About the joint
At one end of what used to be a strip of exclusively Greek restaurants in Toronto, is a New York-Irish Gastropub called Allen's. It's a gorgeous archetype of a dimly lit pub - the dark wood bar ushers you past the reception podium and into a smallish dining room positively rammed full of happy eaters. If it's a nice day you might go through to the rear patio, one of Toronto's best, according to BlogTO, and enjoy the shade of the enormous weeping willow there, voted, believe it or not, the best tree in Toronto by NOW magazine.
The staff are knowledgeable and swift, and the food is fantastic. The menu posted on their website states very modestly that they serve what are often considered to be Toronto's best burgers (have you noticed yet how many times the word "best" has come up?). Their printed menu says much more about their burgers, telling the story of each patty from farm to plate. From the purchase of a whole steer each month, the restaurant controls the whole butchering, storage and preparation process. Making for some of the best burgers you'll ever taste.
by benjamin on April 10th, 2012
Oh Allens. The place where the Burger Derby was born. Home of, what they claim, are the best burgers in Toronto. Well... they're certainly one to beat. And the goat cheese? What a delicious burger. I'm starting to like the combination of beef and goat cheese more and more. Cheddar is great, but there's something about the tang of goat cheese that just sits so well alongside beef. One hallmark of Allen's is that they cook to order. Having a burger cooked to order (medium rare in this case) really makes a world of difference. Of course, having that option depends on the quality and preparation of the meat.
Allen's maintains close control over the entire butchering and grinding process, allowing them to offer burgers of any doneness (even bleu). Burgs from Allen's are the kind that, upon your first bite, make you involuntarily close your eyes, throw back your head, and let out a gurgling, guttural "Oh my gawwwwd." They are, quite simply, some of the most delectable burgs one could ever hope to find, in any town.
I added bacon to mine, and of course, held the veggies. One thing that is worth mentioning is the distinct "flavour" of the burger. Because of the small farm in Lemmington where the beef comes from, and because the cows are organically raised and grass-fed, there is a distinct flavour to the meat. I call it "the real taste of beef." So much of the antibiotic-laden, grain-fed, pink slime is garbage... but it's garbage we are used to. Eating a burg that is made of truly pure beef for the first time can be a confusing experience! Beef of this quality might not be to everyone's taste, but of course, we are all entitled to have bad taste. I wouldn't tell someone who thoroughly enjoys the taste of Kraft Singles that they are wrong to enjoy them; they just have bad taste. However, if they claimed said Singles were the farest cheese in all the land, and that a Reserve Gruyere was "not that great" they would be, well, tragically, categorically, objectively wrong. Such is the case for anyone who would claim that Allen's is anything other than what it is: exquisite.
Allen's might not be your favourite burg; to be fair, it's not mine. But anyone who dismisses this burg as being less than stellar should be ignored in all matters related to food; who knows what other gross miscalculations they may be capable of.