Top Gun Steak

Location:  1960 Lawrence Ave E. Scarborough, ON M1R 2Z1


Price: $17.49

What We Ordered:

  • Freedom Fighter
  • Cheese Fries with Beef Bacon
How our order came from Top Gun Steak on Lawrence once out of the paper bag

Burger Review:

I like Top Gun Steak. The menu has a ridiculous amount of creative burgers to choose from. I got the Freedom Fighter which comes with crusted jalapenos and guacamole. The burger is not too spicy with the jalapenos but it’s deliciously messy and gooey with all the cheese and guacamole piled on top. The toppings are generous and this burger tastes great.

Freedom Fighter from Top Gun Steak with jalapenos and guacamole

Meat: 6oz Canada prime beef, daily grounded and never frozen. The meat tastes good. I would say it has decent fat content throughout. The patty is not too thick or thin, making it a nice choice for any burger lover. I didn’t find it to be overly salty and it didn’t taste like there were any seasoning added other than salt making it a true beef experience.

Toppings: One piece of torn leaf lettuce, one slice of tomato, several pickles sliced round and slightly sweet, sprinkling of diced white onions, fried crusted jalapeno stuffed with cream cheese and cheddar cheese, guacamole with diced tomatoes, and chipotle aioli. These toppings are messy and that’s totally ok. It adds a lot of moisture to the burger and bun and I did not need to add any ketchup or sauces to add flavor or moisture.

Bun: Yellowish bun was a bit stale and maybe too thick on the top part of the bun. The bun is where this burger really falls apart as it’s too stale and takes a bit away from the overall experience.

Cross section of the Freedom Fighter

Other Food:

The beef bacon on the fries was very fatty so it was a little chewy at times but it had a wonderful smokey flavor to it. The toppings were all on top and hard to mix into the whole fry experience in the take out container but this was only a minor complaint since overall these fries are really good. The cheese topping with rosemary garlic aioli was addictive. The fries say “homemade” on the menu and seem to be the fresh cut not-frozen variety. They are cooked to that slight malty brown colour and really delicious. The fries were not super crisp, but that may have been because it was takeout and had the cheese on top. I didn’t mind at all though since overall they taste really good!

Atmosphere & Staff:

I got take out and my husband picked it up. I haven’t been in the restaurant yet personally. He says he does not like the interior and would never dine-in. He once described the guy working the counter as looking “really mad” for no reason.

Final Verdict:
3 stars

I flip-flop a lot on the rating of this burger. Having had it a few times, I have to say the meat and bun quality are not consistently good enough for me to rate higher than 3 stars. However, the toppings are wonderfully creative and I do recommend giving it a try if you’re in the area.

Hogtown Smoke

Location: 1959 Queen St. E. Toronto, ON, M4L 1H7


Price: $71

Outside Hogtown Smoke on Queen Street in the Beach, Toronto

What We Ordered:

  • Smashed griddle burger
  • Signature smoked brisket
  • Chicken wings
  • Kitchen sink stacked fries

Burger Review:

The Hogtown Smoke burger is Angus beef, ground and hand made on site. It came with two patties on a brioche bun with red onions, rocket greens, and fresh cut fries on the side. On the menu it says the toppings are “hot house tomatoes, charred red onions, and rocket greens”, but I didn’t receive any tomatoes and the red onions were not charred at all (you can see in the picture below how it arrived). The menu has lots of toppings you can add, but at extremely high prices. The blue cheese was an extra $5. I love blue cheese, but I don’t $5 extra love blue cheese. I would have liked to see the burger cost a bit less (was $18 as-is), which would make me more willing to stack on some toppings to liven this burger up. I also would have liked a one-patty option since I’m more of a one-patty gal. I didn’t even notice on the menu that it was two patties.

This is how the Hogtown Smoke burger came to the table

Meat: It came with two Angus beef burger patties ground on site and never frozen, but they were far too dry (maybe a bit overcooked or not enough fat content). I added sauces to liven it up and add some moisture back in. I used the Hogmother BBQ sauce, ketchup, and the wings came with a spicy aioli that I used instead of mayo.

Toppings: The rocket greens were a good choice for this burger. The red onions were cut in rings had that sharp taste red onions can get sometimes. They would have been better if they were softened up on the grill before hand or more thinly cut.

Bun: The brioche bun was very nice but it couldn’t save this burger.

Sides: Fresh cut french fries were perfectly golden, crispy, and salted just right.

Cross section of the Hogtown Smoke burger on Queen Street in Toronto, after I added aioli, ketchup, and BBQ sauce

I wanted to love this burger, but it was underwhelming and I would not recommend it. It desperately needed a little less cook time, tomatoes to cut some of the dryness, and a pickle or some sort of sauce to give it an edge and add some juiciness to it. It also should have been cheaper (maybe just one patty to save costs), so the extra toppings to give it more flavor would be more affordable.

Other Food:

The kitchen sink stacked fries were to die for. Literally you’d probably die of a heart attack if you indulge in these babies too often. But figuratively speaking, they were delicious! It included beans, pulled pork, cheese, sour cream, BBQ sauce, and coleslaw. It says that it feeds two people but we barely made a dent in it (2 adults and 2 kids under 5).

Clockwise from upper left corner: brisket, wings, kitchen sink fries, sauces at the table

I did not try the wings but they looked plump. I did have some of the brisket and I found it to be good, but a bit dry compared to other BBQ joints and the smoky flavor didn’t penetrate all the way through the meat. There wasn’t a lot of fat on it, which might be why it wasn’t very juicy. However the sauces provided at the table made it less dry and added some zing to the flavor.

The BBQ sauces were at each table. The black & blue was mild, a little smokey and sweet. The Hogmother was mild with a little bit of a peppery kick. The Hogfather was a bit spicier than Hogmother, but not burn your mouth spicy.

Atmosphere & Staff:

Our waiter was great. He seemed nice and genuinely happy to be there and serving us. It was construction season in Toronto so there was banging and drilling in the building next door which could be heard through the walls. We had screaming kids with us at the time (our two year old was acting up), but no one gave us side-eye or made us feel unwelcome. There was nice street-style art on the walls with a chalkboard menu on one side and exposed brick and wood panels all around. There were bench style booths on one side and chair seating on the other (pictured below). There is a patio out back with high-top tables and a bar.

Inside Hogtown Smoke

Final Verdict:
1 Star

Please note the rating is JUST for the burger, and not a reflection on the restaurant as a whole. Come for the slow cooked meat and kitchen sink fries, but don’t order the burger. This place has delicious meats and other food items to sample that are much tastier.