Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Grove Pub and Restaurant: 4/5

Grove Burger, Score: 4.0
Platter: $11

Stafford Burger, Score: 4.0
Platter: $12

Harvard Burger, Score: 4.3
Platter: $12

Dorchester Burger, Score: 4.0
Platter: $12

Bright, roomy and lively – that’s The Grove. If you’re between 25 and 70 you may remember the location as Tubby’s\Charlie O’s at the corner of 164 Stafford and Grosvenor. When I arrived, I was greeted by a cheery hostess who took one look and said: “You’re with Burger Club? They've got a big table right over there!

A Burger Club regular, Les, has his own bar stool at The Grove and was able to secure our large group a reservation in the spacious dining room. In summer, you can also enjoy your meal on the shaded patio.

Tonight we broke from tradition and had our first Burger Club supper. The Grove has 16 different beers on tap and boasts a large selection of bottles. We came for the burger, but stayed for the beer. Our server had a bit of a time keeping up with our drink orders and as Les put it “Dan, our waiter, was good but need to bring more beer.

The menu lists four different beef burgers. The namesake Grove Burger is a fairly traditional cheeseburger while the other three are works of food-art. The Stafford comes with avocado, blue cheese, and bacon jam. The Harvard is topped with bacon, jalapeno relish, grilled pineapple and pepper jack cheese. The Dorchester has sautéed onion, bacon, Chimichurri sauce and a fried egg on top. It's a home-style patty - prepared with onion bits, mildly seasoned and fairly soft and crumbly. A Panko panade results in a moist, but not overly juicy patty. Karen described the patty as “crispy on the outside with a nice char flavour and a bit of salt.”

I had the Stafford and really enjoyed it. The blue cheese was the predominant flavour (of course), but it was more creamy than nosey. The bacon jam added a little sweetness and the avocado rounded out the flavour party nicely.  April commented the “Blue cheese burger was very flavourful. It paired well with the saltiness of the fries. I thought the ingredients were a little strange, but they melded together well.“ There was also a thick slice of fairly ripe tomato topped with a mess of shredded lettuce and mayo. Surprisingly, the buns are brought in from Montreal. They were quite good – a little like a Brioche, but more bready than cakey. They were toasted and warm. Barking Squirrel lagers made a good accompaniment to my Stafford.

A couple of Burger Club first timers, Isabel and Dave, had the Harvard Burger. Isabel likes it hot and critiqued “Would prefer jalapeños on the top of the burger. Wish the cheese was melted.” Dave added “Pineapple complimented the spicy jalapeño nicely. Burger was tasty.”

Most of Burger Club had The Dorchester – because - who can resist a dramatic fried egg staring back at you? Yes, eggs can be dramatic. It was served open faced on a Ciabatta bun. Chris came with an appetite saying “Very nice burger, flavourful and tasty. Although not really enough to fill me up.” Nat commented  “The texture of the patty was a clash of chunky and saucy” and Cary added “Could not really taste the Chimichurri.” Stephanie liked hers: “Really tasty patty. Everything was so good. Bacon was great!

Georgia was rendered speechless (a first) by her Grove Burger so she drew a picture.

Risk and Denial

Occasionally a Burger Clubber will risk leaving their comfort zone to order a burger they might not like, and then not like it. Karen tried The Stafford. “The burger would have rated higher but it had blue cheese - and I don't like blue cheese.” But, you ordered the blue cheese burger?!? Denial is when you’re disappointed a burger comes the way it was described on the menu. After ordering The Dorchester, Stephanie exclaimed “This isn't open faced burger club!” Jacques also seemed surprised that his open faced burger came open faced. “I like to eat my burger by holding with both hands. Not an easy thing to do with an open face burger.”

Cary found a picture of a burger on UrbanSpoon. He didn't look at the menu and showed the waiter a picture and demanded “I want that!” The waiter responded, “Er .. that’s an old picture, we don’t have that on the menu anymore and it’s a veggie burger.” I jibed “That would serve him right! Give him a veggie burger!” The Grove likes to change it up periodically and offers a new "Features" menu every weekend.

The Maple Whiskey Doughnuts – doughnut holes glazed with maple whiskey and topped with cinnamon cream cheese and bacon – were a hit. I was too full for desert, but not so full I couldn't eat everyone else's. Dani exclaimed "Tim ate donuts off of everyone's plates!” to which Cary offered satire “He was saving us from all those evil calories. Isn't he so thoughtful?” Cary was prepared to defend his donuts, and he had April, just arrived from roller derby practice, to help back him up.

The Grove Pub and Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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