Montreal is the City of Festivals, and culinary pleasures are a large part of those festivals. Food Trucks can be seen at the Just for Laughs festival, Oyster Week is celebrated at restaurants around town, and Montreal is just bursting with food for tourists and locals to taste. For the first time, Montreal created the Burger Week competition, and the Divas couldn’t pass up a chance to indulge in a specialty burger of Burger Week.
The concept is simple, different restaurants offer specialty burgers during the entire week, the public votes and the best burger is then chosen. For restaurants it is a fun advertising campaign and for the more adventurous burger eaters, it is a fun way to fancy up the ol’ cheeseburger. The top five winners included Burger Bar Crescent, M:brgr (a Diva favourite and home of the 100$ burger), Art:Brgr, Diablos Smoke House and Baxo Cuisine.
Unique burgers included the pulled pork burger, the breakfast burger, the Kobe beef burger, the foie gras burger, the deep fried fish burger, the flank steak burger, the lamb burger, etc. For a list of all participating restaurants and their burgers go to: http://burgerweekmtl.com/Restaurants.eng.html
The Divas decided to try somewhere they never heard of and were intrigued by the Burger of the Week at Art:Brgr. Off we went to Art:Brgr, opened only last year on Gilford street, right off of St-Denis. When we arrived we sat on the terrace which was directly on the street with high tables and bar stools. Unfortunately it was very slanted so you constantly felt like you were going to fall off your bar stool. We were also not at eye level with everyone at the table, the stools would lower themselves slowly and some people’s seats were higher than others…made for very odd sitting arrangements.
The inside showcased art by Montreal artists, very eclectic but we stayed outside to enjoy the nice night. The Divas don’t usually comment on service, food comes first and when we go out we tend to enjoy our night if the food is good. We don’t make a habit of looking too closely at service and décor….but bad service is bad service. It took 30 minutes for a waiter to take our drink orders and then another 30 minutes to get our drinks. We then waited for our appetizers…our mains, and the bill. We waited a lot…the waiter blamed it on one large group inside but the restaurant was not busy enough to warrant such a wait.
The Divas ordered a cosmopolitan and a mojito but unfortunately they were mild drinks and you could barely taste the alcohol, not worth getting a second one, although we did in the hopes that the first ones were made weak accidentally…they weren’t.
As appetizers, we ordered popcorn shrimp, it was good and salty with a crunchy coating. It was served with a lemon wedge and the salsa came in a cone like bowl, not too bad but at this point we were STARVING because we had waited so long.
Our second appetizer was a beef carpaccio served with blue cheese, walnuts and strawberries with plenty of crackers, drizzled with a balsamic reduction. First of all, we had asked the waiter to omit the blue cheese…but it still arrived with the cheese. The beef itself was bland, it lacked seasoning and it couldn’t stand on its own without the cheese or strawberries. I guess the waiter did us a favour by including the cheese.
The Divas were with a friend so we ordered three burgers; the first one was the Burger Week specialty, the Volcano Burger. Obviously we had chosen Art: Brgr for Burger Week because of the Volcano Burger’s description. It was a HUGE burger with an original combination of ingredients. We decided to go all out and chose to add the optional sunny side up egg which made for a rich burger. It was hard to bite into but many would say that a tall burger is indeed a burger rich in ingredients and excellent.
Another Diva tried the Ma Belle Ezra Burger that was served with blue cheese, caramelized figs in red wine sauce and bacon. The figs were very good, not too sweet and the blue cheese was slightly melted from the heat of the burger which added some saltiness to the burger. There was plenty of bacon and overall it was a great imposing burger.
Our friend Calvin had the Rojas burger, another good choice slathered in jalapenos, aioli / tomato sauce and adorned with another sunny side up egg. It seemed to the Divas that Art: Brgr makes half decent burgers and stayed true to their namesake but this may have not been enough to ignore our other disappointments.
Each burger came with fries and salad. The fries were tasty and home cut but the salad was wilted. The burgers were all rather impressive and tall and Art: Brgr also has signature burgers and DIY burgers. All in all, the burgers were fine although the service, drinks and appetizers left much to be desired. Perhaps we would have rated the restaurant better if at 10:00pm on a Thursday night, when Bellatrix and her mate joined us late, we were told that Art:Brgr had run out of burgers…
That’s right; a burger restaurant specializing in burgers had no more burgers. Perhaps if we had not been there for hours and seen that it was not all that busy we would have thought there was a rush of burger lovers. Instead, this was just another hiccup in an unimpressive night…not Thursday night Diva material.
The owner came to speak to our friends, which was nice, although the poor guy did not have much of a choice. The Mate ended up ordering the mini burgers… that’s right they had mini burgers just not regular sized burgers… confused yet?
Les Gia’s Minimis Burgers were bite size burgers made in three different ways. One was made with caramelized figs and blue cheese, the second one was made with smoked gouda and grilled peppers and the last one was made with sun dried tomatoes and goat cheese. Nice combinations, good mini burgers, so the Mate was satisfied.Apparently Art: Brgr’s Israeli chef is known for his home made hummus plate, a secret recipe that he has perfected and consumers rave about. If one of our readers doubts our review and decides to go to Art: Brgr, please try the hummus and tell us all about it.
Art: Brgr needs to reformulate its game plan. Naturally they did not win the 2012 Montreal Burger Week competition, the prize went to Burger Bar Crescent and their “Hangover Burger” made up of a 6 oz AAA beef patty, caramelized onions, bacon, American cheese, fried egg, truffle oil and topped with a mini poutine. When Burger Week rolls around next year, you can be sure the Divas will be out there again, sinking our teeth into a burger or two!
Our Rating: Never on Thursdays