THE QUEBEC CITY BRANCH HAS CLOSED BUT THERE ARE STILL DESO BURGER OUTLETS IN THE MONTÉRÉGIE
The founder of Déso Burger dreams of building an empire, but so far there are only two restaurants in his province-wide chain. This wannabe chain from Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville prides itself on flat burgers and curly fries. The Quebec City branch sits in the old YMCA building on Place d’Youville in a prime bit of real estate once occupied by Tribune Café (yet another uninspiring and generic coffee-and-panini café – no great loss to the city).
The interior has a temporary feel, which isn’t surprising seeing as Déso is being kicked out to make way for Robert Lepage’s Le Diamant in September 2013.
This is what the “famous” burgers look like.
Yes, this burger tastes as bland as it looks. The bun is wafer thin and the meat is wafer thin. On the whole, it tastes like a wafer. I’m not sure how they are thinking of conquering the province by storm with such a lame concept.
Luckily, the poutine had a bit more substance, though the cheese seemed elusive at first glance.
Fries: Thin fries don’t usually work well with poutine because they tend to absorb the gravy too fast. These thin curly fries, however, are addictive. They taste like they’ve been cooked in crack. Although they’re a bit greasy, tend to stick together, and they do end up sopping the gravy, I couldn’t help prodding my fork into the plate for another bite. A bit more crisp would make them even better, not to mention a better container to keep the fries crisp when bathing in gravy. 25/30
Gravy: Good temperature and quantity, but it has that generic straight-out-of-the-can brown sauce taste. 34/50
Cheese: Before Ashton Leblond pioneered the cheese-on-top poutine in 1970s Quebec City, many places used to bury all the cheese under the fries. The Quebec City cheese-on-top poutine is now the norm, but I’ve come across a few die-hard traditionalists along the Richelieu valley south-east of Montreal who still do this. This may explain why Déso Burger, based in Saint-Bruno, hides their cheese, and now they have the effrontery to take their bizarre tribal practice to the gros village. But really, what’s the point? If you bury it, the cheese just loses its squeak and melts, not to mention the fact that your poutine doesn’t have that initial visual appeal. If you’re using fresh cheese, let it shine and put most of it on top. In this case, the cheese barely squeaks and, surprise surprise, it is a little too melty, not to mention the fact that there isn’t enough to go around. 11/20
Verdict: Try the fries, avoid the burgers. If you’re in the mood for poutine, walk 400 metres east to Chez Ashton on Côte du Palais.
Price: Moderate – $5.75 plus tax – no deal, but not a ripoff either.
Location: Until 2013 in the former YMCA building on Place d’Youville, Quebec, QC