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Food

Burger Week Double Header: Burger Royal + ART:brgr

Posted by Adriana / September 7, 2013

Faux
It's your last day to snag some fine samples of meat&bun flair from all over the city as we near the close of this year's edition of Le Burger Week...with Cheese. Head on over to ART:brgr and Burger Royal to bask in their creative offerings, and of course, don't forget to vote!

My mistake (or possibly, brilliance) lay in deciding it would be more than alright to hit up two of the participating burger joints in one evening. A long day at work, an ascetic lunch of whole-grain toast and fruits, and an eager and willing accomplice by my side made a visit to Burger Royal on St. Laurent, a gentle stroll to clear the stomach, and a stop at ART:brgr in the Plateau all seem excessively doable. What I didn't account for however, was the bubbling generosity of certain restaurant owners and the very healthy spirit of competition and one-upmanship that would turn the desire for dominance into a challenge of towering and elaborate toppings to such an impressive degree. We certainly were in for something!

Burger Royal

Burger Royal Faux Boss.JPG Located half-way up St. Laurent boulevard, Burger Royal is the burger place for the conscious carnivore. Boasting grain-fed, free-range protein sources, you can select any option here with a classic beef patty, marinated, or fried chicken. Hormone & antibiotic-free, Royal is proud of it's farm to table approach, and you can very much taste the difference in the quality and freshness of the meat. On the slate for Burger Week contention is their "Faux Boss Burger"- a beef patty piled high in striations of Monterey Jack cheese, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, bacon, deep-fried jalapeños, and the forever-classic lettuce & tomato garnish. To better tackle (& share) this looming creation, I sliced the whole of it in half, and very much appreciated the piping hotness of the centre of the patty as it continued to issue delicious steam from within. The high standard of the product here really does steal the show. Even though the meat had been cooked well-done and lacked the slightly-pinked core I usually crave, it retained such a moistness at juicyness that it would have held up without any spicing or toppings at all. Fantastic.

We had fun munching on the crisp jalapeño bits that inevitably rained out of the bun (perhaps others will be able to master the art of eating this weighty thing much more easily than we did), though their flavour and bite got somewhat lost once taken on in with the rest of the burger. The same can be said of the other components- all were incredibly strong elements on their own: the mushrooms tasty and caramelized onions (of the Vidalia variety perhaps) delightfully sweet, with the crisp brightness of the fresh tomato and lettuce very appreciated- yet they all sort of got lost when taken together as a whole. With the predominant standout being the sharpness of flavour from the Monterey Jack cheese and that amazingly succulent beef, the other toppings seemed almost superfluous given this excellent and simply classic flavour combination. Definitely a burger to go back to with a craving.

Hangover Burger Burger Royal.JPG
In the interest of a well-rounded dining experience, we sampled another of Royal's regular menu offerings to give us a taste of their every-day goings-on. With cheeky options like a chili cheese burger, Asian-inspired ginger and teriyaki, the obvious "Royal with Cheese" (how could they not) or, for the bold, a beef patty stuffed with Foie-gras, there was plenty to send us spinning in indecision. The poutine burger was unfortunately unavailable on our visit- a busy Labor Day weekend meant they were out of fresh gravy and hadn't yet received a delivery of beef bones from their butcher to prepare a new batch (disappointing, but nonetheless another nice nod to the kitchen's always-fresh mentality). We satisfied ourselves instead with the Hangover, a morning-after breakfast burger of sorts featuring bacon, spicy mayo, and a sunny fried egg crowning the top. The slight hardness of the yolk smartly saved us the messy runnyness of many egg-topped burgers, and the buttery brioche bun, with it's shiny browned sheen, held up well particularly well to the toppings. There is not a soggy bun to be seen at Burger Royal, a welcome sight indeed!

ART:brgr

ART:brgr WTF Burger.JPG

The next stop-ART:brgr, definitely not your average burger joint. Tucked away on Gilford, that short, winding street hidden behind Laurier metro, you will be pleasantly removed from the bustling loudness of St. Denis that is froshies and resurgent pot-wielding protestors that characterize Montreal at this early-September time of year. This little stretch has turned into quite the quaint little oasis, with a scattering of quirky restaurants and a stretch of sidewalk mini-terrasses. The slight nippiness in the air, and the few hardy souls from ART:brgr and neighbouring Micro Resto, sitting outdoors and sharing in an all-you-can-eat corn roast, gave a lovely autumnal, conspiratorial feel to the night.

ART:brgr's menu is all-around creative. It is a place to go where you'll be eager to tell friends "GUESS what I just had on my burger!" You could go with the Steve McGarrett (of Hawaii Five-0 fame), featuring the island-y combo of grilled pineapple and brie, or the haute, red-wine sautéed, caramelized fig & blue cheese pairing. Many options contain a melding of the sweet and savoury and are peppered with Middle Eastern influences, thanks to the two owners' mixed heritages. And this is definitely a reason to visit, as I cannot speak more warmly about the ownership. Kaveh, of Iranian decent, was aglow with stories about the conception of the restaurant, from the nuts and bolts aspects (they built all the woodwork, the benches, tables etc. themselves) to the menu's unique and imaginative offerings. He eagerly brought us a platter of hummus to sample (derived from the recipe of his partner's Israeli grandmother) and described to us the difference between the more familiar Arab variety (more like a simple dip) and the Israeli version, which is presented as a dish bordered by the puréed chickpea paste with the center acting as a vessel for whole chickpeas and spicy pepper paste. We were winkingly denied the source of it's unexpected sweetness though, the family secret!

ART:brgr israeli hummus.JPG

Anecdotes about a 2 am wake-up call from his partner with the idea for the Elvis Burger ("Peanut butter. And banana. ON A BURGER!") meant it was something we simply couldn't pass up. I have never been one to shy away from foodie experimentation, but I was slightly unsure what I had walked into. But, truly, it worked! Regarding the banana along the lines of the plantain with its starchy qualities, and the peanut with its categorization as a legume, meant that this outwardly atypical combination of sweet breakfast sandwich and hearty protein component was really much less far fetched than one would imagine! The flavours were muted and subtle, with a hearty slight sweetness more in the mind due to awareness of the ingredients going into it. Loved it! Definitely a burger to be tried, and talked about. Cronut burger, eat your heart out!

Art:brgr Elvis Presley Burger.JPG

Of course, the reason for our visit was ART:brgr's Burger Week contender, titled the "WTF." And yes, it was indeed quite out of the ordinary. The patty is more meatball than disk-shaped, making this burger even more of a towering conquest than the last. I seriously applaud diners capable of eating such a thing with grace! Filling up the center, the Italian in me was pleased to discover a classed up version of mac & cheese, substituting herb-hinted penne rigate, those scored little noodle tubes, over the ubiquitous elbow macaroni of the Kraft persuasion. Fun little home-fried chips padded the bun and separated a layer of chunky, high-quality bacon, and the zing of their unique mango-Southern Comfort sauce added the touch of sweetness that is much in line with the rest of their burger oeuvre. The grill-scored milk bun was a highlight as well.

ART:brgr wTF burger.JPG

While pricing is a little on the high side of things, the portions are certainly not for the feint. In fact, there is something called the Cardiac Arrest Burger on menu, need I say more? Definitely come here for the originality of their dishes, the amazing friendliness of the staff, and the warm and quietly hip atmosphere. Clusters of tables tucked in winding corners of this interesting space can make your meal feel intimate yet part of a larger party. And there is always the delightfully classy sandy-toned pool table in the corner, where you can share a pint and some mild stretching after a satisfying meal. It is a neighbourhood kind of joint, a place for meeting and socializing, one where you'd welcomingly be accepted by the joking and passionate ownership, eager to please and share their food, heritage and space with you.

ART:brgr.JPG

Burger Royal

3820 St. Laurent Blvd. (Metro Sherbrooke or Saint-Laurent)
(514) 282-0002

Monday-Tuesday: 11:00 am- 10:00 pm
Wednesday: 11:00 am- 11:00 pm
Thursday-Friday: 11:am- midnight
Saturday: noon- midnight
Sunday: 1:00pm- 10:00 pm.

ART:brgr

408 Gilford Street (Metro Laurier)
(514) 903-5500

Tuesday-Wednesday: 5:00 pm- 9:00 pm
Thursday-Friday: 11:30 am- 11:00 pm
Saturday: noon- 11:00 pm
Sunday: 11:00 am- 9:00 pm.

Montreal Burger Week ends tonight. Check the leaderboard and see how your favourite burger stacked up to this year's competition.

Discussion

31 Comments

Zeke / September 8, 2013 at 07:06 am
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Howdy!

You guys could use an editor, a dictionary and a map...
Acetic = like vinegar or acetic acid.
The highest address on Saint Laurent is almost 11,000. Burger Royal at 3820 is nowhere near "half-way."
Striations = a series of ridges, furrows or linear marks.
Gilford goes from Henri Julien to 7th avenue in Rosemont a distance of more than 3km. Not exactly a "short, winding street."
penne rigate is spelled with an "e" not a second "a.";
Adriana / September 8, 2013 at 01:17 pm
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Hi Zeke,

Thanks for taking the time to read and express your opinion in such a well-thought out comment.

Sometimes, writing on deadline means a few things slip past you.

Actually, the word in question is a[s]cetic- meaning characterized by austerity or self-denial.
The use of striation was indeed meant to highlight the neatly "linear" or layered appearance of the burger's component toppings.
In Italian, most feminine words ending in "a" do turn into "e" once pluralized, so thanks for pointing out that little typo!

As for the geographical issues, I in no way meant to confuse any readers such as yourself! While I described Burger Royal's location as halfway up the main drag of St. Laurent, I meant to imply the restaurant sat in the middle of what is colloquially referred to as The Main. While many addresses do lie higher up on St. Laurent boulevard past St. Zotique for example, these fall under the umbrella of Little Italy, but perhaps, "a third of the way" would have been a more mathematically accurate phrase to use?
As for Gilford, it is indeed a long, and in several places, non-continuous street. The article is here describing merely that small winding stretch behind Laurier Metro, which really is quite the charming area- I thoroughly implore you to visit!
.
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