In my new city, as a way of measuring the two ends of the Hamburger spectrum, I thought Id start at the downtown trendy hotspot, and then return to try out my neighbourhood hole-in-the-wall. Then Id continue to refine as necessary. But my local burger joint beats the fancy places hands down, and I think my search is over.
I visit La Paryse, at the foot of my street, thanks to a tip from Chef Nick. Ive lived here for two months and walk by the storefront everyday and its so narrow and nondescript that I actually thought it was part of the next building.
The menu boasts that theyve been in business since December 19, 1990. Its a small, clean, quaint space where the smokers get the best street view and us non-smokers are herded to the back room with no windows and zero ambiance. The colour scheme is yellow/green/blue and is bright, but the ceilings are low enough to make you want to eat and leave. As well, you can overhear every conversation, and the very loud child sitting at the back puts his father (and the rest of us) on edge the entire meal.
The menu is really all about burgers, from tofu to the most expensive double cheese and bacon ($6.95). Salad or fries are additional. Theres a selection of items for smaller appetites (single burger, bacon & tomato sandwich, cheese & tomato sandwich).
At 7 pm on a Thursday night the place is jam-packed and all French speaking. Im seated at the last available table in the non-smoking section. Next time Ill ask for smoking why is it that we get the crappy section all the time?
On a positive note, every table is decked out with paper placemats, ketchup, and a cup of crayons. I notice couples drawing and perhaps the only one uninterested in the crayons is the squiggly child at the back whose father keeps making apologetic faces at me.
I have a regular cheese and bacon burger for about $6 and it is seriously great, though messy, and not first date material. It is large and tasty with bacon, grilled onions, chopped dill pickles, and grated mozzarella topped with a perfect red tomato slice, lettuce, mayo and Dijon mustard. Not only do I not have to ask for salt, but Im already scheming a way to get back here with Chef Nick to prove how fabulous it is. No ones going to believe me. Its such a plain space with a boring storefront that you would just walk by, as I had, if you didnt know any better.
Make sure you order fries, though, as the side salad is a terrible concoction of warm lettuce and shredded carrot that needs to be completely reworked. As well, in the back room, I was seated against a shared wall where, I swear, on the other side theres a clothes washer stuck on spin cycle or something equal in its mechanical vibration. It isnt really a detraction, just hilarious. Doesnt matter. The burger was great. It beats a Vancouver White Spot burger any day.
Next time Ill sit up front, inhale, and have the fries. reviewed byShelley MacDonald