Almost a year ago today, during Montreal’s inaugural Burger Week gorge-fest, I enthusiastically sang the praises of Burger Bar Crescent’s Hangover Burger.
That ostentatious hydrogen bomb of burger brinkmanship was “a visionary piece of architecture,” I gushed, and rest assured I wasn’t wrong: that leaning tower of bacon, cheese, caramelized onions, fried egg and poutine was a sight to behold, and astonishingly tasty to boot.
But here’s the rub: I haven’t had one since. The same could be said of any one of these skyscraping Burg Khalifas, be it a ramen burger or a staph-laden cronut monstrosity making the news rounds internationally, or even some of the participants in this year’s Burger Week. No matter how ingenious, photogenic or delicious they are, the oversized vanity burger is more for kicks than anything else.
Since I only have a couple of years until my cholesterol levels become a life-threatening issue, I’m ready to ditch the torrid, gastronomic love affairs, and to settle down with a reliable burger to grow old with. Uniburger (302 Ontario E.), located in Quartier Latin, where a previous paramour, la Paryse, used to reside, may very well be the Montreal burger I’ve been searching for.
The Uniburger’s charm lies in its simplicity: a good percentage of the burger’s composition is meat and bread — obvious, I know, but sometimes forgotten. Like Five Guys, the burger Uniburger most resembles, two patties is the way to go, and the meat is fresh, crumbly and dominant in terms of flavour. The cheese and bacon exist to complement the patties, and they do so admirably, while the special sauce is a mild, unobtrusive Thousand Island-type dressing in the McDonald’s or In-N-Out tradition.
Seeing as this is a burger review and not a restaurant critique, I never bothered to look up from my meal to get a good view of the inside of the place, in case you were wondering. I did have a vanilla milkshake and thinly cut fries. Both were filling enough without being excessive.
Uniburger is not currently in the top-three in Burger Week’s rankings, which is understandable, given the burger’s lack of a sexy hook. It’s simply a great, effective burger — certainly in the conversation for best in town — which will always be in style, regardless of what week it is. ■