Burger 209: Club Sandwich | Mr. Lew's Great Burger Search

1570 Sainte-Catherine E.
Montréal, Québec

Metro:  Beaudry, Papineau
Bus:  STM 10, 14, 15, 34, 45, 150, 410, 430, 769, RTL 170

Visit:  September 5, 2013

When one thinks of the Village, one can’t ignore how many restaurants are popping up on a small stretch of Sainte-Catherine.  Some of those places belong to some well known brand names, while others aren’t so much in the public eye.  Even if it’s a place that isn’t mentioned every day, it’s one that you can’t miss because it stands out.  That place is called Club Sandwich.

I’ll be honest.  At this particular point of the search, I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus for just over two weeks.  With the beginning of the school year and the amount of work that creates, I wanted to make sure that I had nothing getting in the way of that.  So, I made sure that I was ahead of schedule so that I could have a clear conscience.  But, time can’t wait forever for burgers to be devoured.  I knew that I had to get back in the game.

To get back to the swing of things, I chose to visit Club Sandwich.  Over the summer and even in years past, I would make a habit of taking a walk on the pedestrian street portion of Sainte-Catherine.  This year, I took note of places that I would like to visit in the near future and even noticed a brand new place.  But, the one that really caught my eye was Club Sandwich.  The exterior portion of the restaurant is reminiscent of what a Nickels further west would look like.  It’s kind of sad that the Nickels reference is the best I could come up with.

On what was a beautiful September afternoon, I made my way to Club Sandwich.  With a throng of university initiates being led down the street, I was surprised to see that the pedestrian walkway was still fair game for us walkers.  By the way, for anyone wondering, the university newbies weren’t singing anything, but they were yelling something.

When I entered the restaurant, I noticed that there were two distinct sections where one could dine.  It wasn’t until a few moments where I was noticed by the sole server and I was allowed to take up residence anywhere I wanted.  There’s something about being allowed to seat yourself that is wonderful from a customer’s point of view.  But, if you’re looking at the situation from a more practical slant, a restaurant should really seat their guests.  For one, I think placing more guests near the windows gives the appearance that things are moving inside.  Then again, what do I really know?

One of the things I like to do when I’m eating by myself is to take some time to observe what’s happening.  This time around, there was this customer who came in and was in a bit of a hurry for any number of reasons.  So, they asked the server what could be done the quickest.  Ironically enough, the club sandwich was the ticket.  I mention this because it causes me to reflect a bit.  I’m in the midst of planning school trips to big time American cities and I’m thinking that I may find myself in the same situation.  So, in retrospect, I was glad to see the restaurant oblige this customer and that was a good sign of keeping the needs of the patron to the forefront.

I mentioned earlier that there was one sole server.  It’s really a crap shoot on whether that’s a good idea.  There are places that never see very many people and then there are the other places that are busy enough to warrant an extra hand.  During my visit, there were up to 5 other tables dining at the same time and that’s not including my overly narcissistic needs. 

To use a pertinent example, there was one couple that walked in.  They chose their table and it looked like the server forgot about them as there were no further interactions.  As time passed, the server took food to that table.  Now, I may have missed something, but between the time of entry and delivery, the sole server was folding boxes.  Luckily, there wasn’t a dire need for service, but what if?  Let’s say I unloaded my 40 students on a class trip into the restaurant, what would happen?

I focused on the clear understaffed nature of this particular restaurant, but there’s something else I have to mention before going on any further.  Before even setting foot in the restaurant, I read a lot of mixed reviews online and a lot of them had to do with the quality of the service.  I have to say that I was always treated well by the server.  Even when the clearly bilingual server wanted to start with me in English, I pushed it back to French (go figure).  I felt pretty good about the service I got and that’s what matters most over any observation I can muster.

I’m going to get to the food really soon, but I can’t forget to mention that this was a very unique place to sit down in.  The effort that went into the decoration was quite something.  The decor stands out and I hoped that the food would as well.

Poutine

Because I’m a glutton for punishment, I replaced my fries with a poutine.  After 4 years of taking on the worst diet known to humankind, I’m getting to the point where I am having a hard time finishing an entire meal.  Back when I started this, I could eat double what I ordered at this table.  So, with that in the back and the front of my mind, I ordered the poutine anyway.

With that being said, the portion of poutine that they give you for the replacement is quite hefty.  I also have to mention the unique bowl that comes with it all.  When I took a bite of the poutine, I wasn’t really overwhelmed by anything really.  The curds were just there and the sauce was probably the strongest part of the entire thing.  It wasn’t half bad, but with the amount I was eating, it became redundant after a while.

Rolls Royce

This burger contains lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cream cheese, and bacon.

If we could judge a burger based off a name, I would stop writing now.  Unfortunately, the Big Macs of the world will have to work harder and deliver.  I lit up a bit when I saw this name of the most extravagant car associated with my go-to ingredients for a burger.  The list of ingredients were all the things I would pick in my dream burger.  But, we all have to be very careful because it takes more than just a dream line-up to have success.

In the past, I’ve had a great deal of luck when dealing with cream cheese in my burger.  If it wasn’t for this search, I probably would never have cream cheese at all.  With that being said, cream cheese burgers present their own challenges and they may not be the taste of the masses.  In the light of challenges, you may get a tad bit messy while eating, but that’s not a big deal unless you don’t like that kind of thing.

When the burger was set down on the table, I noticed something quite odd.  I’ve had a few similar burgers to compare at this point and the placement of the cream cheese was the thing that made me wonder.  I’ve never seen cream cheese placed under the meat.  Cream cheese is quite messy and I was hoping that I wasn’t going to be placed in peril with this placement.  However, keeping the cheese away from the other ingredients could have been a strategic move.

The taste of the burger was more or less expected.  There weren’t very many surprises, but some elements stood out a bit.  The onions complimented the whole package and they were a crucial element.  Also, the bacon was another prime time player in the overall product.  Regardless of how those players affected the end result, there were more important things that had to be looked at.

The one thing that took this burger down a few notches for me was the meat.  Up to this point, I’ve had a lot of burgers.  Using that fountain of experience, I have a guide of reference to compare the burger I’m eating with the ones that came before.  Even though I had more burgers than literally the entire population, I still don’t ever claim to be an expert.  There was one thing that bothered me and it seemed like the meat was one of those frozen deals.  The patty was just shaped too perfectly and had that consistency that was too easy to bite through.  There wasn’t anything wrong with the taste, but when you have so many good things going, you want everything to be on the same level.

The cream cheese was the other issue.  Again, it wasn’t the taste that bothered me.  With the placement of the cheese on the bottom, there were some structural issues that were impossible to avoid.  Plus, when you have the grease of the meat seeping in, that bottom bun would be the first to suffer for it.  I know that cream cheese burgers have that common issue of getting very messy, but this time around, it was a little more noticeable.

At the conclusion of the burger, I felt pretty full.  I underestimated just how heavy a meal this would be.  I was hoping to have dessert because there was a suicide chocolate cake on the menu and we all know how much I like making those kinds of mistakes.  But, if you really think about it, it wasn’t a half bad burger.  If you know what you’re getting into, you won’t mind that the elements aren’t fancy or top notch.  After all, as long as you make what you’re working with taste good, who cares what you’re using.

Final Verdict

Club Sandwich has a great deal of variety when it comes to their menu and you’ll find something that might suit you.  The one issue that I noticed was the fact that the place was largely understaffed and could have used at least one more server.  The location isn’t half bad, but there are at least a dozen other places within steps that can say the same thing.

Club Sandwich on Urbanspoon

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