6631 Boulevard Saint-Laurent
Bus: STM 18, 55, 160
Visit: July 23, 2012
The search for great burgers in the city of Montreal has taken me to The Main once again. The stretch of this iconic street above Beaubien is not one that we hear so much about. Well, Vices & Versa provides another burger opportunity in that area. On top of that, their main burger options take you outside the normal beef range.
Also known as a Bistro du Terroir, Vices & Versa is a place that has a grand selection of beer. The chalkboards that outline the walls show you just how many different options you have in that category. In a perfect world, I would love to tell you what I thought of their vast selection, but I don’t drink. The amount of people who were there in the bistro that night should demonstrate that there was a good customer base for their beer.
When we arrived, we basically sat down at the first suitable table. We were then greeted by our server for the evening. They were pretty much on top of their game as there was no complaints in that department. What was strange was how the place assigned their tables to their servers. Once we put in our drink orders, another server showed up and wondered if they could take our order. As the night passed on and we made our food order, that same puzzled server came by and started clearing our table. The burgers didn’t even get here yet! Luckily, we were able to keep them in check, though I do question their organization and communication.
The restaurant floor itself is quite cozy. The wooden tables and benches provide you with just the right environment to shoot the breeze. Other tables showed up to pass the time with their selection of beer. Only about half the tables on our side of the bistro actually ordered food. So, it shows how this place has more than one way of making money.
This is a plate of nachos with tomatoes, coriander, olives, salsa, and a creme sure dip.
Since we were waiting for our party to be completed, we decided to split a plate of nachos. Personally, this would be my first real plate of nachos since the time I bought some at the Olympic Stadium some 15 years ago. On that note, long live the Expos and how I wish we still had a team.
We all know what nachos are like. The dip and salsa weren’t too much out of the ordinary. What I really likes was the melted cheese on the chips. That, in itself, almost made the whole thing worth it.
This burger contains luzerne, tomatoes, onions, and cream cheese.
In doing my research for this place, I was really excited to see they had a bison option. What pushed it over the top was the fact that it contained cream cheese. My last and only other bison burger came last December just a few blocks down at Le Comme Chez Soi. What strikes you about bison is the fact that it is rather similar to beef. The main difference is that the meat is leaner. The taste will be somewhat different, but it’s something you’ll forget quite quickly.
The first thing that I noticed about this burger was the lettuce substitute, luzerne. For those who are not aware of luzerne, it’s the item in the burger that somewhat resembles chop-suey. In reality, these are alfalfa sprouts. As for the role of the luzerne in the burger, I didn’t really notice a big difference, but as you’ll read a little later, there is a reason for that.
The size of the burger is another thing to note here. The bread is somewhat larger than the patty itself. For the 9 dollars you are paying for this burger, one can say that this is big enough. Structurally, the larger bun doesn’t really play a factor in the end. If you even out the bun, you should be fine.
The big issue in this burger resides in the bison meat. Before I get to that, I have to note that compared to the last time I had bison, this was a whole lot easier to eat. The patty was quite juicy and went down quite easily. The problem wasn’t in the way it was cooked, but what happened once that meat was in our mouths. There were four burgers ordered at the table and we actually all came to the same conclusion, the burgers needed more seasoning. It seemed like the salt that should’ve been destined for the meat, somehow landed in the fries.
In the end, with the major issue in mind, it wasn’t a half-bad burger. The fact that the meat was cooked rather well might be a bright spot, but when you don’t taste much of anything, it leaves you scratching your head. It still doesn’t deter me from continuing to dry other bison burgers. Once again, you easily forget that you’re not having beef.
French Fry Dip
One of the interesting things I noted on the plate was the inclusion of citrus slices. I haven’t had much fruit on my burger plates since Burger 13. It was a refreshing way to finish a meal by putting down a few slices of orange, my favorite fruit. I even made the statement that I felt like I was in a Chinese restaurant, as it is common practise to leave oranges at the end of a meal.
In the end, what Vices & Versa represents is a place where you can catch up with people you care about, all the while having a snack and a frosty beverage. One should note that there are some interesting pizza choices that include smoked meat that can easily tempt anyone to visit. The service is quite cordial and makes you feel at home no matter how long you plan on spending there.