I have been going to Chez Tousignant since this casse-croûte opened in Little Italy a little over a year ago. I knew of Michele Forgione through his notable restaurants in Montréal, Impasto and Pizzeria Gema, both of which I enjoy greatly, but a burger and hot-dog joint coming from his team? I had to go try.
I am always looking for a good cheeseburger since it is one of my favourite meals and when I heard Michele Forgione and Yann Turcotte describe theirs, it seemed promising. A fresh, housemade potato bun toasted on the flattop grill, smashed burger patties made with high quality meat, homemade “American cheese,” iceberg lettuce, sliced tomatoes, raw onions, homemade pickles, and their secret Tousignant sauce. I was sold so I went to try the day after the restaurant’s opening.
I imagined this burger being good, but my expectations were blown away. I was so satisfied with every single bite that I quickly became a regular. You will find me at Chez Tousignant at least once a week (if not more). The potato bun is better than a Martin’s Potato Bun (the famed buns served with Shake Shack burgers in the United States). The crew cooks the meat in such a way where the inside and outside of the burger patty have a different texture. The outside develops a crust from the pressing of the meat against the flattop grill, while the inside is still juicy and moist. This textural contrast takes the burger to another level. The quality of the accoutrements (lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle) is always high. The lettuce is crisp and refreshing, the tomato still has a crunch, the onion provide a little zing, and the pickles give the burger a tang that can only be achieved with pickles. While the burger just like this is great, the Tousignant sauce makes it my favourite burger I have ever had. This sauce (at least I think) is mayonnaise based and I can definitely sense hints of paprika and maybe pickle brine. Don’t quote me on this!
On top of the delicious food, I really enjoy the atmosphere at Chez Tousignant. The crew is always so nice and likes to chat and the restaurant design is picture perfect. You will find a blue and white tiled floor, a metal counter with stools, and classic rock music playing in the background. Whoever is in control of the music deserves a round of applause. I enjoy every song played and the tunes remind me of my family since I grew up getting what my Dad likes to call a musical education (he used to quiz us to make sure we knew who the Cure, New Order, Genesis, The Beatles, Journey, etc. are). My personal favourite memory at Chez Tousignant occurred after the staff knew me for a few months and it was just them and my friend and I in the restaurant. We eventually all began singing along to songs including “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey.
I will always be a regular here at Chez Tousignant and I don’t see that changing.
Recently, I was diagnosed with Celiac disease and this means I can no longer eat gluten containing products. While this means I no longer get to enjoy the buns made fresh daily by the staff, they were so nice about my ordering change and made me the most delicious cheeseburger in a lettuce bun. I had my lettuce bun cheeseburger with their hand-cut French fries and a Pepsi and I was in heaven. I didn’t even miss the gluten. It is the little things like this that make my day (especially when you love food).
When you go to Chez Tousignant (which you should do now), make sure to indulge and order a hot dog with your cheeseburger or poutine. I am not the biggest hot dog person, but Chez Tousignant hot dogs converted me, so much so that you will always find some of their homemade hot dogs in my refrigerator (sold in vacuum wrapped packages). Their hot dogs have the perfect snap and are cooked on the flattop grill. They are placed in a toasted, housemade hot dog bun and carefully garnished. The dogs, unlike their commercially available competitors, have no fillers and weird chemicals and it is noticeable in their taste. In my opinion, the Tousignant dog is the way to go! This hot dog is topped with the same cheese found of the cheeseburger, bacon, pickles, and that amazing Tousignant sauce. I know what you are thinking, cheese on a hot dog? Trust me, I thought it was odd too, but it is life-changing. I melt cheese on all my hot dogs now.
Chez Tousignant is worth the trip to Little Italy in Montréal. After writing this little piece professing my love of the casse-croûte, I think I will go there for dinner tonight. Check out the menu for yourself and go! There are many things to enjoy – burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, fries, and homemade ice cream.