Delux Burger Bar is a prime example of the type of restaurant doing gangbusters right now – a perfectly executed “upscale casual” eatery that pairs a chic interior with a laid-back atmosphere. Why Delux wins my vote as one of the best in that ubiquitous class, however, has to do with their whimsical extras that go beyond smartly-attired wait staff, unidentifiable pulsating music and accessible dishes. Is Delux manufactured exactly to push the buttons of diners who have a secret penchant for kitsch? Of course, but the bottom line is, it works, or at least it does for me.
Mack and I had dinner there recently before a function at Jeffrey’s Cafe & Wine Bar (a nice place off the beaten path with an interesting selection of wine). We opted for an air-conditioned seat inside, sharing the space with those unwinding with a drink after work, a few families, and several groups of friends gathered for supper.
The menu, the requisite mix of share plates, burgers and other proteins encased in buns, offers nothing extraordinary, but enough variety to please all eaters. I went with the day’s special, called Out of the Wild, a bison burger topped with bacon, mushroom, lettuce and tomato basil havarti ($12). Mack decided to satisfy his hot dog craving with the Delux Dog ($8) with caramelized onions, double-smoked bacon and cheddar. We topped off our order with a Delux Duo of French and sweet potato fries ($6).
Our food arrived surprisingly quickly, though for a place that serves a fairly straightforward menu that was expected. What I didn’t expect was a truly messy burger to eat – it probably should have come with a bib of some sort. The Portobello mushrooms caused most of the grievance, unleashing their moisture content with no mercy. And while they lent some interesting texture to an otherwise standard burger, I found them a bit too meaty as a topping. Thankfully the rest of the burger – including a notably moist patty and a fresh bun – made the mess worthwhile.
Out of the Wild Burger
Mack enjoyed his hot dog (perhaps more so, because it was the more dainty of the two entrees), though he did relay that the idea of a bacon-topped hot dog wasn’t quite as well realized as he had hoped for.
The fries were really what we had been looking forward to, served a la “carts”. I had seen the mini shopping carts in a gift store in Germany years ago, and have been kicking myself for not picking up a few then – the serving vehicle gets me every time. As for the fries themselves, I loved the sweet potato crisps, especially paired with the tangy dipping mayo.
Delux Duo (a la cart!)
The complimentary meal-ending cotton candy is another fanciful touch that scores points with me, even if we never manage to finish the dome. A sticky throwback to childhood beats peppermint sweets every time.
Cotton Candy finish
Century Hospitality’s Chris Lachance indicated in May that a second Delux is in the works for November. I haven’t heard anything about it since then, but don’t be surprised if another Burger Bar pops up in the city. With their formulaic flair for whimsy, I have no doubt a second Delux would be also be a smashing success.
Delux Burger Bar
9682 142 Street