Mama’s Food is Fresh not Frozen
If you've been following along at home you've certainly figured out I love burgers from a flat top griddle. The heat nicely sears the outside of the beef which then fries in it's own juices. There are people who don't care for this kind of burger. Citing a "Flame Broiled" offering as the best. If you're one of those who can't decide or if your buddy likes the other, then Mama's Boys Burgers in Toronto's east end is a good choice. Offering both types of sandwich and plenty of other great consumables.
Opened in the spring of 2012, Mama's Boys is a bit of a throwback to the type of place that wasn't hard to find in TO in the 70's and 80's. Greeks doing home made burgers, soulvaki, O-Rings and fresh cut Fries among other things. As the turbulent decade drew to a close these joints had, for the most part, sold out. Once a place to get great fast food they expanded and quality suffered greatly. Others were bought up. In any case, few survived.
Thankfully, this little hidden gem has the kind of goodies that will take you back to those times. Offering fresh everything. Not frozen fries and burger patties. They pride themselves on that fresh quality.
From the outside it's not much more than a corner unit in a strip mall.
Inside is bathed in sunlight and is straight up fast food. An order station where Bessy (Mama) will be waiting for you (usually) and a long counter where the condiment station resides.
There's seating for a couple dozen with tables and a ledge along the windows.
Like with a lot of these places there's an open prep kitchen and a main one in the back. Here's where you'll likely see "Mama's boys."So let's get a look at what the boys are serving up shall we??
Everything, as they tell you, is "Made with love."
They have the usual suspect when it comes to condiments but a signature offering is Spicy Feta. Oh baby this stuff is good. Hot peppers are pureed with olive oil and blended into some crumbled feta. The richness of the feta is nicely cut by the acidity of the peppers. Said peppers add a nice bit of heat and some flavour with the oil smoothing everything out. It won't blow the doors off you but if you're not into the hot stuff, it'll probably get your attention.
They offer a few different French fry options. I've had some plain and they're okay. First off, the fries weren’t overly salted which is better than being too salty and easily fixed. They use fresh cut Yukon Gold potatoes which are considered a very good all purpose potato but I believe that Russet's make better fries. Creating a crisp and golden brown on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside fry. These ones here are somewhat limp. Not at all a deal breaker though as the taste is still solid.
The Poutine, is good but not great. My feelings on the fries are the big reason. A simple food like this can only be as good as it's weakest link and the tater of choice is just that. The gravy is beef which seems to be the norm here and is quite good. The curd seems to have some squeak which will make the purists somewhat happy. As I said, all in all, this is good stuff.
The Greek Fries again are good but not great. Again, the potato being the weakest link. These fries topped with crumbled feta, olive oil and oregano are still pretty tasty. The cheese isn't as pungent as I'd like but it's fine none the less. The oil and oregano work really well in the dish. So again, over all, good.
The Pork Souvlaki is, stop me if you've heard this, good but not great. In fact, it's very good. What really keeps me from rating this higher is that it's fairly mildly marinaded. Souvlaki can range from mild to punch you in the face bold with garlic and oregano flavours leaping out at you. I prefer that latter. This offering is incredibly tender though, has a nice taste but didn't stand up that well to the tzatziki which in and of itself is fantastic. It normally comes in a pita but I had it on a bun and added some of that great Spicy Feta. Very good overall.
I really liked the burger. Called the Signature American it’s a Banquet Burger that has sautéed onions on it. As you can imagine, being named American, it’s 4 oz. (per patty) double burger done on a flat top. It’s not in my pantheon of great burgers but is solidly in the next group below. The beef is ground in house but, as with the fries, under seasoned. A little S&P helped with that. The beef was otherwise good and while the cheese lacked a bit, (only 1 slice) the bacon had a good presence. I love onions and want to love sautéed onions on a burger but I just don’t seem to. So next time I’ll omit them.
So there you have folk. Some really good fast, no make that fresh food in Toronto's east end.
You can find Mamas Boys Burgers at 480 Danforth Rd in Toronto, On.
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You can also find them on facebook.
Well that's all for now folks, see you again in the food court.