$14 for 3
$14 for 3
The old Douglas Hotel was a place where memories were born. For many it was venue in which they witnessed a shanking for the first time. For me, it was the first place in which a lonely, toothless man from Newfoundland ever asked me if I would come back to his room for a couple hundred bucks. Alas, the "Dougie" has now been transformed into a boutique hotel—complete with tres chic tapas style dining lounge—and the only option for those looking to take in a good knife fight nowadays is to head on down to Tillicum Mall and wait about five minutes. So is the switch to the Rialto a trade-up situation, or are we looking at Tuuka Rask/Andrew Raycroft level downgrade?
I never ate anything other than roasted nuts from a machine at the old Dougie, but I can guarantee the food at Veneto is about a thousand times better than what was offered by its predecessor. Each Veneto slider is made with AAA Canadian (likely Alberta bred) Strip Loin which is chopped in house to make the burger patties. There is a slight peppery kick to these wonderfully textured little morsels, all of which which are housed by an untoasted bun from a local (factory I think) bakery called Mary's.
Your three topping choices at Veneto are: grilled jumbo prawn and ancho hollandaise; pancetta, smoked applewood cheddar, and onion straws; and portabella mushroom ragout with brie. Each topping mixture offers quite a strong flavour melange which does play a bit of a tug-of-war with the little chopped-meat patties. Although the balance in each of these units isn't exactly perfect—the flavour is pretty damn good.
The pancetta in particular brings to mind the flavour of a salty bead of sweat liberated by lip-lock from the nape of a young woman's neck. The other options are pleasant too, but the pancetta, applewood, onion strings mix is by far the best: applewood is a commonly used burger cheese for a good reason, and the onion straws are delightfully light and airy. The ancho hollandaise on the jumbo prawn option is pretty mild chili-wise, but still "slides" (HA) in at a very respectable second place. The mushroom ragout, however, is a rather overpowering topping mix which prevents the slider from being a true triumph. On the whole though, any one of these burgers blown up to regular size could quite easily compete with some of the better burgers in Victoria: definitely a great addition to the city's ever-growing burger landscape.
VERDICT: Looking for a late-night burger fix? You won't find many better options than this.