Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ongoing Discussions about Food Icons: The Bacon Cheeseburger: Le Gourmet Burger review

Le Gourmet Burger

      Le Gourmet Burger is a bit of an anomaly. Placing high in the Mirrror’s, 2010 Best of Montreal survey, Best new restaurant category they failed to show in the burger rankings. Located in the shadow of Concordia University's Library building, great location on Bishop Street, Le Gourmet Burger (LGB) is like the love child of Buns Hamburger House and M:BRGR having elements from both places. A small hole in the wall joint with limited seating, like Buns, but M:BRGR decor, vibe and menu. Less expensive than M:BRGR and nicer than the no-thrills approach of Buns Hamburger House. 
More outdoor signage
At LGB you can chose from a vast selection of condiments (truffle oil and foie gras) for a fee of course. The casualness of LGB is less intimidating than M:BRGR even if you opt for a simple burger. To give you an idea we counted 10 kinds of cheeses and 17 different condiments. The high end cuts of meat include Bison. We are going to go back for this reason alone because we love Bison burgers. To keep the competition fair we opted for LGB’s basic meat patty.
Inside: burger in the flesh and our tomatoes do not look like those on your sign
Construction: They were out of cheddar cheese so we picked Monterey Jack. The 7 dollar burger gets you a-great burger bang for your buck, bacon, cheese, “brioche bun” (like Buns they say their buns are specially made for their operation), caramelized onions, lettuce and tomatoes. The meat is cooked on wood charcoal. The free condiments include mustard, ketchup, and 5 kinds of flavored mayo, standard, garlic, wasabi and spicy - insert wow factor here.
Inside the burger
The Verdict: Just before the first bite of burger there is a smell and you know that it will be juicy. I have been wondering about this because I had the exact same experience when I ate my hamburger at McKibbin’s Pub, that is coincidentally located across the street, and this has me wondering about a few things. The shape of the patty at McKibbin’s looked pre-made and I am wondering if they both use the same supplier. LGB has an open kitchen and I watched the Chef flatten the patty and poke a thin spot in the middle before putting it on the grill, perhaps to give it a more man made shape. If it is not the meat then perhaps both places use the same seasoning mix. The only other possibility we can fathom is that this flavor comes from the Monterey Jack cheese but this taste seems to come from the meat and the two burgers are identical in flavor, a strong peppery taste and an olfactory response that makes you think juicy.
Inside our stomach
Recommendation: In all our hamburger tastings we have noticed that the meat tends to take a back seat to the condiments. The reason is obvious, cost, you can drown out cheap meat with your condiments. LGB knows good quality ingredients (bun, condiments, etc.), and makes a good hamburger. In thinking of a description we came up with comfort food. Our only real problem was the oddly similar taste of the meat to the McKibbin’s burger across the street but we guess that this is another LGB anomaly

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