Canada isn’t exactly known for its burgers, but a chain that just opened its first outlet in New York City aims to change that — and it’s serving a beloved fried potato dish, too. Big Smoke Burger (70 Seventh Avenue; 917-475-1995) opened this past Tuesday, luring crowds with its poutine and convincing them to stay for a Canadian-style burger.
What is a Canadian-style burger? Not that different from an American burger visually, though the patty itself tastes gamier, spicier, and maybe even smokier than what you might find at other chains. After a few bites, you could have easily told me that there was venison or bison mixed into the beef patty, and I’d have believed it — though that could just be saying more about the quality of USDA hamburger beef at the fast food places I grew up on.
Big Smoke has plenty of ways to customize your meal. Start with a beef (AAA Ontario fresh ground chuck, the highest score Canadian beef can receive), chicken, lamb, or veggie patty and then add ingredients like roasted red peppers and smoked Canadian cheddar. You’ll also find an assortment of signature sandwiches, including the namesake Big Smoke Burger, a combo of horseradish mayo, caramelized onions, and smoked cheddar on your choice of meat. Another specialty option for fans of the extreme: the crazy burger, topped with jalapeño havarti, coleslaw, chipotle mayo, barbecue sauce, hot peppers, and lettuce. No matter what you order, expect it to be huge, thanks in large part to an oversized sesame bun that falls apart rather quickly.
And don’t miss the poutine, a small bucket of fries covered in salty gravy and cheese curds. The crisp fries soak in the gravy nicely and are likely to be a highlight of your trip. You can also order onion rings and salad, but why? Wash it all down with a soda; beer is coming soon — along with a backyard patio.
For now, grab a seat inside, where murals of a cityscape adorn the walls. Large picnic style wooden benches in the front encourage a communal atmosphere and are accommodating for large groups. Meals are delivered to your table by a server, though you’ll need to place your order at the counter first.
Click on the next page for a first look at Big Smoke Burger:
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 17, 2014