Sunday, March 23, 2014

Chef's Burger Bistro -- The Verdict

It's early days for this burger boĆ®te, with a concept that suggests potential.  A burger-centric focus, a full menu of creative options, and a kitchen crew that knows their stuff.  But, the kinks were still present for our visit.  A tone deaf waiter recommended a special burger for "the girls" at our table, which send our experience in a Southernly direction.  Putting aside the service faux pass, once we got past that awkwardness (like a bad first date, you might laugh about it years later, but that doesn't mean the evening was a success), the burgers were out quick and to order.  Nice presentation, too, with a steak knife holding the concoction together and a lovely ceramic ramekin for the fries.  As to the merits of the burger, our group split on the beef flavor, some finding it tasty; others, a bit bland.  A common refrain, though, focused on the beef-to-bun ratio, which lacked symmetry with a hefty patty overwhelming the in-house baked bun.  "It looked like a man trying on a child's cap," resulting in more than a couple bunless bites.  The duck fat fries also underwhelmed; go with the regular ones.  At least during our visit, the Aristotelian unities were not present.  Low of 61; high of 79; average of 72.

Exhibit 44 -- Chef's Burger Bistro

Saturday, March 1, 2014


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Howells & Hood -- The Verdict

There's a lot going on at H&H.  We didn't sample the 100+ beers, but did enjoy some of the many quotations carved into the spacious "ultra picturesque spot."  The rest of the menu looked good, and the place had a nice vibe about it.  Turning to the burger itself, there was a bit of a divergence.  "This burger had admirable aspirations and failed by achieving them."  Some found it a bit salty ("Holy salted salinity, folks.  This burger was hit by a Morton's truck."); other found the seasoning flavorful and well prepared.  Said one:  "There's a good burger in here, just waiting to get out.  Unfortunately, the over fried onion ring topping distracted, and the bottom bun couldn't handle the pressure."  "Sloppy but worth it," said one.  Low of 71; high of 80; average of 75.

Exhibit 43 -- Howells & Hood

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Hub 51 -- The Verdict

Much to like here, starting with friendly service and great appetizers.  Several variations of burgers also scored well.  We all liked the thick burger options:  flavorful, generously sized, and so juicy the bun could hardly keep up.  Good, creative options were well perceived.  (The "skinny" didn't do as well -- "smashed beyond recognition.")  Good vibe, but in such a cavernous space, it would be hard to call this a find. The fries were controversial.  While one of our group like the "corn nut" flavor, most of us didn't.  We also couldn't quite figure out how to describe them ("fry confetti, dusted with an unadvertised Old Bay-eqsue seasoning"; "nubbins -- to herbed"; "cold icky Cajun spice"; "salty and strangely seasoned.")  Low of 69; high of84; average of 78.

Exhibit 42 -- Hub 51