On a Roll: Seto Wins Critic’s Pick for the 2nd year in a Row

Article & Burger Battle Tour By Gabby Peyton & Chad Pelley

2018’s Burger Battle had the most buzz yet, and plenty of you “had the guts” to try a dozen or more. Shout out to people like @HavingaScoff and @iansdellicious who were outpacing Gabby and I all month, and made it through all 20 burgers!

Speaking of buzz: Seto Kitchen + Bar won Critics’ Pick a second year in a row. Consistency confirms a place is doing something right. As for Merchant Tavern, Runner-up, well, obviously Jason Momoa wasn’t the only one loving this flavour bomb all month long.They sold nearly 1000 burgers!

Kudos to the People’s Picks too, as both the winner and runner-up were in the Critics’ Top 5 as well: winner Bernard Stanley had a burger that was bringing patrons back for more all month long, and Exile, the veggie burger that could, got a vote from seemingly everyone who tried it.

The Big Kahuna

“Like a good dish, a good burger is all about balance. It should tantalize all the tongue’s sensors: sweet, salty, even umami. That’s a tall order for a patty on a bun, but not when it’s done this well. The pineapple and pork belly bring elements of sweet and umami you suddenly realize most burgers are missing. A delicious gooey mess.” -Chad

Moose Pork Burger

“Sometimes an onion ring is too much on burger, but not here. The breaded onion ring was the same circumference as the moist moose and pork patty and the brioche bun, making it the perfect ringmaster for the circus of pickled mushrooms and bacon jam.” -Gabby

The BSG Mess

“These burger specialists made a really special burger. As its name implies, it was a daunting “mess,” but the amazing pretzel bun held together to hold the delicious mess together. All elements were delicious on their own, and worked together like a symphony of flavour. The cheese sauce muted the heat of the Jalapeno aioli in a refreshing manner. A top 5 for me; I went back for more.” -Chad

Mushroom Jam Beef Burger

“It’s all about the brie with this burger. Deep fried and melty, it added a great savouryness against the tart housemade mustard flavour, and the straight shooting patty.” -Gabby

The Moose and Pig

“This burger read really well on paper — get at me, cranberry cream cheese  — but the toppings were scarce.” -Gabby

Chorizo Double Bacon Cheese Burger

“First off, these were the best buns in the competition. Best patties too. So, what more is there to say, given a burger is, at its core, a patty on a bun? Well, this: everything else on this burger was perfect too. Every bite was succulent and exploding with flavour.” -Chad

Portebello & Tofu Burger

“This burger blew my non-vegan socks off. The only vegan burger in this battle, its crispy tofu packed tons of great flavours that were earthy but not overpowering. The mushroom was marinated perfectly to make it meaty, and the flavours were perfectly balanced. The tomato chutney puts any homemade ketchup to shame.” -Gabby

The Newfoundland Burger

“As one of the only burgers on the list that’s already on their menu (ballsy move, Fifth Ticket), I was apprehensive but impressed. Great patty, simple but tasty toppings; a bold, but smart choice. Don’t fix what ain’t broke.” -Gabby

Bison Breakfast Burger

“The culinary marriage of sweet toutons and gamey bison meat made for one of the Battle’s best offerings. It made this one stand out immediately from the herd. The bison patty was delicious, not dry as game can be, and the yolk from the egg kept each bite wet and appropriately gooey. What the baloney brought was more than novelty. As a replacement for bacon on a burger: baloney could have a whole new gig.” -Chad

Rabbit Saddle Bacon Burger

“Rabbit! A nice novelty to break up the homogeny of beef in this year’s battle. The lobster mushrooms also proved a key addition in imparting a nice gamey taste and smooth mouthfeel. Only qualm was the patty was so huge it compromised one’s ability to taste the other elements of the burger.” -Chad

The Bella Burger

“This one was so good I forgot to pause between bites to make notes. All I remember is the balance of sweet, spicy, and sour being heavenly, and augmented by that toping of fresh mozza. The sourdough bun was a the right touch, for a burger that was all about balance.” -Chad

The Peanut Butter Burger

“Absurdly soaked in taste. A flavour bomb. A top 3 contender. Its nuanced heat was tampered nicely by the subtle peanut butter backbone, and the patty was classically and classily prepared. Had the kind of thick cut and seasoned bacon dreams are made of. This beauty was thoughtfully balanced and full of complementary elements. A real banger of a burger.” -Chad

Halliday’s Dbl Cheeseburger

“The choice of pretzel bun here was a solid one, as it maintains the structural integrity of such a big fierce burger, so it doesn’t end up a mess in your hands. Also, this was a burger challenge: the beef in a double cheeseburger matters, and this fresh Hallidays beef delivered. The cheese was the right complement here too. Kudos to the whiskey kick in the house made ketchup for the fries.” -Chad

The Omaggio Alla Polpetta

“At first, I wondered why a pizza place would enter a burger battle, but theirs kept with the flavour profile of the restaurant. The mustard made with Piatto Birra paired well with the savoury meatball patty, which was just a little too big to eat without making a mess.” -Gabby

PJ’s Bacon n Eggs Burger

“What makes this burger great isn’t the egg (my egg was cooked hard and didn’t have the yolky goodness I was expecting), it was the delicious homemade burger sauce with a little kick. It brought the plethora of ingredients together with the perfectly sized patty.” -Gabby

The Big Reluctant

“Not to make this a memorial, but The Reluctant Chef was my Favourite restaurant in town. Sad to see them go, and wish Tony all the best. The burger? Super succulent chicken and a beautiful interplay between the sweet and the spicy on here. Coulda used another element to tie it all together is all.” -Chad

A Walk in the Woods

“The name of this burger was as thought-out as the ingredients. The plentiful mushroom bechamel was out of this world, and the spruce tip pickled onions cut the richness well atop a moist patty that was big, but not overwhelmingly so.” -Gabby

Green Chili Pimento Cheeseburger

“Let’s be real. In a way, burgers are just receptacles for condiments. And the cheese sauce on here shines, and really cools the bright heat nicely. Nice patty, and a bun that holds up to the mess. It’s ridiculous this is only $5, and it kicks the living crap out of chain takeout burgers at the same price point. Nice double crunch with the tortilla chips.” -Chad

The Night That Patty Murphy Fried

“I’ve never heard of pepperoni on a burger, but this punny patty had a foolproof balance of flavours. Layered with sweet tomato ketchup and piquant pesto, this burger was moreish in all the right kinds of ways.” -Gabby

Ocean and Earth

“While this one was super messy, it was freaking tasty, therefore I had zero problem licking the horseradish hollandaise off the back of my hand. The tempura on the massive shrimp got a little soggy from the sauce, but I wanted all the sauce. ” -Gabby