Friday, November 9, 2018

Pacific Standard Time -- The Verdict

We haven't had a burger that scored in the 90s for a while, and 5 out of 6 of us really enjoyed this one! Wrote one: "The salt + char flavor on the patties plus the creamy “Holey Cow” cheese is a great combo."  Another: "I loved the bun, the burger, the cheese, the jam, the dijonaise and the fries. This burger simply outearned its mistakes." Another: "Two delicious patties, with a good char and juicy middle. Mild, but complementary cheese; right-sized, soft, and capable bun; and utilitarian lettuce ON THE BOTTOM keeping the juices in and the bun from sogginess." "Best new burger in a while for me, I’d definitely say. Each element is great and then they work beautifully together. Completely delicious, really scratches the burger itch perfectly. Seasoned well and I loved the bacon jam. On top of that, it’s top notch sides and service." And: "An understatedly, simple looking burger. This has more flavor than it has any right to. Great handling with pops of bacon in all the right places."  Our one detractor -- there's always one, isn't there -- found the offering uninspiring: "Sadly, my burger was uninspired and over cooked and the condiments couldn’t mask the dry icky taste. Once I removed the meat, the bun was delicious." We all agreed though that (1) the McD-style fries were fantastic; (2) they were served without nubbins; but (3) there weren't enough of them.  Perhaps that's what happens when you order 6 burgers at once.  

One more thing:  Across the room, the diners included three actors from the next Quentin Tarantino move:  Jeff Bridges as The Preacherman, John Malkovich as Ambrose Burnside, and Michael Pollard as Truman Capote. Come for the burger, stay for the star power!  

Exhibit 88 -- Pacific Standard Time

Free Rein -- The Verdict

A pleasant restaurant, directly on Michigan Avenue, is always a delight. And, this was a lovely space, with good service, and interesting apps. The burger also seemed architecturally significant. "I’ll never forget that moment after we ordered but before our food arrived where a waiter walked by our table holding two delightful looking burgers and we all felt the urge to tackle him. This burger LOOKS fantastic and alllllllmost is." Most liked the mustard-y sauce, cooked-to-order quality, and flavorful meat.  But, for some, the bun crowned the burger with distraction and disappointment. "It’s like the bun is the stiff camera hogging star of a show with a stellar supporting cast." So, ignore the bun, and this burger and the restaurant as a whole is a winner.  Low of 78; high of 89; average of 84.

Exhibit 87 -- Free Rein

Bellemore -- The Verdict

Come for the ambience; but you'll probably find something better than the burger. Our biggest fan wrote: "I enjoyed the burger very much. The meat was extraordinary and well seasoned. Perfect handling and an exceptional bun. Not a creative effort in the slightest and the cheese was hidden/too mild in flavor." We also found the lack of fries disturbing, particularly given the substitute chips that were not up to the task. "Why not serve something like fries if you refuse to serve fries, but yet want to sell a cheeseburger? Chips didn’t hold up to the task."  Most found the burger better looking than it tased. Another noted: "Reminds me of a room service prep — expensive, hunky, but not great flavor. The condiments didn’t carry enough of a flavor load either. And the chips were a complete 'meh.'" Again, though, a lovely room. By all means, go to Bellemore, jus not for the burger. P.S. Don't forget to check out some of the best restrooms in the greater Chicagoland area. Low of 61; high of 86; average of 73.

Exhibit 86 -- Bellemore

Beacon Tavern -- The Verdict

Green chiles, jalapeƱo aoli, and pepper jack cheese topped a burger with a playfully aggressive personality.  Most of us liked the heat, and could even envision a spicier offering. We found the combination meaty, juicy, just the right amount of loosey.  Also, on an unrelated but vital note, they ace the handling. A burger is a balancing act. It’s supposed to be a bit of a mess if it’s done right, but not so much that you can’t eat it with your hands. They hit that perfectly. We also enjoyed the unlimited free carafes of fizzy water, and the escape from a very touristy area. Low of 81; high of 90; average of 85.