Thursday, July 31, 2008

Valentino's Cafe — 1002 Blanshard Street — 250-294-9366

Deluxe Burger
$7.75 (+$2.75 for Onion Rings)

Is Valentino's the only restaurant in Victoria with a banner advertising burgers? These banners are rather commonplace in the U.S., but extremely rare in Victoria. The lack of banners here says something about local burger culture: it's lacking.

The burger just doesn't hold the same place in day-to-day life that it does in the states, and therefore it's not as blatantly advertised here. I've never met a local that has ate at Valentino's, and I imagine their banner is an attempt to draw in burger addicts from south of the border.

You can usually count on a restaurant with a banner to satiate your base burger desires, but not necessarily exceed them: Valentino's certainly fills that profile.

Valentino's Deluxe Burger is crafted in familiar fashion: pre-fab patty, processed cheese, bacon, lettuce, red onion, dill pickle, tomato, and mayo. The bacon is crisp, and the veges are fresh, the pickle adding a particularly nice dose of flavour to this unit, but you can't win me over with dill pickle alone.

The cheese on this burger was barely melted, and is evident of one of the main problems with pre-fab patties: they cook too quickly. Pre-fab patties are relatively thin, and generally don't need as much grill time as a homemade patty. The decreased grill time means the cheese doesn't always have sufficient time to melt. This problem is even more evident at a place like McDonald's which is often just re-heating patties. In such a case you end up with cheese that is sweatier than my back after a ride to Colwood, but still far from melted.

Another grill-related problem this burger has is its bun. The bun on the burger at Valentino's manages to soak up an alarming array of grill flavours, to the point where the bottom half tastes like a cheap beef piroshki. You get used to the strange bun flavour after a couple bites, but it's always in the back of your mind.

Despite the sweaty cheese, and piroshki-esque bun, this burger isn't a total loss. The Valentino's Deluxe benefits greatly from crisp bacon and fresh dill pickle that contribute a nice duality of flavour to an otherwise pedestrian affair.

I'm confident Valentino's has the ability to make a quality homemade burger that would stand strong alongside their hand-cut onion rings, but sadly they haven't bothered.

VERDICT: Fills your burger craving, but doesn't leave you craving more.


Gaetano said...

looks like a nice little unit, but for 7.75, i bet i could do better. if it was like.... 2.50.. id be eating there everyday.
and im down for the hut. since it is the closest to victoria, and many people drive up ther from victoria just to hit it, pizza hut in duncan will be included in the victoria buffet circuit

Jordan Stout said...

'cheese that is sweatier than my back after a ride to Colwood'

genius, and accurate