I guess the old adage that "when it rains, it pours" applies to the Vancouver food scene, especially when it comes to trends. We've seen it with ramen where at one point, there seemed to be a new spot opening up every week. Now it seems the gourmet burger craze has picked up steam once again with some new players in town. One of them is reLISH Gourment Burgers, hailing from the Maritimes. With 3 opening up in succession, I guess it has gone from craze to invasion. The first location to open its doors for business is the one on Commerical Drive. Sean and I were invited to see what they are all about.
Of course to get a baseline of sorts, we had to go for their basic burger being the Simpleton made with a 5 oz 100% Certified Angus Beef patty, lettuce, tomato, roasted garlic mayo and relish. As the name implies, this was not a fancy burger by any stretch of the imagination. Everything was pretty typical including the meaty patty that was neither dry nor juicy. The bun was good and held things in while the garlic mayo was creamy and flavourful. The one thing that set this burger apart was the beet relish. Unlike regular red pickle relish, this one was less sweet while adding a bit of Earthiness.
This was further enhanced by the Big Texas with the addition of smokey whiskey BBQ sauce, crispy onion frites, pepper jack cheese and crispy bacon. As much as there was a lot going on in terms of textures and flavours, the whole thing was actually subtle. Even with the large amount of crispy onions, it wasn't overwhelming. Neither was the BBQ sauce. In fact I personally could've used more of it. Interestingly, the bacon and cheese were in the background while the relish was noticeable.
As much as we were hesitant, they convinced us to try the turkey patty in the Jersey City (fried field mushrooms, pickled peppers, pancetta and provolone cheese). Turns out it was a good idea as the patty was actually more moist than the beef. The secret was the addition of pork product in the patty. Unlike the previous 2 burgers, this one had big flavours including the acidic heat of the peppers, crispy saltiness of the pancetta and buttery woodiness of the mushrooms.
Our final item was the Peppercorn Poutine with a red-wine based gravy that was silky and more complex than the usual packet version. Although the fries were not fresh-cut, they were still crispy and quite starchy. They held up to the moisture while the ample amount of cheese curds were still intact. However, there wasn't any squeakiness. All-in-all, the burgers were pretty solid and that relish really did tie it all together. Prices are in-line with other similar establishments out there serving gourmet burgers.
*All food and beverages were complimentary*
- Relish is definitely different and less sweet
- Decent eats
- Wished that the fries were fresh-cut