Burger 123: Alto | Mr. Lew's Great Burger Search

3462 Avenue Du Parc
Montreal, Quebec

Metro:  Place-des-Arts
Bus:  STM 15, 24, 80, 125, 129, 435, 935

Visit:  December 6, 2011


My latest visit was one that I got from a fairly recent Twitter follower.  So, I’d like to take this moment to thank all the people who take their time to read these posts, comment on any insane rambling I have, or just suggest new places to try.

Restaurant Alto is located near two major thoroughfares, Parc Avenue and Sherbrooke.  Also, it shares the same proximity to a major university campus as its predecessor, Burger 122.  That being said, the location is definitely working it its favor.

As per usual, I do a fair amount of research before going into any location.  I was lucky to have a good luck at the menu before deciding on making this Burger 123.  There was something called the Alto burger that included cheese, bacon, and two meat patties.  That’s what I was intending to do, as well as going poutine style.  Poutine style is an interesting way to telling someone that you want to pay extra for a poutine.

My entry to the restaurant was fairly non-stressful.  You’re basically given the choice of any empty table in the establishment.  There was only one table I was interested in, the one right next to the front window, for obvious reasons.  This choice of tables was also interesting because I was up a small flight of stairs, being able to look down into the main restaurant.

The actual restaurant itself wasn’t so busy.  I counted about 3-4 actual tables being served the entire time I was there.  However, what was busy was the telephone.  I’m pretty sure that there were plenty of delivery orders getting called in while I was there.  That’s a pretty good thing to make up for an empty room, I hope.  As I mentioned above, with the proximity to large office buildings and schools, there should be a good amount of people that would call in for reasonably priced food.

I have to mention that the server assigned to me was extremely cordial.  They understood everything I wanted to do with my order without any hesitation or issues.  All my interactions with this person were done without any fuss.  In a way, I felt sorry for all the servers that were there because of the lack of people to serve.  I’m hoping they get busy sometimes.

The big thing that confused me was the fact that I was handed 3 separate menus.  There was the regular menu and then, there were 2 other “special” menus.  The weird thing is that those 2 supplemental menus were both lunch special menus that were good from the same starting time until the same finishing time.  The contents were really different, though some similarities could be found between the two.

The frustrating thing was that the burger that I was planning on taking on was nowhere to be found on any of the three documents given to me.  Either the menu I saw on the website is out of date or I wasn’t being annoying enough.  Even though that was the case, there was an alternative that satisfied my burger ordering criteria.  With the last burger nearly sending me to an early grave, I felt going smaller would help me live through the night.  However, I did decide to go poutine style.  The really good thing was that a can of iced tea was only 50 cents extra, compared to places that would force you to take a mortgage for a soft drink.


Upon first glance, I was reminded of a poutine I was over a year ago at Restaurant Woodland in Verdun.  You can’t see that it isn’t really presented like your average poutine.  You would tend to think that this is a plate of pasta with cheese melted over it.  The only difference is that the french fries would replace your pasta.  That’s basically where the similarities ended.

Since I’m not well-versed in the art of sauces, I’m not going to sit here and describe to you the sauce that was in this poutine.  All I will say is that I felt it didn’t have enough of a punch.  The cheese and fries overtake the subtle sauce that’s generously covering the majority of the poutine.

Probably the biggest disappointment in this poutine were the fries.  They seemed a little too hard for my favorite kind of poutine.  I tend to prefer not having to put much effort into chewing the fries in a poutine.  That’s why I prefer having the Banquise style fries in my poutine.  Yes, I also can’t tell you what kind of fries I like, I just resort to pointing to another restaurant where I know you can find them.  You may silently judge me now.

Overall, I found that this poutine was average at best.  When the sauce covered the fries, it was fine.  When the sauce wasn’t over the fries, it was a little difficult.  The cheese really aided in insuring that I was able to finish the whole thing.

Bacon Cheeseburger

This burger contains lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese, and bacon.

It’s very rare that I can know a burger without tasting it, but this was the case.  Just looking at the open faced burger told me a great deal about what I was about to take on.  First of all, the bacon didn’t look too right to me.  I felt it was too crispy for my taste.  I even went along and took them off the burger.  After that, I actually replaced them the way I felt that they should have been placed.

The small piece of cheese also worried me somewhat as well.  I believe that cheese has an extremely important role to play in determining a good burger.  I had a bad feeling that this was going to affect things a great deal.

Even though you can’t really truly judge a burger before you eat it, I was still hoping to be surprised in the actual consumption phase of the meal.  Before taking a bite of the burger, I was a little perplexed by the placement of the onions.  They were actually under the meat.  I can’t recall ever having a burger like that in the last 2 years.  That wasn’t such a great placement choice because it, along with 2 to 3 pieces of bacon, fell out rather easily as I was eating.

The actual eating process actually improved my initial forecasts of the burger.  When all the ingredients are put together, they combine to at least form something relatively decent.  It stands up as a decent version of a bacon cheeseburger.

The meat patty was the last thing I really took a notice to.  It was a little thin for my hefty burger eating taste.  The meat reminded me a past burgers that were made with prime rib.  I don’t was to speculate ever, especially when it’s not written on a menu, to what the burger is comprised of.  All I’ll say is that this was the taste I got.  That combination with the cheese and bacon went rather well together.

What I said earlier about the cheese being a little too small or too little really didn’t affect things in the end.  The cheese actually played one of the biggest roles in making this burger worth the trip.  It might not of been the best burger on the planet, but it was something that I was glad to have tried.

Final Verdict

The bottom line at this restaurant is that this is generally a delivery/take-out place that caters to a large student population on a budget.  For that, it is the ideal kind of place to satisfy someone who is looking for a meal without having to shell out big bucks.  For the price you’re paying, the quality is at par.  This is a decent place to go to is you’re looking for a quick meal at a reasonable price.

Alto on Urbanspoon

  1. mrlewburger posted this