Often, the problem with a foodblogger is that they tend to go to places they want to eat at. Sounds odd, I know, but it leads to a distinct lack of reviews for kid-friendly places. Parents can read online about a bunch of places they can’t or don’t want to take their children. After all, who wants to spend one of their few nice nights out, camera in hand, to go to where the wild things are? Well, I guess that’s me and my cousin, who has on a few occasions been by back-up on my culinary adventures. She brought her two children this time. My mother and younger brother also came along.
Getting there, I thought it a bit funny that we were herded through a mini-corral on our way to order beef. Maybe they don’t share my sense of humour or they do and are having a laugh, I’m not sure. In any case, we passed by the glass window showing the options of patty sizes to choose from: 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, and 1lb. A full pound of beef, before cooking, is a fearsome thing to behold (oh, and the burgers here are accurately weighed and not lies like fast-food places). Fuddruckers, though having a limited menu, claims to do what they do well. I was excited that, according to their website, their cows don’t eat meat. You may laugh and think that of course cows don’t eat meat, but this is a common practice elsewhere. Their meat is fresh, never frozen, from cows allowed to roam free and the burgers are made on site. Also, they have a in store bakery that produces fresh buns. Finally, they serve beer. Children know that with their meal they get a few free coins for Ruckers next door. In order to force them to eat long enough to finish your meal rather than running over to Ruckers beer is, in my mind, necessary. Then, upon entering Ruckers, one realizes just how important the beer truly was. Helping a two year-old throw balls into a clowns mouth needs a certain level of good humour and patience that beer is made of.
This outing was a spontaneous plan and I had eaten closer to the time of Fuddruckering than is my norm for reviewing restaurants. Therefore, I only had the 1/3 lb Works (Bacon, Cheese, and Mushrooms) with what they claim are fries. The burger I was looking forward to was not moist succulent meaty goodness but bland, dry, and overcooked. Having a ridiculously overcooked burger at a burger joint is more than a little disappointing. My whole wheat bun was fresh and tasty. The near infinite assortment of hamburger accoutrement, bovine regalia, and fixins diminished my dissatisfaction with the dry patty. So many things to choose from! Lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, pico de gallo (aka salsa), cheese sauce, BBQ, ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, sauerkraut, jalapeños, and more! Plus, it was all super fresh! The tomatoes where red and the was lettuce green. There are many places where unripe tomatoes and lettuce that is turning brown are a burger’s sad and pathetic garnish. There are even salads constructed with such filth. Not here. Here it was fresh and for that I was elated.
The fries, however, were not fires. They were midget potato wedges. Awful midget potatoes wedges. Not crispy. Not salty. Not flavourful. Bland mooshy strange potato wedges. I was able to make them mostly edible by covering them in salt, salsa, and liquid cheese. The mushrooms that came with my burger tasted fine. I was surprised that they were located in a bowl beside the burger. I thought the Works would have come with mushrooms on the burger itself. Oh well, this allowed for a greater total number of mushrooms so I’ll call it a win, albeit a strange one.
Mentioning only those things that my guests had that I did not: I tired the onion rings, the Taco Salad, and the Hot Dog. The onion rings where generous and large, under salted in my books, and had a very thick batter. I prefer a thin batter, but I know people who like thick batter. The onion inside was also large and thick. They were decent onion rings. The Taco Salad was really good. It had a bit of heat but not too much, the chicken was great, and the veggies fresh. The pico de gallo (again think salsa) tasted good as well but did have a bit too much cilantro for me. Their Taco Salads are served in a pita that has been deep-fried into a bowl shaped shell. I like when places do this. I really like it when they do it to order and your shell is fresh, which is exactly what Fuddruckers does.
And now for the weiner... The rules when friends and family go out with me that I impose upon them are that: 1) I have to take a picture before they eat and 2) I have to try everything. Normally, my compatriots complain about how long it takes to take a picture (because so many restaurants use such low lighting) and then when it comes to tasting time I am stoked because of all the wonderful things I get to try. So, with the wickedness only a family member can possess, my cousin looked at her 5 year-old’s half eaten hotdog with nothing but ketchup on it and smiled. “Joseph” she asked, “don’t you remember your rules?” Damn. Well, the hotdog tastes like a hotdog. If you covered it in sauerkraut, onions, pickles and a bit of mustard with that ketchup it might even have been good.
Fudduckers is a fun place to go; there is beer for the old and game tokens for the young. The products are fresh and seeing how busy they are shows how much Saskatoon likes the place. If you are the type of person that likes big meals, or just want a challenge, they have a burger the size of your face. Is it perfect? No, there are things (like the gross fries) I would change. However, they do a great job of what they claim to be: a great burger joint for people of all ages.
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