New in the neighbourhood: Burger Cellar

This is not your usual burger joint. For one, the concept pairs wines (not beer) with burgers. And the space is so far from being fast-foody that I feel a bit underdressed in my jeans.

The jawdroppingly knowledgeable and affable service elevates the experience even more, as do the thoughtful touches listed on the menu — homemade ketchup, say, and organic options.

As the moniker suggests, burgers are the focus of the menu, with three types of hand-packed beef patties — AAA black Angus, natural (Ontario Pine Valley Farms raised without hormones or antibiotics), or Kobe — gussied up in seven assemblies, plus one for vegetarians.

In the Hog Town, two strips of apple-cider bacon and melting aged white cheddar drape over a cooked-medium-rare, succulent natural beef patty ($9 or $8/black Angus or $14/Kobe).

Whole chickpeas and whole red kidney beans stud a patty made of puréed pumpkin, peppers, zucchini, cream cheese, spinach and onion in the vegetarian burger ($9). Deep-frying the patty gives it a falafel feel and taste, made thankfully lighter with the topping of freshly diced avocado and tomato, plus crumbles of good goat cheese.

Those who are fed up with the whole burger fad have choices, too, as in a grilled four-cheese sandwich, rare seared ahi tuna tacos, steak frites, sweet-chili chicken and greek salad.

Nine side dishes round out burgers and sandwiches. Sweet potato fries knock our socks off ($5): just-crisp-enough and with a dusting of salty-sweet. Slices of sweet vine-ripened tomatoes and slabs of quality fior de latte alternate in a tumbled tower under fresh basil leaves and judiciously drizzled balsamic and olive oil, plus dribbles of pesto sauce in Emma’s caprese salad ($8).

The concept — which takes a ubiquitous theme (the burger trend) and steps things up a notch, by pairing it with wine and by serving patrons in a sophisticated-feeling room — suits the Lawrence Park neighborhood to a T.

Burger Cellar, 3391 Yonge St., 647-345-0084


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