Archive for the ‘Pub’ Category

Crossroads Bar & Grill

crossroads bar & grill

Ah yes. The sweet smell of legitimacy. Let a multinational corporate chain restaurant (known as a garbage truck called Chili’s) go out of business, and replace it with a local bar and grill. The stage is set.

I ordered the Diablo 1/2 Pounder burger. Complete with a cayenne-seasoned burger, pepper-jack cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomato, red onion & chipotle mayo. I like my shit spicy, what can I say.

I’ll be honest. When the burger landed it looked bad. Something permissible only to those who relish sublime mediocrity.

Regardless, I destroyed the burger and I have to say it was decent. The beef did not seem freshly ground, more of the preformed pinch. Was it frozen? I dunno. But it was alright. The cheese was fully melted and even. The veggies were par for the course and they gave ample, nice looking avocado slices. The chipotle mayo was alright. Or maybe I am just yawn about chipotle mayos these days. The blackened cayenne seasoning was a very nice touch. Not something I would recommend to all but in this particular case it turned out well.

I’d like to give the bar & grill the benefit of the doubt, having just recently opened and still kinda finding their way through their stuff. Maybe down the road they’ll improve? If not, in current form they still pawn Chili’s. And thank god for that.

+ I give hooves up for ample, good looking avocado and a nice cayenne seasoning

– I give hooves down for very ok beef and an overly toasted bun

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

520 Bar & Grill

520 Burger

The 520 Burger, self-claimed “Best in Bellevue.”

The 520 Bar & Grill features an eponymous burger which claims to be the “Best in Bellevue!” It’s hard not to scoff at the claim when you have titans of beef such as Daniel’s Broiler and Jack Howie’s just down the road, not to mention nearly 60 years of burger deliciosity from Burgermaster. Does their claim hold up? Obviously not, but failure is often more entertaining than success, so please read on.

Let’s start with the one thing they get right, the beef. On paper at least. It is quality best replica watches fresh-ground beef which is juicy and delicious. Unfortunately, I asked for medium and received well done. This was no fluke as the same thing happened to my burger buddy’s patty melt. Still the beef was good and a little fire never killed anyone, so we can overlook that. However, things would quickly go down hill from here.

The onion bun looked like it had been sitting in a bag on a store shelf for a couple months, with no hint of toasting on either side. The lettuce wasn’t really lettuce so much as a house salad, mixed greens with spinach. What the hell? I’m a man who values his lettuce, this was befuddling. I gave it a shot, put it on half the burger but my taste buds were having none of it. The tomato was fresh and juicy, providing some much needed lubrication, as there was no sauce or mayo on the burger. The cheese was cheddar, mostly melted but not very flavorful.

In conclusion, I’d say that not only is this not the best burger in Bellevue, it’s not even the best for three city blocks. You watch your mouth, 520 Bar & Grill. It’s too bad though, if the house salad isn’t served as a burger topping, the cooks are more careful and they splurge on a better quality bun, this burger could easily reach 3.5-4.

Unbeef: Fresh cut french fries, decent nachos, cool joint.

+ Quality beef, juicy.

Р Overcooked beef negated its quality, the cheese was meh, the veggies were depressing, and the underwhelming bun appropriately bookended a disappointing burger.

520 Bar & Grill’s “520 Burger”

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Elliot Bay Brewing Company

elliot bay brewing company

If there is a safe menu item on a brew pub menu, it has to be the burger. Brew pub, screw up the burger and a plague on both your houses. The Northwest, aka the Pacific Northwest for those that have yet to learn the northwest only borders one ocean, is a beer mecca. In my opinion this regions pumps out more quality brew than any other in the country with a limitless number of brews and producers. Thankfully beer and burgers go well together. Like KP and bruised ankles.

The Elliot Bay Brewing company in west Seattle is cozy and inviting. Kick ass jazz from the swing era helps. They host a selection of gourmet burgers from your typical to your specialties, such as freshly ground all natural buffalo, and claim to be the best burgers in West Seattle. I ordered up the crumbled blue and bacon burger with, you guessed it, crumbled bleu cheese and thick slices of bacon on a natural 1/3rd pound Angus beef patty.

This burger was a ratio clusterfuck. We’ve spoken before about the ratio of beef to cheese to bun to toppings, and though there is no precise magical formula on the ratios, nor should there be, too much or too little of something can straight ruin a hamburger. There is simply no way this was a 1/3rd of a pound patty. Maybe a 1/13th lb. So thin, it could only be cooked to one wellness. The bun, although chewy and delightful, drowned out any reasonable relationship it might have once had with the beef. This was like a burger humbow. The vegetables were relevant and crisp. The bacon chewy with little in the way of crunch or crispness, a little too soft and flabby for my taste. The blue cheese was nice but overly plentiful on such a small patty. So little beef and so much cheese. In the end, I found myself chewing bread and blue cheese with intermittent bits of veggies, bacon, and beef.

So little in the way of beef I have almost no qualitative review of the actual beef. Sad. Decent ingredients woefully assembled in unwelcomed harmony.

+ I give hooves up for a charming bun and relevant vegetables

– I give hooves down for so little beef, and in turn, so much bun and so much cheese

The crumbled blue cheese and bacon burger at the Elliot Bay Brewing Company in west Seattle

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

www.elliotbaybrewing.com

Two Bells Tavern

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

King’s Hardware

kings hardware

King’s Hardware, bonus points for a legit name, is a pub bar in the purest sense. Brick walls, booze and taps abound, and a lot of thirsty patrons. I recommend sitting outside in the patio/brick area. More chill, less noise, and cool bricks.

King’s Hardware has some very nice burger options on their menu. In addition to your normal beef fare, there is The Cowboy, with a fried egg and bacon. The Five Alarm, with roasted poblano chilis, chipotle sauce, and pepper jack cheese. The Not Buffalo burger, with frank’s red hot, blue cheese, and an onion ring. All made with natural, organic, clean Oregon beef.

I went with the Cowboy burger, bacon and a fried egg with the usual toppings. You know, just like REAL cowboys used to eat back in the day. The burger came on a kaiser-esque roll which was nice, however, a little bit dry. At least the top half was. This burger came without sauce which it didn’t honestly need in terms of flavor. And the bottom bun was nicely moistened by the burger itself. But the problem was the top bun portion being thicker and residing away from the meat was a little dry for me. The vegetables were all very nice. Gorgeous and fresh as expected. Although there was one little issue in the garden. Wait for it, wait for it…. sweet pickles!! They tried to slip sweet pickles onto my burger. Get fucking real.

Having removed the vileness, lets continue.

The bacon was well above average. Very smoky, and very complimentary. The beef was legit. Very fresh, nice and juicy, with excellent flavor and not greasy in any sense of the word. The kicker was the patty was sadly overcooked, more of a medium well fire. A shame given the quality, and that I had requested medium. And speaking of chef dunce cap, the fried egg was more of a fried egg scramble and criminally over cooked. All fried eggs intent on crowning a burger should have some varying degree of runny yoke. These guidelines are all but factual and are not open for review or discussion. A rubber egg on a burger in no way adds anything positive.

In the end, I’m really harping on the flaws. Had this burger been saved by thirty seconds and pulled off the grill along with the poor egg, this burger would have joined another rank. This is a good burger. But it could have been great.

+ I give hooves up for very beautiful beef, nice fresh vegetables, a good solid bun, and $1 off during happy hour.

– I give hooves down for slightly overcooked beef, well overcooked egg, and oh dear god trojan horse sweet pickles.

The Cowboy burger at King’s Hardware

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

www.kingsballard.com

Quinn’s Pub

quinn's pub

I have been hearing about the burger at Quinn’s Pub on Capital Hill for some time now. Last night I finally got up enough motivation and spite to pay them a visit. Known as a gastro pub, a pub which is gastronomically sound AKA serves delicious quality food yet remains true to it’s pub roots. Frankly, the idea seems illogical in some sense. I mean, who goes to a pub looking for high-brow pretentious food and the wankers that often times frequent such places? Well, honestly, when pulled off correctly a gastro pub makes all the sense in the world. Great beer and great food. Without the idiots.

The Quinn’s Pub burger is, in a word, exceptional. A 1/2 pound patty of gorgeous, and I mean gorgeous beef from the people at Painted Hills. A lovely melted slice of cheese, white cheddar I believe, and a generous slag of quality bacon. Add to the equation a ridiculously serious bun and some nice fresh mayo and the burger is complete. No lettuce, no tomato, no pickle, no onion, no nothing else. Sans rabbit food, This burger is a statement.

What might strike most as a glaring burger oversight, the risk involved with a vegetable-free burger is tremendous, is simply executed with perfection at Quinn’s. The beef is so absurdly good that it serves as both the main event and supporting cast that provides that accompanying freshness that most burgers rely on earthy toppings for. Quinn’s burger is legit and lives up to everything one can hope for in a hamburger, providing us all with hope and a reason to live.

+ We give hooves up for Exceptional beef, cooked to order, and one of the best burger buns one is ever likely to consume.

– We give possible hooves down for lacking any vegetables, though this is an extreme stretch as I’m still searching for a negative with this burger. It’s that good.

The burger at Quinn’s Pub

Rating: ★★★★★ 

www.quinnspubseattle.com

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