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On Saturday night dog-sitting duties found us walking in the heart of Leslieville / Riverville / South Riverdale in search of a decent spot for dinner.  Reliable Fish & Chips closes at the ridiculously early hour of 7 PM on Saturdays and it was obvious that a reservation was a must to get a table at the trendy (and apparently excellent) Table 17.   Indecision and the warm weather led us as far as Dangerous Dan’s hoping for a good burger and a look at what the neighbourhood was like before Rowe Farms and the Leslieville Cheese Market set up shop.  Dangerous Dan’s is right across the street from a seedy “gentlmen’s club” (Jilly’s) and doesn’t look like much from the outside but I have read on Chowhound and heard from friends that it’s a good place to get a straightforward burger at a decent price.

The Big Kahuna burger at Dangerous Dan's.  (Photo by Kat)

The Big Kahuna burger at Dangerous Dan's. (Photo by Kat)

First, for the operators of hamburger joints and aspiring diners I have two suggestions that they hopefully don’t need to hear from me:

  1. Turn your deep-fryer up to the proper temperature and clean the oil regularly; and
  2. Throw out your microwave.
The suspect fries

The suspect fries (Photo by Kat)

Frozen fries are bad.  Frozen fries cooked in obviously tepid, dirty oil are inedible.   The onion rings were only marginally better.

Small onion rings

Small onion rings

Kat observed (with mild horror) our burgers being led on a bizarre dance from grill to microwave and back to grill.   They’re close to two inches thick so I assume this is supposed to preserve the “charbroiled flavour” while ensuring that absolutely nothing is under-cooked–or  moist.  If size is the make-or-break for you (and the burgers at Dangerous Dan’s are 8 oz.) you’d be better off at McDonald’s getting two quarter-pounders.

Putting bacon and pineapple on a burger and calling it “Big Kahuna” is a good (though unoriginal) idea.  I hope that I don’t lose my citizenship for saying this but if a menu offers “bacon” I definitely don’t expect peameal.  The cornmeal-covered pork loin that this city is known for makes a great sandwich on its own and roasting or grilling a whole hunk is one of my favourite easy meals but on a burger it brings not nearly enough of the smoky saltiness of regular streaky bacon.  As well, I find that condiment bacon is much harder to render inedible than condiment peameal which DD’s cooks all the way to “chews like leather” status.

Service is rushed without reason: Staff run from the kitchen to the tables but move at a much more sedate pace when cooking behind the counter.  Placing an order and paying at the counter is fine with me and at $22 for two burgers, small fries, small onion rings, and a Diet Pepsi the prices were reasonable.

I suppose they have at least hit a bull’s-eye on the decor front.  This is dingy diner at its most authentic.  A sign on the wall announces that “vegetarian” is just the local word for bad hunter and the chairs are strikingly remiscient of the seats on a Greyhound bus.  If you’re hungry keep to McDonald’s (or one of the neighbourhood’s up-and-coming restaurants); if you want authentic olde tyme South Riverdale you’re better off at Jilly’s.