Burger 148: La Belle & La Boeuf Burger Bar | Mr. Lew's Great Burger Search

510 Promenades du Centropolis
Laval, Quebec

Bus:  STL 42, 60, 61, 66, 70

Visit:  June 15, 2012

http://www.labelleetlaboeuf.com/

Now that I’m coming to the end of this third year of the GBS, I thought it would be a great time to put together another Burger Night.  For that purpose, I needed a place that would offer enough variety to accommodate a larger group of people.  A few months back, a heard of a place that would be opening up in Laval’s Centropolis.  One look at the menu just called out for a group of burger lovers.

As a lot of you probably know, group gatherings are not easy to organize, as many dates and times are involved in the process.  As was the case with the first Burger Night at the Deville Dinerbar last February, I tried my best to get this going a while in advance.  So, as I sifted through the list of interested candidates, I tried my best to find the best time possible for such an outing.  Finally, I ended up with 6 other extremely willing participants, which included 2 of the most knowledgeable burger experts Montreal has to offer.

The process with the restaurant started with the reservation.  When I called them, I couldn’t help but notice that it was extremely loud on the other end.  I tried to think of that as a positive sign, as the place was probably packed at the time.  That elevated volume led to a difficult time communicating with the person on the phone.  I’ve never in my life heard a seven mistaken for a four.  They don’t even sound alike, even in French. 

The last thing that I have to note is the fact that like many restaurants I’ve encountered in recent times, they wouldn’t take reservations for 7 p.m.  I had to settle for 6:30 p.m.  It’s a practice that baffles me at times, especially when looking at the room having space at that particular time.

Usually, I tend to be quite punctual to things I organize.  I’m so punctual that I normally tend to the first person sitting at a table.  Well, on this occasion, things didn’t quite go as planned.  First off, my bus towards downtown Montreal was late.  Once on the island, we encountered massive traffic which caused us to be in one intersection for a good 10 minutes.  I didn’t like the fact that I saw the same traffic light change half a dozen times.  During this time, I’m furiously trying to recalculate my trajectory, but it didn’t quite work out so well.  So, as the group settled in, I was still at the Montmorency metro station, wondering if I should walk or not.  Was this a sign of things to come?

Approaching the restaurant, you can’t help but look at how Centropolis looks like.  It’s like a mini-Dix30 in the heart of Laval.  The terrasse was actually jam packed.  So, after figuring out where the door was, I entered and introduced myself to the rest of the group.

The first thing from the restaurant that caught my attention was the menu.  I’ve never been handed a menu attached to a clipboard before.  It makes you wonder whether or not it was done on purpose to present it this way.  As for the menu itself, there were some changes made since I originally did my research.  For one, the dessert menu was shortened and a challenge was added, on that I would not touch with a 50 foot pole.

Directly in front of me was a shelf-like wall with a rolling ladder.  That was a piece of conversation for the table as we wondered if there was something you could actually get from that shelf using the ladder.

The next item of interest was to my right.  It’s a wall decorated in the style of graffiti.  In a way, it shows you where the restaurant’s mind set comes from.  It’s supposed to be a relaxed atmosphere where people lounge around.  It’s actually quite unique as I’ve never been in a restaurant that had such elaborate wall decoration.

I want to say that everything went smoothly after the initial greetings, but I really didn’t.  I counted something like half a dozen servers on the floor and they all looked overwhelmed.  The time between ordering and eating was nearly an hour, not to mention how long it took for someone to see us.  For a place that’s been open for a few months now, you’d think it would be enough time to get used to being busy.  They were slammed at for a while, it wasn’t pretty.

What didn’t help was when our poor server came to our table to inform us that one of the grills broke.  Knowing that, the delay was inevitable.  It was at least nice of them to come out to inform us of how long it would be until the burgers would reach the table.  Our time with the server started off rough, but finished off well.  They were put in a very difficult situation and could not be blamed for any shortcomings of the kitchen.  I also admire the fact that the server was able to handle the very bilingual table.

Usually, I would introduce the party at the beginning of the post, but I figured I’d show you their burgers.

@Sandman5's Capitaine Flam Burger

This burger contains Monteray Jack cheese, caramelized onions, spicy mayo, and bacon.

@stephohanley's Californian Burger

This burger contains Monteray Jack cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, honey mustard sauce, and a chicken filet.

I want to thank for @sandman5 and @stephohanley for their eagerness in coming in on these outings.  It’s their kind of support that makes nights like this possible.

Amelie’s Lettuce Wrapped Calimero Burger

This burger contains a fried egg, smoked gouda, fried onions, lettuce, spicy mayo, and bacon with a lettuce wrapping.

The thing that surprised most of us is the fact that the lettuce didn’t quite wrap the entire burger.  Pictures of lettuce wrapped burgers that I’ve seen in the past show a lettuce pocket.  This seemed to only have a bottom bun of lettuce.

Also of note, is the fact that Amelie ordered a root beer float and was given an orange cream one instead.  Luckily, that situation was dealt with, once we were able to get a hold of someone.

Pascal’s La Boeuf Burger

This burger contains a cheese sauce, jalapeno peppers, red peppers, and blue corn crisps.

I want to thank both Amelie and Pascal for coming.  Amelie has been one of my more loyal followers on the Facebook page and for me, that support is priceless.

Zeke's Calimero Burger

This is the same burger that Amelie had before without the lettuce wrapping.

For those of you who are not familiar with Zeke's work, he is the brains behind the Montreal Burger Report.  There is no one in the city of Montreal, and I mean no one, who knows more about burgers than this man.  Having him here on this burger outing gave all of us a chance to sit back and take in his immense burger experience.

Zeke’s burger experience was probably the unluckiest out of all of us.  He requested his burger rare and was assured that the kitchen would be able to do that.  Once he bit into his burger, it was nowhere near rare, it was well done.  So, he summoned the server who took it back to the kitchen for a do-over.  The second try wasn’t any better.  The picture you see above is of that second try.

With that, the server came back and requested that he write his phone number down so that the management could get in touch with him.  The thing is, he doesn’t have a phone, so he provided them with his e-mail address.  That led us to speculate at what hour of the night would the restaurant contact him.

By the way, if you haven’t seen Zeke’s Nouveau Palais video, you really should.

Ryk’s Elvis Gratton Burger (photo courtesy of Zeke himself)

This burger contains peanut butter, bananas, and bacon.

Like the two other pairings, Zeke didn’t come alone.  He was accompanied by his Montreal Burger Report cohort Ryk, also known as E Coli.  As much as I’m fascinated by the work that Zeke does, I’m fascinated by his tag team partner.  Since there were so many of us, I didn’t get that many direct opportunities to interact with him, but I did get to observe him.

Watching him, you know immediately that you can’t mess with him.  He’s one of those people that will not hesitate to share his opinion or tell you when something is wrong.  Case in point, when the service was extremely slow, he got up and conferred with the employee at the door.  When the wrong float showed up to the table, he was up again and made it clear that something wasn’t right.  All in all, it’s very clear, you don’t mess around with people who know a lot about burgers.

It didn’t end at the observation, as the night took another strange turn in the small world direction.  It turns out that Ryk happens to know people who work directly with both Pascal and Amelie.  That was the big revelation of the night.  After that, the stories that were shared solidified the social aspect of the night.

OMG Burger

This burger contains lettuce, tomatoes, white American Cheese, yellow American cheese, onions, mustard mayo, onion rings, and bacon.

It was a real toss-up on what I wanted to order.  On one hand, I was thinking about ordering a classic bacon cheeseburger with a side of poutine.  That’s when the other hand smacked me upside the head and pointed to the monstrosity at the bottom of the page.  It is the second most massive burger on the menu.  If I was going to get this, there would be no poutine.  In the end, an epic get-together needed an epic burger.

Fries

Coleslaw Mason Jar

Coleslaw

Before I get to the burger, I have to note this interesting coleslaw.  As you can see in the previous picture, it was served in a miniature mason’s jar.  But, that was not what I found to be different.  The coleslaw was actually sliced into cubes, something that I’ve never seen before.

This is by far the tallest burger I’ve ever had in front of me.  As I received the burger, I asked the server about it.  It turns out that it’s ordered quite frequently and people actually do finish it.  It must be the reason that there is a triple burger dubbed the cardiac arrest which recently popped up on the menu.

Eating this burger would pose a great challenge for anyone, even me, who has completely finished 147 previous burgers.  It took me a few minutes to figure out a solid game plan for this burger.  The thing is that I didn’t want to cut the burger into manageable pieces.  I wanted this burger to remain a whole, authentic burger.  I had to pick it up and eat it as a whole.  So, what I did was turn the whole thing upside down and held it that way.

There was one thing that I had to give up on at the very beginning.  There was no way I was going to get an even bite of the entire burger.  An ideal burger bite has a bit of all the ingredients.  Let’s face it, only a monster would be able to demolish this without sweating.

The first bite actually surprised me.  I actually didn’t find anything wrong with the first bite.  I started with the bottom and worked my way up.  The meat on my burger was actually close to what I wanted from it, so that really wasn’t the disappointing factor others had that night.  While I might lose credibility with the people who were there that night, I didn’t dislike the taste of the burger at all.  However, that doesn’t mean the burger was perfect.

I’m going to start with the buns.  They weren’t as stable as I would’ve liked.  The problem with big burgers is trying to hold them up properly.  There aren’t very many big burgers that I’ve had where the buns are perfect.  So, I had to readjust the bun over and over again just to optimize my eating.

The big burger concept turns me off because you can’t really get everything at once.  While I was eating, I pulled out at least one of everything.  I know it was unavoidable, but I still didn’t like rebuilding while eating.

The last component that left me puzzled was the inclusion of the onion rings.  While, they are there to make the burger look pretty, they serve no useful purpose.  While you can barely taste the batter, the onions go unnoticed.  Them being in the burger made the whole thing taller and harder to hold.

While overall the burger wasn’t half bad in the taste department, there were a lot of other factors that lowers it a few pegs.  You are not supposed to fight a burger or have to constantly play around with your grip.  You should be able to keep it in your hands with one simple grasp.  While big burgers do have an appeal, they need to be carefully constructed and planned before being unleashed on the unsuspecting population.

Aftermath

You’ll notice I took a picture of yet another empty plate, thus signifying that I managed to finish the OMG Burger.  The fact that this is being written and read by the public means that I survived the night. 

You’ll also notice that on this plat, there’s a interesting looking pickle.  The pickle shown in this picture is not quite as green as some of the iconic pickles in Montreal.  The reason for that is this pickle is dipped in Kool-Aid.  This is the drawing point of the restaurant.  This was the last thing I ate and it didn’t really sit well with me.  I can attribute that to the fact that I don’t really like pickles and I dislike Kool-Aid all the more.  However, it was well-received with the remainder of the table.

Final Verdict

Like with most burgers I try, I really want to do my best to like what I’m having.  I can’t hide the fact that the restaurant was quite busy and the staff were running all over the place trying to keep up.  The kitchen’s broken grill did not help matter whatsoever. The service started slow for our table, but picked up towards the end, which may have been too late.  The food received mixed reactions and may have turned off others to the notion of a return visit.  In the end, I hope that the restaurant improves over time because the other burgers that can be found at Centropolis aren’t that great either.  It’s a tremendous concept, but the execution needs a lot of work.

La Belle et la Boeuf Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

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