Thursday, January 30, 2014

Lovey's BBQ: 4.4/5


Cheesy Burger
$5.45
Score: 4.1

Bovine Bacon Burger
6.95
Score: 3.3

The Terminator
$9.95
Score: 4.6


Roger LeBleu, owner and Pit Master at Lovey’s, loves his meat. You could hear the reverence in his voice when he described slow smoking the brisket and thick slicing the bacon. "No see-through bacon here!" He cooks the burger patty by frying it in its own juices on the grill, then moves it to the flame broiler to give it that magical char flavour. There's a veggie burger on the menu and Scott asked Roger if it was really made from vegetables. It is, and Roger offered up the quote of the day: "Some people don't eat meat - how sad is that!"

Lovey’s is counter service, which is certainly an economy of serving staff (there was just the one). She was taking orders as well as bringing out the food - and she did great. Roger invited me and my camera into the kitchen, which I appreciate. I enjoy watching the ballet of chefs sweeping around each other, and seeing my meal cooked and assembled before my eyes. It's another level of enjoyment in my dining experience.

The patty was large and juicy - the fatty kind of juice, not the watery kind. It was fairly soft - I expected it to fall apart, but it didn't. I cut mine in half (as I usually do) to improve the handling, but with this big, soft heavenly mess, that made it less manageable. I got by with a minimum of fallout though. It had some nice char flavour, but didn't actually have a grill-seared crust. It was fairly lightly spiced. Roger talked about the seasoning when he sat down to ask our opinions afterwards. He said some people think it’s under seasoned, and others feel it's too spicy. He tries to find the middle ground.

I opted for the Terminator 2: Brisket Day, that came with brisket on top instead of the usual pulled pork accompaniment. It was delicious. It was a very balanced burger and I enjoyed each and every flavour - one bite at a time. The brisket was sliced thin and had been fried up on the grill just before assembly. It was crispy along the edges, tender in the middle. The bacon was very flavourful, even a little sweet, thick sliced, and somehow leathery and crispy all at once. Not like thin crispy bacon that shatters when you bite it.

I quite enjoyed the chili sauce - both for its flavour and the additional sloppiness it contributed to the burger. I was aware of the real cheese slice, but it wasn't as strong a player as some of the other burger team members. We suggested to Roger that it would be nice to have additional cheese choices. The iceberg lettuce and tomato had a little bit of January-in-Winnipeg sadness. They could've used some ripening in a hot climate somewhere.

I asked for fried onions and no pickle which is just what I got. I don't like a hot tasting onion, but the fried onions pretty much disappeared on the burger. That was my rookie mistake. There was also a big onion ring on the burger, which was fun for the eyes and contributed to the flavour and texture. If there was coleslaw on the burger, I didn't notice it.

The Terminator 1 came with a good slather of BBQ sauce over the pulled pork topping. Karen had the T-1 and wrote “I ordered the Terminator, it was very wet and sloppy. I enjoyed all of the ingredients. The pulled pork and bacon were very tasty.” Stephanie liked hers too “The bacon was delish! The BBQ sauce had a good spice. Overall, a very good burger. I'll be in a meat coma for the rest of the afternoon.” Geoff commented “Been here a few times and I've never left hungry. There's a lot going on with this burger, lots of heft. The last bite was as good as the first.”

The bun was okay, and held together, but was the weak link in the burger chain. I can't say specifically why, it just didn’t add anything special. It's definitely tricky to match a good bun to a burger, as we've seen at so many restaurants, and we told Roger that too when he asked. The patty is larger than a standard 4” and messy, so not just any bun would be up to the task.

The fries were good and plentiful, and I liked the creamy coleslaw. April commented “Fries are soooo yummy and the burger was a good value.”

Cary appreciated the bulk napkins on the table “Rolls of paper towel are good so you can make a BIB!” One disconcerting thing about our long, private dining room - was the mirror along the wall where you could watch yourself  - and everyone else - eat. One wall was covered in photos of party room alumni grinning in their pig ear hats.

Lovey's has a cooler full of Boylan to choose from, and as a bonus, is also licensed. The chalkboard proclaims Lovey’s to have the best selection of Bourbon in Manitoba.

Lovey's BBQ & Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

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