Following the foreign tastes of recent food critiques, this week I was out on the hunt. As great as I could admit vegetarian food has been so far, I am as carnivorous as they come and longed for the magnificent simplicity of a great burger.
Cue Frat Burger, a joint across from Laurier that, although surrounded almost entirely by chains, is unique to the KW region. It's your typical bar reworked with an old school feel, with vintage movie posters and photos lining walls lit by funky industrial lamps. Not entirely suitable if you’re seeking Valentine's Day plans, unless, like me, you can be romanced by a piece of meat.
Speaking of which, unlike other venues, Frat Burger focuses more on the idea of building your own contraption, with special toppings costing extra and everything cooked to order. Different from The Works, who focus on providing exotic toppings and burger variations, Frat offers familiar tastes that also have the potential for an exciting remix (examples include aioli mayo and farm fresh fried eggs).
For this visit, I opted for the regular burger with typical lettuce and dill pickle, with not-so-typical sautéed mushrooms, onion rings, and jalapeno Monterey cheese, all topped off with frat sauce ("mayo hot-HOT sauce"). Accompanying this with an essential side of fries and a luxuriant chocolate strawberry milkshake, I was a happy camper.
However, this didn't last long. To my disappointment, service was slow. At least their milkshake was delicious. Neither too sweet nor too thick, it had just the right amount of chocolate-to-strawberry goodness which succeeded in preventing me from figuratively flipping some tables.
Finally, after 30 minutes, our burgers arrived at a normal size and with a swollen bounty of fries; however, as I picked the burger up, my heart sank. Our made-to-order dish was luke-warm at best, and unfortunately, by this time, I was too starved to protest.
However, what it lacked for in temperature, it made up in taste. The beef patty was well-done, full of simple seasonings that brought out the meat’s beautifully immense flavour.
Gobbled up quickly, the toppings were also, for the most part, splendidly done; the onion rings were crispy without that irritating pull-away onion string that’s oh-so-sexy, and the sautéed mushrooms were perfectly cooked without being too earthy.
However, the so-called jalapeno Monterey cheese fell flat, devoid of any actual flavour aside from the dairy, and the so-called "hot-HOT" frat sauce wasn’t particularly memorable. The hand-cut fries left a bit more to be desired, being a bit too soft and slightly under seasoned.
Frat Burger was a solid experience. You get what you pay for: a better burger, with a combo running you about $12 without tax, but this can build up pretty quickly if you order tons of toppings. Their burger truly has the potential to be a star, but with its inconsistent service and wait-times, Frat Burger still leaves a little bit left on its plate.