It’s always a good time for a burger, isn’t it? Maybe it’s the summer that stirs the burger cravings deep within, or maybe its just part of evolution, baby. Whatever the case, recently I had two remarkable experiences at supposed burger emporiums, at opposite ends of the pleasure spectrum, and in a most unexpected way. It all brought to mind our old friends Public Enemy when they wisely suggested: Don’t Believe The Hype. Here is the tale of one of the two excursions.
On a date night to see a movie the husband and I rushed out of the house (freedom!!) and literally forgot to eat dinner. We didn’t have a lot of time and went with what was in the parking lot of the strip mall where the theater was located. Subway? Boring. Thai Express? Husband was to have it for lunch the next day. That left O Burger, a place entirely unknown to us, in a shared space with Thai Express. We drifted over toward their menu board and the gentleman behind the counter greeted us. He was super friendly and informative and chatty. He made suggestions to us in hopes that we’d wind up with our ultimate burgers. It seemed he genuinely was after that end.
The thing that impressed me first was the amount of options for a fast food spot. Beef, chicken, fish or vegetarian burgers/sandwiches to opt from. We went good old fashioned regular hamburger. Then a choice between 4 ounce or 6 ounce burger. Amazing! I opted for the small and hubby (who from here on in wishes to be referred to in reviews as Bakervision rather than hubby which he finds entirely lame) went large. Then a selection of umpteen styles of burger, from the exotic (creations involving blue cheese, walnuts, mango, brie, caramelized onion, portobellos, etc) to the basic (crispy bacon, cheddar, sautéed mushrooms, BBQ sauce, honey mustard, etc) or picking and choosing to create exactly what you want for that meal. Building your own burger at a fast food joint? OK, Harvey’s has been doing this for ages, and pretty well. But this is a touch above. I got jumpy with excitement as was not expecting a gourmet experience when we settled for fast food. Who is?
I went with the Hawaii– blue cheese, bacon and candied walnuts. I was feeling fancy and frisky, on a toppings high. I switched out the chipotle sauce for fear it would be too spicy and went with ‘O sauce’ instead. And then more options for side dishes: French Fries? Sweet potato fries? Poutine? Onion Rings? I simply cannot resist sweet potato fries. Making them at home doesn’t come close to what happens with a deep fryer, and I am hooked. I went for them, with a side of honey mustard for dipping, as well as an O Sauce for back up. As my refrigerator would exemplify, you can never have too many sauces. Condiment city.
When it was time to dress the burger with tomato and lettuce, our new best friend behind the counter offered me some complimentary caramelized onions to put it over the top. So i did what any normal person would do and leapt over the counter and hugged him. OK, I didn’t, but there’s always next time. We got our grub and carried it over to the little table section, half banquette, half chic red opaque chairs, below a hanging flat screen TV; a much more sophisticated environment than swivel seat fast food joints, yet still entirely casual. We dug right in and wow. Just wow. My burger was AMAZING. So juicy and delicious, not at all overwhelmed by the blue cheese, just a really tasty party in my mouth. I had to search for dry spots of wrap paper to put the burger down on because the juices and sauce and yum was dripping everywhere, and yet it was totally well done and not falling apart. I loved it, plain and simple, top to bottom.
Speaking of love, lets not forget the sweet potato fries. The people at O Burger are sweet potato fry gods. Seriously. The sweet potato flavor is there and the texture is there and I could eat those babies forever. Especially with the honey mustard dipping sauce that was entirely delectable.
The only thing that was a bit of a miss was the O Sauce. Bearing the name of the resto puts some pressure on it to have real oomphability. I had it on my burger, and I had it to dip the fries in, and it just didn’t go anywhere or do anything. Having eaten it, I still couldn’t tell you what it actually tastes like…horseradish, maybe? But it didn’t detract from the burger or fries either, so it’s just a footnote, which is never the goal of a house named menu item. They should go back to the drawing board on it, in this reporter’s opinion.
Bakervision was enjoying a similar experience and devoured his burger while going on and on about the deliciousness of it, and the niceness of the employee who made them for us. We were taken entirely by surprise by the level of goodness from this unassuming little counter, and couldn’t help but gush.
While I waited for him to finish I noticed a poster for a kiddie meal, a 4 oz burger with fries and a drink for $2.99. WHAT!? A great tasting, fresh, un-microwaved, quality burger for under three dollars and no accompanying toy that is two weeks away from being garbage and served in a useless cardboard box? With an actual tomato on it rather than Earth’s most sheer pickle slice? Mama like.
Options. I wonder if that’s what the O in O Burger stands for. And with this chain growing in the Montreal fast food marketplace, it’s the option I would take every single time I’m in the market for a quick burger or sandwich. I know I’ll be going back, and I’m excited about it. Can’t wait to try their fish and chicken, and revisit with the sweet potato fries. I can’t imagine sitting down to a nuked patty and oversalted order of fries when I know that crazy good hamburger is available with those swanky toppings. Typical, dated fast food burger joints got nothing on O Burger.
I don’t know if O Burger has a reputation yet, being a newcomer to the city. I asked my brother if he had given it a try. He told me ‘yeah, and I thought O why would I go to this place.’ Hey Chuck D what you say to that? Don’t believe the hype? Right. Totally unexpectedly, you left a great first impression, O Burger. Above and beyond what fast food has ever been. Reader, you want to eat that.
Stay tuned for the next burgery review!