingredients are pretty standard. It looks excessive, but the Hangover Burger is manageable and surprisingly delicious. 9/10