- Home >
I popped over to Relish tonight. After the post about my first Relish experience a couple of weeks ago, I decided to give them a second chance. I wanted to try their poutine. I consider myself to be a bit of a poutine connoisseur (if there is such a thing). It may seem like a pretty simple concept: put cheese on french fries, pour gravy over the cheese to melt the cheese… but there are so many factors that could change the outcome.
The fries need to be well-cooked (but not over-cooked) so the gravy doesn’t turn them into mush. The cheese is a matter of personal taste… authentic poutine tends to use cheese curds, but here I just shred mozzarella. Then the gravy. Oh, the gravy. Probably nothing else matters as much as the gravy. You put the wrong gravy on, and you’ve ruined everything. Poutine gravy should be dark, rich, and thick. Too many place places use gravy the consistency of water. Not good.
So how did Relish stack up in the poutine department? Well, first let me say that I applaud management’s decision to hire barbie dolls behind the counter. I thought that my last visit was just a fluke. Nope. Not so. Moving on… How was the food? As expected, Relish poutine is not cheap. I paid $5+ for a rather small box of poutine. And honestly, it’s probably just as well that it was small because the salt content is probably through the roof. Salt and poutine go hand in hand. Poutine is not a meal for someone who is trying to make healthy choices. I understand that. And I love salt… so I know that when I find something to be too salty, then it’s too salty.
I know that Relish is new, and everyone seems to love it there… I want to recommend it. I really do. I’m just having a real hard time getting excited about paying gourmet prices for a small amount of food. The burger and fries that I had last time were good, but I don’t think that I got great value for my money. Tonight, I’m even having a hard time saying that my meal was good. It was ok. I know that I’ll be hungry in an hour or two, and that’s not good.
I think that I’m done with Relish. I know that people will disagree with me, and if you haven’t had a chance to try their food yet, you really should not base your decision on a single person’s blog. So go try it… and let me know what you think.
I understand that I might lose a couple of readers with this one, but I can not in good conscience, let this go un-addressed. It’s not a negative review… it’s simply a little more realistic than some of the ones that I’ve read on the subject.
When Relish opened up across the street at the old Reggie’s location, I was quite excited to try it out. People raved about the gourmet burgers in Fredericton and Oromocto, and at one point I had almost driven to Fredericton to see what all the fuss was about. Almost. But when the Saint John location opened, there was no need to go for a drive. It was only a matter of time before I would step across the street and put Relish to the test.
Before I was able to place my order, the girl asked me for my name. I tried to explain that I hadn’t pre-ordered this, but then I remembered someone telling me that Relish likes to make a spectacle when your meal is ready by calling out “We Relish Stephen…” Ugh. I can really do without the theatrics. I just want to get my meal and eat. So I ordered The Great One, which consists of cheddar cheese, bacon, and roasted garlic mayonnaise served on a nice patty and bun. I opted for the fries and a bottled water (they serve Pop Shoppe and Pepsi). The grand total? (I wish I had my receipt still, so I’m going by memory) Over $14. I don’t remember how close it was to $15, so we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say $14. That was after-tax.
I knew walking in there that I was not getting out without opening up my wallet for some serious change, and that’s fine. I completely accept the fact that Relish is not McDonalds, and I applaud them for bringing gourmet burgers to this part of the country. If you don’t want to pay that kind of money, there are more than enough fast food places that will serve you a combo for half that price. But the big question as I opened the box after returning to work… was my meal actually worth $14?
There is no denying that the burger I ate was far superior to McDonalds or any other fast food chain. It had a nice taste, although I was expecting it to be bigger. I had been told that eating at Relish was like eating a real meal. If I finished it, I wouldn’t be left hungry. I’m disappointed to say, that was not the case. The burger was good, but not as filling as I had hoped. The fries were rather plain and far fewer than I expected. Considering that fries are the “cheap filler” of any combo, I was certainly expecting there to be more of them. Relish uses the thick cut fries, and they were good, but nothing special. Because of the extra care they put into creating unique burgers, I would have liked to have seen something a little more special with their fries. For those who like such things, I was offered the opportunity to upgrade (for a price) to sweet potato fries, but I’m not a fan. Oh, I see that Relish makes poutine, and I am curious about that. The type of fries they served me would be perfect for poutine. But how’s their gravy?
I know that a lot of people rave over Relish, and I hate knock on them, because I do think that there is a market for gourmet burgers in this city. It’s also nice to see something new open in the city core that draws people (although I was the only person in there that day). Relish isn’t bad by any means, but it’s hard for me to get excited about spending $14 on a burger and fries combo that left me wanting more… especially when I could just as easily have swung through the drive-thru at Swiss Chalet and gotten a quarter chicken meal combo for less money that would have kept the hunger away longer than Relish did with their offering.
Scanning through my Twitter feed yesterday, and I noticed something interesting.
Big day for Relish. Just sold the franchise rights for Saint John and Moncton. First location in SJ at old Reggies on Germain St
I have to admit, I’d never heard of Relish until somewhat recently. The topic came up in May, while chatting with someone from Fredericton. Had I ever eaten there? No… I’d never even heard of it before. Gourmet burgers? Go on, I’m listening…
I have it on good authority that this is a place that I need to check out. Sooner, rather than later. I probably would have taken a drive to Fredericton by now, but things just didn’t work out that way. Still, I hadn’t forgotten the recommendation, and when I noticed the above-mentioned tweet, I smiled. The old Reggies location is directly across the street from work, so finding time to stop by shouldn’t be a problem.
Looking at the menu, it’s obvious that this is no ordinary burger chain. I wish that they had prices for the burgers listed, but I’m guessing that I’m going to need more than my standard $6 or $7 for a burger, fries and pop. But that’s OK, because I’m looking for something a little better than my usual quarter-pounder combo.
Now if only they’re open at 3am when I’m working night shift!