Posts Tagged ‘3 of 5’

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: ★★★☆☆ 

Matts’ Rotisserie

Matts' Rotisserie

Matt’s is one of the few good choices in the Redmond area if you’re looking to get a drink and a bite after work.  I’ve been going there for years – there’s good beer on tap, the nachos and wings are tasty, and they’ve got free wifi – so I felt obligated to give the burger an official going-over.

The menu calls it the Killer Burger, and also makes the claim that it’s “the best burger in town”.  That’s setting a pretty high bar, and I’m going to expect to see a claim like that backed up.  It’s described as fresh ground chuck seasoned with cracked pepper, barbecue sauce, and Dijon.  While those are all things I enjoy, I’m definitely not a fan of seasonings beyond salt and pepper mixed into the patty.  There’s also Tillamook cheddar and the “usual suspects”.

My order was for a Killer Burger with bacon, medium-rare.  The plate that hit the table in front of me looked nice – it had a strong visual appeal that made you want to take a bite.  The patty was cooked medium-rare as I’d asked for, which lately hasn’t been an easy thing to come by.  The bacon was pretty good, but the cheese wasn’t melted.  The lettuce was shredded and forgettable, but the tomato and red onion were both solid.  The barbecue sauce had been applied with a heavy hand, and definitely hid the taste of what seemed like pretty good beef.  It also had the side effect of killing the bottom half of the bun – by the time I was half through the burger it was a soggy mess.

The fries are good, and Bridgeport IPA never disappoints.  If you’re in the mood for dessert, the cobbler is always a good choice – and the best cupcake joint in town is just 100 feet or so away.

+ good beef, bacon, and veggies (except the lettuce)

– burger patties shouldn’t be “seasoned” like this, un-melted cheese, and a weak bun

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Matt’s Rotisserie & Oyster Lounge

Zak’s

zak's

Zak’s in Ballard is all about the burger. It’s a burger joint after all so don’t come looking for much else. The menu is simple and straight forward with 1/3lb beef patties instead of the seemingly industry standard of 1/4lb. They have a choice selection of “ice cream drinks”, think shakes and malts, and they have a nice little round up of a few brews for the thirsty and riotous.

To continue with the theme of simplicity I went with the straight forward bacon cheese burger instead of the Big Johnson (double meat, double cheese, double bacon). Outside of the bacon and cheese (Tillimook cheddar) the standard support cast at Zak’s includes mayo, mustard, ketchup, pickle, onion, and iceberg lettuce.

The burger arrived and it was immediately obvious that the cheese was not fully melted, hell it wasn’t hardly partially melted. It was more like sweated. But to be fair there was enough going on with the burger in other areas to bring it back from the depths of ridicule.

The bun was a beautifully chewy kaiser roll with gorgeous mouthfeel. The bacon was divine. Excellent, thick cut, with a heavy yet delightful pork flavor. So thick it was like a slice of bacon ham. Legit pig. The veggies were nice, especially the iceberg lettuce, but they seemed marred by stock ketchup and mustard. I don’t feel ketchup ever belongs on my burger, at least serve it on the side for those that prefer it, and although I love a good mustard that generic yellow jobber posing as mustard will simply never suffice.

The beef was ok. It had some nice beef flavor but didn’t live up to the “100% fresh ground chuck” claim. The texture and flavor just didn’t seem fresh to me but to be fair it was a far cry from bad. Amid all my misgivings, Zak’s is exactly what it claims to be. A burger joint.

+ I give hooves up for a charming kaiser bun and some very legit bacon

– I give hooves down for unmelted cheese, sad generic yellow mustard, and beef that could have been better

The bacon cheese burger at Zak’s

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

www.zaksinballard.com

George’s

Situated in the heart of downtown Kirkland, George’s is hard to place on the food chain. At one end of the menu they have a dozen variations on our good friend the burger, and immediately below that is an extensive collection of Greek dishes dripping in tzatziki.

We were here for the burger though, and so I went with the recommended option, “George’s Deluxe Bacon Cheese Burger”.

The stack of meat and vegetables which arrived shortly thereafter presented quite a quandry. The thick, toasted, focaccia bun gave an excellent texture to start everything off, followed by some of the freshest tomatos and onions I have had recently. The thousand island dressing was thinly applied, and really brought out the flavour of the vegetables. The shredded lettuce did nothing to excite me, but it was crispy and if nothing else added a interesting texture to the middle of the burger. There were even a couple of pickles hiding in there; treading the right side of the fine line between overwhelming and flavouring.

It went downhill from here. The bacon was fine. The cheese was fine. Nothing in the bottom half of the burger popped for me; the bacon wasn’t bad, but it could have been crispier. The cheese was some of the least offensive American cheese I have ever had, but it was no sharp cheddar.

And finally, the patty, provided a quandry in itself. The meat was seasoned really well, and just by looking you could tell it was going to be a juicy experience. It held together well as I ate, which is more than I could say for the bottom half of the focaccia bun, which after 5 minutes under the juicy patty had been reduced to a wafer thin after thought.

And yet, the burger failed to satisfy. Ultimately, it was a case of the patty being overwhelmed by the toppings.

+ Toasted bun, fresh vegetables, juciy patty, good structure.

- Uninspiring meat, TOO juicy, boring bacon and cheese.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

George’s Deluxe Bacon Cheese Burger, at George’s

EDIT: It was brought to my attention that I rated George’s unexpectedly highly. This was a decision I had made based on the recent review of Herfy’s Burger, and my belief that, while uninspiring, George’s was better than Herfy’s. I have reversed my score to the original 3/5, and will instead just append this comment that I thought Herfy’s sucked.

Burgermaster

burgermaster

Burgermaster is a true drive-in, the first in my experience. Pull into a parking spot, flash your lights and over comes a friendly man to take your order. Fast, efficient and convenient. But is it more than just a popular Microsoft lunch spot?

The picture doesn’t quite do it justice, not that presentation is high on their list of priorities. The bun bares a striking resemblance to a McDonald’s bun, however the taste, absorbency and quality of the bun are far superior to McDonald’s … which is to say they are average.

Average is a theme here. Beef is alright, veggies are decent, cheese is fine. They went with shredded lettuce, which they get away with by virtue of freshness. Setting this burger apart from lesser burgers was a solid effort in bacon and the fine art of cheese-melting. I had “The Baconmaster” which is just their “Burgermaster” with three strips of well-prepared bacon.

There was no sauce that I could discern, which is just as well because the cheese was melted well enough where a sauce wasn’t necessary. On the subject of absences, Burgermaster omits the pickles and onions by default. While keeping it simple doesn’t detract from the burger, I feel like these missing pieces could be what they’re missing to push them into the next class. It’s just not the flavor explosion you might find elsewhere with a fully loaded burger.

Unbeef: Shake was good. Fries were meh. Going to a real drive-in is rad.

+ It was a tasty burger, all the pieces are solid.

– Average. They could see improvement in almost every area: lettuce by the leaf, a higher quality beef, a nicer cheese or a toasted bun. Needs extra oomph.

The Baconmaster at Burgermaster

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

www.burgermaster.biz

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