Ever since I was a young thing, I have been cultivated to savour the finer things in life: good art, French wine, and fresh hamburgers. Now the last item may seem a bit surprising, but anyone who has tried my father’s notorious burgers knows the difference between the real thing and the frozen calamity that comes pre-packaged. Even going out to restaurants, I am often disappointed with the quality of the beef, and the lack of flavour.
But on Friday night, my hamburger dreams came true. My fiancé and I wanted to check out a new area of town, as we tend to stay around the west end, and blindly chose Allen’s pub among all of the other restaurants near Broadview and Danforth Ave. We were enticed by the lively atmosphere when we walked through the door; it was packed with people, and the international beer list filled up two massive chalkboards, both good signs. Although it was busy, we were seated within 15 minutes, having enjoyed an Amsterdam Framboise and a Steigl at the bar in the meantime.
The menu includes traditional pub fare from the isles, such as fish and chips, and a variety of curries, but being indecisive and unsure in a new place, we asked the waitress for advice. She drew our attention to a page of the menu we had overlooked, where she suggested I try the “chopped” steak, which she described as “like a hamburger” but made with the real deal. They also do hamburgers “a la carte” and have various other cuts of high quality beef to choose from, but the unique thing about Allen’s is that all of their beef is butchered in-house, and they are committed to hormone- and pesticide-free products whenever possible.
Although I was a little underwhelmed with what came to the table – it looked like an oddly-shaped hamburger patty without the bun – after the first bite, I went to burger heaven, and didn’t come back down from that happy place until much later that evening. They cook it to order, so what some people might consider odd for a hamburger (pink on the inside at medium-rare), it is in fact the best way to enjoy fresh beef. This is the lesson my father has been trying to teach me ever since I started eating solid foods, and I have finally learned it.
So if you’re looking for a good pub with fine food and a friendly crowd on a Friday night, look no further than Allen’s Restaurant, located at 143 Danforth Ave. You can also check out their website at http://www.allens.to/allens/aboutus.shtml, for more information on dining and special events.