Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mondo Burger raises the bar on an old favourite

A few months back, my friend Dvora raved about a new restaurant in Steveston. It had apparently changed her relationship with all other burger joints this side of the Rockies.

The first time my husband and I tried to set foot in Mondo’s Burger Bar, we couldn’t get in the door.

On our second expedition, however, we managed to snag the table farthest from the hub of activities – right smack in between the entrances to Mondo’s and Papi’s, which are like two siblings sharing the same parent.

We were surprised at how sparsely staffed the restaurant was. A man-in-black (sans the wraparound security detail glasses) stood behind the bar and a female server covered the rest of the territory. The ambience was breezy, much like that of Papi’s, but with the dial turned all the way to “casual.”

We also noticed, with much pleasure, the modest menu pricing. After flipping through the selections, we zeroed in on a Mondo burger for $5.95 and half an order of fries for $1.50.

My husband sauntered over to the bar and paid for our orders. Then we waited...

A few minutes into this anticipatory moment, the man-in-black drifted over and asked us how we were doing. He said that the party sitting at our table usually gets ignored; we said we didn’t mind.

The Mondo burgers arrived just as our hunger meter hit its peak. Ah, and worth the wait they were.

Definitely of the manly variety, the Mondo burger outranks all others in weight and bulk. It is made to be held with two hands. After inspecting mine from all angles, I decided to cut mine in half and take the leftover home.

When the server offered to pack up the uneaten portion for me, I was tempted to ask for a box as I habitually do, but decided - just this once - to let her cart my baby away instead.

Much much later, when it was obvious that she had forgotten all about us, I motioned the server over. A look of horror crossed her face. She had dumped my baby in the trash. I knew that I should have gone with my initial instinct. She apologized, of course, but didn’t offer to have it replaced. I stewed… for a good hour or so.

The moral of the story is, give Mondo's a try. But pack your own doggie bag. It will free up the staff to attend to more pressing business and (this is more important) guarantee that your Mondo baby will not be thrown out with the crumbpled napkin and checkered paper liner.

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