Posts Tagged ‘I'm running out of clever tags for these burger reviews’

Dutch Boy Burger

Posted in Burgers on January 25th, 2016 by Nathan – Be the first to comment

It's been ages since I've reviewed a burger. But I'm living in NYC again, where I first started my burger reviews, and the other day, my friend Jenn asked if I didn't have a blog "dedicated to reviewing hamburgers at one point?" I figure those two things alone ought to get me reviewing again.

With that garbage intro to this post aside, I can transition rapidly to the garbage burger I had on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It's been my tradition for over a decade to drink a milkshake on MLK day, and this year I had to find one in Crown Heights. Dutch Boy Burger was recommended by trusted friends, new friends that I met only days earlier, and by the internet. So clearly, it was the best option (also the closest).

And I gotta say, it was a delicious shake. I did a chocolate/vanilla mix, partially because that's "in the spirit of the holiday," but mostly because I love that combo in a shake. And it delivered. Creamy and thick, this was clearly made with high quality ice cream, whole milk, and care, right there seconds before it was delivered to me in a diner-style glass. It was fantastic.

Unlike the burger. I got a "Bacon Blue Burger," complete with thick-cut bacon (this was good), bleu cheese (also good), and, after I asked for it, mayonnaise. The burger itself? A major letdown. Poor meat quality, thin, inconsistently cooked (I like medium rare, but this was charred darkly on the outside as though well done, but cold on the inside as though rare), bland, and overall weak.

I was disappointed in the burger, but I'll probably return for the shake. Even if this place felt strongly like it was home to an angel heralding the four horsemen of gentrification (and the prices certainly reflected that), it's hard to find a shake that good. I'll just have to eat elsewhere.

Rockwell Tavern

Posted in Burgers on May 21st, 2014 by Nathan – Be the first to comment

I've been far out to Rockwell Tavern a few times now but haven't put my thoughts on their burgers here yet. So here goes.

Basically this is a great burger. I've tried a few of their burgers now and my favorite is easily the Sunburn, topped with all manners of heat: pepper jack, jalapeno bacon, chipotle mayo, and their "house hot sauce." I cannot verify the implied claim that it's made in house, it honestly doesn't seem so. But that doesn't matter: the burger is excellent. The meat is fresh and tasty, a good blend of beef that speaks for itself. (This is especially evident if you order the Vintage, a simple bacon cheeseburger.) It's juicy and oozes magnificently, but the sweet cheddar jalapeno bun (standard on every burger) easily stands up to the challenge.

The heat is not overpowering, and the chipotle mayo and jalapeno bacon complement each other to provide a little bit of extra flavor in contrast to the spice-only taste of the "house hot sauce." And to add to that, the hand-cut french fries, though not the best I've ever had, are pretty good, and are easily washed down with any of a very good selection of craft beers.

My only major complaint with Rockwell is the location. Oh and the hours: I find it very strange that a bar closes at 9 pm (and thus frequently empties/cleans earlier than that) on a Thursday night. If you find yourself in Cypress, hungry early in the evening, stop by Rockwell. Get a burger and fries. And enjoy.

Burger at Damian’s Cucina Italiana

Posted in Burgers on February 12th, 2013 by Nathan – Be the first to comment

Damian’s, a staple of the Houston restaurant scene, turns thirty this year, which is an amazing milestone. As someone else put it (though I cannot remember who), that’s like 120 in restaurant years. Truly impressive.

Their Italian cuisine is well-regarded throughout Houston, and I’m sad to say I’ve never had it. See, until last week, I’d never visited Damian’s, even though it’s in Midtown, and is probably my mother’s favorite restaurant. Last week, however, I had a reason that could not keep me away: a secret burger.

My mother frequents Damian’s so often that she has developed a relationship both with the chef and her favorite waiter (and now friend), Ruben. So when she found out that there’s an off-the-menu burger that the chef makes, she invited me along to come try it.

The catch with the burger is that it has to be ordered at least twenty-four hours in advance, as the chef prepares the meat ahead of time. And frankly, it shows. Though atop a rather boring bun (which is not unexpected since this is not a burger establishment) and accompanied by the usual salad fixings, this is not a bland burger by any stretch. The meat mixture is complex, well-seasoned, cooked to perfection, and straight-up fantastic.

It’s not an oozy burger, and it’s not gourmet. And because of that, it doesn’t fall prey to the many downfalls that can plague the modern burger. It simply does one thing, and it does it well. I’m glad I had a chance to try it, and I’m glad that Damian’s has survived thirty years. Here’s to many more.

Witchcraft Tavern & Provision Co

Posted in Burgers on December 21st, 2012 by Nathan – Be the first to comment

There's a whole rock-and-roll theme going on in Witchcraft and it's pretty neat. Makes for great ambiance.The other night, Rebecca and I journeyed to the Heights to check out the newly-opened Witchcraft Tavern & Provision Co, replacing Dragon Bowl, a Chinese place we had enjoyed in the past. The owners and team are the same, but the concept is different, so we were excited to check it out.

Beer and burgers is basically a concept that I can sign up for without even blinking. And since that’s the concept behind Witchcraft, the place had been on my list since it was first announced.

Twenty taps adorn the wall, under a chalkboard proclaiming the beers available. (Or rather, the beers that were available at the last writing of the chalkboard – our visit showed a match of only eighteen out of twenty.) These twenty taps are all craft, with one cider, and all quite impressive. Locals as well as mainstays from out of state. Not anything too rare, nor anything you can’t find anywhere else, but a great selection with good variety sure to please everyone.

For food, Witchcraft has a good menu of sandwiches, burgers, and appetizers, including two that were held over from Dragon Bowl. Both Rebecca and I went for burgers. Mine, the Andouille, was a mixture of Andouille sausage and beef with bacon jam and chipotle cheese. And frankly, it was delicious.

The toppings only served to highlight the burger, and the bun was strong enough to hold together with ease, so there’s no worries there. But it was the burger itself that really stood out. The sausage-mixed beef was tasty, juicy, and great on every bite. And on top of that, it was cooked to perfection, exactly how I ordered it.

I’d recommend checking out Witchcraft. It’s a nice spot, and a good replacement for Dragon Bowl. I definitely know I’ll be back more often than I frequented Dragon Bowl, because it’s hard for me to say no to good beer and good burgers.

Wicked Whisk Widow Maker

Posted in Burgers on August 30th, 2012 by Nathan – 2 Comments

Burgers are good for many things, and blog posts are only one of them. Another thing they are good for is foie gras delivery, as was the case for the Wicked Whisk's Widow Maker.

The Wicked Whisk, normally a food truck, opened a pop-up at the Kitchen Incubator (where Burger Guys was a few months back for a couple weeks) that promised to be awesome. So last week, I led my coworkers to the lunch spot so that I could try the Widow Maker, a burger with foie gras, truffle pecorino, and lemon aioli. It was awesome.

First of all, I've only had foie gras once before. I enjoyed it. And the piece I had in the past was perhaps one-eighth the size of the foie gras on this burger. Seriously, this was a literal chunk of foie gras, the diameter of the burger itself, perhaps half the thickness. It was juicy and delicious and contributed to the overall ooze of the burger, which was fantastic.

Without the foie gras, this would have still been an amazing burger. With the foie gras, it was a masterpiece. The cheese was tasty and oozy, the aioli was a great touch and not overdone. Even the bun was fantastic, perfectly toasted and delicious. The meat itself was flavorful, extremely juicy, and expertly cooked to perfection. I've had a rash of overcooked burgers lately and it was nice to get one that wasn't so.

The wicked whisk is only downtown for another few days, but see if you can't find their truck the next time you're in the mood for a decadent masterpiece of deliciousness. You won't be disappointed.

Crave Sushi (Burger)

Posted in Burgers on August 9th, 2012 by Nathan – 1 Comment

See? The menu prominently featured the burger. The quotes really hammer home the point.Normally I wouldn't want to be the guy who orders a burger at a sushi place. That guy is a weirdo. But this time, there were four things that influenced my decision:

  • The menu prominently featured the burger and claimed it to be "the best Kobe beef burger in Houston!" This was a claim that needed to be tested; clearly they were proud of their burger.
  • I had had the sushi at Crave before and wasn't that impressed, so I was looking to eat something else anyway. Pork katsu was my second choice.
  • M2M, an Asian mini-mart in NYC, has a surprisingly good burger. Not fancy or special or anything, but tasty. So secretly I hope that every Asian place that offers a burger has that M2M burger.
  • I needed a blog post idea and a burger is always a good option.

I asked the waitress if the burger was any good, and she was extremely enthusiastic about it. It was, in her words, "really really good." So I ordered it.

First, I'd like to note that I'm fully aware that it was not Kobe beef, since real Kobe is not available in the US. It was likely "wagyu-style" beef, because I can tell you there's no way it was Akaushi, which is the only Texas wagyu, and which is awesome. So I cannot verify the claim of "best Kobe beef burger in Houston" because, along with that being a factually inaccurate statement on the word "Kobe," this burger was by no means better than any Akaushi burger, though maybe when Crave says "Kobe" they specifically mean "fake Kobe" only, and exclude Akaushi.

That aside, the burger was pretty good. It wasn't particularly juicy and clearly my definition of medium rare differs from the definition the cook used, but it had some flavor. The various toppings (the standard tomatoes, lettuce, and condiments) came on the side, which can be nice, and there were also caramelized onions, which are always a good touch. Also the bun was really good, one of the stronger parts of the burger. It was a little sweet, and was good quality bread. Put some Akaushi in between that bun, and Crave might actually be able to create the best "Kobe" burger in Houston.

The verdict: high promise, doesn't completely fulfill, but it's definitely better than their sushi. Should you go to Crave, I recommend trying the burger. The side of sweet potato fries are pretty damn good too.

Jerry Built Burgers

Posted in Burgers on June 11th, 2012 by Nathan – Be the first to comment

The building, with its giant cow on top.The scene: Rebecca and I were hungry and had just run errands but were too far from home to be able to eat there, as our hunger was dangerously close to becoming hanger. We drove around, quickly considering more and more places, until we saw a sign shaped like a giant cow on the horizon. It beckoned like the Sirens, but with a lower likelihood of smashing our ship into rocks, since this is Houston and there are no cliffs, and for that matter, we were not on a boat.

We made it to the giant cow and saw that it was attached to an establishment called Jerry Built Burgers. Since I had read good things about the place, we both decided it was worth the stop. And after all, they served food, which at that point in time was quite important.

The verdict: The burgers are pretty good! They come out very fast (aided by a very thin patty), so essentially they are fast food burgers. But they aren't the low-quality heartless burgers most fast food places serve. These are put together well, on an interesting and delicious bun, with fresh toppings, and an "Ernie's Sauce" condiment that easily pleases. I was also able to add an egg to my burger.

It's juicy, not as much as one would want, but much more than expected from a place that's fast. It's tasty, the meat has a bit of flavor, mostly because of the way they spiced it, and the sauce is good as well. It's your basic special sauce, but it pairs well with the flavor of the rest of the burger.

The fries are not as great. They are apparently fresh-cut (though crinkle cut, so I'm not convinced) but they are bland, without much in the way of flavor or texture.

I'd go back, because the price was right and the burger was enjoyable. Essentially, it's in the top tier of "fast" burgers, and I'd recommend giving it a try. Apparently their chicken sandwich is fantastic too, though we didn't try it ourselves. I'd also suggest a double; the single patty is too thin to get maximum enjoyment.