We tried Hrvati Bar but it's a small bar, and they said the wait would be about 45 minutes. I'm not sure if it's usually that packed or Burger Week is more popular than I thought it was.
So we deflected to Caplansky's (356 College Street). It took them a little while to get us seated, and we were a little perplexed as there seemed to be enough free tables. They offered their $5 burger, but also a $10 beer-and-burger deal which I got.
Here's the Muskoka cream ale in a cup that I was supposed to keep.
I liked it. It was nice. Went down easy and smoothly. Very unoffensive.
Here's the $5 burger, and I ordered an extra side of smoked meat poutine ($5).
The burger was super, super dried out. It had flavour, but I found myself wishing for more fat pockets to cut the dryness. I liked the challah bun. I didn't taste much of that piece of smoked meat on it. The poutine had lots of oregano which Berta did not like. Jess liked it until it got too salty. I liked it because the flavour was so strong and it was so meaty - it went well with my cream ale, I thought. (Also, I like salty.) The cheese curds were a bit scant though.
Would I return to Caplansky's? Maybe for their smoked meat, which they seem to advertise way more of. I had interest in the latkes, but looking at an adjacent table's order of them, they seemed a bit too blackened. Service is friendly.
The diner isn't very big, and it's mostly two seater booths, but we managed to find two benches in the back that could seat six people each.
There was a $10 pitcher of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer from 3 - 6 p.m. written up on the chalk board, next to the $5 burger for Burger Week. Naturally, we got the pitcher.
It's okay. It's light and... okay, it tastes a bit like water to me. I'd drink it if someone else orders it or if it's on sale.
In the back, you can see them grind up the meat. Meat grinder excitement!
Onion rings ($5) and my $5 burger.
The onion rings were HUGE, and very crispy. They tasted sweet. I liked them, but I felt like they could've used a bit of seasoning. Not a problem, since there was salt and pepper on the table. A good idea might be to get one of their dipping sauces and dip 'em into that.
AAA house-ground beef with herbed goat cheese, caramelized onions, and jalapeno aioli.
The meat wasn't bad, but I really liked the caramelized onions and goat cheese. That's good stuff.
Bianca and Derek both got a poutine. It was pretty good.
We also tried the deep-fried pickles. They were super crispy and came with some sort of yummy chipotle aioli sauce. I tried a small bit and I think that's all I can take. It was fun to try.
Would I return? Yes. Burger wasn't bad and had good toppings, poutine was decent (slightly pinkish, not too dry), sauces were interesting, fried stuff was crispy, server was fun.
Burger week lasts until Sunday. More info here.