Who has the best burger in Montreal? A question that is completely subjective, where opinions can often be conveyed with so much passion that sometimes it seems like only one answer exists. This is a question I often get, and one that I have a lot of difficulty answering. There are many good burgers out there, so why choose one?
The burger is a blank canvas where many attempt to display creativity and innovation of the American classic. No matter how it’s done, the combination of the Three Parts must work harmoniously to create the perfect burger: the patty, the bun, and the accoutrements (or toppings). The bun should be able to cradle the burger and toppings. Ratios are key to allow the bun to hold everything together. Toppings contribute to the added flavor of the burger. Melt some cheese, smother it with condiments, or top it with the thousands of ingredients that exist. Finally, how the actual patty is made is essential to the overall flavor of the burger. Is it simply seasoned with a little salt and pepper, or is it combined with some concoction of spice blends and/or barbecue sauce for that extra little flavor kick. How the Three Parts work together creates that “perfect” burger.
So in my quest to find the next big one, if such a thing exists, I found a sort of unfamiliar place to me; one that has over 200 locations in the U.S. and has a serious following of crazed fans and enthusiasts (including President Obama). I’m talking about Five Guys Burgers and Fries (a.k.a Five Guys). They cook their burgers from scratch, i.e. from raw, and have a good selection of toppings that you add free of charge. The menu consists of 3 items: burgers (single or double patty), hot dogs, and fries (regular or cajun). Oh, and I helped myself to the complimentary unlimited amount of peanuts still in their shells while I waited for my burger to be cooked.
A few minutes later, I heard my number, “Numéro 46″! That’s me! I filled up my cup with some fountain diet coke, sat down with my brown paper bag, and was ready to dive in. The hot steam from the cajun fries filled the air. They really don’t cheap out on these. Good spice, nice and crispy, and fresh tasting. The bags of potatoes for the fries line the entrance of the restaurant to show you that they are in fact fresh. So they must be.
I unwrapped the foil paper that was enveloping my enormous burger and gazed upon the mess in front of me. If I knew it was going to be this large, I probably would have ordered it anyway. First bite: couldn’t get the whole thing in my mouth. Had to attack it in sections. I ordered the double patty all dressed (lettuce, tomato, pickles, relish, mayo, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, ketchup, mustard, jalapeno peppers, and green peppers), no onions. Oh, and hot sauce, bacon and cheese (serious workout needed afterward). The toppings were pretty good. I like the combination of everything together. The patties were juicy and the flavor of the beef surprisingly wasn’t lost in everything that covered it. The bun however pretty much disintegrated. Under normal circumstances that would be a pity, however; I enjoyed it. When something like this comes your way, you kinda like the juices that drip down your pinky finger. It’s just one of those. Overall, the burger was good, and I certainly enjoyed it.
Five Guys is definitely an experience. I like the fact that their burgers and fries are cooked fresh in a fast food type atmosphere, even though their food is very different from the rest. The location I visited was in Vaudreuil. A little far for my liking. Their Laval location is now open. One in Brossard is under construction and will open next, as well as one on McGill College in old Montreal, also under construction, and is expected to open some time in April. The Five Guys in Vaudreuil is the first location in Eastern Canada. Thanks for coming here Five Guys!
Five Guys Burgers and Fries: 54 Boulevard de la Cité des Jeunes, Vaudreuil-Dorion, QC, J7V 8B9