Posts Tagged ‘4.5 of 5’

8 oz. Burger Bar Seattle (Part Deux)

The 8 oz Burger Bar

If there is anything to be learned in life, it’s this. There is no such thing as too many burger photos.

The 8 oz Burger Bar in Seattle sits smack on broadway on Capitol Hill, you simply can’t miss it. It’s near the legendary Quinn’s, my reigning favorite Seattle burger, and I have to say, I admire the moxie of their bullocks for opening a burger bar within the blasting radius of a god.

I ordered the 8 Oz – house blend sirloin, tri-tip, short rib, and chuck, iceberg lettuce, pickle, tomato, onion, light special sauce, and a slab of cave-aged gruyère cheese.

There really isn’t much to critique at this point kids. This was the real deal. Fresh, Real, Legit ingredients. Assembled neatly and with purpose. A large juicy patty, sumptuous, and cooked to order. My god. And they let the gorgeous meat speak for itself without a cluttered mess of other shit fighting for attention. Harmony. Astutely melted cheese. A very thinly sliced pickle, as all pickles should be. A little shredded lettuce and slices of onion and tomato. A soft and chewy bun. This is a very well sourced, prepared, and served burger. No question. Someone in the kitchen has pride. And rightfully so.

I do believe, no matter how slightly, that there is some wiggle room for improvement here. And with full transparency I’m being a burger snob asshole nitpicker at this point, I admit as much.

The burger was on the saltier side of the tracks, noticeable even to a salt whore such as myself. Ease up sunshine. And given the quality of the lettuce, shredded julienned iceberg was just not necessary. Would have I preferred a bit more toast on my buns? Yes. And maybe a bit more cheese on the meat? Absolutely.

But in the end, I ate surprisingly well. Very well. I’m happy to say that 8 oz makes an exceptional burger and I can’t wait to return. I can’t lie. I want their short rib grilled cheese.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

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

Legit burgers at home.

the dz burger

Being a group of hardcore burger critics, we like to think we know what it takes to make a killer burger.  This weekend we set out to prove it.

The beef was freshly ground just before we cooked it.  It was a mix of roughly 50% sirloin, 30% chuck, and 20% brisket.

The cheese was Beecher’s Flagship.  We had three different kinds of bacon – Whole Foods Maple, Whole Foods Pepper, and Niman Ranch Maple that we pulled from my fridge at the last minute for comparison.  For veggies we had both red and sweet yellow onion, tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, and homemade pickles.  To finish things off there was ketchup, dijon, and a homemade “secret burger sauce”. Finally, the buns – Rudi’s Organic White lightly toasted in the oven.

the array

The patties were formed into 1/4 pound pucks and cooked with the smashburger technique.  As always, it worked beautifully – here’s a look at the patties after flipping and just before I threw the cheese down:

smash

Honestly, it’s difficult for me to find things I’d do differently next time.  I’ve got some ideas but they’re really more for educational “what will happen if I…” purposes than because I think it’ll improve the final product.

+ Amazing beef, cheese, and toppings. A burger done right, IMO.

– Having to clean the kitchen afterwards.

These were certainly the best burgers that I’ve ever made. 

Rating: ★★★★½ 

(if you’re interested, find the full set of photos here.)

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