Friday, 24 June 2011

Big Smoke Burger ~ Toronto ON

I've got a funny story for you.

So my good buddy Ricky was in town last Sunday, and we had time to grab some lunch after going to M.E.C.  He had seen online a burger joint across the street and that sounded good to me. So we go. Only it was closed on Sundays. Really? Closed on a Sunday? What is this, 1955? So we wander around for a little bit trying to find somewhere else. I had two other burger places I knew were close by, but not sure of the address. 

While walking we passed the Telus EcoCab station where everyone in droves (including ourselves) were avoiding free rides, free sun glasses, free lemonade etc. It's funny how there is a distrust of companies giving out free things sometimes. We asked if they knew where the burger places were; they didn't, but they pointed us to free internet terminals. After getting the addresses, we started walking to our locations. The EcoCab people were like, 'c'mon take a free ride' and we decided, why not? 

I don't remember our futuristic-rickshaw drivers name, but she was very friendly and answered lots of questions about the service. It was fun, but a very slow ride. She brought us to our next burger local. Closed. Another burger place closed on Sundays, what the hell? So we asked to go to our 3rd location, but she was bound to the East side of Spadina. We took to walking, where we finally arrived at Big Smoke Burger. Thanks for being open BSB.

For those who might be familiar with the burger explosion that occured in Toronto back in like 2008-2009, one of the big contenders was Craft Burger. Well, due to some trademarking issues, they are now Big Smoke Burger. As they say, "We haven't changed our menu or our people," and  "New Name, Same Craft."

A few months ago I tried Craft Burger at their East end location. Ricky and I were trying the West end local. It's small, cramped, but has charm. There are only 4 tables, and a few stools and several others eating burgers. The decore is faux industrial with warm dark wood paneling and light wood tables.

There isn't a lot of choice on the menu in terms of the burgers, which means they keep it simple and do those options well. The burgers are Ontario beef, made fresh daily, and are charbroiled. The one thing I find interesting is that there are no bacon options on the menu. Rick and I both ordered the same burgers with the same options.

Above is a Crazy Burger in a combo with onion rings and can of pop for $11.81. Not a cheap lunch, but that was a good size metal platter of food.

I've heard that they have a good poutine, but I was in an onion ring mood. As a side there were about 8 large onion rings. Thick and big O rings.

The onion rings are breaded in panko, which makes them super crunchy but still light. The best part was the side of the chipotle mayo which had a nice zip to it.

I debated between the Spicy Burger (caramelized onions, spicy chipotle mayo, tomato and lettuce) which sounded good, but the Crazy Burger won out.

The Crazy comes with all the above toppings (hot peppers were located under the burger in the BBQ sauce). For me several flavours jumped out beyond the burger itself: the creamy and crisp coleslaw, the spicy chipotle mayo, the bite of the Havarti cheese, and the sweet smokey BBQ sauce. Each taste stood out but didn't overwhelm.

This was a good burger. The patty itself was fairly simple. Not too thick, not overly seasoned. Fresh bun, fresh toppings. The onion rings were great and the dip was perfect for the rings. And they were open on a Sunday. Big Smoke Burger saved the day, and Rick and I both left full and satisfied.

Big Smoke Burger
573 King Street West (and other locations)


Teena in Toronto said...

I've been there ... I didn't know they changed their name.

Lord of the Wings said...

@Teena - Ya it was a surprise to me too!