Burger 152: Universel | Mr. Lew's Great Burger Search

3630 St-Denis
Montreal, Quebec

Metro:  Sherbrooke
Bus:  STM 24, 30, 144, 427

Visit:  July 21, 2012

Saint-Denis is not an easy street to have a restaurant.  Go along any stretch of the north-south thoroughfare and you’ll see just how many eating establishments there are long the road.  When you think broader and start branching out a bit, the competition is stiff.  For my first burger in 8 months on the street, I chose Universel, a place more commonly known for their breakfasts.  However, they also have a wide menu of other common food.

The first instance of me seeing Universel was taking a look at my own personal Facebook news feed.  It was actually seeing pictures that my very own brother put up of their breakfast.  Me, being the opportunistic kind, will put in research on any place that has the potential of having a burger on the menu.  However, with no website to be found or no real online evidence, Universel was put on the back-burner.  It wasn’t really until the end of last year where I passed in front of the place to see their menu.

As you enter the restaurant, on a nice summer day, you’ll notice the tables on the outside with a whole bunch of people enjoying themselves.  To me, that’s a good sign.  On the inside, the room was about half full.  Throughout the night, as time passed, about 3 large groups came in and filled up the place, which kept things pretty busy for a while. 

When I got to the table, I opened the menu.  I don’t know if this ever happens to you, but this time there was a page sticking out of the flap.  So, me being smart, I decide to pick up another menu.  Well, that menu was sitting in water.  I don’t know how that happened.  At that point, I reverted back to the original menu.  Luckily, I managed to decide on what I was going to order in about 4.5 seconds flat.  Burger with bacon, check!  Option to upgrade to a poutine?  Don’t mind if I do.

The service started out a bit slow, but really picked up as time passed.  Our server was actually pretty good in communicating in both languages.  They also kept a keen eye on our table, making sure to fill up the water at regular intervals due to the fact that some of us were drinking it like it was going out of style.  In all, it was extremely courteous service which never lacked much at all.

A Really Tall Glass of Iced Tea

Bread

Caesar Salad

Fettuccine Alfredo

Shrimp Brochette

B52 Burger

Universel Burger w/Fries

Coleslaw

The coleslaw was the one thing I didn’t finish.  As a matter of fact, I can’t even recall whether I ate the pickle or not.  After doing so many burgers, I’m at the point where having coleslaw or a pickle won’t affect much for me.

Poutine

The poutine upgrade will cost you about a shade under 4 dollars.  For what it’s worth, it takes some getting used to.  The top of the poutine was cold, as it seemed like the sauce never really covered the curds.long enough.

The sauce of the poutine also took a while for me to really warm up to.  The French fries were probably the best part of it.  With so much food, you kind of get numb to what every little thing tastes like.  In a way, I kind of wish that the fries and cheese stood out a little more, as they were overwhelmed somewhat by the sauce.

Universel Burger

This burger contains lettuce, tomatoes, onions, two different kinds of cheese, sautéed mushrooms, and bacon.

The first thing one notices about the burger is the immense size of it.  For someone who isn’t used to eating a burger of this considerable size, it can be quite daunting.  The best approach is to try to smoosh your burger together.  It doesn’t look like that could happen, but trust me, it’s probably the best way to do it.

Once you get that done, the structure of the burger is pretty much secure.  Most of the components stay in the burger nicely with the exception of one item.  You would think that the mushrooms would be the thing to give you problems, but it wasn’t them at all.  It was the onions that were a pain.  There was a certain point where I gave in a bit and pulled them all out.  After that was done, it was smooth sailing.

As for the taste, I didn’t get much of a chance to notice some of the all-star ingredients.  The bacon and the 2 different kinds of cheese were lost in the immense gravitational pull of the patty.  There were a few moments where I was wondering if there was any bacon at all in the burger or if I ordered the wrong burger.  However, you would only know there was bacon by looking at it.

The patty itself was probably the strongest component.  It’s mostly so because it was the aspect of the burger that you would probably remember the best.  What I’ll say is that I liked the way it was cooked.  The meat wasn’t too tough at all.  I won’t speculate as to the origins of the patty, but for that one night, it was satisfactory enough.

Butterscotch Brownie Cake

Choco Loco Cake

This is a chocolate mousse cake with brownies and ganache.

Before I get into the dessert, there was something didn’t sit too well with me.  At that point in the evening, I asked if there was a dessert menu.  There wasn’t one at all.  To see the desserts, you had to get up, take a walk to the counter with all the desserts in them, and then make up your mind.  Now, some people won’t find much wrong with that.  But, when you’ve pumped so much poutine, beef, and bacon into your system, getting up is the absolute last thing you want to do.  I think it should be a note of interest that I walked 45 minutes to get there because I felt like it.  Even after stating that, you may still call me lazy, it won’t bother me.

The cake itself was probably one of the biggest highlights of the entire meal.  I have rarely been burnt by chocolate mousse cakes.  I could’ve done without the decorative pool of sauce on the corner of the plate, as it really didn’t add much more to my personal enjoyment.

Final Verdict

With the variety of dishes offered on the Universel menu, you’ll have enough to satisfy each member of your large group.  The food is good enough to keep the people at your table happy.  What really solidifies the evening is the extremely caring service that you’ll receive from the server you’re assigned, if you’re that lucky.  While most of the comments I’ve seen about the place online have been positive, you’ll probably want to attempt their breakfast, as I don’t think it’s really known for their burgers.

Cafe Universel on Urbanspoon

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  1. mrlewburger posted this
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