Saturday, September 20, 2008

Floyd's Diner 2 — 2915 Douglas Street — 250-382-5111 —

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is an expansion of a review that is featured in this week's Nexus Newspaper. Pick up a copy at your newstand for a comparison of this burger to the fare at Camosun College's Lansdowne Campus.

First Kiss Burger

Floyd's has possibly the most notoriously shitty service in Victoria. Lucky for Floyd's, however, they are also the most recommended breakfast joint in town. Buoyed by its Eggs Benedict, Floyd's has somehow managed to turn itself into a mini-franchise. Earlier this year a second restaurant was opened inside the Super 8 Hotel building on Douglas. Funnily enough the last eatery I remember in this location was also a faux-diner trying to cash in on nostalgia loving noshers. They appear to have failed miserably, but given its reputation, Floyd's might have a chance here. I'm not concerned about how viable a business venture this franchise is though — I'm much more interested in the burger.

Floyd's is much too democratic with its condiment selection. There is no way you should be giving chipotle mayo AND barbeque sauce equal billing on a burger. In fact nine times out of ten, you shouldn't even keep barbeque sauce in the same room as your patties. All BBQ sauce ever manages to do is destroy any semblance of flavour hierarchy within your burger unit. Despite my distaste for BBQ sauce, I can understand that sometimes a restaurant will try to be different by using it instead of traditional condiments. I can understand the need to be different, but using special mayo AND barbeque sauce AND mustard on the same burger is total fucking lunacy. It's akin to wearing jeans and a skirt at the same time: it doesn't make you unique, it just makes you look stupid.

In spite of the condiment blunder, the First Kiss Burger manages to be fairly decent. The patty is slightly crispy on the outside, with a supple, juicy centre: it's a hearty bugger with a considerable meatloafy flavour. As for the other essentials — the bacon is good (but could be crispier), the cheese is fine, and the whole-wheat kaiser is surprisingly squishy. I actually can't remember the last time I had a whole-wheat bun that was this squishy.

Despite the vexing nature of its condiments, the First Kiss Burger ain't all that bad. It's definitely reminiscent of Fifth Street Bar and Grill's over-hyped buffalo burger, but something makes this burger more enjoyable. Maybe it's the fact that it's served by a waitress who isn't afraid to tell you she's late taking your order because she was in the kitchen hiding from unhappy customers: there's a certain air of authenticity this burger gains from being brought to the table by a self-deprecating diner waitress. It doesn't change the fact the burger is faux-diner fare, but it sure doesn't hurt.


I remember a day, four or so years ago, when I went to Floyd’s and it took more than an hour and a half for my food to arrive. The service was not very good, probably because the servers were inexperienced and overwhelmed at the amount of costumers coming through the door, but I’m still not really sure why the food took so long to arrive. I’m also not really sure why Floyd’s is so revered in Victoria. I’ve had better breakfasts at ma ‘n’ pa restaurants in rural Ontario; with better service and MUCH better atmosphere. But, I guess that’s what you get for living in Victoria. Every time some young restaurant entrepreneur opens up their own business in Victoria, they tell all their friends to tell their friends, and then some sort of unexplainable allegiance is created. But that’s not to say Floyd’s has not earned their accolades, and it’s not to say Floyd’s owner is under the age of 35. But I do feel there is some sort of yuppie-love mentality attributed to the success of this establishment. I mean the food is not horrible. The menu is fairly original, and the fare tastes better than your ordinary Brannigans experience. But I wouldn’t be shelling out awards in the direction of Floyd’s. It may be one of the best places to eat breakfast in Victoria, but that is not saying much.

The First Kiss burger is good. If I were from, lets say Regina, and I was on a cross-country tour with my family, I wouldn’t be upset with it. Hell, it does the job. You got yourself a whole-wheat bun that is soft and chewy combined with a very interesting and flavorful homemade patty. The BBQ sauce kind of overpowers the taste of everything, but the patty is thick enough that you can still taste the beef. A little more cheese on it would have been better, but nobody’s perfect, especially after watching Hamburger America. I still prefer simpler and greasier burgers compared to the one Floyd’s are serving, but the burger does have an original flavor and the patty is not dry at all. If you’re patty isn’t dry, you’re already ahead of the game.

VERDICT: Floyd's makes a half-decent burger that would be fully decent if not for counter-intuitive condiment practices.

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