A good restaurant experience is never just about the food. The decor, the atmosphere, and the service all factor into what makes for a fun meal, whether we're talking about up-scale fine dining or a quick bite at the local diner. That being said, a lot of places are bound to try new things that are totally out of the ordinary. iBurger, as the name suggests, is one of those places, going for something of a tech quirk.
At the intersection of Metcalfe/Cypress, iBurger stands as a sleek restaurant all decked in black at the corner of Dorchester Square (that's the park at Peel, folks). It looks like it's trying to be an iPod.
And it tries pretty hard, too. Yes, the tables are touchscreen, and you use it to navigate the entire menu, and you can also read the Gazette on it. It either sounds really cool, or really gimmicky, probably a mix of both. To my dismay, it's not exactly a perfect touchscreen, often prompting pokes and prods of all forms to try to get it unstuck from a page. Choosing a meal also takes longer, because you need to go through many pages to see all they have to offer. The pages do offer excellent pictures of each item (although what you get might look nothing like the image shown). The screen can rotate 180ᵒ for the person sitting opposite of you. If you go in a group, your friends also need to use the same screen, and you can finalize the order at the very end.
Since ordering all takes place on the computer, there isn't a waiter assigned to your table. There is nothing wrong with taking away the server aspect of a restaurant, provided the service doesn't suffer. Unfortunately, it did – it took them more than 20 minutes to provide water. Oh, and while the screen is idle, it goes through advertisements for your viewing pleasure. Distasteful.
I ordered a glass of sangria, which was okay. It didn't taste as good as it sounded, and definitely wasn't pre-made, but that's not a surprise.
M chose the spicy beef burger ($15.99), with an addition of caramelized onions ($1.99). The onions were a mistake, as the sweetness didn't mix well with the spicy sauce at all. The burger itself was okay, nothing too impressive but not too bad either. For the price, I wouldn't recommend this ordinary burger. The fries were pretty tasty, and went well with a sauce we got on the side (not the mayo shown on the picture). Note: the sauces come in a tiny container, and they really should be giving more, for the prices of $1.99.
I felt like I wanted something out of the ordinary, so I went for a favourite food of mine: beef tartare ($22.99). When I received this plate, I did not want to eat it, it looked about as appetizing as, well, a pile of grey meat. The colour really set me off track; it was seriously more grey than pink. When I had a taste though, it wasn't half bad. I would say it is too acidic, which takes away from the rich flavour of the steak, but otherwise it was well spiced. It was served with a crunchy "bun" with fried capers, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it was supposed to go with the burger theme of the restaurant. Along with the crunchy bread and the chips I ordered on the side, it was quite a crispy meal.
With room for dessert, I couldn't say no to my other favourite food, crème brûlée ($4.95). Despite the high prices on everything else, this was really cheap for a dessert, and really good too. The sugar coating had the most perfect crisp, due to the layer being just a bit thicker than other places. The cream was delicious, and was specked indulgently with vanilla bean, not even mentioned on the menu but deserves a shoutout. Respect. I would get this again.
All being said, I may come back here. I dislike their main attracting feature, the touchscreens, and most of the food I had didn't wow me. However, some of their items like the lamb burger still look interesting, and that crème brûlée is simply divine.
Montreal, H3B 2V5