All week I've been eating vegetarian food. It has nothing to do with Lent or Good Friday. I was inspired to make something vegan for my lunches after eating out at Aux Vivres. Also, I find that I feel a lot better after eating no meat for a little while. But, as good as my curry was, at the end of the week I couldn't even look at it. I was fed up with it. And I was craving a burger so bad. So I thought this might be the opportunity to try out this new place on Saint-Laurent called Burger Royal just north of Avenue Des Pins. The one thing that I noticed about this restaurant was that they actually had a burger called Royale With Cheese. What Tarantino fan could turn down an opportunity like that? So this Good Friday evening I decided to head on out and get my burger on.
I spotted the place a while back, maybe last fall. They were still under construction. Since then, I never really had the time to stop there to eat. Or maybe it's because I lost faith in the burger places in this town after The Meat Market restaurant closed down. The Meat Market had, hands down, the best blue cheese & walnut hamburger I had ever tasted in my life. Except, it was hard to actually eat there because they were closed half the time to cater to small groups who decided to make a little party in that place. When you close down your restaurant for an entire evening for about a dozen guests all the time instead of letting people eat in and leave and have a rotation of customers, you're bound to go bankrupt. Now, I mourn that place since it has closed down. R.I.P. best burger place ever.
So back to Burger Royal. The place feels big and empty even when it's packed with people because of the geometry of the room. It's just one big room with a tall ceiling and a couple of big tables where everyone has to sit together and a counter with stools in the front window and a bar at the back where the kitchen is. So the cooks basically prepare everything in front of you. I went in and sat at the bar so I could see how they prepared the food and to have a chat with the staff while eating.
Unfortunately, I didn't get to talk to them much. They were very friendly, but they were in a rush because they had a huge table filled with three whole families with kids. As I was sitting there, I saw them prepare some small cups of mac n cheese that they popped in their oven. It looked delish! Their menu was written in chalk on a large black board near the cash register and it was a little hard to make out what was what. But, I spotted the Royale With Cheese. I asked the waitress what was in it and she said it's a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato ketchup and mustard. It sounded plain and I was very hungry, so I picked The Big Boss which is like the Royale With Cheese, but with smoked bacon, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms and house sauce. I ordered that with a small side of baked mac n cheese and a bottle of Stewart's dark cherry soda. (They didn't serve beer. Well not yet, but it's coming according to the waitress.)
One thing I'd like to mention is that whenever I eat out at a burger place, whether it's some McFastFood chain, a greasy spoon, potato shack or gourmet burger place, I can't help but order the biggest burger on the menu, regardless of the price. I don't know if it's my man genes, chromosomes, testosterone or just my ego, but it never fails. That is probably why I passed up the occasion to eat a burger that's actually called a Royal With Cheese and got The Big Boss instead.
As I waited for my order, I grabbed a newspaper and read for a bit while sipping on my soda. I got my mac n cheese and started to nibble on it. But, I wanted to keep it so I could take a picture of the whole meal. When they finally served me my burger, my eyes popped out. That thing is huge! (That's what she said.) And boy does it look good!
It took one bit. Just one. And I was convinced this was the best hamburger in Montreal. Forget Five Guys. Forget Frite Alors. Hell, forget any other fancy motherfuckin' burger place you've ever been to. That shit is da bomb, okay? The bread was awesome. That is fresh bakery quality buns right there. The bacon was smokey and delicious. The onions and the mushrooms took the burger to another level. And the cheddar cheese was fresh, strong cheddar the likes I never had in a burger before. But, the beef. Oh-My-God!
Burger Royal is where the beef is at, bitch!
The beef patty was cooked to perfection. It was tender, just a little pink and so, so juicy. The cook told me that they use organic beef with no additives, no hormones, no B.S. And to top it off, they grind it on site. That's right. They have their own meat grinder in the back where they grind their own beef to make sure that it's only the best cuts and that it's fresh. Now, THAT is dedication. Burger King ain't got nothin' on this royal hamburger. Then, a customer walks in and asks, and I swear he actually asked this, he asks how much beef they have in their hamburgers. Really? Are you that stupid, or did you just live under a rock on another planet for the past two decades? OF COURSE IT'S A QUARTER POUNDER! GAWD!
Seriously, I was not disappointed. This is a very high quality burger and I will definitely come back here whenever the craving hits again. The staff was pretty cool too, even though I didn't get the chance to talk much with them. Actually, the waitress kinda made fun of me when I told her about my vegetarian situation. She told me: "Of all days to pick to crave and eat a big hamburger, you had to pick Good Friday, the one day you're supposed to give something up in remembrance of Jesus's crucifixion." So I replied: "Hey, I made a whole week of sacrifice, okay? Jesus! Give me a break!" And it's only when I got home that I realized the irony of my answer.
That was a great dinner and definitely killed my craving. Kudos Burger Royal for making such amazing hamburgers.