Okay, yet ANOTHER burger joint has opened in this city…
I don’t really GET IT. I mean, I’m down with burgers. But really? Let’s count all the new burger joints that have opened in the past year: Cheese Curds, Ace Burger, Flip Burger, Relish, and now, The Works Burger.
I mean, I like burgers as much as the next gal, but it really seems like the burger has taken Halifax by storm. And people can’t seem to get enough of them…
The Works Gourmet Burger Bistro is the latest burger joint that’s opened up as part of this carnivorous craze. Located on Doyle Street in downtown Halifax, the Works is actually the newest branch of a successful franchise, which has 17 other restaurants in Ontario.
While I kind of dislike the injection of the term “gourmet” and “bistro” into the title (it seems a bit pretentious), I AM a huge fan of the opening day promotion they held, offering free burgers to patrons in exchange for donations to Feed Nova Scotia. Definitely NOT pretentious. What a fabulous way to give back to the community you’re setting up shop in.
I wasn’t able to make it out for opening day (I was working), but I did manage to visit the new burger hotspot the following week.
Unlike Cheese Curds, where you queue up and order cafeteria style, Works offers table service, so you can sit back and chat while you wait to place your order and for your food to arrive… which I prefer to standing around and waiting for my order on the line.
The decor is eclectic and honestly, a bit weird, with toys and objects embedded in brickwork. But I love the booths and the mural of the Citadel clocktower on one wall..
I stuck with water (which arrived in a measuring cup, to ensure that I was receiving precisely 2 cups of hydration along with my meal, I guess), and Kevin ordered a Cracked Canoe light lager.
The menu is pretty overwhelming, offering enough options to make your head spin. First, you have to pick your patty (beef, veggie, chicken, turkey, portobello mushroom, or elk). Then, the hard part: the toppings. Offering everything from the Plain Jane (lettuce, burger, bun, period!) to the Dynamic Downtown (grilled eggplant, avocado, salsa and feta), I think it’s safe to say that, if you can’t find an option that appeals to your tastebuds, you’re just being ridiculously picky. After you’ve agonized over your topping choices, slap a bun on that motha (white, whole wheat or gluten-free), select a side dish, and get ready to dig in!
Trying to be moderately healthy, I ordered the chicken breast patty a la “Crappy Tire” (topped with grilled pineapple ring, sweet & spicy sauce & brie cheese, $12.32), served on a whole wheat bun. I also tried to order the “Leafing on a Jet Plane” green salad as my side, but they were out… Seeing as the only other moderately healthy side was cucumber (seriously, plain ol’ cucumber?!), I guiltily settled on sweet potato fries.
Kevin picked the beef patty with a Top 10 Burgerhead fave topping option combo: “Smokey Mountain” (smokey BBQ sauce, Jack cheese & bacon strips, $13.34), with a side of sweet potato fries.
I really enjoyed my burger: the sweet, grilled pineapple played nicely with the sweet and spicy sauce and creamy brie, and my chicken breast was juicy and not overcooked. My only complaint was the whole wheat bun: it was slightly dry. And I’m not just saying that because it was whole wheat — whole wheat buns don’t need to turn to dust in your mouth…
I managed to steal a bite of Kev’s burger and swooned when I tasted the beefy morsel coated in smokey BBQ sauce: I shouldn’t have tried to pick a healthy option at a burger joint. Shame on me! And seriously, how did I not order their tower of onion rings and a 2001 Shake Odyssey (rich caramel, creamy peanut butter & Oreo cookie crumbs) milkshake? *sigh*
The sweet potato fries were nice and crispy, but sadly, pretty cold by the time they arrived at our table. To be fair, we visited pretty soon after this spot opened, so I’m sure they’ve worked out some of the kinks by now. I’ll definitely return for a round II!
Speaking of burgers … a good friend/fellow food lover recently suggested that I embark on a burger odyssey, sampling the best of the “new” burger joints in town and offering my humble opinion up along the way. Now, he actually suggested this adventure mere days before The Coast unveiled their first-ever BURGER WEEK, which runs from March 21 to 27. Prescient, perhaps?! I don’t know… but the fates seem to be conspiring, so I say, “challenge accepted!”
Since I don’t really relish the idea of clogging my arteries *entirely* by trying to slog through The Coast’s impressive list of 21 participating restaurants in seven days (I think that would entail eating burgers for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a solid week), I’ve set a more realistic goal: I plan to visit the five “new guys” in town, who are expressly burger joints (Ace Burger Co., Relish, Cheese Curds, Flip Burger, and The Works), dig in and dish on which I think reigns supreme!
Stay tuned for the results… And, if anyone has suggestions for criteria I should use to rate my meals (i.e. quality of buns, selection of sides), please don’t hesitate to send ‘em my way!