Archive for November, 2010

Bob’s Burgers and Brew

bob's burgers and brews

Don’t call it a come back, my rappers retirement was merely a breif respite from beef eating. Now, my return to the ring has been one of controversy, bad beef, and silicon implants. Spurred frightfully on by a man named Bob, a force so outrageous and discomforting, something had to be done. I just had to come back.

Bob’s Burgers and Brew in Everett was the stop. One of 10 or so locations found in northwest Washington. A decent little shop from what I recall back in the days of Bellingham eating. Clearly, things are different now.

As champions around here it’s fitting we chose to review the self-proclaimed “true meal fit for a champion”, the Ranch Burger. A six ounce charbroiled patty with american cheese, lean meaty bacon (whatever that may be) and a large farm fresh egg. As my penchant for chesse does not extend to it’s evil step sister, american cheese, I became a sauce-on-sider for the moment and upgraded to swiss cheese. Upon arrival, to the side resided a stack of garden; tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, and savory sauce.

Let’s begin this tale with what went right. The bun was toasted. And toasted well. Thank god for that. The vegetables were serviceable. Mostly fresh, mostly crisp, and mostly appealing. And the biggest plus of all, the savory sauce was on the side. Plus three trillion points for that. Goopy, separated, lardtastic and freakish in color. Like the color of a cheap bandaid, only less appetizing.

And then there was the rest of the plate. Ok. Hold on here. I’m sorry. But no self respecting ranch would ever murder an egg like that. Overcooked, rubbery, and sad. The yolk chalky like powdered sulfur. It could have been used to make fireworks.

The cheese was unusually sweaty and wet. That midpoint fail area when the cheese is between chilled and melted but distinctly neither. That or it had been crying. Given it’s treatment, entirely possible.

The bacon was low end stock grocery store and about as memorable as Phyllis Diller in Scooby Doo. Sorry Phyllis.

So what about the beef you say, that grey disc of mystery hidden underneath the silicon egg implant? Yeah. That wasn’t good either. Previously frozen. Bland. Insipid. Hurtful. And very likely the reason I spent the rest of my evening streaming hilarious content to my ipad while sitting on the toilet.

Bob’s joke extends from the burger to the “brews”. Nine or so selections of beer, none made in house, most of which were domestic beers for the masses. Coors, Bud light, and the rest of the liquid criminals. Among beer drinking brethren, “brew” on your sign out front has meaning – A decent selection of real beer. Hell, there were more umbrella drinks on the menu then brews. Not the end of the world, but stop lying to me Bob.

+ I give hooves up for a nice bun, nicely toasted, and to whomever made the call to serve the savory sauce on the side.

– I give hooves down for just about everything else. And waiter dude. Dear god. Self-medicate much?

Rating: ★½☆☆☆ 

Bob’s Burgers and Brew

John Howie Steak, Take 2

John Howie Steak

It’s been almost a year since the last time I had a burger at John Howie Steak in Bellevue.  I’ve been there several times since, but always for dinner and I usually get the (brilliant) 42-day-aged New York Strip.  Yesterday I was in the neighborhood and decided it was time to check back on the burger.

JHS actually offers three different burgers at lunch – the USDA Prime Beef Bacon Cheeseburger (pictured), the Kiss Your Hips Goodbye (3/4 lb of beef, onion rings, and bacon between two grilled cheese sandwiches), and a Peppercorn Crusted Wagyu Burger.  My tastes definitely run traditional when it comes to burgers so I once again went with the Bacon Cheeseburger.  The menu describes it as follows – 1/2 pound ground prime chuck, Beecher’s Cheddar, Kurobota bacon, house baked bun, drive-in sauce, lettuce, tomato, pickle (not on mine!), and sliced red onion.

To put it simply, my burger was outstanding.  Great beef cooked to exactly the medium-rare I’d asked for.  Melted Beecher’s, outstanding bacon, and really nice fresh veggies.  There was a little too much lettuce for my taste, but a lot less than my last burger here.  I’ve really only got one complaint about this burger, and that’s the bun.

This is a really juicy burger, and the fact that I enjoy mine medium-rare only accentuates that.  The bun tastes nice and was toasted, but it simply cannot come close to holding up under this patty once you bite in.  The bottom half melted away and I had to finish the last few bites with a fork.  That said, I finished every bite as I wasn’t letting any of this go to waste!

The fries were excellent, and I really enjoy the John Howie Amber.  Not that the burger isn’t enough by itself, but you should also try the tempura bacon appetizer – it’s amazing.

+ Excellent beef, top-notch everything that goes on the bun with it, great preparation

- The bun lets the burger down

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Blue Moon Burgers

Blue Moon Burgers

Blue Moon Burgers is a local Seattle burger restaurant with two locations.  They serve only all-natural beef and fresh-cut fries, so for a while now I’ve been trying to find the opportunity to give them a try.  Last Sunday was finally the day.

Like I always do when trying a new restaurant, I ordered a bacon cheeseburger.  At Blue Moon that means hickory smoked bacon, your choice of cheese – I chose cheddar – tomato, red onion, pickles – hold the pickles, please! – and Blue Moon sauce.  The patties are quarter-pound chuck, and I selected the potato bun.  Rather than asking for medium-rare, I let them cook it to their default medium.

When I unwrapped my burger, my first reaction was strongly positive.  I was immediately struck by the fact that this burger looked and smelled great.  Unfortunately my first bite greeted me with a big chunk of pickle, and I just can’t stand pickles.  I took the bun off, and sure enough there were three pickles waiting for me.  This always annoys me so I double-checked the receipt, and sure enough I’d ordered it without pickles.

There was also an issue with how my burger was cooked.  It definitely wasn’t done to medium – more medium-well.  Patties being overcooked is a common problem, and it’s especially disappointing at a restaurant that’s going out of their way to serve quality beef that could really shine when treated well.

On the other hand, one thing that Blue Moon definitely gets right is balance.  The ratio of burger-to-toppings-to-bun was just about perfect.  I often find that one ingredient overwhelms the others, but they nailed it.  As for the rest of the burger – everything was very good.  Nice bacon, quality veggies, the Blue Moon sauce was good, and the potato bun was just right.  You can see in the photo that the bun was toasted and the cheese was perfectly melted.  Had the cook been on his game when I’d been there this burger had the makings of greatness.

Briefly, non-burger things – I ordered both the fresh-cut fries and the side of the month – deep-fried mac & cheese.  The fries really benefited from being fresh-cut and were much better than average.  Personally, I prefer thicker cut fries because they’re less hassle to eat, but I’d always take these over anything from a freezer.  The mac & cheesewas a little dissapointing.  For me the pleasure of deep-fried mac & cheese is the hot gooeyness of them but mine were only warm, not hot.  I’m guessing that they were either too cold before going into the fryer or were cooked at a less than ideal temperature.

The vanilla shake I ordered was excellent.

+ A perfectly-balanced burger, quality beef, details like a toasted bun and melted cheese

– Stray pickles that weren’t supposed to be there, an overcooked patty

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Rock ‘N’ Roll Burger

Rock 'N' Roll Burger

Rock ‘N’ Roll Burger (hereafter referred to as R&R) is a small restaurant tucked slightly out of the way in Issaquah. There’s an old-school burger joint/Elvis theme going on in both the decor and on the menu. It’s just far enough off the beaten path that I’ve never driven by, but tonight I was craving a burger and made it happen.

I ordered a #6 – a Hound Dog Burger – which is a burger with Tillamook cheddar, romaine, tomato, red onion, pickles (not on mine, please), R&R sauce, and bacon. R&R sauce is described as “mayo & 7 secret additives with smokey flavor”.

The meat is “Premium, Fresh, 1/3 lb, 100% Ground Chuck”. I’m not sure what meaning if any the word “premium” when it comes to meat, and I’m hoping “fresh” means never-frozen but since they don’t say it’s hard to be sure. They offer to cook your burger to order but I decided to let R&R do it their way.

When the tray was placed in front of me I had a very positive first impression – everything looked good. After a couple of bites I was enjoying the burger, but I wasn’t getting much beefy flavor. The veggies were quite good, the bacon was nice and crispy, but the other ingredients were overwhelming the beef. It felt like I was eating a 1/4 lb burger instead of a 1/3 lb. This was one of the few burgers that would’ve been better with a second patty to balance out the other ingredients. However, the overall result was satisfying.

A few other details of note – the bun was good but needed to be toasted. The cheese wasn’t melted enough. The burger was a little overdone which left it dry.

The fries were good, and the vanilla shake was definitely above-average. I’ll be going back.

+ A satisfying burger

– Beefy flavor should be front and center in a burger, untoasted bun, cheese wasn’t sufficiently melted

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

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