Dangerous Dans Diner…….A Dangerous Burger, served with a heaping side of ATTITUDE.
7 May 2012
After a lovely Sunday afternoon hanging out with friends and family in Lesliville, some afternoon suds, and great conversation – early evening hunger set upon us. Combined with the “end of the weekend” blues and laziness we decided to check out a diner just down the road which apparently serves one hell of a burger. The joint is called Dangerous Dans Diner.
Ill try and keep this short in the spirit of not posting every detail about everything I eat in the city…..but this place deserves a few points to mention.
First, it is a basic diner, set on the corner with views of the street through the large glass windows, and lit up by traditional fluorescent lighting. The menu was quite extensive but certainly focused on various burgers ranging from the traditional ½ pound cheeseburger all the way through the “Colossal Colon Clogger Combo” at $25.
Note: the “CCCC” is a 24oz burger (1 ½ lbs) topped with 2 eggs, ¼ lb of bacon, ¼ lb of cheese, served with a small poutine and a large shake. I asked the manager how many people actually eat the CCCC and he replied that they probably sell 25-30 a week. WOW, glutten.
Immediately upon entering the diner you could smell the grill, hear the music and chattering, see that the seating was slightly different than we are used to……and notice a touch of attitude from the manager, cashier, cook, and dishwasher. For those of you not familiar with traditional diners and “how they should be”………..a certain amount of attitude, cockiness, no care if youre there shtick, is appropriate and expected. They treat you as if youre the one lucky to be there….that WE need them (to eat) more than THEY need us (the customer to pay the bills). This however is no reflection of the food or speed or efficiency of service, simply how the staff interact with the guests. After finishing your meal it wouldn’t be out of place for the waiter to say something to you like, “hey you done?”…………ah ya…………”well if so why don’t you free up these seats and get the hell out of here.” . This might sound offensive to some but it is the essence of a proper old school diner, and just one small example of this attitude.
None the less. Dangerous Dans Diner is this type of place, and interestingly enough the seating in the restaurant is comprised of seats from cars and vans. Neat concept. Not sure if it adds to anything or takes away….but it is what it is, and when you go there you sit in a retro fitted car seat around the tables of four. We all ordered the traditional cheeseburger and decided to split a large order of poutine to see if in fact it was good old traditional poutine or simply fries, gravy, and shredded cheese.
Everything was served quickly and in the astonishingly large portions we were expecting – becoming even more impressive when the plates are right in front of you.
Burgers were awesome all around. I though the bun could have used a bit more work but all in all, what a good burger! Poutine was decent as well. Good Ontario cheese curds but certainly not those rubber squeaky curds you get in La Belle Province. Well, we tried.
We finished our meal and on our way out of the diner, I had this exchange with the cook.
Me: “Hey man, good burger.”
Cook: Walking by, looking away, in a snarky voice says “Ya……. you don’t think we know that?”
Prices: ½ lb Cheese Burger – $ 5.55. Large Poutine $ 7.25. Pitcher of draught $14.00
Location: 714 Queen St East, Toronto, On 416 463-7310
It is never interesting to watch people eat, but here is a quick video of us at the table with food in front of us. The really cool thing about the recording is: THE MUSIC PLAYING IN THE BACKGROUND. To hear a sample of that alone, is worth clicking on the video if only for a few seconds. Hilarious.
Damn Good Burger – Royal Meats Barbeque
25 April 12
Finding myself tailing along with a buddy on a business appointment just outside of Toronto, we were delayed in the timing of his meeting so we decided to go for a quick bite to eat. The sales rep we were waiting to see suggested that there was a “great spot for burgers – if you like burgers – right around the corner.”
Now I am a burger guy and this comment peaked my interest with the usual cynicism I hold when it comes to peoples evaluation of what a good burger is, what good wings are, what good street meat is (Diamond cut required) or who serves a good deli sandwich. These four items Ive searched far and wide for – and when possible, indulged, eaten, and evaluated. For years I’ve been complaining that no one could make a decent burger on Utila for example. Some people there blame it on the beef, some on the lack of fresh baked buns and others simply don’t care about this stuff and would look at me like “why does this guy talk and care about a freaking burger so much?”.
Recently when in was in Israel I went through the same process with friends there of whom most claimed to know of a decent burger spot in Tel Aviv or somewhere else. I digress, I was so enamoured with the high quality shawarma in Israel that I didn’t give even one burger the chance at my criticism, while I was visiting. I looked but didn’t take. At a cost of 12-15usd for a minced beef sandwich (with probably a crappy bun – although I don’t know why Im saying that), the thought of an Israeli burger just wasn’t doing it for me…….that ……. and the shawarmas were just that good.
On with the show here and back to this afternoon.
My buddy Hitch and I stepped inside a very tidy and simple restaurant with big glass windows and lots of light. Immediately I sensed that we might be in for a bit of a treat. At Royal Meats Barbeque, you select from the deli counter the meat you wish to be cooked. They favour burgers there (in two sizes, ½ pound and full pound) and they are well on display beside a few other items such as sausage and chicken fillets, which are also on the menu. After placing the order, you have a seat and wait a short time while the fresh made patty is grilled in the open kitchen with your eyes and nose as witness.
Once ready, they call you back up to the counter to garnish the fine looking specimen of beef. There are the traditional toppings – lettuce, tomato, full size deli pickles, and condiments. Further, they only provide Heinz Ketchup – there is only one kind (as WE know) and anything different would be sac religious on a burger (or anything else requiring ketchup) – check mark for that.
Also offered, was a special house dressing which looked decent, but I didn’t want to crowd the senses in the overall evaluation. This would be similar to being served a draught beer in a frosted mug – that is, youll never know if the beer has gone sour because of the coldness of the glass – always room temp mug for the first beer to verify a good brew, FYI. Royal Meats also offered another special “spread” we’ll call it. I believe the worker said it was a mixture of cream cheese and mayo. I usually add mayo to my burger so I reasoned this wouldn’t be too far off the path not to give it a go. They spread it on the underside of the top bun, looked good. Was a decent replacement for cheese.
Speaking of bun. This is where everything about a burger can fall apart – literally and figuratively. You can have a decent burger….heck you can even have a great burger…..but if the bun isint up to speed the whole thing can fall apart and go right downhill. This burger bun was big enough to cover the patty and was toasted as well – which made me a bit nervous. That is, with over toasting and a large portion to shove down the trough, a badly toasted bun can become hard and tends to cut/chafe the top of your mouth. Not a great description but a situation we can all understand. Well…….. this bun was perfect. A mix between toasting and steaming on a fresh baked bun that had the consistency and look of a ciabatta and Kaiser roll mix.
When leaving I inquired to the manager about the burger and he told me they were made fresh daily at their Royal Meats Butcher shop that has been in business for the past fifteen years. Also, they only use salt, pepper, chillis and onion in the patty……simple but good. Fresh and fast. Price was decent at $7.50 for the half pound and $9.50 for the full pound………youre going to pay a bit more for drink and fries if you even have the room.
And there it is……..a very decent burger at a relatively new joint.
Royal Meats Barbeque
710 Kipling Ave, Etobicoke, On M8Z 5G5
This post is dedicated to Dor, Arbel, Stass, Niv, Nir, and others.