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Stockyards

Holy Chuck Burgers Opens

I carried a mixture of high hopes and skepticism on the short walk down the west side of Yonge Street from St. Clair. On a tip from @momwhoruns I was going last night to check a new burger place that allegedly could rival the best in the city.

Holy Chuck Burgers has been slotted into the space that Retro Burger occupied for a short period. The irreverent logo and the delicious aroma of griddled, high-quality beef is a sure sign that the new owners are doing things entirely differently.

Update: I took a bunch of friends back for a second shot at Holy Chuck Burgers. I’ve added some more photos and the one of the menu is now clickable for a larger version.

(Double) Cheeseburger with pickles and mayo; hand-cut fries

(Double) Cheeseburger with pickles and mayo; hand-cut fries

I tried the cheeseburger ($7.99, $14 and change as a combo with fries and a water, all in) that is two American-cheese covered patties (cooked to order), between a barely-toasted, note-perfect, squishy Wonder Bread style bun. For a first taste I did my usual charitable thing and ordered it with pickles and a bit of mayo.  (more…)

Review: The Stockyards Smokehouse and Larder

Last August I posted a review of The Stockyards burger but for some reason I always seem to overlook The Stockyards when thinking of a place to eat.  Maybe Corey Mintz was right that St. Clair, just west of Christie, is too difficult to get too.  Luckily, I’ve been in the neighbourhood in the past few months and have gone back to sample more of the menu.

The Stockyards' fried chicken and fries

This fried chicken ($13.50) is easily the best I have ever tasted.  Fried chicken has two contrasting components a crispy, sometimes even crunchy crust that needs to be seasoned with a perfect touch and the chicken. A careful balance of timing needs to be struck between the two because not enough time in the deep fryer results in a flabby, doughy crust and too long makes for overcooked chicken.  At the Stockyards they have found the sweet spot that produces the perfect crust and chicken with just a hint of pink and a seemingly inexhaustible juiciness.  The portion size is so generous that if it weren’t so good–or if I had more self-control–it could easily make two meals.

Tower of excellent onion rings

I touched on the fries in my earlier post.  I have found on the two visits when I had fries that they were over-seasoned.  On nights when the demand for fries is slow I’m sure they’d be happy to mix a lightly-seasoned batch.  This advice applies particularly if you’re going to use your fries for their most godly purpose: to catch the already-seasoned drippings from an order of fried chicken.  The other side I have tried, the tower of onion rings ($5), reveals another spot-on use of deep fryer voodoo.  The batter is a crsipy and flaky combination and the onions are cooked well enough that don’t slither free from the crust on the first bite.

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Review: The Stockyards Burger

Reviewers can’t seem to say enough good things about The Stockyards Smokehouse and Larder; The Star puts it at 3.5 out of 4 stars; NOW Magazine goes all the way to a perfect five “n”s; and Eye Weekly agreed (a couple weeks later) with a five-star review.  So much attention has been paid (deservedly, I’m sure) to the porchetta sandwich, the pulled pork, the pastrami, and the ribs that I thought I would focus on a less noticed corner of the menu: the burger.  I have eaten a lot of burgers in Toronto (some quite bad) and I think I know a thing or two about them.  With this plan in mind I took myself last week to the Stockyards for a lone burger.

Burger and fries; next time Ill move the bun for a better view

Burger and fries; next time I'll move the bun for a better view

Foodies (and food snobs) should prepare themselves for a swift turning up of the nose but please bear with me.  The closest comparison–especially in terms of general characteristics–to this burger and fries duo is the McDonalds Big Mac.  Shocking, I know.  What I mean is that the bun is sesame seed, the patty is relatively thin and (I’m pretty sure) cooked on a flat-top griddle, and the fries are one step on the thinness scale from shoe string. (more…)