StackHouse Burger Bar piles the toppings high
I've decided that from now on, every hamburger I put in my mouth should be topped with pancetta.
After passing by the StackHouse Burger Bar (1224 Granville Street) almost everyday since the restaurant opened in February, I finally gave into my cravings for a gourmet hamburger this past weekend. I met a friend at the restaurant on Saturday (July 9) night, and since we had both put in some exercise that day (me biking, her hiking), we felt like we truly deserved the full-fat masterpieces that we were about to sink our teeth into.
StackHouse Burger Bar isn’t a very big restaurant. A 10-seat bar along one wall, complete with DJ turntables and a full-length mirror at one end, provides the focal point to the room. The other side is filled with tables and chairs to accommodate larger groups. Near the back of the modern white and pine space is a semi-open kitchen, where the cooks create only two things: deluxe burgers and deep-fried sides to go with them.
After much consulting over the menu, I decided on the Stackhouse burger ($15), while my dining companion opted for the slightly simpler Pancetta burger ($14). All of the beef burger patties at StackHouse are 6.5-ounce local prime rib, except for the ultra-indulgent Kobe burger ($21), which is half-and-half wagyu and angus beef. For diners who don't want to eat beef, the long list of burgers includes chicken, lamb, ahi tuna, venison, veggie, and even Dungeness crab patties.
But back to my burger.
My plate, which included a choice of fries or a mesclun salad on the side—to which I chose the fries, obviously—arrived with the top half of the buttery brioche bun tipped to the side to expose the tower of toppings. Below the patty were the usual suspects: butter lettuce, tomato slice, and a sliver of onion. Also hidden beneath the meaty pile was the sauce—a savory chipotle aioli with a slight kick to it. Where the burger really shined was on top: gooey Guinness cheddar, a generous slice of crisp pancetta, and a grilled portabellini mushroom balancing in perfect harmony. After watching all of the patty's drippings run out of my dinner date's burger as she sunk her teeth in for a first bite, I thought it might be wise to cut my burger in half rather than attempting to clutch the entire shebang. This worked in my favour.
The burger was succulent and flavourful. The chipotle aioli added a fiery sweetness to the salty meaty mains, while the crisp lettuce and tomato provided just the right amount of crunch. The fries were thick, crisp, and fresh, and the entire meal was washed down with a light, thirst-quenching blonde ale.
I was happily surprised by my experience at StackHouse Burger Bar. It's probably one of the best decisions that a carnivore can make for less than $20 a pop. And next time I go, I'll be sure to save room for dessert—deep fried ice-cream.
You can follow Michelle da Silva on Twitter at twitter.com/michdas.