We tried nine Burger Week burgers

La Bêtise

Back for its seventh year, le Burger Week has become an even more sprawling event in Montreal, with more than 45 participating restaurants. Whether it was fried, grilled or broiled, we did our best to divide and conquer among the many different takes on and adaptations of the classic dish across the city. It feels like only the surface was scratched, but even then, there was enough variety to yield a lot of different experiences between two buns.

The real conclusion? Given that size and scope, we’re starting to wonder if this is going to become Burger Month before too long.

Campo’s Chicken Burger

Campo (1108 de Maisonneuve W.), $10

Campo’s Chicken burger is one of those rare chicken burgers you find during Burger Week. What I liked from the start was the size. It’s not an overwhelming burger. Sometimes all you really need is a simple bun/patty/lettuce/tomato/combination. I enjoyed the tenderness of the marinated chicken, the crunchiness of the cornflake crust. Most chicken burgers I’ve had have been fried and greasy, but this Portuguese chicken was a welcome change. Wished the piri piri mayo was more spicy (but that’s just personal preference as there was extra piri piri on the table to cater to my needs). The soft eggs and sesame bread bun were also good changes to the formula. (Cindy Lopez)

Gusto miniburgers

TABOO Cuisine Rebelle (2025 Drummond), $14, $16 with fries

Miniburgers are fun food either eating alone or with a friend. I shared these miniburgers with my dining companion as they made great snacking food while having drinks. Less like a full meal, too, as we shared fries as well to fill us up. The aged cheddar cheese and the spicy mayo dominated each bite. The vegan patty was well seasoned, and the combination with grilled pepper and arugula gave these burgers a good balance. The bruschetta and prosciutto somehow was hidden, maybe packing too much into a small package. They were still fun to snack on. (Cindy Lopez)

Big Boi

Medley Simple Malt (6206 St-Hubert), $15

Simple Malt’s Big Boi burger looks — on paper at least — like a mess; the picture on the website features a sprawling monstrosity that cannot be contained by bread alone. The biggest risk that these turbo-charged Burger Week burgers run is simply being too much for two slices of bread, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Big Boi is actually pretty well proportioned considering it’s a burger patty covered in chorizo, bacon jam, tomato, lettuce and a gooey cheese sauce that’s something like a jacked-up take on queso. It certainly is rich, but the bacon jam offers a smokey sweetness that complements the rest of the toppings well and – in a feat approaching a miracle – I managed to get precisely none of it on myself. That’s an engineering coup in itself. (Alex Rose)

The Pikliz Plantain Burger

Kwizinn (6670 St-Hubert), $10.50

Kwizinn’s gluten-free Haitian take on a burger is a little unorthodox. The buns are made from fried plantain (aka banan peze), a delicious staple that is also, pointedly, not very bread-like. Though stiffer and less absorbent than your typical bun, the plantains do a pretty decent job of holding the contents together: a deliciously spiced patty of veal and beef, spicy mayo, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato and the eighth wonder of the world that is pikliz, the punchy and spicy Haitian condiment that’s somewhere between coleslaw and hot sauce. In terms of hand-held burger convenience, it’s not perfect, but it’s a more than decent excuse to pair together all the staples of a Haitian meal. I still prefer griot, but we can talk about that when Griot Week rolls around. (Alex Rose)

Mezcaleros Burger

Mezcaleros Tapas & Cocktails (5834 Parc), $14.95

A lot of Burger Week concoctions out there are exercises in decadence — burgers piled high with foie gras, duck or other “elevated” specialty ingredients. Delicious though they may be, if you’re looking for something truly original you’ll want to try the cozy Mile End bar Mezcaleros. Owner Ricardo Gomez’s flagship menu item is his chorizo, made from his grandmother’s recipe. For Burger Week, the spicy minced pork is fashioned into an innovative patty that’s embedded with mozza so that when grilled, the cheese melts just the right amount and gives the patty that optimal juiciness that makes or breaks a good burger. On top, ultra-fresh pico de gallo, avocado, jalapeño, crisp lettuce and a slice of grilled pineapple give the burger a mouthwatering balance of flavours and textures in every bite, and the whole thing is served on an ultra soft brioche bun with a side of spicy chili-lime fries garnished with cilantro. This little jewel of a restaurant on Parc and Bernard is getting it right for a lot of reasons. (Lisa Sproull)

Hot Lips Burger

Roasters BBQ Grill & Bar (931 Crémazie W.), $16

The Hot Lips Burger from Roasters BBQ Grill and Bar is unabashedly American: A stylish sesame bun which, while pretty, lacks substance. The accompanying fries are good with their nice, loose, sleazy cut. A remarkably juicy and downright enormous patty, but somehow unseasoned and thus simply tasting of beef and water. The little slices of jalapeño nestled in the bacon lent just the right amount of spice, and sure, the Monterrey Jack cheese was melted perfectly, but this remains a fashionable Republican of burgers. No pretty accoutrements can save the lack of a decent core. (Nora Rosenthal)

Kimchi Bulgogi Burger

La Bêtise (6015 St-Hubert), $20

The Bulgogi Burger from la Bêtise is small and compact with a very lovely and faintly sweet brioche bun. The patty, while perhaps excessively salty (the fries, by the way, share this quality), is wonderfully and evenly charred, giving a surprising complexity to the overall flavour of the burger. The fried onions were wonderfully crispy, but this burger begs for something to brighten its flavour. The kimchi and the two pieces of arugula were overwhelmed by the grease of the fried egg. Add a heaping pile of peppery greens, not two forgotten leaves, and this would be a delight. (Nora Rosenthal)

Le Big Max

Le Birdbar (1800 Notre-Dame W.), $18.50

It wants to be a play on a Big Mac. The only exception is in its use of fried chicken for patties and blanched jalapenos to go along with the pickles. It’s a visually appealing meal, a gourmand’s take on fast food that could be promising, but the flavours and textures weren’t entirely there. While Birdbar’s fried chicken is juicy, the cuts of bird here weren’t; not enough for the buns, anyway. That made it a cheesy but mostly dry unit of food without enough veg or sauce to compensate – a good idea that lacked in execution. A thicker slice of thigh wouldn’t have hurt, as difficult as it might’ve been to wrangle into a mouth. (JP Karwacki)

Doner Burger

Restaurant Su (5145 Wellington), $24

After several years of Burger Weeks, my feeling is that this “festival” is at its most interesting when non-burger restaurants participate with alternative takes. Chef Fisun Ercan’s Turkish restaurant may not serve anything resembling the American repast proper, but all the makings are there, and it’ll be a shame to see this off the menu. A juicy lamb patty rich in cumin and coriander is topped with the hot red pepper spread of muhammara and a garlic yogurt, given a sight herbaceous touch with parsley and dill, and finished off with pickled carrots and onions. It might sound like a donair between a bun, but this was more of a fresh take that cuts down on the grease found in the late-night snack. If only I could get another after Sept. 7. (JP Karwacki)

Le Burger Week continues through Friday, Sept. 7.

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