Sunday, April 20, 2014

Almost Deluxe

It was a simple burger. It's not really a knock on it, but I can't really say that it stood out either. When a burger comes without condiments I'm usually half-scared and half-excited. Why? Simply because they either expect the burger to be good enough without any condiments or they expect you to use ketchup. Nothing against ketchup, I like ketchup, and sometimes the goodness is in simplicity, and ketchup is the base condiment that is safe and you can always fall back on. However, everyone can get/use ketchup. Even when you make your own burgers at home. So that being said, Jimmy's Deluxe Burger at the Colonie Diner was a good burger, a good homemade style burger.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Not quite the heat I was expecting...

To celebrate a friend's birthday, I decided to grab lunch at Smokey Bones BBQ, which I now realize is something of chain. The main reason I didn't realize that at first was simply because I've only seen the one I went to, which is just outside of my apartment, so that worked out for me. I'd been here before with a friend because I had heard that the food was pretty good and he had a coupon. I also picked this place subsequently for this particular outing because I too had a coupon available. We started with an order of fried pickles, which were quite tasty, but you're here about the burgers, so let's jump into that.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

There is some doubt

No Doubt Stout BBQ Burger by jaceman4
No Doubt Stout BBQ Burger, a photo by jaceman4 on Flickr.
So as a final pit stop in my recent visit to Seattle, I decided to meet up with a bunch of friends at a fairly centralized locale (for us) to grab dinner and generally just hang out. That place was Elliott Bay in the Lake City area, which was newer (relatively), meaning that it wasn't there when I left (about two years ago). It was a fairly typical brewery type restaurant, which meant generally pub type food. I decided that since they were a brewery to get the No Doubt Stout BBQ Burger, which is made from their No Doubt Stout ale.

Everything was fairly well prepared, the burger came with cheese, onions straws, lettuce, tomato, onion, and BBQ sauce. Unfortunately, this particular burger proved (at least for me) that burgers aren't really BBQ items. While you might cook a rack of ribs or brisket on a grill like a burger, the flavors you are going for are different. That being said, while I like meaty burgers, I also understand that you don't want your burger to be too dense, otherwise it becomes kind of bogged down and dry like a meatloaf sandwich. That's part of the reason you don't necessarily want to use the leanest cut of meat for your burgers. Now, it wasn't that the meat here was dry, but rather that the BBQ sauce was designed for something slightly tougher, such as a brisket or a tri-tip, not a burger. It wasn't that the sauce was bad, it just didn't fit the burger schema. In short, the BBQ sauce was too sweet, the flavor really overwhelmed everything else on the burger. Maybe some people like it that way, but for me, it made things really hard to taste on the burger, and thus, sort of ruined the burger experience.

The fries were good, not much else needs to be said here. It's pretty hard to ruin fries. Nothing special, but sometimes simplicity is best. I'm not going to say Elliott Bay is a bad place to eat, from what I saw of everyone else's food, it all looked good. Conceptually, this burger made sense, it was safe, but unfortunately, execution marred the concept.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sort of a burger

Godzilla Attack by jaceman4
Godzilla Attack, a photo by jaceman4 on Flickr.
There's a lot to like about Katsu Burger. Really, there is. Yet still, a small part of me feels like this is more of a Chick-Fil-A type joint rather than a burger joint. I suppose, that's what makes me a burger snob, because I'm certain there are a ton of people that would consider Chick-Fil-A a "burger" place as everything is on a bun, but I think it's more than that, but that's not something I'll get into a whole lot now.

While the patty itself was beef, it was deep fried in the Japanese katsu style. Now, I'm a huge fan of katsu, but it's not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when I think burger. So the texture itself kind of threw me off. There were jalapenos and a slaw as extra fixings on the burger which offset it really well. I don't know if it's a hang up for me, but ultimately, it still didn't really "feel" like a burger simply because it didn't really have that sort of substantial feel that you would come to expect out of a burger. Not to say that it wasn't good, it was good. The beef was high quality and well done, just, don't go expecting a traditional burger, which is pretty much what they're going for here.

It seems weird that I feel like I'm knocking this place when I like burgers and I like katsu, but I'm trying to be honest with my reflections. I liked the nori fries, though personally I like a little more substance (perhaps that's what I'm looking for) in my fries, so I like crisp as opposed to crunchy (I don't know if that makes sense), but I like heartier fries with a firm edge, as opposed to smaller fries that are kind of crunchy all around. They also had some pretty cool and unique house-made dipping sauces. That being said it was all in all a good experience, just don't expect a typical "burger" when you come here.

BTW, the shake was good too.

Monday, August 19, 2013

If only it were happy hour

The Pub Burger by jaceman4
The Pub Burger, a photo by jaceman4 on Flickr.
So it's kind of weird to me that the most anticipated blog post I've probably ever had on this blog is going to be about a burger I had at a supermarket. Okay, so it's not exactly a supermarket, but rather, a dining establishment that was attached to a supermarket. Long story short, I was visiting Rochester and my friends decided that we ought to try The Food Bar at Wegman's, and because their burgers were supposed to be pretty good, and I had a burger blog, I should review it. We went, and it was a nice place, the more I think of it the more it actually was designed kind of like a bar than an actual restaurant (given the wine dispensers in the dining area).

Anyways, I'm not a big drinker, actually, I don't drink (alcohol) at all. However, I know that generally speaking happy hours are great places to get burgers, and in all honesty that's really what this burger was, a happy hour burger. Don't get me wrong, the burger was well done, the ingredients were fresh and it was prepared quite well. Served with the slice of tomato, leaf of lettuce, melted cheese, and Thousand Island, there was a certain elegance to the simplicity of the concept. A burger, made well. However, that being said, the burger kind of took that concept to the extreme. Beyond that, you were really paying full menu price for a happy hour burger The meat was well prepared and hearty, the Pub Burger being a 1/2 lb patty, however despite the simplicity of the ingredients it was something of an underwhelming burger in all honesty. The main detraction I had was that the bun was more of a roll than a bun, meaning that it was a bit airier than the typical bun which, while not a huge detraction, was not typical for a burger. Additionally, the heavy char used on the burger and the grilled bun, again, while a nice addition, completely stifled the flavor from the Thousand Island.

Part of what makes going out to eat a treat is partially that you don't have to really work to prep the food or clean up, but another part of it is largely to get what you can't really make at home. While I don't believe necessarily that I can as consistently crank out a burger this well prepared, I believe that I can get close enough. Again, I want to reiterate that this was a well-done burger, but what makes the experience largely not worthwhile is simply that the product is not worth the price. Normally at this point of the review I'd be making some generic comment about the fries, which I cannot do here, because the burger doesn't come with any, and I'd already paid for a full meal for just the burger and a drink. I know it's a nice half-pound patty, but the mark-up was pretty ridiculous in my opinion. While I know this is a blog about the quality of the burger, the price tag does markedly affect the overall perception and dining experience. It's a nifty dining experience, and it's good, for a supermarket, but in all honesty, if you're in that plaza hankering for a burger, you'd probably do better at Cheesecake Factory.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Onion Burns Bright

XL Texas Heat by jaceman4
XL Texas Heat, a photo by jaceman4 on Flickr.
Well, I was in Seattle for a wedding and my friends and I decided to go to Blazing Onion for dinner before catching a movie (not on the wedding day). I was informed that this place had good burgers (and bottomless fries, which never hurts). I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but the overall ambiance of the place seemed nice and the burger menu looked very legit.

I was ultimately torn between the Wild Boar, Buffalo, and Texas Heat burgers, because, frankly, they all looked good and the concept of wild boar meat was intriguing, and I knew for a fact that buffalo meat was good. However, I stuck with the Texas Heat as it was my first time here and I wanted to get a good gauge of the place overall as a burger joint. As they were 1/3 lb patties, I opted for an XL (2 patties). The first notable difference from the typical burger was that it was served on an Asiago onion bun rather than your typical bun or roll. While this added a nice touch, I didn't notice it making a significant impact on the burger itself (maybe it was too subtle for me). The patties were really juicy and well cooked. The burger was topped with Chipotle mayo and salsa as well as the normal fixings as well. Overall it worked pretty well as a whole. However, generally speaking, I didn't really taste any salsa, and the only real noticeable thing about it was that it made the burger kind of runny.

The fries were solid, they added some nice seasoning on the first batch and the next few batches after were at the least fresh from the fryer. Overall, I would say that this place is a solid place to go out and get a burger. Definitely better than Red Robin has been in recent memory.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Not a bad special

Bacon Pepperjack Burger by jaceman4
Bacon Pepperjack Burger, a photo by jaceman4 on Flickr.
Usually at most places I'm a little leery of the seasonal specials. Especially big corporate chains like Denny's. However, this special burger they had during their bacon special was quite good, surprisingly so. Maybe it was because it was at a Denny's, though, I've come to the point of realizing where if you don't have super high expectations for Denny's when you walk in, you probably will usually be pleasantly surprised.

Overall, the meat was cooked pretty well, albeit a little on the drier side (as they don't serve anything more rare than medium-well). They had an interesting tangy sauce to go with the bacon and pepperjack cheese, which I thought worked quite well. All-in-all, not a bad thing.

Apparently they added seasoned fries to the menu. That being said, they did take the burger off of the cheaper, value menu slot, and this was a special anyways, but still it wasn't that bad of a deal. It's Denny's so you're pretty safe overall. I'd imagine this would be amazing at like 2AM.