Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Acme Burger Company

GTA Locations:

500 Bloor Street West, Toronto, M5S 1Y3
735 The Queensway, Etobicoke, M8Z 1M8


I've eaten at this place a few times and I always found it to be a decent burger. A burger worth repeating and a burger that had a good taste. I never thought it to be the best in the city but it definitely wasn't the worst, not by a long shot.

Now their burger menu is quite large. 4 ounce burgers, 6 ounce burgers and 8 ounce burgers. Then they have specialty burgers and they have a whole slew of toppings. Guacamole, mushrooms and olives are a few of the ones I can remember. They also have a variety of cheeses and they make their fries fresh.

This time though I was in need (for consistency) of a double. So I stepped to the counter and perused my options. A double 8 ounce or 6 ounce was to much; a single 8 ounce would be perfect. So I asked the guy behind the counter for an 8 ounce burger but with two 4 ounce patties. He was more than happy to oblige. I ordered the combo with the fries and a coke.

I ordered, I payed and my total was ten and change. As I was paying I saw the burgers hit the grill. They seemed fresh, not frozen, which is always a plus. After about 5 minutes I was called up to pick my toppings. I picked the usual: pickles, lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard, ketchup. These toppings were placed on a perfectly toasted sesame seed bun. About two minutes later my food was ready and I was about to dig in.

Before I get to the burger here is a quick note about the fries. I remember not liking the fries at Acme. I remember them being to thick and not cooked enough, not crispy enough, not fry like enough. They tasted more like potato, or baked potato. This time though they were delicious. Cooked perfectly, crispy, tasty, hot, yummy. So good that I ate a bunch (it was only supposed to be one) before I even tasted the burger.

So the burger how was it this time? As per the other times I have eaten here it is decent enough. You can taste the freshness of the beef and it tastes rather good. It's grilled, not smashed or griddled or flat topped. Maybe, just maybe it is a little blander than most fresh beef patties but it'll do the job in a pinch. I'm pretty sure the bun is the same for all 3 size burgers and the 4 ounce patty seems to fit nicely on the bun. I guess the bun could be smaller but I'm talking millimetres here. I also thought the patty to be a little on the dry side. It worked fine with ketchup and mustard but it could of been a tad more juicy.

So the patty and the bun work, what about the toppings? At first, and by that I mean the way they look, I thought the pickles would suck. They looked way to vinegary. Well I was wrong. They were delicious (at least in conjunction with everything else on the burger). The tomatoes were tasty, the lettuce was a full crisp piece (not shredded) and the right amount of ketchup and mustard was placed on one side of the bun making the slightly dry patty go unnoticed unless you think about it. Sadly though the onions were lacking. They weren't crisp and they looked rather old and soggy when he placed them on my burger. They were red onions though and they tasted okay (as onions generally do).

Overall The Acme Burger Company is a pleasant eating experience and one that I would recommend if you are in the area. It's not the best burger put it passes the test and it's worth eating at least once. Plus their options for sizes and toppings are rather appealing for a variety of appetites.  Great fries too...

Out of 7 The Acme Burger Company scores 4

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Golden Star

GTA Location:

7123 Yonge Street, Thornhill, L3T 2A8


I've been going to Golden Star for years, since 1988, which would mean I have been going since I was nine, and potentially eight years of age.  I used to order the double hamburger and I was never that thrilled with it, although people from all over raved about the burger.

It wasn't until, let's say...umm...1998, that I tried the All Star Burger on their menu and it was then that I discovered what everyone was talking about. The All Star, unlike the regular (or double) burger, is no run of the mill frozen patty. No sir! This burger is a homemade patty that they make in house and is (as far as I can tell) never frozen. It is grilled over an open flame and you get to pick your toppings as the grill guy grills the burger on the grill in the background.

Today I went to Golden Star for the sole purpose of reviewing the All Star. Only, as my rules suggest, I was in need of a double (which they do have; it's just not listed). I recommend a single as it is more than enough but for the purposes of this review a double it was. I selected the requisite toppings: tomato, onion, ketchup,mustard and pickle and when it was ready I sat down to eat this gargantuan burger.

Now I repeat: A single is more than enough, with fries. A single is 6 oz of beef (I think) and the fry portion is plenty. This time around I had one bite of burger left and half the fries and trust me when I say I was more than stuffed and could not and would not eat another bite. I could of used more Coke though.

This burger fits nicely on the bun. Pre-cooked it is larger than the bun; once cooked it is just a tad to small for the nice fresh, large and tasty bun. When you bit into the burger all the toppings, sans the lettuce, come through nicely with strong and yummy flavours. Fresh tomatoes and onions, the ketchup on one side, the mustard on the other and strong and delicious pickles covering almost the whole burger. Sadly the lettuce wasn't crisp enough and therefore with or without the lettuce the burger would be exactly the same.

Now the patty. Mmm mmm what a patty. As mentioned above this is a homemade patty. It's like the one your momma would make. It's got a few spices or herbs in it and usually I would say this is a no no but here at Golden Star it works wonders. This patty is juicy juicy juicy and it is tasty tasty tasty. It is beefy and yummy and tastes like it was made fresh to order.

Everything on this burger (except that  soft lettuce) works together to give your mouth a taste explosion like no other. A taste explosion that is unique to Golden Star alone. There is a reason why people come from miles, why this place is so busy, why it has lasted so many years and why it makes top ten lists every year around the GTA. The All Star Burger is the reason and in my opinion it might just be the greatest old school, truck stop style burger out there.

How I missed this burger on the menu when I was younger I'll never know but as long as they exist and as long as I can get there I will be coming back for more, again and again and again.

Out of 7 Golden Star scores 6

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Johnny Rockets

GTA Locations:


I've been to Johnny Rockets many times over the years. The first time when I was a preteen down in the United States. Back then they didn't have any locations in Canada but they do now and I've been a few times. I went again today, this time with the ideology that I would be reviewing the burger experience.

Now a quick history on what I thought of the burger up until today. I can't remember the times in the States but when they first opened here their burger was delicious. Delicious with a price. It was a fresh patty (well two of them) and the requisite toppings of mustard, ketchup, tomato, onion, lettuce and pickles. It was a decent bun and although the fries were the regular frozen variety they were cooked perfectly and were mouth wateringly delicious. But it cost, with a coke and after tipping, somewhere close to twenty five bucks. For a double burger and fries and a drink?

That was around 2009 or 2008 or something like that. Cut to 2011 (these dates are made up but are as close to actual as I can remember) and I go to Johnny Rockets and lo and behold they have lowered their prices. I can now get a burger for virtually the same price as before but it actually comes with fries. If I order the same thing as before I save four bucks. Not bad. 

So I order the same thing and the fries are damn fine but the burger, oh my god, the burger. It sucked. What did they do? They lowered the price by lowering the quality. The burger felt and tasted like a prepackaged no care taken burger from your run of the mill grocery store. Yuck!!! Then I go back in 2012 and not only do the burgers still suck but those (best frozen fries ever--except for McDonald's of course) suck too. Gone is the crispy on the outside and hot and tasty on the inside and instead we got limp and not so great tasting crap.

Cut to today and I go in and order the same thing as always. It's been at least 10 months since I last had Johnny Rockets and I wasn't expecting much. I ordered the usual, got my Coke and sipped it while waiting. Then the food came.

The fries were... better than before but not as good as they used to be. This time they were the same thick cut, but were skin on and tasted okay. Just okay. Not terrible but not great. They were nothing to write home about.

But the burger... The burger was back baby! It was yummy! It was fresh! It was tender! It was delicious! I guess they re-upped their quality, something that you need to do in today's world. This burger was freshly griddled (or smashed) and it was the right size for the bun. Yep, a good sign of a good burger is when you have one bite left of the burger and it contains the last of the patty and the last of the bun. Gone was the sort of tough and bland taste and retuned was the quality of old. Almost.

 It was very good yes but it still doesn't compare to a lot of places out there. And for it's price (after tip twenty one bucks) it was a little bit expensive. The beef had a good flavour if still a tad on the bland side. The toppings too were alright but nothing spectacular. There was no bite from the pickles, and very little little crisp in the shredded iceberg lettuce, Everything tasted fine on their own but were almost tasteless when all mixed together. 

With the Johnny Rockets burger nothing really stood out to make theirs the best or one of the best burgers in the GTA but overall it was still a very pleasant eating experience. And after today I would most definitely, with out hesitation, return. 

So Johnny Rockets seems to have returned to their former great glorious standards. Not as good as they once were but pretty damn close. I'd recommend this burger, if you have the money, in a heartbeat but with that said there are better burger experiences out there.  

Out of 7 Johnny Rockets scores 5

Burgers: I love 'em...

Taking a cue from I decided to write my own burger reviews and as a starting point I am going to go through Tasty Burgers spots starting from the first post to the last. I will try to get one review done a week, Saturday being the day I trek out for the burger.

Now a little about me. I love burgers!!! Love 'em!! Perhaps too much but still I can't get enough and I'll try one anywhere and everywhere. If I'm at a place that serves a burger you can pretty much guarantee that if I've never had it then that's what I'll be ordering. Over the last three or four years the GTA has exploded with options for burgers so now I eat more of them than ever.

Thanks to the Tasty Burger site for this idea and just like that site I will list my rules to reviewing the burgers:

Rule #1

The burger must be beef. No pork, no chicken, no veal. A burger is only a burger when it's beef. And whenever possible it must be a double patty.

Rule #2

When ordering a burger it must have the same toppings as all the other burgers I have ordered. You can't compare a burger with fried onions and tzatziki to a burger without it, you just can't. So my choice of toppings and what makes a great burger to me is tomato, pickle, lettuce, onion, ketchup and yellow mustard. That's it. Nothing else.

Rule #3

Some might argue this rule but hey, they are my reviews not yours. The burger must be cooked to well (not burnt) done. No pink or red in the meat. I am not a fan of undercooked (medium well and below) meat. Also, many a place won't cook a burger less than well so it's only fair to compare equally cooked burgers.

Rule #4

Location. Location. Location. The burger place must be in the Greater Toronto Area. With that in mind the Greater Toronto Area is huge. I will define it's borders as if I was sitting in a car at Yonge and Steeles (the northernest part of Toronto) and if I were to drive any direction for maximum an hour than I am still in the GTA.

Rule #5

Follow rules 1 to 4.

There you go. Hopefully you read these reviews and if you are like me and love a good burger and have followed Tasty Burger's reviews then this will offer a second opinion. Please feel free to comment and if you have eaten at the place of review or eat at if after then comment, comment, comment. And finally... Please follow me if you like these reviews.

Ok, onto burger joint #1...