Burger 133: Atomic | Mr. Lew's Great Burger Search

4627 Du Souvenir
Laval, Quebec

Bus:  STL 20, 26, 40, 66

Visit:  February 24, 2012

http://www.atomicrestaurant.com/

Colleague outings aren’t things that I’m too interested in.  It seems to me that they revolve around things that I’m not too fond of.  It takes a lot of unique factors to make me want to come.  This was the second outing that didn’t quite interest me at first.  Mind you, I’m getting pretty fond of having Greek food, but on this particular Friday evening, it wasn’t quite enough to draw me in.  If you’re wondering why I came out, let me set the scene for you.

About a week ago, I was in Steakman’s car, as we driving to Burger 131 in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.  We were talking about the next staff outing at Atomic.  In my mind, I wasn’t too keen on going.  While he’s talking, he goes through the list of reasons why I should come.  He knew the owners and staff, he could vouch for the food, and then he hit me with something I wasn’t quite expecting.  He told me that they have burgers.  Now, to be honest, about a year ago, he mentioned Atomic to me and never did he tell me about the burger.  I was under  the impression that it was Greek food only.  That new piece of information pushed me towards the staff outing a bit.

This past week wasn’t the easiest week on the planet.  When your grades are due, all extra-curricular burger activities take a back seat.  Plus, the mountain of stress makes you think of one thing and one thing only, sleep.  Why would I want to be out on a Friday night when I could be at home and sleeping?  Well, the answer to that question is the burger and the hope that I could get bacon in it.

Friday wasn’t any better.  With the load of the deadline off my shoulders, something else was about to rear its ugly head once again, snow.  Yes, after many of us thinking about the early arrival of Spring, we had a snowstorm.  I went into school on Friday looking for someone to give me an out, but I wasn’t going to get one.  Some of the participants were still keen on going.  While others were dropping with paper thin excuses, I ventured out to Laval, with 7 other hungry colleagues, the best colleagues.

The snow was unforgiving.  I was at the Montmorency Metro station when the direct bus to the restaurant never showed up.  Me, thinking irrationally, rushed onto the first bus I saw.  On the bus, I pulled out my trusty phone and furiously started doing research, I was on the wrong bus.  I then did some quick looking up and found a better option and was on my way.  I quickly hopped off a bus at Cure-Labelle and waited 2 minutes for another easier route to take me to the Atomic gathering of brave souls.  After a short, brisk walk through the centimeters of Laval snow, I was there.  I knew where the Atomic was, but couldn’t quite make out the entrance.  It took a few moments, but then, in a little corner, I saw it.  I was there and ready to eat.

Just by entering, you wouldn’t know it, but Atomic isn’t quite your normal looking restaurant.  It took me a little bit of time to notice, but there was something quite different about the decor.  For that, you need to look up.  We were sitting at the large table next to the counter.  Looking up, I saw a rather large garage door.  Seeing the extension, from the outside, a protrusion, you could tell that this restaurant wasn’t always a restaurant.  I know of a lot of restaurants that have been converted from garages or gas stations.  They actually integrated the old look into their new decor  Until now, I never heard or saw one where the doors were still inside the restaurant, wide open.

With the rather difficult weather outside, we were patient as the brave ones arrived to the restaurant one by one.  I was the second one to show up, early I might add, and I’m the dumb one who used public transportation.  While we were waiting, the set-up was getting under way to turn our table to one of Greek proportions.  That’s when I saw the plate being decorated by the green unidentified component.  That’s the one thing about caring about burgers more, you don’t ask what’s being done in front of you.

That’s when the plate was taken up to another level.  We had two liquids at our table.  The server poured some on the plate, then mixed up the whole thing to create a dip of sorts for the bread and pita left at the table right before.

So, here I was, tearing pieces of pita, drenching it in the liquid mixture that I didn’t ask anyone about because I was also thinking that the Canadiens just got scored one and the satellite feed just went out to put us out of our collective miseries.

These were probably the prop of the evening.  This is how the wine was delivered to the tables.  This really amused my colleagues, who in turn, wanted to take them home for personal use.  One even thought of an invention that could be used to make our jobs easier.  Let me just say that it would take the diaper industry to a whole other level.

Super Pikilia

Ordering appetizers was something that I was really interested in doing.  Since I was going to order a main course that was the most non-Greek thing on the menu, the pikilia was going to be my Greek experience on this night.  There were two choices of pikilia, one hot and one cold.  The Super Pikilia was the hot one.

The pikilia plate was loaded with a four-cheese spicy spread, eggplant salad, spinach dip, bean salad, stuffed vine leaves, homemade cheese pie, homemade spinach pie, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, and artichokes.

My interest in pikilia was ignited by a visit at Le Jardin de Panos last December.  That plate was tremendous and I’ve been looking for the first opportunity to have this platter again.  So, it was a complete no-brainer for me to splurge on Greek appetizers.  The only regret is that I didn’t get any Feta cheese in all of that.

The pies were probably the real big highlights of the platter for me.  I tried the spinach one first and was really happy with the result.  The second pie I tried was the cheese one.  Getting a chance to compare the two, I think I preferred the spinach pie more.  It’s weird because I really enjoy most cheese dishes.

The other pikilia participant I liked a whole lot was the stuffed vine leaves.  Even though it was a little cold, which is what it’s supposed to be like, it complemented all the hotter components of the platter.  In all, this platter rivaled the one I had at Panos and my colleagues all felt the same way.

Steakman’s Grilled Chicken Platter

Home Fries

Originally, I was going to have the poutine with the burger, but I was nearly tapped out from the pikilia plate.  When my burger reached the table, something was odd, it was missing the side.  Going through 132 burgers up to this point, it never happened to me where I didn’t receive a side.  Usually, it’s an unspoken thing that something was to accompany the burger.  If that wasn’t the case, the server would ask what I would want.  This didn’t happen here, so I had to order a side midway through the burger.  It wasn’t a big deal, but it’s something that’s never happened to me before.

The plate of home fries was quite satisfactory.  They reminded me of the ones I had at Tripolis last September.  While it’s not my favorite thing to have with a burger, it certainly was suitable.  The only thing I regretted was that the portion was too big for me.  This is what I get for over-appetizing and trying to eat more than I could.

Bacon Jumbo Cheeseburger

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

You’ll notice that this burger contains bacon in it.  If you study the menu, you’ll know that bacon doesn’t come in the burger and that you have to ask for it.  Other than that, you now must be wondering why I would go to a Greek restaurant to have a bacon cheeseburger.  Well the answer is simple, it’s because I can.  In reality, the menu at Atomic is vast.  Not only do they do their Greek food, they cover pizzas and other various casse-croute delicacies.  So, like I always say, if you have the guts to put a burger on your menu, you best be sure that I’m on my way (without Esso of course, sorry, I just had to).

Ordering from a casse-croute menu of a Greek restaurant can lead to lower expectations.  I had no idea what I was going to get.  What I received was a burger that was bigger than anything I imagined.  The size was reasonably huge and did a good job filling me up.

The placement of ingredients worried me slightly.  I rarely ever get to see tomatoes places under the meat.  I was worried about the bottom bun getting soaked from the juices that always come out of tomatoes.  Using the techniques I picked up eating burgers, I was able to avoid that potential problem of having a decaying bottom bun.

The resulting taste was more than acceptable. The mean was cooked well and gelled with the cheese-bacon connection.  While I found nothing overtly wrong with the burger, I was still a little overload from taking on appetizers.  I’ll say that any concerns I had about getting a weak sub-par burger was taken away rather quickly after the first bite.

The question that remains is whether or not I’d go to Atomic for a burger.  The answer is probably not, as the menu contains things that they specialize more in.  When you claim that you have 41 available ingredients to put in an Atomic salad, the burger gets lost in the shuffle.

Loukoumades

Our table wasn’t quite done at our main courses.  That was the moment where the mention of dessert hit the floor.  Half of our party was, in a way, tapped out, so it was up to the rest of us to take charge and finish the deal.  What we ordered was a little ironic to me, since we were so close to Mr. Puffs.  Though the loukoumades we ordered were fine, but a little hard, they didn’t even come close to what you could get at the puffy leader down the street.



Final Verdict

While most of you wouldn’t go to Atomic just to have a cheeseburger, you’d be there for the atmosphere that is sure to come out.  The service provided by the server was well above par.  The Greek food that came out exceeded all the diner’s expectations.  The next time I go there, I know that I’ll be doing the pikilia platter again.  Good colleagues, good discussion topics, and good food, what’s to hate?

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