two bells tavern

Located in the heart of darkness, the Belltown region of Seattle, Two Bells Tavern puts the old in old school. They have been around since the days of prohibition and long before the pretense and faux hipsters took over the neighborhood. Two Bells is content in their ways, rightfully so, so don’t come looking for kobe beef, wasabi vanilla bean sauce, or other amenities. Two Bells seems unwilling to deviate from what has worked forever. And thank god for that.

You’ll notice two things with a Two Bells burger. First, the french baguette bun that is chewy and pretty, and two, the rounded rectangular patty construed to fit such a thing. In many ways this is a love or hate relationship, baguettes being the atypical vessel for a burger, so choose your side.

I went with the Tavern Burger, 5 ounces of freshly ground beef charbroiled to order with grilled onions and bacon. I made the call to add Jarlsberg cheese, a very swiss-like cheese from Norway. In addition, all Two Bells burgers come with mayo and mustard on the roll and tomato, lettuce, pickles and red onion on the side, with the exception of my Tavern Burger which already included a heap of grilled onions.

Right off the bat, this burger is gorgeous and simple. Juicy as all get out and very appetizing to the eye. I was slightly miffed that they don’t do fries because a good french fry pairs so well with a burger. So I settled on some salted kettle chips.

The baguette bun was nice. Chewy and fresh without being overly crispy and hard on the outside. Truth be told, despite this it was still a bit difficult to eat without toppling the structure into a pile of mess. And honestly it wasn’t the best baguette I have ever had. It was good but nothing epic. But it worked.

The beef was stellar. Very fresh, juicy without being greasy, it had a lovely texture seemingly only found in fresh grinds, and it was cooked to order and perfection. Clearly this chef loves his ingredients.

The cheese was thick, even, and melted as it should be. More often than not I have found these places that offer top tier cheese choices tend to skimp hard on the quantity. Not here. The bacon, though I have had better, was very nice. Crispy and smokey and extremely complementary.

The onions were perfectly grilled, not sloppy and oily. Freshly grilled with that slight crunch in the middle. Nice lettuce and tomato with a pickle spear on the side rounded out the garden. The mustard and mayo were very lightly applied and stayed out of the way.

In the end this is what a burger should be. Simple, unfussy, prepared correctly with quality fresh ingredients. Straight forward with no gimmicks, no bullshits, just a delicious time honor tradition from the past.

+ We give hooves up for delicious beef ground fresh and cooked perfectly, beautiful cheese, and top tier grilled onions.

– We give hooves down for a bun that made it hard to eat and had room for improvement, and maybe for a slightly small portion size. I wanted more.

The Tavern burger at Two Bells tavern

Rating: ★★★★½ 

www.thetwobells.com