Fake Burgers and Real Onion Rings at Fresh

Fresh Yonge and EglintonLocation: 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Toronto
Website: https://freshrestaurants.ca/

The original plan was to review the veggie burger from Fresh for my burger blog.  But then I actually ate it, and to be honest… I didn’t want to.

It’s not a burger.  They call it a burger, and it basically looks like a burger, but the taste and the texture both contain zero hamburger-like properties.  I only post a review on Tasty Burgers every couple of weeks, and it just didn’t feel right wasting one on something that absolutely, positively isn’t a hamburger.

Fresh Yonge and Eglinton

We started with the much-lauded onion rings, which are frequently called the best in the city.  And yeah, they’re good — maybe not best-in-the-city good, but they’re quite tasty.  They actually reminded me a lot of what they serve at A&W — they’re similarly hearty, with a crispy breaded exterior encasing a perfectly cooked onion.

Fresh Yonge and Eglinton

They were slightly underseasoned, however, and a little bit greasier than you’d like (which is particularly odd given the restaurant’s health food pedigree).  I think I like A&W’s version slightly more, especially given how crazy expensive the ones at Fresh are (eight bucks for five substantial rings).

Fresh Yonge and Eglinton

As for the “burger,” I ordered the banquet burger, which features fake bacon and fake cheese on a fake hamburger patty.

It’s fine.  It’s actually not bad for what it is, but as I mentioned earlier, it’s not going to satisfy anyone’s hamburger cravings.  The taste and texture are quite falafel-esque (but without the crispy exterior).  Like most veggie burgers, it’s on the mushy side — a problem that’s compounded by how incredibly dense the wheaty bun is.  It’s so unforgivingly brick-like that it’s actually quite difficult to eat, but I got through it.

Fresh Yonge and Eglinton

The fake cheese is basically a thick, salty paste, and the fake bacon literally could not have tasted less like bacon.  It was sweet and vaguely plantain-like.  It wasn’t bad, but comparing it to bacon is absurd.

Quality Salads at Flock

Location: 330 Adelaide Street West, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.eatflock.com/

If you’re downtown and you’re looking for something quick and relatively healthy, you could probably do worse than Flock.  Though I’m not crazy about their much-ballyhooed chicken sandwich (its texture is one-note soft, and it generally doesn’t taste much better than something I could throw together at home from leftovers), I just tried one of their salads and found it quite satisfying.

Flock

I got the Frenchy Flock (“Mixed Greens & Arugula, Vine Beans, Crispy Onions, Roasted Cauliflower, French Lentils, Sweet Peppers, Cucumber, Cherry Tomatoes, Hard Boiled Egg, Yellow Zucchini with Roasted Tomato/Olive/Caper Vinaigrette”) and had it topped with pulled chicken.

Yes, it’s a lot of stuff.  And it’s a quality salad; the veggies are all nice and fresh, and the zippy vinaigrette suited it well.  The pulled chicken was above average, and did a good job of making the salad feel like a full meal.

Flock

But the roasted cauliflower was overcooked and mushy, and the egg was chalky and dry, which was unfortunate.  Also unfortunate: with the chicken add-on, it came up to about $17.50.  That’s almost hilariously expensive for a salad that, though tasty, isn’t substantially better than the pre-packed salads you can get at a nicer supermarket (which cost about half as much).