Monday, July 30, 2012

Vera's Burgers, YVR, Vancouver Airport Domestic Terminal C

In a previous post I trashed Monks Grill at YVR. Do not order their burger. By all means go, have a comfortable seat order a nice draft beer and when no one is looking bite into a Vera’s Burger that you’ve smuggled in from just down the concourse.

Killer airport burgers.
Killer burgers in general.
Vera’s is flush with awards in Vancouver for best burger. They do a great job. For me they straddle that fine line between fast food burgers and gourmet burgers. I have to tell them to lay off the ketchup next time. But I’ve got to hand it to them they do burgers well and not just well they offer a “natural beef” burger. This I find outstanding. I love having this choice. Now you really can't beat Vera's meat!

I vote Vera’s best at YVR.

Monk’s; just keep the beer cold.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Uli's Restaurant, White Rock

Back to Uli's Restaurant on Marine Drive in White Rock, the home of Surreys Best Burger, according to Surrey Now Newspaper. Me, I scratching my head a bit on this one.

On one hand, I personally have not had a better burger in the valley to date although to be fair my experience here is a bit limited. So ok, best burger for Surrey.

On the other hand, I’m not all that excited about their latest offering. I chose the Uli's burger 2.0.

It sounds great; 30 day aged sirloin, candied shallots, garlic aioli.

But then, so much potential leads to greater than usual disappointment. I ordered my burger medium rare (they actually allowed me to order it this way! Huge huge kudos).

And so this is where the excitement begins, the anticipation of a juicy flavorful burger. I was unfortunately let down when the burger arrived cooked through. Not a smign of pink in the middle.

I was deflated.

And once deflated it’s pretty much game over. A comeback unlikely.

The patty was somewhat juicy, somewhat tasty the bun somewhat hard and stale.

Let's call this the somewhat disappointment burger and give it a 6/10.

I must have been there on a bad day for the chef. The last burger I had at Uli’s was far better.

Good onion rings in case you're wondering.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

ETap, a celebrity burger

Can you judge a chef by their burger?

If I owned a restaurant I'd ask all potential chef applicants to make me a burger. It seems simple. The burger is at its core a simple food, some ground meat, perhaps cheese, dressings and veggies.

Seems simple but in practice finesse is required to move the ingredients from individual solo performances to a choreographed culinary masterpiece.

So I'm always interested in trying a burger from a celebrity chef. Yes a burger is my rating system, screw the fancy shamncy stuff just show me your burger. Dale MacKay won top chef Canada and shortly thereafter opened the acclaimed Ensemble. I liked it, it was good, but I’m not going to go as far as Van Mags, Silver Medal, for best new Restaurants 2012.

Etap, Dales second opening, is a downscaled casual bar like eatery with burgers. OK, now we really have a test of his cooking chops.

The Verdict: Near perfect execution with no wow factor.

Perplexing I know, a burger well assembled with good ingredients and yet lacking that little something something that elevates good to extraordinary.

Don’t ask me how to improve this burger, I have no idea, everything is there but sadly it comes of as just good. I suppose it’s like the “IT” factor for actors, some just got “IT” and some just don’t.


Celebrity burgers in Vancouver:

Hawksworth: Van Mags Best New Restaurant of the Year. Better then good but not great.

Fennie, used to have the best burger in town at the old Fennies. Not so much at Cactus Club.

Daniel Boulud made such a good burger at DB Moderne Bistro that they had to close it down. Wasn’t Dale the chef there?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Monks Grill, Vancouver Airport, Domestic Departures

The best thing about the burger at Monks Grill, Vancouver Airport, Domestic Terminal, is the beer. Is it me or does beer taste better at airports?

The Whistler Whiskey Jack Ale really hit the spot. Or maybe the beer was just compensating for a very corporate cafeteria style burger, 4/10 at its best. Enough said except, BTW, who ever decided that incorporating dried sawdust tasting basal to a burger bun should reconsider their chose of careers.

I know what your saying; this is an airport right? What do you expect? Truth is, there are some really good eats at many airports out there. And why should we except crap? Walk down the concourse at YVR and Vera’s Burgers has a line of patrons ordering and the smell coming off the grill is enticing and I see people digging in to killer looking burgers. I’ve never had a burger from this location but if it’s anything like there other locations that’s a very good thing. The diners seemed enthralled. But they don’t serve beer! Crap. Maybe next time I can sneak a Vera’s burger into Monks Grill. Do you think they would mind? I don’t see why, its not like they can argue that they have a burger on the menu. What they may have is an unreasonable facsimile perhaps but certainly not a real burger.

I’ll be back for a beer.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Earls, Vernon BC

The Bronx Burger is on the "specials menu". Hmm, I had the Bronx Burger at Earls in Port Coquitlam Nov 2010. Really? Perhaps, it took a year and a half to make it out to Earls in Vernon?

Come on guys shake things up a bit. Does it take you a few years to invent a new burger?
It’s a good burger but come on.

I'm going with 8/10 but could have been more if I wasn't to bitter with lack of change and inspiration.

The fried onions added crunch, sometimes they just add grease. the red pepper relish was a nice juxtaposition (yup I said juxtaposition) to the bitterness of the arugula.

I have to give props to Earls I think they consistently out burger the competition in this dining space compared to, Milestones, Joeys and the Cactus Club.

As good as it was I'm not having another Bronx burger ever again. I'm holding out for Earl’s next burger creation. Why do I get the feeling that it’s going to be a long wait?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Tableau Bar Bistro, Vancouver

What the hell am I doing ordering a burger at a French Bistro? OK, so they might get the frites right but what do the French know about burgers?

I should have had the steak frites. I've been to Tableau in the past and I've had the steak and it were excellent. I spent lunch staring longingly at my friend’s plate of steak frites while taking unfortunate bite after unfortunate bite of my less then inspired burger. To be fair it wasn’t a bad burger just a blah burger, 6/10, made worst by thinking about what I could have had.

I just managed to snap a picture of the steak frits before Wei polished it all off. She did give me a piece, I was grateful.

Sometimes it sucks having a burger blog. The nagging feeling that I must order a burger everywhere I go. As god is my witness "No more, I say, no more". From now on, screw the blog I'm ordered the best of the menu, which at Tableau is the steak frites. BTW, in case you feel I’m slagging Tableau, I’m not, just the burger. Agreeably the Georgia Straight named Tableau best French Bistro in the city.

I wonder what award they would bestow on their burger?

Please, just take it of the menu, help people from making the same mistake I made.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

St James's Well, Newport Village, Port Moody

It's nice to be surprised. I really wasn't expecting much from the St James’s Well Irish Pub. That's not fair; it's not that I wasn't expecting much it’s just that I was expecting the usual mediocre pub burger. Happily, the Smokehouse Burger is much more. An easy 8/10, very nice.

There was a couple of things I really liked about this burger, firstly take a look at the picture, the bun to patty ratio was just about right. Often the patty is way too small and the bun way too big. Sadly like many places in this non burger city, the patty was cooked through (read overdone).

But back to the things I liked; secondly there was a savoury smoky sticky gooiness from the house made BBQ sauce, really nice, unique and tasty.

Be it from me to offer advice on improvement, however, bump up the quality of the patty, grind your own beef and then leave a smign of pink in the middle when served and there are huge prospects here for a truly special burger.

If your looking for a burger in Newport Village in Port Moody head to the St James’s Well. You may be tempted to stop at Browns Social Club down the path but the Well makes a better burger in a homey Irish pub environment and the beers not bad either.