Thursday, 13 August 2009

Famous Frenchy's ~ Ottawa, On

*** Famous Frenchy's Has Closed - RIP ***
***October 2009 UPDATE HERE***

Today I got to go to a new burger joint in Ottawa. I had heard about Famous Frenchy's from reading Ron Eade's article "Heart Attack Grill" from a couple of weeks ago. Not having the opportunity to try until today, I was excited to head over for lunch.

I wanted to beat the lunch crowd, so I arrived around 11:30. I missed the spinning sign out front that said 'free parking' and parked down the street at a pay metre. I put in a ton of quarters (which got me 30 minutes - *shakes fist @ Ottawa) and headed toward the former hair salon. Famous Frenchy's is only about a block from Yre's chicken, so this neighborhood is totally rocking in the food department.

I was the first one is (as far as I could tell). Owners/married duo Josée Trudel and Shonn Bidner were on hand, friendly and quick to take my order. I wanted to ask about the sign out front, as in who voted them Ottawa's best burger, as nothing online produced any results.

I wasn't going to get their 'Triple Bypass' burger, 3 patties of quality beef, it was just too much for me this day, I was just going to go for the cheese burger. I was intrigued by the Bison Burger which is significantly more than their regular burger fare, and since it was on sale, I went for it. I added cheese, bacon, onion rings and a drink. Normally the food is cheap, but my choices added up higher than I had planned (plus I can't do math to save my life).

Josée asked if I wanted my food to go or to eat in. Inside, there are only counter seating on high stool seats, which I avoid like the plague. But with the second day in a row without rain, I decided to sit outside on one of three picnic tables available. She told me I could wait outside and my order would be brought to me. As I began to leave, I watched someone else come in for an order. Than another person. By the time I sat down and was doing some writing, there was quite a crowd gathering inside to order.

I didn't wait too long, but it felt like forever. I kept seeing people going in (or stopping to look at the giant menu outside), but Josée wasn't coming out. Then, Shonn, the owner/cook came out to tell me my order was ready. I didn't want to leave my drink and belongings out on the table near the sidewalk (in a slightly sketchy neighborhood) so I packed up and went in.

It was then that it hit me that ok they were busy and didn't bring my order out, but Shonn had left the grill to come out and tell me to pick up my order, when he could have just as easily brought it out. Oh well. My food looked fantastic and I like to think I don't let petty things get me down on a place, too much.

The onion rings were great. I love battered rings (as opposed to breaded). They were hot, they were crispy, and when I took a chomp, the onion tore when I bit instead of the whole onion steaming out. I would have liked some ketchup, didn't see any inside (could be there, but I went out quick), but I'm sure I could have asked for some if it wasn't so busy. But they were good on their own, AND they weren't greasy.

The burger. Oh the burger. Lets break this down: first impressions, toppings, then the bison patty itself.

IMPRESSIONS: When I looked at the burger, I was happy the way it looked. The bacon looked a little less crispy than I prefer. But the toppings looked fresh, the patty looked like a nice medium: not thin, not thick (I like all styles).

TOPPINGS: So the bacon and the cheese you know. Then I went for 'all dressed' minus relish (not a relish fan). 'All dressed' is relish, mustard, mayo, onion, tomato, ketchup. I also got pickles and hot peppers - there are a few more 'Other' toppings as well.

Some people are purist when it comes to their burger; "I don't want a salad" they might say. Well for me it depends on the burger and the toppings. These toppings were so fresh, melding with the mayo and ketchup so well there was a flavour explosion in the mouth. And the pickles, the pickles, they were awesome (where can I buy those?).

The BISON BURGER: This patty is costing more than their regular patty, and to be honest, I don't think it was worth it. Don't get me wrong, it had a nice meaty texture and flavour, but compared to other buffalo beef patties I've had before, this was really mellow. Not that it should be gamey, but it wasn't enough for me to warrant getting it again.

It's a tall burger, and I had to struggle to get a whole bite. But I did it (I've always been told I have a 'muppet mouth'). I really enjoyed the burger. The beefy taste (even though it was bison) of the patty, the salty bacon, fresh tomato and lettuce, the dilly pickle (not tart like Kosher), the mayo and the ketchup, and a little kick from hot pepper rings. Much better than your regular fast food chain.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I really like this place. I would not hesitate to get a bacon cheese burger here again. Great onion rings. Friendly service (when I brought in my tray, Josée despite being busy with more customers wanted to make sure that everything was ok and I told her I enjoyed it all). Bison was nothing special, and my medium pop was a small at any chain, but this was a great burger joint.

Just promise me if you go you won't think about the calories. I don't understand the point with food like this. This isn't meant to be a part of your daily diet. Count your calories in your salad at home; places like this are for enjoying food, not stressing about life.

For a couple who never worked in food before, they certainly got the basics and then some down pat. For the most part cheap, but great quality. How can you go wrong?

Famous Frenchy's
506 Rideau Street, Ottawa, ON.

PS: when I got back to my car, there was 3 minutes left on the meter. That meant the ordering, cooking and eating all took 1/2 an hour. Not bad, not bad at all.


Chris said...

Before I forget, I wanted to give you a link to a hot sauce blog:

I think of your tastes every time I read that blog and have been meaning to send you it.

Those onion rings look perfect! We have a joint around here that makes the best beer battered rings. I can just eat a pile of them as my meal.

It is weird he just didn't bring the damn order out. Your "petty" comment reminded me of a signature I see on the BBQ Brethren forum. It says "Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things!"

That always cracks me up:)

Teena in Toronto said...

I'm not a fan of bison burgers (Gord likes 'em) but that looks like a good burger!

Lord of the Wings said...

Chris - thanks for the link - It looks like one I have read before (Hot Sauce Blog) but better! And no petting sweaty things for sure.

Teena - Next time will be a regular buger for sure!

Anonymous said...

What happened with finding out who voted them "Ottawas best burger"?

Lord of the Wings said...

Anonymous - I have not cound out yet, but I might be going there next week, so we shall see