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Gourmet Bymark Burger with Oyster Mushrooms and Truffle Aioli

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Executive chef Brooke McDougall doesn’t take lunch lightly at Toronto’s Bymark.

Executive chef Brooke McDougall
Executive chef Brooke McDougall serves up a mean burger at Toronto’s Bymark.

Bymark was a visual and culinary triumph when it first opened in 2001 and it remains so today. The Yabu Pushelberg–designed space is as beautiful, spare and honest as the Canadian Shield, making the subterranean setting a buzzy restaurant. Here, the three–martini lunch endures, fuelled by signature burgers imagined by chef/owner Mark McEwan, and cooked up by executive chef Brooke McDougall, who from day one has added seasonality and precision – and knowing what people want – to the menu. Think: butter–braised lobster poutine, PEI grass–fed tenderloin and a plate of warm cookies for dessert.

Related: Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2021 — see the list

November 5, 2021

The Bymark Burger

Serves 4

2 lb (1 kg) prime–grade strip loin (or quality ground meat from your butcher)
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and coarsely ground pepper
2 large king oyster mushrooms, cut into ¼–inch slices
2 tbsp butter, divided
4 top–quality hamburger buns
1 cup truffle aioli (recipe follows)
8 leaves red lettuce
7 oz aged Brie de Meaux, cut into ¼–inch slices
Black or summer truffle shavings or truffle oil, to taste (optional)

Truffle Aioli
1 egg
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp truffle paste
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

Trim the strip loin of any silver skin or connective tissue, then pass through a meat grinder fitted with a medium blade. Divide into four portions and then, slapping each portion from hand to hand, form it into thick patties. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

To make the truffle aioli, whisk together the egg, mustard and truffle oil in a medium bowl. Continue whisking while slowly adding the oil in a steady stream. When finished, thin with vinegar to taste, and season with salt and pepper. Keeps refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Preheat grill to high. Rub burgers with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Lightly oil the grill rack, sear the burgers well on both sides, and then lower heat to medium and continue cooking for 8 to 10 minutes for medium rare.

Meanwhile, sauté prepared mushrooms in a tablespoon of butter until soft, then mark them on the grill. Grill the buns and butter them lightly. Spread about a tablespoon of aioli on the bottom half of each bun. Add lettuce, then the beef patties, cheese, mushrooms and the optional truffle shavings or a few drops of truffle oil. Finish the Bymark burgers with the bun tops and allow to rest for 3 minutes so cheese melts. Serve with chosen accompaniment and a ramekin of truffle aioli.

Wine pairing

Using bright fruit from vineyards throughout the Niagara Peninsula, Tawse Winery’s VQA Grower’s Blend Cabernet Franc is robust enough to keep up with the juicy burger and toppings.

Check back for the latest updates on Canada’s Best New Cookbook, coming in spring 2022.

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