Back to back burger post! I’m delighted to report that this burger platter, while not the perfect burger platter, left me satisfied (and way more so than the last). I’d heard tales of Chez Lucien since moving here and was happy to finally visit this week with a lunch companion who worked close by. Lucky for me, it’s also spitting distance from campus.
On my initial visit to any restaurant, my usual tactic is to get a sense of their food by establishing a baseline with something they really should be nailing. That is, a dish that any self respecting [insert descriptor here] restaurant wouldn’t screw up. For example: rare beef pho at a Vietnamese restaurant; pad Thai at a Thai joint; chicken’s feet and BBQ pork buns at dim sum; steak at a steak house.
My litmus test for a place with supposedly good burgers is their signature burger – here, I ordered the “Chez Lucien” which featured bacon, mushrooms, and a generous glob of cream cheese (it’s a great twist on the standard cheeseburger). Patties are of the thinner variety (not my favourite style), and the fat-to-lean ratio is lower than I prefer — both of these factors result in a less juicy burger. Given the factors against juiciness, I would’ve preferred a pinker burger (though it wasn’t overdone). The beef wasn’t noticeable spiced, if at all (I never understood why so many folks make burgers this way). I’ll also take a messily-dripping-over-the-edges burger over a patty-with-slightly-oversized bun, though the patty-to-bun size ratio did make a tidier eating experience. Buns were pleasingly sesame-y.
The platter came with fries and salad (hooray, I don’t have to choose!): I’m a sucker for shoestring fries and these were delightful. Their creamy house dressing is nice and punchy (says the girl who usually prefers vinaigrettes) and double dutied as delicious fry-dip as I alternated between mayo, ketchup, and the dressing. I was also reminded of how much I love sprouts in my salads.
It was a solid meal, but Chez Lucien doesn’t meet the they-have-the-best-burger-ever-OHMIGOD standard that has been portrayed by friends and strangers. My guess is that they do a pretty good pub fare – Ottawa is, after all, a pub town. I won’t go so far as to say that the restaurant is overrated; I’ll just recategorize it in my head as a pub and look forward to returning with recalibrated expectations.
137 Murray St