A few weeks back I got a text from Valeria telling me that she’d just had the best burger of her life, complete with picture text to ensure my jealousy. She was at Allen’s On The Danforth. A little research proved that many people shared her sentiment as their burgers are listed either highly or tops in Toronto. I love burgers so it was a no brainer I’d look into seeing what all the fuss was about. I was lucky enough to be joined by Casey, Sarah, Merwin, Lily, Marcel, and Jennie.
I was hoping for a shot at their patio but no dice. Merwin and I were early and took a seat at the bar. I must say the bar was impressive. They had a wide assortment of beers and microbrews. I ordered Allen’s Lager ($7) and it was relatively standard fare. Everyone arrived, Lily was left wondering if the boys poisoned her Cranberry Juice (boys will be boys) and we were off to the eating races.
Bruschetta – $8
The Bruschetta is made with chopped Plum Tomatoes and melted Goat Cheese. I’m not sure of the point of the mint to be honest. Casey ordered this but didn’t have much to say. It’s pretty hard to botch Bruschetta, just make sure the bread doesn’t get soggy. I’ve got to say they were very generous with their cheese.
Goat Cheese Dip – $9
For some reason this item isn’t listed on their online menu. I was pretty happy with this appetizer. The dip was warm and very thick. The bread was light and crispy. I would have liked more bread though as there was far too much dip for the amount of bread provided.
Sarah ordered this and said it was “OK”
Fish & Chips
Lily ordered this. We had a bit of a mystery on our hands. At first she wasn’t happy with the fish as she thought it tasted “too fishy.” She used Sarah as a Guinea Pig and she felt the same way. Turns out though that the fish was fine but the Tartar Sauce wasn’t up to snuff. “This tastes kind of rancid. Justin try this for me.” “Yeah… that’s what I want to do after your glowing endorsement.” Anyway, our server was NOT PLEASED at the fact someone had something negative to say about the food. “It was made today.” Yeah that’s great, how about getting Tartar Sauce that isn’t awful instead of firing back at your customer.
The burgers have a base price of $11 with standard lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle. Premium toppings have an additional price per item ranging from $1.50 to $3.00
Let’s run the burger gauntlet shall we?
The boys all got burgers and were thoroughly impressed. I elected for Goat Cheese (yes more Goat Cheese) and Peameal Bacon on my Burger ($15.75 after toppings). I took a pass on the veggies and asked for just a little mayo (which they forgot). The burger was very thick and amazingly juicy. I was worried seeing such a compact and thick patty that they’d dry it out ensuring it was cooked the whole way through but it turned out perfectly. The Goat Cheese and Peameal worked very well. The bun was just slightly buttered and toasted perfectly. I have no complaints about my burger whatsoever. While I don’t feel it’s the best burger I’ve ever had, I’d say it’s in the top 3 – 5. In terms of price, I thought it a bit much without any sides whatsoever. The least expensive side was essentially sweet potato fries off the appetizer menu. Between the burger and fries, you’re looking at $25. I suppose you get what you pay for but that’s a wallet stinger in my humble opinion.
I think it’s best to say I wouldn’t hit up Allen’s On The Danforth a second time. While the burger did live up to the hype, the experience itself left a lot to be desired. I’ll be up front in saying I HATE when a restaurant forces a gratuity on its patrons. It sent a very negative tone right off the hop. Our server was barely there all night and as mentioned before was hardly accomodating to a single complaint. It’s not a surprise when you’re ensured of your tip. While the burgers were great, the other dishes, appetizers included, were just OK.
You can get a comparable or better burger elsewhere at a better price point with better service. Take a pass on Allen’s On The Danforth.
Big thanks to Casey for some of the pictures taken in this post.