DELUX BURGER BAR

The Century Hospitality Group is Edmonton’s boutique, casual fine dining restaurant generator. With restaurants such as MKT, Lux, Hundred Bar and Kitchen, and the Century Grill under their belt, it’s clear that their vision is to expand the contemporary, and invigorate Edmonton’s casual dining scene.

Delux Burger Bar is just another of Century Hospitality Group’s projects and the goal of this endeavour is simple: the new burger.

Delux offers traditionalist options, yes – but they also have a variety of new and innovative burger creations, including The Delux, which combines blue cheese, portabella mushrooms, and chipolte mayo, and the Bison and Brie burger, which has a bison patty topped with blueberry compote, brie, caramelized onions, and house made mayo.

You can also build your own burger using the checklist below. (And yes, that’s Buttered Lobster.)

One thing to note, though – Delux’s burgers don’t come served with a side. You can, of course, always add on a side of french fries if you wish. We decided to start with some of Delux’s starter-sized salads, which were a refreshing choice for dinner on a patio on one of Edmonton’s hottest summer days.

For the Canadian traditionalist, the menu offers four different kinds of poutine. I opted for The ‘Cowboy’ poutine, which comes with fresh cut fries, Nathan’s Famous hot dog, cheese curds, and gravy.

We’ve all had excellent poutines (we do live in Canada, after all), but this one was fantastic. Loaded with gravy and cheese curds, as well as little pieces of quality hot dog, Delux’s poutine is good enough to remind you that you actually don’t give a damn about counting calories, and that Canadians are pretty amazing people to come up with such a dish. Cheese! Fries! Gravy! Genius.

Even though I chose to eat at a burger bar without actually ordering a burger, Taner saved the day by ordering an ‘Out of the Water’ burger: Stella Artois battered halibut with creamy coleslaw, red onion, and tartar sauce. This overlord of Filet-O-Fishes might not have been the biggest fish burger in the ocean, but it sure as hell was tasty.

I must admit that I was sceptical in trying Delux – I’m generally much more of a steak/noodles/pasta kind of person, and burgers, though delicious, aren’t usually part of my cravings compass. I was pleasantly surprised.

If you’re in the mood for casual fine dining and want something quick, different, and reasonably priced, then try Delux. Let me know how the Bison and Brie burger tastes and be sure to enjoy your complimentary cotton candy at the end of the meal.

Delux Burger Bar
Parkview – 9682 142 Street 
(780) 420-0101
Location also in Riverbend/Terwillegar (14111 23 Avenue)

Soda Jerks Burgers and Bottles

I’d never been to or heard of Soda Jerks until the other day, so I don’t know what I was expecting. Something similar to Fatburger, perhaps?

I was pleasantly surprised. Soda Jerks is a delightful, modern restaurant that – simply put – sells great burgers. They don’t have any claims to pretension, and they definitely don’t put on any airs. They’re a diner. And they have a large selection of bottled sodas and uniquely-flavoured milkshakes.

One of the first things I noticed about their menu was their Big Kid (a.k.a. alcoholic) milkshakes. I was instantly in love. Who wouldn’t want to try a Captain Nut, a butter pecan shake with a shot of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum? And who isn’t curious about mixing cookie dough vodka with a banana shake?

I ordered a small mint chocolate shake (sans alcohol, I’m afraid, because it was a work day), which was deliciously creamy and minty. The milkshakes at Soda Jerks aren’t quite as thick as the ones at Fatburger but they’re cheaper and they have a better selection to choose from. Blue raspberry, cappuccino, peanut butter and jam, pink lemonade…you name it.

And, obviously, as the name entails, they’re known for their sodas. The restaurant offers: Dad’s, Jones, Stewart’s, Boylan, The Pop Shoppe, San Pellegrino, Bawls, Koala, Orangina, Grizzly Paw, Fentiman’s, and Coca-Cola products, all in glass bottles.

Their food menu is just as extensive. We opted for the regular burgers rather than the Build-Your-Owns that the restaurant is so famous for. I tried the Black and Blue burger, with Cajun spice, blue cheese, a beef patty, bacon, and vegetable trimmings, and Taner had the Buffalo Chicken Burger, with hot sauce, mozza, bacon, and vegetables. Both burgers were served with delicious hand-cut fries, and we both opted for a side of their poutine gravy (I liked it, although Taner didn’t).

Customers can opt for a gluten free bun, if they like, which I thought was a nice recognition of varying diets by a restaurant that serves a traditional meat-bread-potatoes kind of meal.

I’d recommend Soda Jerks to any fan of a good burger. The food was delicious, the menu extensively customizable, and the service friendly and efficient; likewise, the 50’s diner concept offering is modernized by the restaurant’s attention to modern dietary concerns. Huge, huge kudos to Soda Jerks for paying such attention to nutritional detail. And it’s reasonable, at approximately $15-20 per person.

Be sure to Instagram your burger for the chance to win a $50 gift certificate!

Soda Jerks Burgers and Bottles
17520 100 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5S 2S2
(780) 486-5375

 

RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE

If you want the fine dining experience, you have to pay the price and Ruth’s Chris (while pricey) manages to tick all of the fine dining boxes: fabulous food, attentive service, and a beautifully romantic restaurant ambience. I did a bit of research

URBAN DINER (DOWNTOWN)

As one of the most talked-about brunch places in Edmonton, I figured it was past time that I investigated what Urban Diner had to offer prior to the 2pm lunch menu (the only menu I’ve ever ordered from).

As Urbanspoon, reviews, and food blogs have shown, the restaurant is quite popular. This was evident the instant we pulled up; at 11:30, Urban Diner was completely full, with three other parties waiting ahead of us for a table. Despite the small location off of 124 St, the owners have managed to cram quite a few tables into the space, so we didn’t end up waiting more than ten minutes. While we waited, there were a selection of Vue Weeklys and Metro Cinemas to read, as well as delicious-looking desserts in a glass case to drool over.

No matter what our dining experience would end up being, I had to give Urban Diner kudos for being one of the few (or even the only) restaurants to serve banoffee pie. If it tastes as good as it looks (and reviews tell me it does), then the restaurant deserves a good review just for the sake of the pie. I didn’t feel right about ordering dessert after brunch, but soon…soon.

The menu was one page, with a selection of wraps, bennies, eggs, and other brunchie delights. I’m always hopeful when a restaurant has a small menu – it usually means that the cooks are experts in preparing these dishes, rather than floundering to remember items off of a 15-page menu. In work and school, if you spread yourself too thinly, the work you produce will generally suffer. So too with cooking and restaurateur-ing.

Our selections were the Fried Egg Sandwich, served with back bacon, tomato, cheddar, roasted garlic aioli, toast, and diner potatoes, and the Diner Hash, two bennies served on a bed of potatoes, corned beef, and caramelized onions. Both were good – we had no complaints. The diner potatoes consisted of potato and sweet potato hash browns: delicious and perfectly seasoned.

The corned beef added the most flavour to the Diner Hash, which could have used a touch more salt; the eggs benedict, however, were cooked perfectly to my liking. We also ordered sides of fruit and back bacon, and came slightly shy of finishing it all.

I’ve always liked Urban Diner – their Diner Mac ‘n Cheese and Pulled Pork Sandwiches are amazing – and I would return for brunch. The breakfast fare didn’t knock my socks off, but it was solidly good, the service was friendly, and the atmosphere was (as always) extremely relaxed, despite the line up.

In the end, though, was it worth the line up? We were lucky for coming at an opportune time, but hopeful diners arriving at noon or later had to wait for a fair amount of time for a table. Based on what we ordered during this visit, I definitely wouldn’t wait 20-30 minutes to eat here. There must be some draw to Urban Diner, though, and, based on the amount of quiches I saw leaving the kitchen (and they sure did look delicious), I think we may have missed out this time. So yes, give Urban Diner a try, don’t be discouraged if you have to wait, and finish off your meal with a slice of banoffee pie, particularly if you’ve never tried this English delicacy. You can thank me later.

Urban Diner (Downtown)
12427 102 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5N 0M2
(780) 488-7274
Monday – Friday – 11:00am – 9:00pm
Saturday
Brunch 9:00am – 1:30pm
Lunch 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Dinner 5:00pm – 9:00pm
Sunday – 9:00am – 3:00pm