The volume is turned up to 11 at Kuma's -- both on the soundtrack and on the plate. A head-bangingly good time starts with the menu, the choices, and the ingredients (including "anger"). Tasty apps and attentive tattooed service keep the set moving. And then the burger: big, big, big. Very well executed; tasty beef; cooked right to order. Those with lower reviews dinged the fries (soggy); the pretzel bun garnered mixed reviews (from "tough and tasteless" to "soft and chewy"); and two of the group seemed to lower their scores due to too much meat -- never seen that before. Be prepared to take the house-made ketchup and mustard, but otherwise substitutes welcome. Regardless, worth the trip -- even if you've never been to a Pantera concert. Low of 79; high of 92; average of 84.
If the ladies who lunched liked big, sloppy burgers, they would have a lovely time at RL. A pretty, but cramped room was a warm an inviting escape from the tourist hell end of Michigan avenue. We'd all go back for the room, but the the burger split us into two camps. The negativists thought the burger was just okay, not worth the $19 charge, with unadvertised raw onion, tomato, and "thin and slimy lettuce." "And then there was the salt: burger was super salty. Fries lacked salt. Which was hiding in the pickle." The positivists thought the taste merited the two-napkin (two well-pressed crisp Egyptian cotton napkins, of course) messiness. Nice ramekins on condiments. We all agreed (1) the service was fantastic, not stuffy; and (2) the fries were on the nubbiny side. Low of 66, high of 84; average of 74.
While one of our group was disappointed by two sadly tasteless patties, the balance of our group thought this was a worthy addition to Michigan Avenue and Chicago burgerdom in general. The fans found the burgers decision, the fried egg excellent, and side pickles enjoyable. Those in support thought the beef flavor was well complemented by a quality American cheese. "Boxy but good." "Loved the first, fries, loved the service. Punished only by a weak difficulty rating." "Best burger I;'ve ever had in a former Bennigan's, hands down," said one. I think even our detractors would say it compares favorably even to a current Bennigan's. Low of 62; high of 88; average of 82.
Ambience + flavor = impressive! Like the building itself, the burger received a lot of loving attention from the ground up, and it shows! While the light char didn't overwhelm one of our reviewers, our group loved the mix. Said one: "The number of patties was a bit reminiscent of the razorblades arms rave: perhaps four patties would be better. Our maybe just one, cooked med-rare." Generally, though, we found the burger delicious, the bun tasty, and the fries transcendent. This place is like the Jiro Dreams of Burger. Each element has been thought out to arrive at the ideal, from the size of the patties to the perfect circle of the gouda. "The service, the tunes, the decor -- I mean it is like a straight up asset of classy low-key coolness. Well done. I want to come back for dinner, like tonight." Low of 80; high of 92; average of 87.