Saturday, May 29, 2010

DB Bistro Moderne. Vancouver Canada

Back in the day, DB Bistro Moderne, was called Feenies, owned and operated by Vancouver’s Iron Chef Rob Feenie. At the time this was my favourite hamburger in the city. They had a gorgeous foie gras burger. I still remember it to this date. A few years ago there was a hostile takeover and the sacking of Rob Feenie. Enter Daniel Boulud, big shot international celebrity chef and welcome to DB Bistro Moderne.
From his website:

Chef Boulud's reputation as one of the world's greatest chefs is well-known, as is the fact that his DANIEL in New York City is considered one of the ten best restaurants in the world. Daniel is the recipient of James Beard Foundation awards for Outstanding Restaurateur and Best Chef of New York City. DANIEL received Gourmet magazine's Top Table award, a coveted four-star rating from the New York Times, Wine Spectator's Grand Award, and New York City's top rating for cuisine, service and decor in the Zagat Survey.

Ya, ya, ya, but how’s the burger?


We had the: NY's ORIGINAL db Burger Top Sirloin Burger Filled with Braised Short Ribs, Black Truffle Served on a Toasted Parmesan Bun Pommes Frites $28.

Pricey, but well worth the it. You have to splurge on a burger every once in awhile. Look at this thing! Top sirloin, ground in house, blanketing a generous portion of braised short ribs and black truffles. Wow, super juicy, cooked to a perfect pink. Pure beef flavour and then the big juicy punch of the short ribs. All with this background aroma of the black truffles. Perfectly sized bun, flavours galore, how do you give this burger anything under a perfect 10/10. My friend Deb, sitting next to me, engrossed in her own DB burger whole heartedly agreed on the rating.
The fries are super tasty, cooked in duck fat we asked the chef to toss them in a truffle oil when the came out of the fryer. No problem, there was truffle flavour wafting everywhere.
Check this place out. This is only the second time I have rated a burger 10/10. Both in Vancouver, the two burgers, here and at Refuel, are completely different animals, yet perfect in their own way.

Webers Burgers, Hwy 11 north of Orillia Ontario Canada

Located north of Orillia on Highway 11,on the way to Muskoka's cottage country, this place is an institution. There is a line-up out the door at all times. Take out only. They also have fresh meat and buns for purchase as well. Not a bad idea for people heading up to their cabins for the weekend. Webers has grown from a shack in 1963 to what is today a huge operation, taking over both sides of the highway. Check out heir video : . A bridge spans the highway, making it convenient to purchase burgers to and from your cottage. It seems that in the 70’s. Webbers was getting so busy that people were dodging traffic on the highway to pick up burgers on their way home from their cottages. The municipality installed a fence along the median to prevent people form crossing and I suppose getting shmucked by traffic. I'm told people have been doing this for ever and it has turned in to somewhat of a tradition. No problem Webbers purchases and installs a bridge from the pedestrian crossing at the CN tower. Seriously, you should cross this thing, it’s huge. You feel like you are in Disneyland, definitely out of place for a burger joint on the side of the highway.

So, how are the burgers? A friend told me I'd be disappointed. It is my duty to check this institution out for myself.

I had the double cheeseburger. Supper cheap, $4.49, first impressions, very much fast food like or beach burger cart like. Thin patty's, topped with a sliced long ways pickle, onions and tomatoes, squeeze of yellow mustard and ketchup. Harvey's like actually. The verdict amongst me and two friends is that hey, this is a pretty tasty burger. Two 8's and a 7 out of 10. But to be fair my friend that rated the burger 7 had the single. The consensus, you must have the double. Hey Ben, who cares if you have to run a half marathon on Sunday, you have to go with the double. And, good luck by the way on you run.

The meat patty's fresh not frozen were tasty, if not a bit thin for my liking, hence the requirement for the double. Everything else was super fresh. The bun, lightly toasted on the grill was a big hit for me, fantastic bun.

Cesar, we rated another burger the same, hmm, what about those criticisms of overly high rated burgers? We are two for two, baby!

April, we were not disappointed; it was definitely worth the stop.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Muskoka on the Rocks, Ontario Canada

Something is a miss when bar/pub in the middle of nowhere Muskoka, (2 hrs north of Toronto) is pouring Big Rock beer from Alberta and the waitress gets snappy when you ask about local options. Although, everything else is pretty much what you would expect, a hole in the wall feel with a slightly grimy unkept look to the place. Don't get me wrong, some of the best burgers are discovered in dives like this. Unfortunately this time, not the case, I must keep looking.

This is a co-review with Cesar, a friend of mine that has been somewhat critical in the past for what he viewed to be higher then deserved burger ratings. So we both ordered the same bacon cheeseburger, his had swiss and mushrooms, mine sauteed onions. A tad different but in the end it really didn't matter, both were terrible. We both independently rated the burgers 4/10. I was actually thinking 3.5 but the fries, fesh cut were pretty darn good. So an extra .5 bump up.

Kudos on the hand formed 8 oz fresh beef but then why kill it on the grill to a rock hard piece of charcoal? The tomatoes, were old, bun blah and no sauce. I hate having to add my own yellow mustard from a squeeze bottle. I know,kind of nit picky but everyone has issues.
So Cesar, we agree, not worth a trip back.
You can check them out here if you like:

Longboard Grill. Santa Barbara, California

We asked the person at the hotel front desk for the best burger, walking distance from the hotel and we got the directions to the Longboard Grill on the Santa Barbara pier. Kinda touristy, low probability of good food but what the heck, great location, great sunny day, sitting on the roof deck checking out the dive bombing pelicans, taking in the fresh California sea air, not bad. The beachside burger with bacon cheese and avocado, not bad either. A solid 7/10. Mind you, I'm a sucker for avocado and this burger came with a perfect half piece crowning the glory. Everything was fresh. Everything was fine. The view was great.
Definitely worth a trip back.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Beacon Landing Pub and Restaurant. Sidney, BC Canada

This is a fine example of why one should never pick a burger on the basis of a good looking pub and a great waterfront view. At the foot of Sidney, by the pier, on the water, the Beacon Landing Pub has a lot going for it. A good burger isn't one of them.

So much potential, ground chuck, roma tomatoes, caramelized onions, great home cut fries and yet a terrible burger. How can so much good stuff have so little flavour?

The patty was absolutely tasteless. Did they bother seasoning this thing?

But the kicker, that nudged this burger over the ledge of crappiness was the bun. This day, perhaps multi day, old monstrosity crumbled in my hands with every bite, making the burger impossible to eat and a hopeless mess.

3.5/10 and only for the fries and the view. For gods sake, just give me a fresh bun and you have an almost passable burger.

I will not be back. Haro's is across the street, next time I need to kill some time before catching the ferry. I'm hoping their burger is better. Let's face it, it's not going to be a big task.