Thursday, January 21, 2016

Oscar's Deli: 4.4/5

Score: 4.4
Platter: $14

Score: 4.3

Oscar’s Deli is not just about Rubins and Clubhouses – they also make a 5 star burger! Top 10 on Burger Club’s list. The north end delicatessen opened in 1929 and moved to 175 Hargrave Street in 1982 where they still pack in the lunch crowd every day. Oscar, aka owner Larry Brown, is a funny guy – evidenced by the framed GQ magazine cover of daughter Rachel and him overlooking the deli counter. When I booked in 18 of us and told Larry we’d all be having the #dirtryburger, he responded “Okay, we’ll kill another cow.”

Very popular for sandwiches and breakfast – and great service - the menu has grown to include ribs and burgers. Oscar’s Deli extended their hours to 7 p.m. on weekdays and now offer dinner service. The #dirtyburger, their entry for LeBurgerWeek, was such a hit they extended the special, and 4 months later, the slightly faded handwritten sign taped to the bottom of the special board is still there. Oscar’s is licensed for beer and wine, and in summer you can enjoy your meal on the patio.

Oscar’s has conventional hamburgers and cheeseburgers on the menu, but Burger Club was all about the #dirtyburger with its 2 beef patties, bacon, pastrami, salami, American cheese, an egg, lettuce, tomato and fried onions dressed with hot mustard and horseradish sauce on a sesame seed egg bun. It’s $14 and comes with fries. The kitchen could only cook five at a time because that’s how many the grill would hold. They had us setup at two tables and our server Lisa was very quick and friendly. Our large group was in and out in under an hour even with the lunch rush.

The diner style patties are 4 oz, hand formed, unadorned ground chuck, flattened thin and wide so they cook fast while staying juicy with a nice grill crust. The piles of pastrami and salami – and of course the egg – are also fried on the grill and the whole stack is served piping hot. Chef Hary chose the Gunn’s Bakery bun “because it's like candy, as in its sweet and adds that element to the burger. As you may have noticed, it holds the #dirtyburger very well.”

Photo: NB
There’s plenty of cheese, fried onions and groceries along with their signature beet horseradish sauce. The assembly is speared through and topped with a couple of thick slices of pickle. It was daunting and I couldn’t take it in one bite – I nibbled from bottom to top. The overall flavour was balanced and I could taste every ingredient. The horseradish sauce and pickle are popular so Oscar’s sells jars at the deli counter.

April commented “Best buns in town! Great flavourful burger. I really enjoyed the taste! I feel that the price was great for the amount of food. The fries were also very tasty.” Karen critiqued “I loved the crispy crust on this burger. It was a handmade patty, fairly plainly served. Toppings were good. Fried onions added a great grilled flavour. The tomato and lettuce were fresh and lots of it which added a little extra juiciness to the whole mess. I could even taste the cheese throughout. Love Oscar's quality stuff. Oh, and the bun is brilliant, soft but resilient.”

The #dirty burger was juicy and messy; Roxanne scribbled “Definitely needed a fork! Overall - great food & great company!” Nelson was exuberant: “I had little bits of meat all over the place when I was done. Very messy, but very good. I was worried about the horseradish and hot mustard but the flavours worked well together. Time for a nap.” Russ jotted “I was amazed how well it stuck together. Even the patty which seemed fairly lean. So HOT inside. Amazing fries.”

Some of our group opted for the cheeseburger. Depending on your appetite, a double wouldn’t be out of the question. Tonia had a single and wrote “Bun was good! Patti flavourful - but could be a bit thicker. Great service & value.” Stan enjoyed his: “An excellent burger. Very nice bun and patty. The condiments are my favourite basics: mustard and relish. Raw onions option put it over the top for me. Wonderful pickles and fries too!

Les, as always, saw the art in his food: “Very nice bun that rose up like a tower, and with the big chunky pickle slice nailed to the top of the swirly shiny surface, it became the Leaning Tower of Pisa burger!

Photo: Instagram\OscarsDeliWinnipeg
Photo: Instagram\OscarsDeliWinnipeg

Photo: Instagram\OscarsDeliWinnipeg
The Oscar's Marantz Burger 2000 Challenge

Legend has it that a man named Marantz went to Salty’s at Winnipeg Beach and asked for a quadruple patty burger with a piece of chicken on top. He then proceeded to eat it in 2 minutes, 50 seconds. Oscar’s Chef Hary Haidau has created the #MarantzBurger2000 and has a challenge of his own.

The rules are:

  • The challenge runs January 25 to 29, 2015, from 5 to 7 pm. If no one beats the challenge, it will be extended.
  • The newly created #MarantzBurger2000 ($16, glass of water included) is 4 quarter pound all beef chuck patties, bacon, schnitzel, honey dill, hot mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion and comes with fries.
  • If you finish the burger in under 2 minutes and 50 seconds, Oscar’s will buy you the burger.
  • The best time under 2:50 during this challenge will be the winner. It may be that by the time you get here the burger is called something else and the time challenge is even shorter.
  • Finish the burger and fries under the same time (2:50) and Oscar’s will not only buy it for you, but will also give you a $5 gift card towards your next visit to Oscar’s Deli. Not just that, they will also rename the burger after you and enter it with your (the winner's) name in this year’s LeBurgerWeek competition.
  • The burger has to be kept together and no cutlery is to be used.

May the best burger eater win!

Oscar's Deli & Catering Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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