5386 Boulevard Saint-Laurent
Bus: STM 46, 55
Visit: December 14, 2011
With 2011 coming to an end, I have 2 locations in mind to close things off. I chose this particular restaurant for a few simple reasons. The first being that I’ve heard they had a nice selection of menus. The second was the unique name, which I find a little intriguing. The last reason was the special feature of their burger selections.
I decided to approach this location on foot from Laurier street. This gave me the opportunity to check out the lay of the land for a few blocks. On my journey, I counted at least 3 or 4 different places that serve burgers. One of those places was a former Burger Search location from last March and another is second location from a restaurant I did in March of 2010. I’m not going to bore you with those particular places because I’m more concerned with going forward.
The first thing that struck me was the fact that there is no signage, outside some faint chalkboards in the window and on the sidewalk. This wasn’t a good sign because I was about ready to walk right by the place. It’s one of my Burger Search traditions to take a picture of the signage, but there was none to be found, so I had to settle for a one of the back of the breakfast menu.
It’s nice that I mentioned a menu, because it leads me to my next point. There was also no traditional menu to be found. The burger choices, all five of them, were written on a chalkboard inside the dining room. I actually had to walk to it twice to take a look at things. As I age and the fact that it was dark, I had to really concentrate to see what I was getting myself into. I even had to ask questions to clarify what was painfully clear already. For the first time in 124 burgers, I ordered while standing up.
I have to commend the wait staff for their patience. They’re rather friendly and extremely helpful. They put up with me and my dumb questions, which is a real accomplishment in itself. With a lack of signage and documentation, I was a little worried.
Luckily, that didn’t seem to keep the place rather full. There were at least two large groups of people, combined with a few smaller tables, at the establishment during my visit. So, it shows you that it doesn’t matter what kind of identification you have, people will come if you deliver.
The decor is quite interesting. It probably goes with the theme of feeling like you’re at home. The chairs look like something I’d find in my grandparents’ home. There are even other random pieces of furniture that make it seems like a dining room. To add to that, I had my meal next to the nicely adorned Christmas tree. The final touch was a rousing fishing song to go with your meal. Alright, that was my interpretation of the type of song it was. Luckily, a little Johnny Cash come on to bring us back in the flow of what I’m guessing is “trendy” eating. It’s a nice homey feel that lessens the dreadful looking neighbourhood just outside the window.
Le Comme Chez Soi
This burger contains caramelized onions, cheese, and bacon over a bison patty.
One of the reasons this restaurant jumped the queue this week was the primary feature of the burger, bison meat. From what I’ve heard, read, and been told, bison meat is all the flavour of beef, but healthier for you. If memory serves me right, this will be the first time the meat in my burger won’t be cow. This is a big step that I was really looking forward to.
The other thing that is interesting about this burger is the fact that there are no tomatoes or lettuce to be found. Usually, I tend to need those things to make my burger experience work. In this particular situation, I didn’t miss them at all. I believe that with lettuce and tomatoes, you’d lose the unique quality of the bison meat. If you have something different, you should do whatever you can to make it stand out.
The bacon’s role was a little sketchy here. At first, even though I was told there was bacon, I didn’t believe there was any to be found. It took me a few peeks under the bun to confirm my friend’s presence in my meal. It was also obvious that the bacon was there when you could hear the crunchiness of this particular selection of my favorite meat. Again, the fact that the bacon’s taste was not overpowering just made sure that the bison would stand out.
Before I get to what you’re probably dying or not to hear about, I want to touch on the bread for this particular burger. From my first glance, I was a little worried about it being too tough to eat. Normally, when I see bread like that, it takes a while to chew. That was my big concern here because I don’t like having to go all out to chew my food. The minor issue was with the fact that there was some residue that remained on my hands after picking up the burger. Luckily, the big issue didn’t come to fruition.
The biggest feature of the burger was the bison meat. I’ve said it a countless number of times, I’m not expert on the subject. On top of that, I have nothing real to compare it to. So, I’m going to go with what my impressions were. If I were blindfolded and told it was mystery meat, I’d probably would guess it was beef. That’s how clueless I am. For a novice eater, you could probably not ever sense any differences in the taste. After eating so many burgers, what I could tell was very subtle differences in taste, mostly in a good way. I actually enjoyed trying this different meat. The fact that the other ingredients played supporting roles only made sure I was properly introduced to bison meat.
The sides were something that I don’t think I really was looking forward to. First of all, the “salad” used greens that I don’t really like, no matter how “good” tasting they’re supposed to be. The potatoes tasted fine, even though I decided to use the provided ketchup to up that a little. I’m not a ketchup fan, so that could tell you a bit about that. The portions, burger and sides, were not extremely heavy. I went through the salad and potatoes rather quickly. I only felt a little full by the end of it, when normally I’d be in rougher shape after the monster meals I usually put down. Again, the simplistic sides made sure the bison stood out.
The overall burger was more than satisfactory. Even if there were not so many of the accoutrements that I’m used to, it still delivered in taste. Trying something new is sometimes a gamble, but one where I walked away a winner in. I am actually interested in going back to try the other 4 selections that I had to leave behind since I’m not lobbying for a hospital stay any time soon.
This brownie contains bananas and is topped with various berries.
Since I didn’t get an iced tea, I didn’t mind spending on dessert this time around, when I would normally not get a sugary type treat. Also, the smaller portion allowed me to splurge a little in my appetite. When I asked about the dessert and was answered with banana brownie, that got my attention. It’s obviously not a bacon brownie, but it definitely would do to make me tummy happy.
Now, in the picture, you won’t see much differentiation between bowl and brownie. The reason for that is the fact there was a chocolately syrup covering the bottom of the bowl, making the brownie that much better.
The berries were a nice touch to the top of the brownie. The lighter colored ones did not do it for me, mostly because I found them dull. The darker ones really hit the spot for me because they put up a little resistance, which I liked a lot.
The brownie itself was nice, soft, and easy to eat for about three quarters of its portion. There was an edge which was a little tougher, which led to a little harder experience. The softer parts of the brownie were really enjoyable for me. The best part was that you could actually tell that there were bananas in the brownie. Just like the bacon brownie I had in September of 2010, the bananas went really well with the nice taste of chocolate. I was really glad I stayed for dessert.
One of the things that stayed in the back of my mind the whole time was how much would I pay. The fact that the menu wasn’t so forthcoming with prices didn’t do much to ease my concern and I get worried easily sometimes. The fact that I added dessert to my meal only made me wonder more. As I speculated, racing through astronomical numbers in my head, I was really surprised when I saw my bill. The whole thing came out to $15 before taxes and tips. The burger weighed in at $11 and the brownie at a cool $4. For the value, taste, and amount, I was satisfied with what I paid. To be honest, my speculations even got to Burger Search record numbers at a point. That’s an example of my mind at work for you.
The restaurant has a welcoming decor that really wants you to lounge around and enjoy yourself. The burger I had was something different that I was really glad to have tried. Despite being located in a desolate part of Boulevard Saint-Laurent, it wasn’t that way inside. It was a nice burger experience.