Monday, April 30, 2012


The amount of burgers on this blog are getting a liiiitttle ridiculous. 

But here's another one and it's one of the best to have ever graced this URL domain.

I was home alone cursing my life studying one Thursday night a few weeks ago when I got a message from Gabbs, who was my arch nemesis at the time because she had just written the MCAT and was doing something fun and cool every day/night while I still toiled away at my books. 

"Oh my god, I'm at Marben and just ate one of the best burgers I think I've ever had in my life. The second that Dev took a bite he let out such a loud 'holy shit' that everyone in the restaurant turned around and stared. That good."

I read the message twice to be sure I was clear. Someone screamed on account of this burger? 

I immediately made myself a reservation for two the following week. 

Marben's got a great vibe. Cozy, rustic and warm with aged wood and brick panelling the ceiling, walls and floor, it feels like you've stepped into someone's gorgeous, bustling, candle-lit cabin. 

(photo from their site.)

Ignoring our server's suggestion that we order a bunch of share plates (we had one item on our minds and one item only) and undoubtedly making ourselves look like the most uncool newbies, the bf and I started with carpaccio with arugula, crispy capers, lemon, olive oil, fresh parmesan and toasted pine nuts. 

Not too sure why as we had so much red meat coming, but the guy who foots the bill gets the final appy say. It was peppery and lemony and a wonderful balance of textures with the paper-thin carpaccio and airy, crispy capers. I wasn't too upset about the choice.

Marben's infamous John's Burger, however, was the obvious show stealer. The light was dim and I was in a hurry to take a bite, so the picture quality isn't exactly fantastic... but ya gotta trust me on this one. 

For John's Burger, the chef makes the patty out of slow-braised short ribs and smothers the patty in melted aged white cheddar. It's topped with sweet caramelized onions and diced Branston pickles, and served with a side of house-made aioli, frites and coleslaw. 

Seriously, this is one of the best burgers I've had in the city. 

It literally. melts. in. your mouth. 

Very few words were exchanged from the time these burgers sat down in front of us until our plates were clean. There were no screams, but these were scream-worthy, fo sho.

The braised rib patty is flavourful, tender, juicy and cooked to medium-rare perfection. The aged white cheddar, aioli and toppings are simple enough to complement the meat's flavour without stealing the show. This burg reminds me of the Black Label Burger at one of my favourite restaurants in New York, Minetta Tavern. And if you know me and my love for that meal/place, this is one of the best things I could say. 

I'd comment on the frites and cole slaw, but I truly can't remember them at all. My life was too consumed by the glory of John's Burger.

I think I'm about done here. You know what to do. Just try to keep the cursory exclamations to a minimum (apparently people stare.)

488 Wellington St W
Toronto, ON
416 979 1990 

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