Mondo Burger Bar is now closed permanently.
I moved to the other side of Richmond a couple of months ago and while I was certainly familiar with the Steveston area before, I guess there were still plenty of things I had yet to discover. While most will head to Steveston if they’re looking for fresh seafood on the weekends or maybe to enjoy a meal at one of the fine restaurants in the area such as Tapenade Bistro, there are lots of nooks and crannies with small shops and restaurants nestled in between. The neighborhood is developing quickly as of late with newer buildings popping up around others that look like they’ve been here for decades.
A menu caught my eye a few weeks ago. “Kangaroo?!” I said, in regards to the kangaroo burger on the menu of Mondo Burger Bar. Now I’ve eaten a lot of interesting things but kangaroo is not one of them. I thought they were like penguins and giraffes…animals that I’ve brought up at various foodie events around town as animals I would try given the opportunity. I had no idea you could even eat kangaroo. I didn’t think they were endangered but I was almost sure you could only find them in Australia and I didn’t think the Bruces were exporting their marsupial mascots as burgers.
If there was a group that would dive into kangaroo burgers with me, it would be Dot Com Pho. We’ve been on many burger adventures before including a very expensive burger with foie gras and that time Stephen ate three 1/2-pound burgers in less than 10 minutes.
Mondo is a deceptively large restaurant in the middle of Steveston. I don’t mean it can seat a lot of people but the space is bigger than you would expect, especially since when you walk to the door around the corner, you expect a diner counter with a line of bar stools.
There’s quite a bit of room at Mondo and they can accommodate large parties quite easily. We had 12 people at our table.
I arrived last so I got a chance to see everyone’s burgers before mine arrived. Almost everyone ordered a kangaroo burger while some decided to tack on a few more things. The aforementioned bottomless pit Stephen Fung ordered a kangaroo burger along with an elk and a bison burger. I’ve had bison previously. It’s like a lean cut of beef with a slight gamey flavor. Elk I haven’t had but I just assumed it tastes like venison.
Aaron decided it would be a good idea to get a chili cheese dog to go with his burger. I don’t know if there are rules to making hot dogs but surely this breaks all of them. It looks like it should be eaten with a spoon rather than your hands…which is conclusive evidence that it is probably awesome. Messy food is often the best. I’d try one of these but I’d probably be punished with food coma later.
This is the kangaroo burger ($8.95). Simply dressed with a little lettuce, a slice of tomato and a bit of what I just assumed was mayo, I’m sure no one would know this was a kangaroo burger unless they were told. The burger itself is cooked well, not overdone but as the meat is so lean, there isn’t that nice juiciness you get from a perfectly cooked regular burger. There’s some interesting flavor and I did like eating it but if you didn’t know ahead of time, you would never think it was kangaroo. It’s a fun thing to try but I wouldn’t order it again over a regular burger that costs less and is probably just as good.
I got a side of yam fries ($4. You can get a half-order for $2…which I learned later) to go with my burger. Lightly seasoned with salt but they don’t have as much flavor as I would like. They were a little too mushy for yam fries and didn’t have that nice crunchy outer layer. They were also not as warm as I would like. The waitress recommended the curry mayo ($1.50) to go with them. I enjoyed it but some others at the table thought the flavor was strange.
Leo got a side of onion rings. They look rather plain. I still think A&W makes the best onion rings.
I’d go to Mondo again but I wouldn’t order the kangaroo. It seems like a novelty rather than a burger you would actually want to order and enjoy. I would encourage you to order it and give it a try not only because you might find that you like it but also because it is a small step outside most people’s comfort zones and…well, it just tastes like a burger! I find that so many people will only eat stuff they know. Maybe eating a kangaroo burger and finding out that it isn’t some freaky flavor will give some the courage to try much scarier but more delicious food like eel, octopus and sea urchin.