Metro: De L’Eglise, Lasalle
Bus: STM 12, 21, 58, 61, 71, 78, 108
Visit: September 7, 2012
After welcoming a brand new school year and settling into the daily grind, it was finally time to unwind. What better way to do just that by having a new burger for the first time in nearly 3 weeks? Also, I couldn’t think of anything better than having the third ever Mr. Lew’s Burger Night. JoBlo has been a place that was high on my list of places to try and I was more than eager to see what the fuss was all about.
Located on the most well-known street in Verdun, JoBlo’s appearance in early 2012 has made quite the dent in the burger scene. Boasting a variety of burgers that will definitely attract the interest of burgerheads from the entire island. After a short jaunt from the De L’Eglise metro station, you’re going straight into quite the unique dining experience.
For this occasion, I managed to gather quite the group of individuals to share this rare Verdun burger eating experience. Among the group were the community managers for Yelp Montreal, Risa Dickens and Marie-Pier Rochon, who were the first subjects of my B2B interview a month ago. Also joining the fray was Amelie, who was an integral part of the second Burger Night at La Belle et la Boeuf and its subsequent re-visit. There also was a second half to the party, which I’ll introduce in a bit.
I’d describe JoBlo as a bar, which happens to have a decent sized list of dishes you can order. You have to be quite careful when you enter this place. No, there won’t be a throng of inebriated Norms coming at you, but quite a different onslaught. You have to be clear that you’re not entering Sitzz. Even before we went inside, our first sight of confusion hit us. Was this the entrance to a restaurant? Apparently, JoBlo shares the same entranceway as a chair store. First of all, I had no idea a store selling only chairs was thriving in this city. If you think about it, it would only be a hop, skip, and jump from to a place to sit down after putting down the portions given by the restaurant.
The thing about organizing any large group gathering is making sure that everyone is going to get to the place in one piece, and I do mean one piece. I don’t know what it is, but I can’t seem to have normal burger nights. In the first burger night, our reservation kept up waiting for nearly 45 minutes. The second burger night was full of hijinks, none of which I care to remember. This night was no different, as GBS history was made when we had the first ever long distance burger night.
Since JoBlo doesn’t really take reservations, I decided to wait for the group right outside the restaurant. This worked fine for me, as the stress keeping up with changing guest lists wasn’t worth the pain. When the majority of the expected people were gathered, we made our way into the restaurant and found a table. Little did we know, but the rest of our party was already in the restaurant.
This would be ample time to introduce them. The first member of that group has got probably the most unique Twitter handle I’ve ever come across in my 3 years on the site, @runningforbacon. It might not be interesting to a lot of people, but to me, a bacon fanatic, this is a top name. Joining her was @moultgard and another non-Twitter friend.
So, thinking that they weren’t there yet, I whipped out my phone and started tweeting to give an indication of where we were. Alright, whipped isn’t the accurate description of how I use phones and social media. It’s more like dragging an anvil and taking an hour to type out a short message. Once the tweet was received, some awkward waving occurred. Our half of the group had no idea what was going on. Once everything cleared up, we tried to rectify the situation.
Our server, who was quite good, was our next step to making this right. At the beginning of the evening, we were offered to have the tables turned to fit the entire group. After thinking about it, we thought we were fine as we were. When we figured out that everyone was here and that the group grew, our collective minds started spinning to find a solution. When I managed to get the server’s attention and proposed out idea to merge the groups, it was shot down because there was concern that it would be too crowded. Now, our solution was the same one that was proposed at the start by the same person who just shot us down, go figure.
I did what any good host would’ve done in this situation and went to visit the second half at the bar. We shared a few pleasantries and my profuse apologies. At the end of the evening, we did gather at our table to, at least, end the night the way it should have started. All this to say that I’m still needing to figure out how to have a normal burger night.
As the meal progressed, I couldn’t quite help but notice something really out of the ordinary. JoBlo has got some of the most unique decor I’ve ever seen in a restaurant. I don’t think there’s another place in Montreal that can say they have a giant horse lamp.
If that wasn’t quite enough, there was something that I didn’t notice until the very end. Right behind me, the entire night, was another lamp of a more military nature. With recent events in mind, I’m going to leave it at that.
Up to this point, everything about the decor and the service was quite impressive. Even though we were not really able to enjoy it all together, we made the best of it. I could probably stop the post right here and tell you that you have to come, but this isn’t about how to sit for 2 hours, it’s about the food.
These magical gems are jalepenos stuffed with cheese and rolled with bacon. Included with the ten silver bullets on Montreal dining is maranara and sour cream.
Before I get to what will probably be one of my top personal finds in 2012, I have to mention the name, ‘Appeteasers.’ Teasing is just right. Some of the items on this list are enough to make you want to take out a mortgage so you can fund your daily consumption of these items. I’ll be honest, it actually took me more than one reading of this list to find what we were eventually going to order. The second that the words ‘bacon bullets’ were dropped into the conversation, you should’ve seen how it put everyone on the same page. The only shame is that there weren’t more of them on the plate.
What you get here is a union of two of the best ingredients to have on anything, bacon and cheese. The jalapenos are nearly inconsequential because they are so covered with awesomeness that it wouldn’t really matter. You could probably wrap the giant horse lamp’s offerings in bacon and cheese without missing a beat.
We all had about 2 and half of these bullets. The first one I had didn’t have that spicy kick to it. It wasn’t until the second one where I could really feel the spice of the jalapeno. It was this dish that made me decide then and there that JoBlo was quite the place to be. In retrospect, I should’ve quit while I was ahead, more on that later.
The following are the other burgers and sandwiches that were consumed later on. I would like to apologize now if I’m not able to give you punch by punch recaps of what they were like, as I didn’t eat them. What I will say is that the portions are quite heavy and a normal person will have trouble finishing them.
Gros Porc Burger
This was @runningforbacon and her selection for the evening. This burger contains mac & cheese, onions, ketchup, and bacon over pork.
What needs to be said is that the pork dishes came out on top of the other burgers consumed that night. As you’ll see later, the three who ordered beef, me included, lost a bit.
Miss Roby Burger
This was @moultgard and her selection for the evening. This burger contains Swiss cheese, apples, onions, coleslaw, mayo, and bacon over pork.
Le Mechant Boris
This was @AmelieFF and her selection for the evening. This is a smoked meat sandwich with sauerkraut, Russian sauce, and Swiss cheese over a grilled Russian bread.
This was @risadickens and her selection for the evening. This burger contains cheddar, caramelized onions, pepper sauce, and bacon.
Gros Porc Burger Take 2
This was @mariepierrochon and her selection for the evening. This is the same burger as above, though without the ketchup.
Le Madam Beauchamp
This burger contains coleslaw, tomatoes, onions, pickles, cheddar, and bacon.
The choice of this burger was quite simple. This is my kind of selection and probably one of the simplest ones on the menu. Plus, with recent events in the province of Quebec, is there a better name for a burger?
The choice of the mashed potatoes was not only a personal one, but a wise one in the end. Looking at the overwhelming amount of fries on the other plates, it was the safest bet for me. It wasn’t an easy order to make, but I insisted, even after the server told me it would be extra. I’m always willing to pay extra to add something I love to my order, let’s get that straight.
The potatoes themselves were quite good. In a way, I’m tough on mashed potatoes. They have to be presented to me in a certain way for me to be impressed. This batch wasn’t half bad, but it was the right complement for the main dish that night.
Now, the burger presented to me looked quite good when you think of aesthetic qualities. It wasn’t until a few moments later, after the overabundant taking of pictures concluded that I noticed this. The tomatoes, pickles and onions were on the side. I don’t think that in my previous 156 burgers, that I have ever seen this happen. The fact that the bun was already on top and the rest of the burger is outside was strange to me. I wonder why this was done.
The burger’s ingredients, in my opinion, were well chosen and fit quite well. The coleslaw was quite the replacement for your normal lettuce selection. Even if the shredded cabbage was in smaller pieces, I didn’t find myself losing so much of it. The bacon and the cheese provided the real taste of the burger, where other more important components did not do their job properly.
The first main issue with the burger, which was a common problem for the group, was the bun. With so much loaded in all the burgers that night, the bun wasn’t strong enough to hold it all. When that happens, you find yourself trying to push everything back in. You will lose all that should remain in the burger. The problem found itself in the bottom bun and that’s probably the most important half of the bread.
Putting the issues with the bun aside, it was the beef that was the biggest issues and in the end, the deciding factor. This was a point of contention for the entire night and by the end, a consensus was reached by all of us. To be straight, the beef had to no real taste to it. There was a point where we asked the server what was in the beef and the answer was really not satisfactory enough. For its size, you should have some grease coming out, but there was none to be found.
The consistency of the beef was the part that we zeroed in on. We speculated whether or not we really were having beef. After one of the members of our group tasted the pork, we ruled that out as the problem. The meat had a grainy feeling to it, much like you were eating meatloaf. For a burger, you don’t really want to have something that fine. It pretty much sank the entire burger and nothing could pick it up.
The quality of the beef burgers that night was a real shame because everything, from beginning to end, in every other category, was top notch. When the pork burgers and smoked meat sandwich were met with great approval, we were really disappointed with the standard beef options.
JoBlo is located in the signature part of Verdun and caters to the unique clientele that can be found in the area. Regardless of one aspect of the evening, I still believe that a visit to this interestingly decorated place is a must. When you’re surrounded by some of the most interesting people in Montreal, all the while sharing the most awesome bacon bullets, you can’t go wrong.