Posts Tagged ‘3.5 of 5’

Sengelmann Hall

sengelmann hall

As we travel around we like to experience all the burgers of the world. So although this is not a Seattle burger, consider this one in a line of many future guest burgers.

On a recent trip to the sticks of Texas I had the pleasure of hitting up Sengelmann Hall, a combination restaurant, czech bakery, dance hall, saloon, biergarten, and concert venue beautifully restored from its original 1890’s construction.

Their burger is described as a Fayette County beef burger on a house-made bun, with house-made pickles and mayo. Although not mentioned, it also comes with sweet red onion, beautiful tomatoes, real stone ground mustard, green leaf lettuce, and horseradish mayo.

Sengelmann Hall is also a Czech bakery and it shows. This burger easily included one of the best hamburger buns I have had. Chewy and moist with a slight buttery sweetness brushed on top. Simply gorgeous. The vegetables were all lovely with the homemade pickles clearly standing out above the garden. However, the red onions were less than sweet and very over powering. I had to remove a few rings to restore balance and harmony.

The horseradish mayo was interesting. For me, it mostly worked. Yes it was a bit strong. Yes it slightly overpowered other elements of the burger. And yes, I can definitely see a lot of people not digging it. Had it been a bit more evenly spread and maybe used a little less liberally, I think it could have tremendous.

Then there was the beef. Very nice, as one should expect in a state full of cattle. A very clean tasting beef. It was nice. I would mention, however, that it definitely suffered from a bit too lean of a grind making it a bit dry midway through. I think it could have been slightly juicier and perhaps even a bit less seasoned. Otherwise is was legit.

If you ever happen to find yourself in the sticks of Texas, I would definitely pay Sengelmann Hall a visit. A good burger at a very reasonable price, a beautiful building, legit history, and the staff was Texas wonderful.

+ I give hooves up for a very top tier homemade bun, and clean tasty beef

– I give hooves down for over-powering red onion, and a bit lean grind of beef

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

www.sengelmannhall.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

Red Mill

red mill burgers
In the interest of formality one might have noticed that we already felt up Red Mill and posted our thoughts. True. But to the mindful observer we have been scoring individual burgers on this site, not the actual establishments themselves. This leaves the door open to revisits and to try alternative burgers at familiar places. Besides, in the end who can argue with more burgerage?

Red Mill revisited. I went with the blue cheese n bacon burger, which apart from its name, shares the same foundation as any other burger at Red Mill except this dad entails a kaiser bun. Why the discriminatory bun practices? I’m not sure. Their kaiser buns are sublimely legit and levels beyond compare to their regular buns. When ordering take note of what bun you’re getting. It matters.

As always the toppings at Red Mill are very good. This place knows how to do their toppings. Sexy ass veggies including sweet red onion, nice tomatoes, beautiful red/green leaf lettuce (although I do prefer iceberg on my burger). Their pickle is really the only vegetable that could be improved. It’s weak. Their bacon is excellent and some of the best burger bacon one is likely to find. A nice smokey peppered bacon both chewy and crispy where it counts.

Note – It comes as a slight personal annoyance that they put all the toppings below the beef. This method could merit a post of its own but for now, I call them toppings for the purpose of describing where they ought to be.

Red Mill’s “Mill sauce”, a slightly smokey peppy mayoesque conncoction, was nice. Unusually tangy this time around but I didn’t mind. The blue cheese was ok, nothing outstanding in terms of blue cheese, but no complaints.

The beef, as always at Red Mill, is simply uninspiring. Always over cooked, rarely juicy and flavorful, I just can’t get behind their patties. So this begs the question. How does one score such a burger? A mediocre piece of beef wrapped in generously gorgeous attire? I’m opening this one up to debate, but today I call it like I see it.

And for the record, never ever order the fries at Red Mill. They are made from potatoes that hate your soul.

+ I give hooves up for a sick kaiser bun, excellent vegetables, some of the best burger bacon around, and a fairly harmonious package that photographs very well.

– I give hooves down for insipid, dry, disappointing beef and underwhelming pickles.

The blue cheese n bacon burger at Red Mill Burgers

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

www.redmillburgers.com

Blazing Onion Burger Company

Blazing Onion

Recently we got a tip via Twitter about the Blazing Onion Burger Company.  After a reading of their website, we knew we had to check it out.  Promising to deliver a gourmet burger made with top-notch beef from Painted Hills, Tillamook cheese, and even locally made buns had me hoping for greatness.  I made the trip to the Mill Creek location and ordered my standard medium-rare bacon cheeseburger.

When my burger arrived it looked very promising. The bacon was thick and appealing, the cheese was nicely melted, and my bun was toasted.  Unfortunately the taste didn’t live up to that first impression.  Instead of the medium-rare patty I was expecting, I got one that had been cooked to death – apparently the standard medium-well that you’re given if you don’t specify as I had.  Since they’re using good beef – Painted Hills is top-notch – why cook it to the point that you can’t tell what you’re eating?

The bacon was chewy with good flavor.  The cheese was solid.  The house sauce had nice flavor, but was too runny.  The tomatoes and red onion were both good, but sliced much too thin.  In the case of the red onion it was so thin that it brought almost no flavor to the burger.  The lettuce was good, but there was too much of it and it overwhelmed the burger somewhat.  The bun was really good – it was nicely toasted, and was strong enough to hold up to the end without getting too mushy.

The fries and the onion rings were really underwhelming.  Clearly fresh from a freezer, they were thoroughly meh.

+ You can’t make great food without great ingredients and all the right makings are present.  Two thumbs up for the local focus.

– The overcooked patty destroyed the potential for greatness, and paying so much attention to the main ingredients while ignoring the sides seems odd.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

The Counter

the counter

So the story goes, step into The Counter and you’re greeted with a clipboard and an extensive list of fresh mouth-watering ingredients that allow you to build your own gourmet burger with over 312,120 different burger combinations. Yes. That’s not a typo. 312,120 different ways to enjoy a burger. Dear god. Why so many? This worries me. A zillion option gimmicky check-list of a menu does not excite me. Why? Because I want a limited option menu with high turnover. With that many options and ingredients on a menu, I know for certain that some are laying around. And not fresh. Besides, apricot sauce does not ever ever belong on a hamburger. NEVER. Trust me.

Despite the options, I stayed the course and ordered the pre-fab Old School burger, which included all natural ground beef, tillamook cheddar, shredded lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and sweet red relish (whatever the hell that is).

The burger arrived and immediately I noticed the beef. Gorgeous. Cooked perfectly with a nice wafting aroma of quality beef in the air. The bun, which appeared to be like an egg bun was very lacking. It was a bit thin and kind of out of place. The veggies did not promote inspiration. The lettuce, sliced red leaf, was ok but included its fair share of those thick white pieces. The tomatos were lovely but, wait for it……. wait for it….. Diced! Seriously? The onion was thumbs up and the tillamook cheddar warrants no complaints. The beef, well, it was surprisingly good. Juicy, full flavored and really well expressed by the chef. Just a simple seasoning of nice salt, it had a kind of steak-flavor character to it. Very nicely done.

All and all, despite my reservations surrounding the concept and menu, the horrific music and slightly yuppified atomsphere, my first visit to the Counter was surprisingly better than expected and warrants a return. Though I am still not sold on the menu concept, the expression of the beef was very nice.

+ We give hooves up for very nice all-natural beef, cooked and seasoned to perfection, and gorgeous cheese meltage.

– We give hooves down for an out of place bun, middle of the road lettuce, and ill prepared diced tomatoes that went off like fireworks from all corners of the burger upon bite one

The old school burger at The Counter

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

www.thecounterburger.com

Blue Moon

blue moon burgers

Blue Moon Burgers near lake Union in Seattle does something few burger joints succeed at. Harmony. After multiple visits this holds true. All components of the burger work in harmony. Nothing over powers any other element. The cheese marries with the sauce, the veggies with the beef, the bun with, well, everything. Not to say there aren’t better burgers, because there are, but very few burgers pull off this level of harmony.

This time around I went with the bacon cheese burger, a straight forward classic. They have other nice looking options on the menu, including one with peanut butter, the Stupid Burger as I recall it named, but I gave that one a pass.

My burger was nice. Blue Moon procures very lofty, soft buns. Nice and chewy with very generous mouth feel. I don’t believe the bun was toasted but for once I didn’t mind. The veggies are nice, gorgeous ice berg lettuce, some decent red onions and tomatoes. Nothing award winning going on in the garden but nice nonetheless. Their swiss was nice cheese and melted perfectly. Their bacon was yawn actually. Permissible on a burger but very average. Their in house sauce is similar to others, a mayonaise based concoction with a light refreshing flavor and not as heavy and gloppy as others. I really enjoyed the interplay with the fresh, crisp iceberg lettuce. That being said there was a bit too much sauce on my burger for my liking. A little less sauce would have been admirable.

Now. With the supporting cast of characters set, their actual beef seems a bit under classed. Kind of dry, lethargic, and lacking the freshness and texture of a good beef patty. I’d like to see more here, I really would. The beef is the centerpiece of a hamburger, after all, and with a healthy supporting cast this burger just demands a better patty.

+ We give hooves up for a very nice chewy, fluffy bun, a very nice refreshing sauce/dressing, and beautiful fresh crisp iceberg lettuce.

– We give hooves down for the dry, uninspired beef, a bit too much sauce, and for being a bit chincey with the sweet red onions.

The bacon cheeseburger at Blue Moon Burgers

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

www.bluemoonburgers.com

Palace Kitchen

palace kitchen

One of several Seattle’ based Tom Douglas restaurants, the Palace Kitchen is nestled neatly below the overheard monorail tracks in downtown Seattle, not too far from another excellent Seattle restaurant, Brasa. I’ve eaten here several times and enjoyed my belly stuffing escapades, but this was my first go around with their hamburger. I’ve been hearing about it at length from several sources and quite honestly, no Seattle hamburger discussion is legit without some mention of this burger.

The burger, or palace burger royale as it is known, is a wood-grilled Oregon country beef patty with beechers flagship white cheddar, some nice applewood smoked bacon, and all the traditional accompaniments (red onion, lettuce, pickles, etc). The housemade mayo is also a nice touch and comes on the side. Fries here are definitely above average, skin-on just the way I like them, but a tad bit greasy. Now at $15 plus an additional few bucks for the cheese and bacon, this baby is clearly the most expensive hamburger yet to make its debut on our site. So does it deliver?

First off, the burger looks gorgeous. Good sized patty, a giant pile of fries, nice crisp vegetables on the side. This is a serious pile of food going on here. Come hungry. The bacon is crispy and flavorful. The bun, although not award winning, does nothing wrong. And I’ve already praised the delicious housemade mayo. No complaints whatsoever with the veggies, all gorgeous and tasty. The cheese, although exceptional, was only on about 25% of the burger, clumped in one area as if it were quarantined from spreading. The beef was slightly undercooked, though not really a huge detractor for me, and quite lovely. What wasn’t quite lovely was what was “in” the beef. The seasoning was heavy and incredibly salty, easily the saltiest meal I have had in recent memory. I’m not sure if this is par for the course or the anomaly, but man, I could barely finish my burger it was so salty. And I love salt. Don’t get me wrong. This is a good hamburger. Without all the salt I can see this burger finishing very high up in our rankings. Perhaps we’ll revisit in the future, but for this round I rate the burger in front of me and this burger was just way too salty.

+ We give hooves up for gorgeous vegetables, nice homemade mayo, and very nice beef

– We give hooves down for being way too salty, a slightly undercooked beef patty, and for uneven cheese

The palace burger royale with beechers and bacon

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

www.tomdouglas.com

Teddy’s Bigger Burgers

Teddy's Bigger Burgers

Teddy's Monster Double

Inconveniently located in Woodinville, Teddy’s Bigger Burgers live up to their name, weighing in at 5, 7 and 9oz sizes, with the option to double up. Claiming to have “reinvented” the burger, the Teddy’s franchise originated in Hawaii and has since spread to the mainland, we put them through the rigorous test of our digestive systems.

The beef is cooked to order, medium with a nice char on the outside. The quality of the meat is good, well above average, but no Jak’s. The bun gets the job done and the sauce which adorns it is alright, however both are otherwise forgettable. Most impressive was the bacon, which was cooked to chewy but not crispy and never left its rightful throne atop the melted cheddar. The lettuce, tomatoes and pickle were all fresh and a-okay in my book, but Teddy lost me at the onions. A cold mess of raw, thinly sliced white onions sits in the middle of your burger, begging to be released from their prison to die a lonely death in your fry basket. If you’re in the area, stop by for a burger and you won’t be disappointed, but don’t expect a transcendent experience.

Unbeef: fries are very good, menu has great variety, friendly staff, seating area is large and clean (unlike 90% of burger-dedicated shops).

+ Good beef, good cooks, great bacon.

– Cold, raw, hateful onions. Bun, sauce, cheese, veggies are bogged down by mediocrity.

The monster double bacon cheese burger at Teddy’s Bigger Burgers

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

www.teddysbiggerburgers.com/

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