75 Avenue Des Pins
Bus: STM 29, 55, 144
Visit: October 25, 2012
Pine Avenue is one of those streets on the island of Montreal that isn’t that long, but still lives long in the hearts of the citizens of this island. The street is home to many hospitals, school, and iconic businesses. One of those businesses is a pizza place affectionately known as Mamma’s.
After only seeing GBS regular Steakman once in the last four months, it was about time that we resume our adventures on this island of abundant gastronomy. The plan was to meet at around 5:00 p.m. at another restaurant. My miscalculation lead to a big blunder, the intended restaurant wasn’t about to open for another hour. On a side note, that unnamed restaurant advertises a 5:00 p.m. opening on their Facebook page. Back to the story, not wanting to wait around, we started walking, looking for another place and that’s when the light bulb went off. Mamma’s was right around the corner and it was high time that we went in.
Mamma’s pizzeria, when it comes to mentioning Steakman is a place that isn’t too unfamiliar to him. His father happens to put in a shift once a week at the place. So, for those of you who are now having questions, I’ll address them. My concern going in was whether or not it would be a schmooze fest of familiar faces. Well, there was no one familiar to be seen the entire time, save the last minutes, after all the food was consumed and judgement was made. Therefore, I don’t believe any special treatment was doled out because we were mostly like any other customer.
Mamma’s pizzeria is one of those places that has a menu of just about anything. You name it, it’s there. Honestly, those are the kinds of places that I try to put off, as there are not very many things that are worthy to go for. However, when it comes to pizza, you are dealing with a safe bet. Back in April of 2012, I had the chance to try some of their take-out and found it to be quite acceptable.
When we entered the restaurant, it was completely empty. As a matter of fact, there was only one person on the dining floor, a clearly Greek server. There are about 2 dozen tables that in the restaurant. We made our way to one next to a window and set about our game plan.
At this point, this is where Steakman looks to me and tells me that he knows which burger I’m going to order. While his guess wasn’t far off, my eye was on something else. While he has been on so many burgers in the past, I was about to throw him a curve ball, one that I may have not thought out completely. If you browse the menu on the site, you’ll also see that there is a perfectly available bacon cheeseburger that went unordered on this particular night. So, after our game plan was devised, we were ready to see what we got ourselves into.
These are your run of the mill chicken wings. We decided to split these. It comes with a BBQ sauce which we never opened. For me, I’m always of the preference that things be able to stand on their own, so BBQ wasn’t an option. Also, the lettuce was included as decoration and that’s how it stayed.
The crispy skin of the wings were a nice touch. Once you bite into them, they’re not half bad. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not going to blow your mind, but they’ll do enough to tide you over until the main dishes come in.
Like in the past, the question of what to get as a side dish never really was something that had to be considered, it was obvious. The poutine was our go-to option and we decided to share it. After the meal, this was a wise decision as we didn’t overload ourselves. My contribution to the decision was to baconize it.
The poutine’s presentation left me with one big question. How on Earth can you just leave whole slices of bacon on top of a poutine? This creates so many problems for a shared poutine. The equal division of bacon is something that you won’t get with an entire slice of poutine, as one swoop of a fork, half the bacon content is gone. Even if you’re eating this all by yourself, you still would like more bacon per bite. It really should have been sliced.
In all, the rest of the poutine was about average as there’s nothing really to write home about. I felt as if the fries were just there and the cheese was somewhat scarce. When you add the issues with the bacon, we could have done so much better.
This was Steakman’s submarine. You’ll notice how he does not like tomatoes. For the most part, this was a strong showing for the restaurant and something that is worth ordering.
This burger contains lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and tzatziki.
In the 163 burgers that comprised the Burger Search thus far, none have ever veered so far off the course that I have set for myself. Part of that reason is that I’ve been so comfortable with the bacon cheeseburger rut that I’ve been in for the last 3 years. Something that’s been bothering me lately is the fact that it’s been the same kind of burger for the longest time. Seeing this burger on this menu inspired me to take a step up and try something different.
I mentioned earlier that there was a bacon cheeseburger on the menu. Having a pretty good idea what it would be like, I decided that it wasn’t the most plausible option for me on this day. What better day to choose a Greek burger than the day where I was reunited with a person who knows Greece better than anyone in my current circle?
The two biggest differences with this burger is the fact that there are two ingredients that you don’t normally see in your average burger, cucumbers and the Greek staple, tzatziki. While most of the people I know really enjoy tzatziki, it doesn’t really do much for me. This would probably be time for another confession that should be laid out there. I really didn’t read much past the fact that this was a Greek burger. I think I was sold too quickly on the idea. I might have seen the word ‘tzatziki’ but didn’t quite process that all the way.
The burger was present with a Kaiser roll bun. Upon first bite, the bun created a large obstacle. It was just too tough to eat. Normally, a good bun doesn’t overwhelm you and make you wish you were eating a lettuce burger. The bun felt like it was sitting for a while and that didn’t sit well with me.
The choice of ingredients may have been particularly Greek, but that led to something that made the eating experience one that I’m probably going to want to forget. The tzatziki is what I believe to be the culprit of the messy situation I was placed in. A good burger, to me, is one that manages to stay intact throughout the entire meal. With each bite, the burger was slipping around from side to side. The tzatziki was the ice-like agent causing things to move around. With my napkin thoroughly used, I looked like a fool eating this.
What added to my frustration to the burger was the quality of the meat. It felt like I was at home and was eating a ground beef patty. The meat was well done and provided no real taste. With the size of the patty, I wasn’t expecting that much more out of it.
When you think of a Greek burger, you have to wonder what would taste like. I’ve been to many Greek restaurants over the last 2 years and have always come back with a feeling of satisfaction because of the various specialties on the menu. Here, you have a staple like tzatziki included with a cucumbers. That sounds like a good idea on paper, but the taste didn’t really come across that way. This may be wishful thinking going into what I want to say next, but some feta cheese would have made a world of difference.
Overall, I went out on a limb and took that chance that makes this Burger Search worth doing. We can’t always stick with the same old choices and on some days, we must go out there to do something just a little bit differently than normal. Here, I may have come up short, but at least I tried it. It’s just a little bit disappointing that it wasn’t the burger I thought it should be.
Mamma’s pizzeria is a place that specializes in pizza. You go here to find food on a budget and that’s what you should stick with. The poutine and chicken wings were just about enough to pull the evening from the depths of rock bottom. If I were ever to return, I would solely judge this place on their pizza, because after all, that’s in the name.