Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ongoing Discussions About Food Icons… The Bacon Cheeseburger


Hamburger House 

Buns has a lot to  boast about even though their concept is built  simplicity. Buns Hamburger Houses are small closets, take out counters with few seats, if any, and perhaps a small counter where you can stand and eat. 
A home grown operation, boasting various locations in Montreal, Buns won best burger in the Montreal Mirror’s Annual (2010) Best of Montreal survey. Buns also took silver medal for Best New Restaurant and placed 5th in the Cheap Eats category. A small sign in the window boasts that since opening in September 2008 Buns has served over 300,000 burgers.
Note: Buns Hamburger House does not serve bacon on their burgers. The young man who was alone, manning cash and grill, informed me that bacon was scheduled to arrive sometime in February. This guy impressed me because from the time I ordered my burger to when it was served I saw him wash his hands twice. He also wore plastic gloves when handling the condiments and food. This is impressive because he was also touching money but he seemed to be keeping his hands surgically clean. I am not sure if all Buns employees are this conscientious but this guy definitely gets points in the corporal hygiene food-service department.

A sign in the window brags that their buns are vegan and on the sweet side with 5 secret ingredients. Why if you are a running a burger joint, you specialize in meat, do you serve vegan buns?  I assume this is because they also serve a grilled portobello burger but I think this is funny. Is this a niche market? My dreams have come true, beef on a vegan bun. Meat patty, Buns claims a lean patty (92% beef) that is ground daily. Condiments include a slice of tomato, iceberg lettuce, onion, pickle, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise and mozzarella cheese. This burger clocks in at exactly 5 bucks. I love the perfect numbers concept. 

The Verdict: 
As the sign claims the bun is sweet. This seemed enhanced with the pickle as the word sweetness popped into my head with the first bite. The burger has a-lot-of mustard, so much so that eating the burger was a bit messy. No fear because my man behind the grill had given me a stack of napkins as thick as a McDonald’s burger. The patty, very thin, grilled, slightly charred, giving a pleasant crispy crunch and a bit pink on the inside. The meat did have a nice flavor and I noticed that it is seasoned when put on the grill. The patty was a little dry, so was the toasted bun but this worked with the wet condiments. 
My only real criticisms are with some of the condiments.  My piece of lettuce looked slightly brown and kind of pathetic. The taste of iceberg lettuce on a burger with the condiments gave me Whopper visions. This was only for one bite but not great. The slice of cheese was a bit tiny, a little square in the centre of the patty. 
Overall, a good burger, the dry bun and patty are a contrast to the condiments creating a perfect marriage. Rather brilliant-actually. Nice-homemade taste and good meat. A simple burger but this is good. Is this the best burger in Montreal? Even though the Buns burger has nicer meat the juicy burger at La Belle Province burger was slightly better just because of the condiments. We are not saying that Belle-Pro is the best just that there are better burgers in town.
Recommendation: Buns has balls to open a location (Ste-Catherine Street and City-Councillors) across the street from Burger King. Skip the King and have a lucky Bun-day, if you know what I mean, because Buns delivers the goods.

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