STACKED is a new Scout column that aims to dig down into the delicious details of Vancouver’s better sandwiches and burgers. From banh mi and beef dip to sliders and reubens, the goal is to craft and catalog an archive of awesome that visitors and locals alike can reference when at their hungriest.
by Andrew Morrison | Should you even find yourself in need of an excellent burger while in Kitsilano, look no further than this delicious treat at Au Comptoir. Granted, the Paris-themed restaurant on West 4th Avenue is not where most would first look for an exemplar of the unrefined American tradition, but when you stop and give it a thorough think it makes all kinds of sense: leave it to the French to make a burger that blows others out of the water! Indeed, even though there are old school diners, chef-driven gourmet joints, chains and chain-wannabes galore in the neighbourhood – even an eatery or two fixating exclusively on burgers – it’s really no contest. The so-called “Burger Maison” at Au Comptoir rules. Here’s a breakdown of precisely why…
1. Pieces of semi-hard cow’s milk raclette cheese are fused with the patty on its flip. This imparts a nutty, creamy, slightly acidic note to the meat’s Maillard crust.
2. A layer of sweet, savoury, bistro-evocative caramelized onion adds zing and punch in the conspicuous absence of mustard, pickle, and tomato.
3. Oh my God just look at that patty! It’s a beefy triple threat of house-ground, kosher-salted brisket, rib-eye and bavette cooked rare with Gallic confidence.
4. The bun is clever. It’s a housemade milk bun, or “pain au lait”. It’s more buttery than brioche-y with a lick of honey sweetness. An up-to-task super soaker.
5. Real deal housemade mayonnaise gives both sides of the bun (and every bite) an unctuous, decadent slick. Ask for a side of it for your frites.
6. A chiffonade of gem lettuce goes on the lower deck to be flattered by the mayonnaise. There’s not much to it but the green might assuage some guilt.