Burger 144: L'Aurochs | Mr. Lew's Great Burger Search

9395 Leduc, suite 5
Brossard, Quebec

Bus:  RTL 14, 35, 135

Visit:  May 10, 2012

http://laurochs.com/

One of the most important things for me in this Burger Search is trying to find places close to home.  The South Shore of Montreal doesn’t quite have the quality, signature places that the island does.  It might be the case when it comes to restaurants, but when it comes to shopping, that’s a whole other story.  Quartier Dix30 opened back in 2006.  Since then, it has grown exponentially and has become the face of Brossard.  What’s the most important commercial sector of Brossard without the possibility of a burger?  That’s what I wanted to find out.

Dix30 is a place that I tried very hard to avoid going to.  The fact that it was around for the last 5 years hasn’t really compelled me to show up there.  As a matter of fact, I’ve only been to the outer most point of the district twice, both times to visit the juggernaut known as Wal-mart.  What a lot of people can tell you is that it’s not a pedestrian, transit-friendly place.  The one regular bus line brings you to the sector only once an hour.  Its route isn’t really effective enough to bring you to all the soon-to-be 500 stores that can be found here.

There are a lot of restaurants at Dix30, but since I am a big public transit user, I haven’t really been able to scour the area as I would’ve liked.  Plus, a lot of the restaurants that find themselves here are part of a chain, most of whom can be found in more accessible locations around the Greater Montreal Area.

If it wasn’t for Twitter, I would’ve never known to seek out L’Aurochs.  It was one evening when I saw one of my followers having dinner in my neck of the woods.  After a few exchanged tweets, L’Aurochs came nearer and closer to my attention span.  I used that exchange to do research and discovered that there was indeed a nice selection of burgers.  It was finally an excuse to come to Dix30.  For the record, I would’ve preferred that this sector resemble more of a very large mall, like that little-known one they have in Edmonton, I think it’s called the West Edmonton Mall.  I heard it’s not doing that badly. 

Oh, by the way, I’m going to use this suitable part of the post to plug my Twitter handle, @mrlewburger, about 45 more followers away from my goal of 750 before Burger 150 in July.

L’Aurochs is more or less a steakhouse that just happens to have a few burgers on the menu.  When I saw the word ‘steak’ on the menu, I immediately thought of the one person I know who likes steak more than I like burgers, Steakman.  Since he liked his steaks and had a car, he was a more than suitable choice to join me for the trip to Dix30.

Finding the actual entrance to this restaurant is quite a challenge if you don’t know where you’re going.  You have to be careful because L’Aurochs is located upstairs and not immediately through the first door you see.  Even though that place is affiliated with L’Aurochs, it’s more of a bar than a restaurant.  So, I’ve provided a picture of the large letter-like object to show you where the stairs are located.

I’ve included this picture for two reasons.  The first reason is that it shows you the mind-set of the restaurant.  They make sure you know that they are good for men and for women.  Even their menus are separated like that.  The second reason is that I’m proud to say that I took this picture from an usual angle.  When I noticed the carpet, I already walked by it.  Rather than going back and putting myself in front of it again, I took the picture holding my camera upside down.  I’m talented like that.

Walking up the stairs, I couldn’t help but notice the lengths the restaurant went to when it came to distinguishing itself from their competition.  It’s not every day that you see a painting like this at a restaurant.

Though both Steakman and I have been to a lot of restaurants in our time, we were impressed by the decor.  Say what you want about restaurants that choose the lower the light used in the room, this place was nice.  You could tell by the tables and what was used on the tables that this was no ordinary place to come to.  Even if I was impressed by how the place looked, my only true concerns came with a burger and the food that surrounds it.  I was hoping that it was not a distraction like other places do.

Before getting to that food, a note has to be made about the service.  For the first time in Burger Search history, we were being served by someone who was in the midst of being training.  So, that led to some extremely cordial service.  For someone who was being trained, the server seemed like a person who has been doing the job for a while.  All requests and questions, which we had more than usual, were dealt with the utmost care and courtesy.

It was at this point where we were handed the menu and the first boom of the night came.  As a lot of you know, I do a tremendous amount of research before going into any Burger Search location.  For weeks, I’ve been looking at one menu on the website that outlined a complicated, but interesting Table d’Hote menu.  Well, the second the server explained the Table d’Hote for the evening, I knew that something was up.  It was no longer the same menu I was prepared for.  In preparation to write this post 2 days later, I looked up the website again and noticed that the original menu can no longer be found.  So, the battle plan had to be changed, but the burger was still around.

Bread - Hidden

Bread - Presentation

Bread - Alone

This bread looks familiar.

APPETIZERS

What I will say about this restaurant is that the appetizer menu is quite vast, with options in both the hot and cold categories.  The one thing to note is that they are up there in price.  I was more than prepared to take the plunge, but Steakman suggested we split a Caesar salad.  I didn’t think the restaurant was going to allow us to do that, but they obliged without the least bit of a fight.

Caesar Salad

This is your basic Caesar salad with what you come to expect in such a dish.  I wouldn’t call it the best Caesar I’ve ever had, since there are a points that help it and sink it.  For one, I was quite pleased to see the size of the croutons and bacon.  You rarely ever get to see bacon like that in a salad of this variety.

The one thing that got to the both of us was the fact that the lettuce was way too big.  Any piece of lettuce in a salad that requires the use of tools to take it apart is no longer worth the extra labour.  I had to pick up my knife to cut the large pieces of lettuce, something I’ve never done before in my life.

Despite the structural difficulties, the taste of the salad was more than acceptable.  If you can get past the extra cutting, you’ll like the way that the real bacon pieces mix with the dressing and croutons.

MAIN COURSES



Steakman being Steakman, he ordered a steak.  Now, just by taking a look at the menu, you have to be aware that ordering a steak requires a bit of a formula.  First, you choose your cut of meat.  The second step requires you to choose which kind of potatoes you’ll have join your meaty star.  Third, you get to add a side dish, as if potatoes and a steak weren’t heavy enough already.  We’re not quite done there, because the fourth step involves sauces and butter.  You also have options to surf & turf your steak, add crusts, and specify how you wanted it cooked.  There is a lot to think of, but at least you get to have that choice.  At lot of other places don’t give you that flexibility.

Ribeye Steak

At 46 dollars, this is the ribeye steak you can order.  All I’m going to say is that Steakman enjoyed the steak thoroughly, though mentioned the word ‘overpriced’ one too many times during this part of the evening and the remaining minutes that we were there.  For us, price isn’t really an object, but it really has to be worth it.  For those wondering, that steak alone was more expensive than my entire bill for the evening.

Mac & Cheese

Steakman’s side dish didn’t quite satisfy him because he felt it was too cheesy.  I actually got a chance to take a bite and didn’t really notice that point so much.  For me, Mac & Cheese isn’t my go-to dish.  However, this version of that dish was much better than one I had about 9 months ago at another restaurant that used to be involved with some famous chef who showed up only once to our fine city of Montreal.

Potato Puree

Steak Gravy

Burger Américain

Before I get to the burger or anything else on the plate, I have a few things to touch on.  If you take a look at the picture of this plate, you’ll notice the mashed potatoes.  They were not originally on the plate, nor are they the actual potatoes that come with the burger.  When you get the burger, you’re supposed to get French fries.  As I was ordering, I asked if I could replace my fries with the mashed potatoes.  That request was also graciously accepted.  When the plate showed up to the table, I noticed my mashed potatoes were persona non grata.  Normally, I wouldn’t say much about a mistake, but these were mashed potatoes we’re talking about.  I wasn’t going to let that go unspoken.  I asked for what I actually ordered and the server (in-training) quickly fixed the mistake without missing a best, which impressed me.

Mini Ketchup Bottle

Isn’t this just incredible?

The next picture you see here is another Burger Search first.  This had both of us puzzled and stunned.  We were so stunned that we had to ask our server what this was, so that we could confirm the things we were thinking weren’t true.  I, personally, was hoping that we didn’t come on someone’s first night and they were using this to train the person taking over in the plating department.  Much to our relief, we were told that these were used to make sure that nothing slipped off the plate.  Though we bought that explanation, I’m still confused.

Coleslaw

This is the coleslaw that accompanied the burger.  When I took my first bite, I noticed something strange.  The pieces of cabbage weren’t quite as large as I would normally expect.  They were finely chopped up and resembled a paste.  That, in combination with the watery taste, made for disappointing coleslaw.  Even though Steakman confirmed my analysis, he was the one who finished it.

Potato Puree

Normally, this is what they call this dish, but I’m too stubborn to call it that, so I’ll say mashed potatoes.  This was the absolute all-star of the entire meal.  It was the perfect accompaniment for the burger.  Even though I was getting full, I just to make sure that each bit of potato goodness was taken off the dish.  It was perfectly creamy and didn’t overshadow the burger, which some side dishes tend to do.

This burger contains lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, aged cheddar, and bacon.

When it comes to a place like this, I wonder why burgers appear on the menu.  This is more or a less a fine dining establishment.  So, it’s for that reason why I scratch my head why they would want a burger on the menu.  It was when I saw some of the clientele that I saw why.  There were a few families sitting in the dining room.  I even noticed that one table ordered nothing but burgers, which is telling for a place that identifies itself as a steakhouse.

I have mixed feelings about this burger.  There were a lot of good things to take from it, but there was the one heavy drawback that I couldn’t shrug off.  But if you think of it, it’s how all of those things work together that make or break a burger.

The things that worked were the ingredients chosen.  I ordered the simplest burger on the menu because it was the one I could most identify with.  They kept this burger quite simple.  What I liked is that there’s nothing there that doesn’t belong there.  In some burgers, you wonder why some things are there when they give nothing to the overall product.  This burger is simple, which is good.

The next thing that impressed me what the way the cheese was melted over the meat.  I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t like seeing a burger where a slice of cheese is just slapped on.  Seeing the cheese melted on makes me think that the power of that cheese is infused in the meat.  That’s just me.

The bacon was also a strong player in the burger.  There was a point where I took a bite of burger with a good amount of bacon.  Well, that strip of bacon came out of the burger.  So, I got a pretty good taste of burger and I understood where the flavour of the burger was coming from.

When all the supporting players work, you’re hoping that the main star of the burger delivers as well.  We all know that no burger is whole unless the main meat is on check.  This beef patty didn’t quite live up for me.  The reasonable size of the meat was very generous, which I liked, but the way it was cooked didn’t do it for me.  With every burger, I try to eat some of the beef alone, just to see how it was solo, and this was no exception.  It was a little too overdone for my taste.  When that happens, you don’t get the juicy taste of the beef.  Even the squeeze test proved to be lacking any flowing juices.

I really wanted to like this burger, but wound up liking everything around this burger.  When all those supporting players are in place, the burger is fine, because you’re distracted enough to not noticed the beef.  If you’re looking at the beef on its own, the execution wasn’t as good as it should have been.

DESSERTS

We weren’t about to leave our evening on a few high notes, surrounded by some question marks.  We were hoping to see what the dessert menu had to give.  We actually asked to see that menu before any food got to the table.  There was one overwhelming star that shined through the pages of that dessert menu.  We knew then and there what had to finish the evening.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

This is a chocolate hazelnut cake with a scoop of orange ice cream, sitting on top of creme Anglais.

Before I begin, I can’t help but to mention how much I like the picture you see of the close-up cake.  I know it doesn’t quite translate on the site, but looking at the original file makes me believe that it’s sitting there in front of me.

On paper, this seems like a very interesting idea, which is why we ordered it.  Orange is my favorite color and my favorite fruit (which is weird because I like baked apples a whole lot).  Having orange infused ice cream, in combination with chocolate is never something I’d turn down.

I have no complaints when it comes with the cake.  The cake delivers with the chocolate and you can find a generous amount of hazelnuts.  The thing that I didn’t translate was the ice cream.  I was under the impression that there was supposed to be orange somewhere in it.  It is possible that I ate so much that night that my taste buds were overloaded.  If the ice cream was there, it was quite faint.

In all, this dessert isn’t half bad, but leaves me wanting more.  I would’ve loved to of had a stronger orange taste to the ice cream.  I could only imagine how nice that would have been of had with a nice chocolate hazelnut concoction.

Final Verdict

The amount of quality places on the South Shore are few and far between.  What you’ll notice about L’Aurochs is there highly classy decor and their above average service.  Despite that, you’ll be ordering food that looks very good on paper, but needs a few things to put it over the top.  While I didn’t think anything was really bad, my expectations for a place like this were a whole lot higher.  Steakman and I came to a conclusion after discussing it a bit.  We were both in agreement that we’d have no problem recommending the place, but for us, a return visit is unlikely.  I do have hope that the burger is improved upon, because I hope any South Short restaurant excels.

L'Aurochs on Urbanspoon

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