Saturday, October 19, 2013

Motor Burger (Windsor, On)


20130809_204836I'm quite certain you've heard this story before. Several times over in fact. A business is no longer viable due to the "Economic Downturn" that occurred late in the last decade. It happened all over the globe but perhaps no where more so than the Detroit/Windsor area. While they are separate cities in separate countries they're more than just cross river neighbours. Their communities are tied together in just about every way imaginable. The parade of cars crisscrossing the Ambassador Bridge (and through the tunnel) on a daily basis for work or play is staggering. Not to mention that north of one quarter of the commerce between the two countries crosses that bridge connecting the two metropolises (or is that metropoli??). Simply put, if one bumps it's knee, the other says ouch.
(Ted Mosby fun fact: The D/W crossing is one of two crossings where you actually head north into the US from Canada.)
Motor BurgerThat down tur......well, lets call it what it was, a full on, dreadful recession, destroyed many businesses. A few were able to weather the storm and survive and others, such as Noi in Windsor's Little Italy, were forced to reinvent themselves. The Italian restaurant that once required you to wait for a table suddenly found itself struggling.  Could they have stuck it out and waited for the up turn?? Maybe. Not wanting to chance it and interested in a new challenge the place underwent a transformation that has spared them the executioner's axe. When Gino Gesuale and Jay Souilliere reopened as Motor Burger, most people didn't see it coming.
20130809_205909Motor Burger is the marriage of burgers and cars. The automotive themed restaurant opened in 2009 and has been going strong since. A trendy vibe and functional design is punctuated with chalk, schematic type drawings of cars and that's not the end of the vehicular theme. Menu items are named for automobiles or automotive terms. Heck, even the napkins are actual shop towels. And, much like the auto industry itself, they're in on the green movement. Ditching bottled water and utilizing a reverse osmosis system for their flat and sparkling waters for instance.

20130809_205749While they tell you the restaurant is a “present day rendition of a vintage burger joint with a modern twist on design” it may be better to think of it as a Bar and Grill focused on burgers.
They've also dipped their toes into the lubricant business. Creating their own craft brews right on the premises.

20130809_205809The success and quality of Motor Burger hasn't gone unnoticed either. Recently Readers Digest recognized their Deux Chevaux Burger as best in Canada. The Huff-Po has it as one of (#16) the Top 24 Brew Pubs in Canada. What brought it to my attention though was the visit paid by the You Gotta Eat Here gang. They were also featured in a National Film Board of Canada documentary series GDP which investigates the financial woes of Canadian businesses such as this one.

But enough of this, let's get a look at these vehicular inspired goodies.
20130809_211158The Motor Sauce is incredible. A compound mayonnaise that's full of garlic and chilies that's roots are in the French (and Creole) condiment, remoulade with chipotles added to the party. It comes on burgers or as a dipping sauce and is quite nice. It's not overly hot but does have a bit of jump and some tanginess.
20130809_210059We started with an order of Chili Spring Rolls. A really solid opening act here. Not quite blown away but very happy with these. Chorizo chili, lime, black beans, smoked cheese and topped with sour cream. The main taste is the chorizo with the others playing a supporting roll. They come 3 to an order, are deep fried and cut in half lengthwise.

20130809_211139The Motor Mac n Cheese is solid and fairly standard. There's not a lot that stands out but it's solid none the less. The use of tortiglioni rigate is a great choice for two reasons. First of all the standard elbow that's used in M&C is nice but the added length and helix shape are both aesthetically pleasing and seems to stand up better to the cheesy sauce. As well, "rigate" means it has those little ridges on the outside of the noodle. That adds surface area and more for the sauce to cling to. The pasta was nicely cooked. Falling somewhere between a perfect al dente and over cooked.
20130809_211215The Shrimp Fuel is, as you can imagine, a shimp burger flavoured with chilies, garlic, fresh tomato, cilantro and topped with avocado and mango salsa. I had probably over hyped this burger a little too much in my mind. I found it to be really good but still just ever so slightly disappointing. There was nothing wrong with it, in fact, it's very well executed. I guess the flavours were a little more subtle than I was expecting. Having seen it on TV I was excited to try it. It happens.
20130809_211125The Auto Strada burger is an absolute home run. It took everything in me to forego a beef burger for a sausage burger. I can honestly say it's one of the best burgers I've had and easily the best non beef burger ever. Chipotle rubbed northern Italian sausage, gorgonzola cheese and sliced apple slaw. There's a lot going on here and it's all good. The sausage is very flavourful and has a decent hit of spice. The cheese and slaw are up to the challenge as supporters. I just thought this was crazy good.

So there you have it folks, some truly great burgers in a hip, trendy setting.

You can find Motor Burger at 888 Erie St (Via Italia) in Windsor, On.

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You can also find them on the web, facebook and Twitter.

Motor Burger on Urbanspoon

Well that's that folks. Catch ya next time.

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