Sloppy, drippy, salty, meaty, fruity, earthy and cheesy: Chris Nuttall-Smith takes on M:brgr’s $100 burger
I ate two Kobe beef patties for lunch yesterday, plus a couple slices of bacon, a wedge of foie gras, an ounce of gloopy brie, a slick of fig jam, a stack of really fabulous grilled pear slices, four asparagus spears, piave del vecchio cheese, garlic-roasted ham (effing delish), porcini mushrooms (I’m thinking they weren’t porcini, but that’s what the menu said), three white bread buns, an olive, and a side each of black truffle slices and honey truffle aïoli. All this cost me $100, plus tax and tip, and the burger—yes, it was a burger—was so tall that it took several tries and a near-miss nasal-labial injury to get an honest bite of the thing into my mouth.
The sandwich is the menu highlight at M:brgr Brgr Bar, the vowel-challenged Montreal-based outfit that opened its first Toronto store, at King and Spadina, two weeks ago. The “$100 brgr,” as it’s called, is the most expensive sandwich in the city. It’s one of the priciest single restaurant menu items in town.
Our waiter doesn’t believe my order at first. I ask for the $100 M:brgr, then he takes my friend’s order, and then the waiter asks me, again, what I’ll have. “The $100 M:brgr,” I tell him.
“Oh, I thought you were joking,” he says.
For a good 20 seconds after my burger arrives I just admire the thing: its height (a good eight inches), its smell (bacony sweetness, melting cheese, black truffles, honey), the way the drippings have begun to saturate the bottom bun—whereupon the manager appears, to ask if he can put it on a bigger plate. He walks my lunch into the kitchen and doesn’t return for three or four minutes. Now the burger is surrounded by fries (they’re OK, but totally unnecessary) and salad. If it were my restaurant, I’d want to serve my $100 burger hot, instead of lukewarm, which is what it is when the manager brings it back.
The burger part is resolutely average, the meat brownish grey and over-compressed and chewy. It doesn’t even approach the fresh-ground, hand-formed, cooked-to-medium greatness of Bymark’s $35 burger, or the $12 ones at The Burger’s Priest. I’ll take M:brgr’s word for it that the patties are Kobe beef. They taste like factory-formed beef patties. They’re juicy, but not epically so, and beefy, but only a bit.
But those pears, combined with the garlic-roasted ham, combined with the brie and the bacon and the fig jam, and the piave del vecchio slivers, which are as translucent as backlit onyx, and the mushrooms and the foie gras, which I’m trusting was there but I didn’t notice, are a sloppy, drippy, salty, meaty, fruity, earthy, cheesy, beautiful thing. Not $100 beautiful. Maybe $30 beautiful. They’d be aces on a $30 sandwich, without the beef.
But as I eat, I realize that the $100 M:brgr isn’t really about the burger or the toppings. It’s about the $100. It’s about the manager personally fiddling with the dish after it arrives, and the waiter looking at you like you must be a serious big shot, and the date who admiringly calls it “a fuck-you burger,” and the wicked-hot hostess who you’d swear smiles at you more brightly because you’re the guy who just spent $100 on a single dish on a dreary Monday at lunch. By any of those standards, it’s outstanding.
“Make sure to recommend that $100 burger to all your pals,” our waiter says after I pay the tab. “Sure,” I answer, then I head home to sleep it off.
15 thoughts on “Sloppy, drippy, salty, meaty, fruity, earthy and cheesy: Chris Nuttall-Smith takes on M:brgr’s $100 burger”
Any photos of the beast, Chris?
Didn’t take one. Regretting it now!
The only problem with burgers like this is it spreads around town and now we have bowling alleys charging eighteen-dollars for a grilled cheese sandwich. Maybe that look the waiter gave wasn’t actually saying he thought you were a big shot….at least it makes for a beautiful piece.
But you know what I love: that you’re willing to mention better alternatives in the review. I’m fine with an amazing $100 burger. I may never eat it, but I’m fine with it. Even better is when someone points out better alternatives that are cheaper.
For a hundred bucks, I am wondering whether quantity
or quality is the issue here. Flavour-wise, your description suggests that there is too much going on.
Then there is edibility factor; messy.
If the price tag to impress your date is the deal, why not cut to the chase and call it “The Short-Fingered Vulgarian Burger?”
That excludes you, of course, as you can write it off as a
legitimate business expense!
No wonder subscriptions are down at Toronto Life – $100 burger is stupid why write about in the times we are in… this is a stupid idea even if it M brgr did it for publicity. I am marketing executive that works in the area and I go to more humble places like BQM diner where I get a naturally raised beef burger form small ontario farms where I spend $7 for a burger. If you are executive and you think you can walk in and order this burger when you told your staff they would be not getting raises… plain stupid!!!
Does TL really have to use the F word? Holy cow.
Now I know for sure that we have gone completely mad. $100, for any main course, is mildly obscene, but for a burger????????
When polies (Harper, Ford) provide the circuses, and restaurateurs the bread, civilisation as we know it is doomed.
And why is anybody, never mind TL, giving paper/screen real estate to this foolishness? if there’s a God, would s/he please help us?
Yours, in despair.
Mmmm Burger’s Priest! Now that’s a burger….. Oh and 1/10th the price!!!
I will be paying M:brgr a visit, but will not be paying $100.00 for a burger that it so junked up with “stuff” that Chris is right; remove the patties and maybe you”re better off with just a fancy sandwich. This burger is stupid, nuff said.
I had the Slider Threesome & it was great [the burgers I mean]! They’ve got good burgers but maybe just slightly more expensive than the neighbourhood. Not sure if it’ll last though [hope they do] because it’s a huge place & there’s a lot of competition in the area.
For 100 bucks…I’d rather have Mary!
Hmm a $100 bucks buys many really good burgers elsewhere!
Two piles of fries? Why? Mix them up and go for less.
I would expect creative side dishes,anextremely nice salad would be a nicer contrast or something that would wow- beyond the norm-fries…frittes- even nicer!
$50 bucks- call it a “Fiver” or a “Fin” and make it a cool retro chic thing. Make the $100- a “Two For”,there seems to be enough for two!
went to M: Burger shortly after it opened. Was completely unimpressed..
Even Hero burger is better than that place.
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