Friday, August 21, 2015

Mon Ami Louis: 4.2/5

The Louis Burger

Score: 4.2

$12 (sides a-la-carte)

Update: New menu includes fries or salad for $15

It didn’t take long for WOW Hospitality to get Mon Ami Louis up and running after the unique Esplanade Riel bridge location became available in the spring of 2015. The view from the cantilevered plaza halfway between St Boniface and The Forks is quite stunning. Boats navigate the Red River under the side stayed, asymmetric suspension bridge beneath you, and the 69 m pylon rises through the skeletal roof structure above.

Our group was set up at one long table along the windows - with a little exit isle in the middle in case one of our number needed to escape to try out the million dollar facilities. We arrived shortly before the lunch rush, which meant our multiple servers had time to show us around the restaurant. Faye was very enthusiastic, and after seeing me Instagraming, told me all about SnapChat and filmed a short vignette of us grinning at her phone. Our principle server, Megan, did a great job getting us settled in and Brandy helped serve drinks.

They only have one burger on the menu – The Louis Burger. Megan described it as a straightforward burger that was “all about the meat”. Mon Ami Louis creates their own signature BBQ sauce - the dominant flavour on the burger. The secret to the great tasting fries - they’re cooked in duck fat.

Chef Luc Jean – winner of the Winnipeg 2014 Gold Medal Plates – described how they bake their own buns. The fresh roll got rave reviews from our group and put Mon Ami Louis on a short list of Winnipeg restaurants that bake bread in-house. All the more impressive with the limited space they have. To work in Chef Luc Jean’s kitchen, you need to know how to dance.

The bun was amazing, moist on the outside and crispy inside. Love toasted buns. The meat was very flavourful with the right amount of seasoning. I would have enjoyed more sauce though. The chippers were crispy-great and the goat cheese dip was creamy, warm and tasty.” – Mireille

The poutine was perfect! Cheese curds and homemade fries.” – April

The burger was excellent with a serious thick crust. Its flavour was top notch, juicy and lightly seasoned. Lettuce and tomato with BBQ sauce were great accompaniments, however the tomato was hard in the middle. Nicely presented with side salad topped with croutons and beets.” – Karen

Loved the bun. BBQ sauce made the burger. Was overpowering, but a good overpowering flavour. Beautiful view!” – Stephanie

The flavour of the burger shined through without the need for condiments. BBQ sauce was tasty yet not overpowering the flavour of the meat.“ – Tim P
Presents great for a fairly plain burger. Sauce all over the place.” – Russ

I did not get BBQ sauce on my burger so I might have missed out on the flavour.“ – Cary

Sitting on top of the Red River, looking down on the tour boats, imagining the winter skating trail. Opening mouth WIDE to take my first drooling bite, special BBQ sauce dribbles down my trembling fingers, the aromas of spicy burger and special bun dough wafting up my nose. All my senses crashing in on ... burger. Mmmm.” – Les

Mon Ami Louis Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Velvet Glove #BackdoorBurger: 4.4/5


Score: 4.4

Platter: $13 (Fries, drink and tax included)

Burger Club took to the streets to enjoy a fantastic Backdoor Burger from the Velvet Glove kitchen at the Fairmont Hotel. The box lunches were served from a side door, opening onto the courtyard adjacent to the Richardson Building. A different burger happens every Thursday between 11:30 am and 2:00 pm, but only until the beginning of September so get there soon! This week’s creation was the Caprese which came with fries and drink all-in for $13.

When Chef Palmer passionately described the burger earlier in the week, he started with the locally grown tomato from Harms Farm near Ste. Anne, MB. “The creation of the weekly burgers is a collaboration of all the cooks and chefs in the kitchen, we love what we do and love food.” The Velvet Glove is synonymous with fine dining and every layer of the stack embodied quality ingredients and a carefully designed flavour balance.

Buffalo mozzarella with a smear of basil and olive oil pesto topped the patty. The beef was nestled on a bed of arugula and a good spread of parmesan mayo.  The large short rib, prime rib, and chuck patty was flattened and well seasoned. Hand forming was evidenced by the fjords forming the coastline of this mass of meat. It was cooked through, juicy but not drippy with a soft texture. The grilled, shiny brioche roll from Gunn’s Bakery was an easy bite and the whole assembly held together to the end.

It was an extremely hot day, a humidex of 34 c when the seventeen of us ate, but the wide walled planters in the shade made for comfortable seating 80 metres away from iconic Portage and Main. The coated cardboard containers were good lap trays, and caught the drips from the mildly messy burger. Chef Palmer and Rachel had music playing next to the back-door table, but on this day, the calm of the normally quiet courtyard was disrupted by the soft-dig truck working beside us. I got a chuckle at the bowls of condiment packets lined up on the table – perhaps emulating hot-dog carts found around downtown Winnipeg – but I didn't see anyone spoiling their gourmet creation with the yellow or green.

In case you were wondering, the flavour packed buffalo mozzarella cheese really is made in Italy from Water Buffalo milk. The pungent arugula, or salad rocket - also sourced from Harms Farm - held its own amongst the flavours of the assembled stack. A little history on arugula: “Grown as an edible herb in the Mediterranean area since Roman times, it was mentioned by various classical authors as an aphrodisiac, most famously in a poem long ascribed to Virgil, “Moretum”, which contains the line: et veneris revocans eruca morantuem – “the rocket excites the sexual desire of drowsy people.” Some writers assert that for this reason during the Middle Ages it was forbidden to grow rocket in monasteries."

Burger Clubbers had a lot say about the VG #BackdoorBurger

Juicy burger that held together well when dining al fresco. Nice shady spot to enjoy eating outside. Fries were good too!” - Jessica

What a great combination: a haute cuisine kitchen with a burger shack front end. And really, burgers are best enjoyed outdoors.” - Stan

Fresh bun, juicy patty, perfectly ripe tomato - every aspect was very good. Each ingredient complimented the Italian flavour of the Caprese burger concept. Thick handmade patty and generous toppings and a moderate number of fries left me perfectly full.” - Greg

Awesome burger, aka meaty Caprese salad. A little messy, but incredibly held together considering how huge it was. The bun didn't fall apart - it wasn't dense, and not too squishy soft - it was just right. I like that it was served in a little box like a little present. It was worth the effort getting lost in Winnipeg Square. Wish they would open Portage and Main!” - Isabel

All the toppings were evident from the first bite to the last. The cheese was gooey hot and tasty, and the tomato was ripe and sized nicely to the burger. Overall, this is one of my favourite burgers to date. I would sit in traffic for this one.” - Karen

It was fast, and good. A combination that rarely occurs in the burger business.” - Brian
Once I unhinged my jaw to get the burger in my mouth, it was a non-stop burger bonanza.” - Maureen

This burger was a great deal! It had top-end ingredients, the quality of the meat was high and even though it was large, you wanted to make sure you ate the whole burger.” - April

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