The Modernist Gourmet Burger at Motor Burger
This high-energy, gourmet hamburger hot-spot is a departure for Little Italy or “Via Italia”, (Erie Street East’s restaurant row), and perhaps even more poignant because it replaced the ultra-sleek, sophisticated and highly touted Noi, that closed in late 2009. “There was a time you had to fight for a table at Noi – but the recession sent a chill through Windsor’s Little Italy.”
Never ones to rest on their culinary laurels, savvy restaurateurs and business partners Jay Souillere and Gino Geusale responded to the change in Windsor’s lingering economic climate. They re-imagined the Noi premises and conceptualized the chic and funky, cow and car décor- themed Motor Burger. The fresh and original take on a contemporary burger joint was fashioned as a survival plan to the recession, and an intentional way to pay homage to Windsor’s automobile industry. The result was a stream-lined operation with a recession-friendly, gourmet menu that appeals to a broader demographic. Since its inception Motor Burger has garnered rave reviews and developed a dedicated following. On a recent hot summer Saturday night the restaurant was packed with devotees. The restaurant is family-friendly.
There is an open-kitchen at the back of the dining room that adds additional excitement to the ambience. Our engaging servers, Summer and Kelly were both down-to-earth, intelligent and hospitable. Another friendly server informs us, “last December, in an effort to go green, Motor Burger stopped serving imported bottled waters. Instead they installed a reverse osmosis system, which dispenses both regular and sparkling waters. Immediately we knew we were in good hands.
To start, a delicious salad of local watermelon, blueberries, peppery arugula, minced pear and zucchini, Kalamata olives and pickled red onion was both refreshing and seasonal. Spring rolls in phyllo pastry with a spicy chorizo-chili and smoked cheese were another hit.
The SMART Veg-Engine burger was designed to be a vegetarian’s nirvana, made with a patty of mushrooms, pumpkin seeds, corn, butter beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, garlic, curry and cilantro.
Other less common ingredients, such as Kobe beef brisket, or a minced shrimp burger with chilies, garlic, coconut milk and avocado and mango salsa are on offer. There is also a ground Ahi-tuna burger with sesame oil. Souillere who is the executive chef tells me that the hot ticket this summer is the Firebird: Ground fresh chicken with Serrano chilies, topped with a four pepper medley, Muenster cheese and red-hot crispy onions.
If you prefer something less modernist, they also list a signature Motor Burger. French fries are thin, home-cut and ordered al a carte. Sides include: sweet potato fries, poutine, onion rings and coleslaw. Dessert was a rich dark chocolate cake infused with heat and reminiscent of a molten soufflé.
The bar prepares a perfect martini with proper olives and offers a selection of themed milkshakes (spiked and non-alcoholic) and signature cocktails. A modest wine list features only one local red and one local white wine and a number of international selections.
Motor Burger is innovative has lots of finesse and both substance and style.
888 Erie St E
Windsor, ON ,
519 252 8004