Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Fulton Market Burger Company ~ Ottawa, ON

=Fulton Burger Company in Ottawa is now CLOSED - RIP=

Whoa!!! Where has the blog love that I used to show go? Well it almost died when I almost died with a cold. OK I'm exaggerating a bit. But I'm back, and with lots to fill in for the rest of the week.

Several weeks ago, LJ & I were visiting The Trainyards, a relatively new shopping area in Ottawa, near, you guessed it, the train yards of the city (what is left of them anyway). I won't bore you with the details of the shops or stores (mainly because I hate shopping, and I don't even care, so why would you). But part way through, we got hungry for lunch. The good thing is that the chain restaurants are at a minimum (McD's in Wal-Mart, Wendy's, Starbucks, Subway, Tim Hortons . . . ok maybe not a minimum), and there are a few non-chain options (a deli, a Vietnamese restaurant). There was one more choice, and while it is a chain, it's one I'm sure few have heard of.

Fulton Market Burger Company (of I just referred to it as Fulton Burger) is a small chain of about 6 restaurants in Ontario and one in Alberta. Burgers are the game, and they did a lot of prep work for it:

"We research, experiment and tried every possible way to make a burger that it’s outstanding and far beyond expectations. The burger is made from 100% Prime Rib of Beef and the spices are carefully selected and infused into the meat in order to give it that extra taste. That’s not all. The burgers are cooked on an open-flame broiler to ensure superb quality in a consistent fashion."

Prime Rib burgers with seasoning, flame broiled and some gourmet toppings. Sounds good, but could they deliver?

It's an interesting look inside, kind of industrial/upscale pub/take-out. Lots of wood and exposed brick. Very clean. Mostly tables, a few booths (big fancy ones) and even a bar to sit at (yes they serve alcohol). A few flat screen tv's, and various customers resting from what looked like lots of shopping as well.

There's a process to ordering. When you enter, you pick up a paper bag (no matter whether you are eating in or out. If you eat in, they just put your order on top of the bag on a tray) and a pencil. Once you fill out the info, you hand it in to the cashier, they punch it in, you sit and they bring it to your table. It felt a little needlessly complicated for burgers.

It's here that I have to tell you about a break through moment in my Wing Therapy. Yes, they actually served chicken wings. It's not on the website, it's not on the menu. It is on some advertisements on the tables. I was stuck - burgers from a place that I have never been to, or the wings. I really like wings. But I'm at a burger place and they look good. But I like wings!?!?! What to do? Get both? The burgers are expensive, and the wings were like $9 too - so combining is too expensive.

I went with the burger. I know, progress past my sickness. LJ was proud. I feel . . . mixed about the whole thing.

Above is my bag and my choices. I went with the Fulton Market Signature Burger (1/3lb size, with smoked cheddar cheese, smoked stripped bacon, pickle slaw, and Fulton signature sauce) [$7.45 - check]. I asked the waitress/service rep what the sig. sauce was, and she said something like a Thousand Island dressing. Ok, lets try. I made it into a combo [$1.99 - check], fries and a fountain drink. Finally I made it Dine In [check] and my name.

On the other side of the bag is your 'Design Your Own' options, with, well, lots of options. LJ did this with her custom burger, but she got a side of Sour Cream & Onion Potato Wedges ($3.25).

Of course, everything is customizable/upgradable (get a combo with fries, and upgrade to onion rings or a salad etc).

We waited about 10 mins, and our order came out. Served on round platters, we quickly unloaded our vittles, and I whipped out my camera and did my thing. I gotta say, I like the black and white packaging. The drink has only one size, but boy was it big. The size wasn't labeled, but my guess is around 700ml or 20 oz. And Coke products made this the perfect lunch beverage.

There's the Signature burger in all it's glory. Ya it looked a little underwhelming when I unwrapped it too. But the 'all-dressed' bun did look greasy and tasty (and it was).

Popping it open, the creamy sauce (more mayo-ee than thousand island-ee) was good, very understated though. Crispy bacon was good too. The topping highlight of the burger was the smoked cheddar. Wow, was this a great cheese. In fact, the flavour was so strong and smokey, I wouldn't have needed the bacon (except for its crispy texture).

The burger itself was meaty. I would describe it as a 'steak burger' in its texture. They are pre-formed/from a package patty. But the flavour of the flame broil and the spiced meat really made for a tasty burger. Unlike anything the big chains offer.

LJ's burger: although she normally isn't a fan of thicker patty's, she enjoyed this one. Even the pickle-slaw was a nice addition.

Fries were golden and crisp - the way they should be. Nothing amazing mind you, but decent fast food fries.

The Sour Cream & Onion potato wedges. Also very crispy, but pillow soft potato inside. Deep fried perfectly, but the SC&O flavour was, in my opinion, weak. Super weak.

Overall, Fulton Burgers was a slow, fast food joint. Decent service but the process is 'complex' and just a lot of time wasted. Good 'steak' burgers with lots of toppings, and some good sides, but a hefty price tag. Would I go back? (well, I have to get the wings at some point!) Possibly, but at over $10 for my burger combo, I think I would rather The Works. Trapped between fast food and a sit down eatery, its a unique experience. Just don't expect to get back to shopping soon.

Fulton Market Burger Company
500 Terminal Avenue, Ottawa, On
Click HERE to go to my eventual 2010 review of their wings.

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