A poutine burger is not officially on the menu at The Pink Bicycle in Victoria, but I'd wager more customers have asked for it since A Hamburger Today last year added the concoction to its burger bucket list. I did.
Proactively combining foods that usually only commingle in the gut is typically a better deal for the digestive system than the palate, but The Pink Bicycle's nucleus of savory flavors is only slightly less satisfying than a burger with fries on the side. And since it's portioned for non-American appetites, it's a completely reasonable midday undertaking: My server and I had an earnest conversation about dessert after I'd polished off everything on my plate but a green olive garnish.
What makes the poutine burger great is its incredibly high-quality ingredients. The Pink Bicycle -- which has owned the city's best burger title since 2009 -- uses Natural Pastures cheese curds, Springford Farm beef and sturdy sesame buns baked next door at Bond's Bakery. The creamy Kennebec fries are hand-cut.
Although A Hamburger Today tried to warn me that local health codes require restaurants to cook the pink out of patties unless a customer specifically requests otherwise, I completely forgot to talk temperature preference with my server. My burger was visibly charred, and would have been aggravatingly dry without a smear of garlic mayonnaise and all that gravy.
The Pink Bicycle's gravy has a pronounced Asian tilt. Although rosemary is the sauce's starring herb, the supporting cast is led by ginger. When squished, the sandwich belches little scallion loops and bits of fried onion.
The poutine burger is best at its core, where the patty has a trace of pink and the curds have begun to bend beneath the heat of the excellent skin-on fries, soft against a crisp leaf of lettuce. Meaty juice and oozy cheese -- no matter what gimmicky name is used to sell it -- are the foundation of a burger that belongs on a bucket list.