5486 Boulevard Saint-Laurent
Bus: STM 46, 55
Visit: August 7, 2012
Every once and again, there comes a restaurant name so out there that it gets people talking. That name is the computer symbol for a smiley face. Normally, I wouldn’t be so interested in something that out of the ordinary unless it had something that everyone can read, a burger on a menu. Well, I was quite pleased to find out that you can get a smiley burger that hopefully will turn your frown upside down.
A little while ago, a restaurant appeared on the scene with a simple, yet powerful statement. It’s name would be derived from the popular language of the 21st Century. While Twitterese and MSNglish are being more commonly used, one has to wonder what the intent was there. Well, that’s something we’re not going to find out soon, but if anyone wants to ask, I’ll be eager to hear what the answer is.
I’m not going to hide the fact that I’m a trained English teacher. As a teacher, in 2012, I get to see daily examples of how this language has crept into academic work. But, I’m not here to analyze it as someone who works with language, but as someone who eats a lot. As someone who has been in quite a few restaurants in my time, this is something the really sets itself apart from everyone else. Almost immediately after I saw the restaurant pop-up on the radar, I just knew that I had to add it to my list. For more practical usage and since my sanity is always on the line, I’m going to refer to the restaurant as Smile for the duration of this post.
Smile is located in one of the most densely rich areas of the city when it comes to getting something to eat. Located just 10 seconds above Smile is Saint-Viateur street, which houses one of the top contenders for bagels in this city, or even the world. With that being said, I’m hoping that Smile can be another part of the fabric that is the Mile-End.
When you enter the restaurant, you can’t help but see the bright, orange booths. That, right off the bat, resonates with me for obvious reasons. If you’re looking at the site, it’s pretty obvious, I like orange. Since it was a really nice day, the front window was open and you got a nice open view of The Main. By the way, for those who are curious, located right across the street is the Ubisoft building.
At the time, since it was the tail end of the lunch rush, the place was about half full. For that reason, I think it would explain the issues seen with service at that particular time. While the servers were cordial, there seemed to be a lack or organization. There were times where a server would ask if we wanted something to drink and we didn’t want anything, only to have another server ask the same thing moments later. It’s not annoying if it happens once, but it happened at least 2 to 3 times. It was getting to a point where I didn’t know who was responsible for the table anymore. But, what I will say is that there was a manager who came around and asked how we were doing. That individual was quite respectful and represented the restaurant well. That shows a certain amount of care.
It was when the bill arrived where we tried to question the server about the name. The restaurant’s name on the bill and the menu is in French. You’ll actually find the English name out front with the symbol. While it might be a bit of an identity crisis, I’m pretty sure that a certain office will be pleased that the official name is in French because hopefully what’s printed on the bill trumps all else.
This burger contains lettuce, tomatoes, cheddar, and bacon.
Before I get to the actual burger, I’m going to give you a quick once around of the side dishes. This is the mesclun salad that comes with the burger. Over the years, I’ve come to despise this. To some people, it’s probably a really great thing to have. For me, it’s not something I yearn for.
Sweet Potato Fries
There’s not really much to say other than the fact that these were awesome. I actually had to pace myself to not get rid of these quite quickly.
Usually, I wait for the burger to be set down on the table to form an opinion, but that wasn’t so this time. As the burger was still in the server’s hands, I saw something that didn’t sit well with me. Now, this will be a point of contention with some people and on the other side, a point that will unite the rest. I cannot stand to have my burger cut in half. My heart drops when that happens. It’s like the person preparing it thinks I’m a child who cannot handle such power. There’s no better feeling on this planet than getting to hold a whole burger in your hands.
Now, usually I would leave it at that when it comes to splitting a burger in half, but it actually led to some structural issues. At the beginning of the meal, it doesn’t seem like the burger is going to give you problems, as it is nicely packed in. But, as you’re going to finish the half, things start to slip out. That’s only after finishing the first half. Then, you get to repeat the process, complete with escaping tomatoes all over again. It’s a little frustrating when you’re in the middle of a bite and there goes the bacon.
After you get past the split burger, you can start focusing on the sum of the product. What I really liked about the burger is the simplicity it presented. You have the lettuce and the tomatoes. Beyond that, with the cheese and bacon, you don’t really need more. The bun didn’t pose any issues and you really had a burger where the ingredients meshed well together.
The top part of the burger was the meat. Almost immediately, I subjected it to my own personal squeeze test and it past. Once you bite into the meat, you’re not fighting with it and you actually have something that has taste. When you combine that with the simple ingredients, you have a burger that will satisfy your hunger.
The factor that would draw people into this restaurant is the name. The people who opened Smile took a risk by giving it such a 21st Century name. But, when you get past the name, what you’ll find is food that is enough to get you by a lunch with groups of people. The environment that surrounds it is relaxing enough to keep you cozy for a while. While the burger wasn’t totally perfect, it’s enough to send people to come and try it.
Burger 154 was also home to the first ever Burger 2 Burger interview featuring Yelp Montreal’s Risa Dickens and Marie-Pier Rochon. For the post, please click HERE. Also, if you have any feedback on the new feature, please let me know as anything would help, especially if you have suggestions for future interviews.