Quite some time ago now I was graciously invited by the proprietor of La Belle Patate to sashay on over and make a burger or two on his grill. I got distracted by going on vacation, and the plan got put on the back burner. Then a few weeks ago I popped in for lunch, and was immediately told to get behind the counter and have some fun.
My only previous experience on a restaurant grill was approximately ten years ago when I enjoyed a brief stint with A&W. Thus I was a little out of my element, and very worried about getting in the way.
I decided I'd try my hand at making a smashburger/slider of sorts. Step one: place some onions on the grill. Step two: smash a ball of meat into the onions. Finally wait a few minutes and assemble the remaining parts. In my haste to get off the grill quickly and out of the way, I completely forgot to pepper the patty, or sprinkle some salt on the patty while it was grilling. This oversight was compensated for slightly by adding Belle Sauce and mayo. I have described Belle Sauce quite poorly here in the past, so let me take another stab at it.
Nathieu listed the ingredients to me in rapid fire (running through all the ingredients in about two seconds) and I think I remember about four elements: French Dressing, Catalina Dressing, garlic, chilis. The sauce works magnificently when packaged with bacon, mushrooms, and great globs of grease in the infamous La Belle Burger.
Rubbing Belle Sauce into my second burger.
The first burger was good, but I knew I could do a little better. For my second attempt, as per the suggestion of grill-cook Oliver, I rubbed some Belle Sauce into the uncooked patty. I then used a similar smash technique, but this time using diced onions instead of sliced. The slightly sweeter diced onions where definitely a better match.
Grillin' like a villain.
Next time you order a burger at La Belle, I highly recommend you try and convince them to steam your bun instead of toast it. Nathieu threw the bun for my second burger in the steamer, and the result was a pillowy soft housing unit that was just 100% comfort.
After going with a Belle Sauce/mayo blend again in the second burger, I can safely say I would probably have ended up with a more pleasing burger if I used mustard instead of Belle Sauce as a core condiment. Belle Sauce is an absolute triumph when coupled with bacon, but doesn't reach its full potential without it. Nonetheless, this was still an incredibly juicy, pleasant burger.
I did alright here, but Nathieu, Oliver, and the rest of the staff are pros, and easily do a better job with the tools in their kitchen than I do. The La Belle Burger might be nothing out of the ordinary, but it remains one of my favourite burgers to eat in town. I'd like to thank Nathieu and the rest of the staff at La Belle Patate for giving me the opportunity to experiment at one my favourite eateries, and I hope to do so again.
FYI: Oliver of La Belle Patate recommends Blue Fox's lunch burger.