5843 Sherbrooke O.
Bus: STM 105, 162, 420
Visit: November 28, 2012
Today’s society is so impersonal. Humankind has invented so many tools designed to keep people apart from each other. Whether it be the cell phone or the tablet, those implements just keep focused on something that isn’t quite there. Even the restaurant experience is secluded. You may be in a crowded restaurant, but how many times do you really get up close with your surroundings? There’s one bastion of the past left in Montreal and its time is quite limited. That place is Cosmos.
Over the last 3 years, I managed to cover a whole bunch of iconic Montreal burger institutions. In the here and now, there aren’t many of those places left to try. Then again, there are times where oversights are made, tremendous ones. Before July of 2011, I never really heard the name of Cosmos. It was burger meeting with bloggers Foodie Date Night that shed some light on a place I haven’t been to before. Even though I mixed up their name once or twice, it was always in the back of my mind. It was their interjection again that compelled me to make sure I checked the Cosmos name off my list.
Located in a very Anglophone part of Montreal, Cosmos caters to the very unique neighborhood of Notre-Dame-de-Grace, or more affectionately known as N.D.G. The immediate area surrounding the restaurant is also quite rich in somewhat well-known Korean places, for those interested in knowing that.
When you enter Cosmos, you’ll notice that it isn’t the biggest place in the world. You can see the entire restaurant within something like 2 seconds of being there, that’s how small it really is. There is a counter with about 10 seats and the cooking area is in plain sight. Working the restaurant that day were 2 ladies who happen to have some of the most unique personalities ever to be found.
At the time that I arrived, there was only 1 seat left. So, doing as the locals do, I squeezed myself in and never really took off my winter coat. Though it was a little crowded, it was actually a problem when it came to eating the food. For the short amount of time that I was there, there was actually a steady flow of people coming in for take-out and other customers quickly filling the vacated seats.
The charm of the place is not so much the decor or even the food, it’s the back and forth banter, which sees the staff constantly interacting with their customers. For someone who hasn’t been there before, like me, at first, it might be a tad bit uncomfortable. The server, who was the more outgoing one of the two, is the one that kept the proverbial party going. By the time you leave the place, you don’t feel as uncomfortable as you went in.
The amount of banter is what truly made the time special. There was a point where I noticed a large bottle of Bailey’s. At one point, it was being passed around like a hot potato. Later on, the server took the bottle to a middle aged couple finishing their breakfast. There, it was used as a prop to keep the business relationship special.
Then, there’s the young couple coming in. They seemed to be regulars at the counter. Their appearance immediately sprung the server into that flow of banter that just forces to watch in awe. Even when one half of the couple was thinking of changing things up a bit, the rest of the order was memorized to a tee. It was funny watching the server bring out two differently sized pieces of bread to ensure that it would be eaten by the young lady customer.
Places like these are also much affected by the locals, who just happen to be there. Each good local haunt has one of these people who hang around. Cosmos had its own person who seemed to be mooching coffee. On that day, this individual made sure to keep the staff apprised of the status of the water the city cut off for repairs. By the time I left, it was with great joy that this personality announced that the water was turned back on and that the restaurant should try their tap. That’s one of the many reasons a place like Cosmos is special.
The menu is your wide variety of breakfast selections. The rest of the menu is filled with more lunch related fare. The big feature is that the prices really fit the size of the restaurant. So, after all that you manage to put down, you won’t feel so much lighter on the wallet.
To act as a side dish for my burger, I wanted to choose something that would pay tribute to the fact that Cosmos is more of a breakfast place. The most reasonable selection was to take a nice helping of hash browns.
The fact that there is a nice mix of textures is really nice here. We go from crunchy to a more soft potato with every bite. They were really the right thing to have with the burger.
Good Morning Burger
This burger contains a fried egg, cheese, and bacon.
It wouldn’t be right to come to Cosmos without getting the signature burger. This would also be a history making selection for the Burger Search. Up to this point, none of the previous 168 burgers had a fried egg in it. It’s always been something I hesitated in trying because I was never too comfortable with the idea. Then again, since I was here, it was the right time to see what I was truly missing.
The first thing that truly surprised me was the size of the burger. I was actually expecting something that was a tad bit smaller. I’ve seen pictures of the other burgers on the menu and I was thinking that it would look something like that. So, upon seeing that is was a good sized burger, I was pleasantly surprised.
It was at this point where I was engaged in capturing the essence of the burger with my still newish camera when I was given a little bit of a hand. The server, who noticed what I was doing, came over and suggested that the burger be tilted over a little bit so that everything could be seen. The picture just above is the result of that brief interaction.
With all the grandstanding over with, it was time to try this burger. The elements that were lacking in the burger were the meat and the cheese. The meat was somewhat thin, but that is to be expected in a venue like this. This is the kind of burger that isn’t really supposed to rely on the beef stealing the show. Here, it’s more of an ingredient centered taste that is the element that has to come through. With that being said, it is the cheese that I couldn’t really ascertain during this burger. Despite those criticisms, they weren’t enough to break my feelings about this particular burger.
My judgement of the burger really rested on how I felt about having a fried egg for the first time. This was the element I was the most hesitant about. In the end, I should’ve never really feared this at all. The fact that the fried egg was there made me forget my misgivings about the cheese. It was a realistic element that I could see on my future burgers and it only took 3 years for me to realize that.
The burger as a whole was definitely on par with some of the top predecessors. The combination of the greatest breakfast elements with beef is one that just can’t be ignored. The fact that it comes out of what is a hole in the wall shouldn’t ever deter anyone from trying it. While there is still time, I cannot hesitate from pushing people to visit Cosmos for the sole purpose of trying the Good Morning Burger.
With the process of selling this Montreal landmark underway, the time left to try this establishment might be very limited. One visit is all it takes to understand why a whole bunch of people will find this unique elements in one of the smallest restaurants in the city. Some people come for the immense amount of food, while others can’t get enough of the banter that most everyone will get sucked into.