Posts Tagged ‘bellevue’

Broiler Bay

broiler bay

Broiler Bay in downtown Bellevue has been around for over twenty years serving up burgers, hot sandwiches, fries, and shakes. Their longevity speaks for itself, at least louder than any burger slag review you’ll see here. And their claim that their charbroiled patties are juicy and fresh of the charbroiler is enough to get me in the door to write just such a thing.

The bacon cheeseburger was my pick. Simple enough. I chose swiss, my typical choice if white cheddar is not an option.

The burger came on a typical stock bun, nothing special, but the poor thing was toasted to hell and back and rivaled the toast from a broken toaster. The bottom bun was hard as a rock with a cardboard quality to it. My swiss cheese was amply portioned and nicely melted. The bacon, although average industry standard grade, was ok. It came with a nice simple mayonaise, nothing fancy or pretentious. Your normal garden fare made an appearance, lettuce tomato, and onion. Sadly the lettuce was truly the lettuce of hatred. Pre-shredded bagged lettuce leaning heavily on the white side was epic sadness. The snappy bitter white pieces where everywhere and truly disappointing. Then there was the beef. Nicely charbroiled but otherwise uninspiring. Certainly not the freshest or tastiest beef I’ve ever had but nothing demeaning to all things culinary.

My side of fries were a step above ok and par for the course.

Sadly I really wanted to like Broiler Bay. A locally owned business in operation for over twenty years is the type of place I cheer for. But in the end my cheering couldn’t overcome an otherwise boring little hamburger framed with righteously bad lettuce. I tried. I really did.

+ I give hooves up for the nice melted swiss cheese

– I give serious hooves down for spiteful lettuce and the UPS store bottom hamburger bun

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

www.broilerbay.com

Nordstrom Grill

Hidden in plain sight in the Bellevue Square branch of the department store Nordstrom, the Nordstrom Grill boasts a pleasant atmosphere, friendly and helpful waiters, and a small and well thought out menu. While this may not seem like a traditional burger joint, I was there, there was beef, and a review needed to be written. We at Legit Beef are not ones to discriminate on the source of our beef.

The “Half Pound Angus Burger” on the menu is pretty bare; no bacon, no cheese, no fancy sauce. With just lettuce, tomato, an onion ring and a ciabatta bun, there’s not much to screw up, and the chef’s confidence in allowing his beef to speak for itself is made evident. And when the waitress says a burger fanatics favourite words – “How would you like that cooked?” – my heart skips a beat. Nestled away behind the mens suits, I may have found a winner.

The presentation is delectible, which the image above doesn’t really convey. The bun is lightly toasted, and parted to show a lightly battered onion ring, a single slice of fresh tomato, a fat and juicy looking beef patty, and the largest single piece of (very fresh) lettuce I have ever seen. Normally such a huge piece of lettuce would have deterred me, but it was absolutely crisp and fresh; it must have come straight from the lettuce onto my bun, and the patty hadn’t had time to wilt it. The onion ring was unremarkable, but inoffensive; it was light and soft and generally acted as a good backdrop for the patty.

And what a patty it was. Cooked to medium rare perfection; dripping delightful juices, pink in the middle but never too red. It had great structure, for a 1″ thick patty it stuck together until the end, and yet gave way under pressure of teeth or fork. It was perhaps a little underseasoned, but by the time I was half way done I could tell why; this was a patty made from premium beef, and it shone without the need for seasoning, bacon, cheese or sauces.

And finally, fittingly, I feel I should mention the ciabatta bun. Initially it confused me; it struck me as an unecessary extravagance, present only to add an air of elegance to the burger. But after a half hour under the juicy half pound patty, I noticed with amazement that the bun base had maintained it’s integrity. Soaked with juice and yet still graspable, the ciabatta bun really made me realise that this burger wasn’t good by accident, it was well thought out.

Oh, and there were herb seasoned fries, with a horse radish aioli; decent, but entirely too fancy for the otherwise delicately crafted experience.

+ Freshly cooked patty, inspired use of ciabatta bun, extremely fresh vegetables, excellent overall construction, and it’s only $11.

- The fries complicated the simplicity of the burger, the lettuce leaf was really much too large.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Half Pound Angus Burger, at Nordstrom Grill, Bellevue

El Gaucho Bellevue

El Gaucho

Today work found me in Bellevue at lunchtime which gave me the chance to stop by El Gaucho for lunch.  Having had a number of excellent steaks at the downtown Seattle location I was excited to give the burger a try.  The menu described the burger as a sirloin burger with NY white cheddar, bacon, and a focaccia bun.

While waiting for my burger to arrive I was thinking “focaccia bun? really?”.  The result was better than I expected.  While I would’ve preferred a more traditional bun, it held up well and tasted good.  In addition to the aforementioned ingredients, the burger also had white onion, tomato, and iceberg lettuce.

The patty was ok, but I was expecting more than ok.  Neither the texture or taste stood out, and the “beefy” flavor I expect in a burger at a steakhouse was lacking.  Clearly there’s no cheese in the picture.  The bacon was quite good.  I’m not a big fan of raw white onion on a burger, and the tomato slices were thin.  The lettuce was much too thick, and I wound up having to break half of it off to eat the burger comfortably.  There wasn’t anything wrong with this burger – well, except for my AWOL NY white cheddar – but there wasn’t anything particularly outstanding either.

The fries weren’t bad.

+ The ingredients worked together as a whole.

– Missing cheese, patty that was ok but not what I expect from a high-end steakhouse

Originally I had mentally tagged this burger as a 3.5/5.  After a few hours of thinking about it and comparing to other burgers in the price range I’ve revised that.  If you’re going to charge $14 for a burger I’m going to expect that you bring more to the table than this.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

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

Wibbley’s Gourmet Hamburgers

wibbley's gourmet hamburgers

So what does one do with a burger that does nothing? It doesn’t do anything criminal. It doesn’t do anything enlightening. It just is, like culinary driftwood in the sea. How does one judge such a thing?

Ok. So Wibbley’s Gourmet Hamburgers. Let’s cut right to the chase here folks. First off, there is nothing “gourmet” going on here. Standard toppings, standard beef, stock buns, and plain old genericness at its finest. And please don’t mistake this for bad. But in commonly understood english where my fluency lays, this meets no definition of gourmet.

My Wibbley’s Gourmet Hamburger was more generic, if anything. A normal beef patty, shredded lettuce (from a bag), loads of ok pickles, an ok tomato, and some decent mayo-esque dressing between the buns. There was no onion, which elsewhere surely would have made the cut on a gourmet burger. And having made the choice to forego cheese and bacon, both were marked absent. A relatively rare move in my world, but not every burger every time requires as much. Besides, I’m not sure it would have mattered much anyways.

In a word, Wibbley’s is simply burger driftwood in the sea of the burger world.

+ We give hooves up for being a mile ahead of satans infamous burger circle (McDonalds, Burger King, and Jack in the Box).

– We give hooves down for being boring, ok, and audaciously ungourmet. An untoasted bun, bagged lettuce, no onion, and oh. Yawn.

The Wibley’s Gourmet hamburger

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

John Howie Steak

John Howie Steak  

John Howie Steak in Bellevue is the latest restaurant from one of Seattle’s premier chefs.  An earlier visit delivered one of the best steak dinners I’ve had in years.  That experience combined with a mouth-watering description on the menu made this a must-try burger:   

USDA Prime Beef Bacon Cheeseburger, ½ pound ground prime sirloin, Beecher’s cheddar, Kurobuta bacon, Brioche roll,drive-in sauce, lettuce, tomato, pickle and sliced red onion  

Prime sirloin?  Beecher’s cheddar?  Kurobuta bacon?  Sign me up!  When the burger was placed in front of me I was excited.  Everything looked top-notch, and every bit as good as I’d been hoping for.  

The patty was excellent.  It was clearly high-quality beef that had been cooked just the way I wanted it, and I’d put it in the top 10 patties you’ll find in the Seattle area.  Sadly, everything that went with the patty was unable to hold up in comparison.

I’m not a huge fan of brioche buns, and this was a good example of why.  The burger was juicy but not sloppy, as it should be – but even that level of juice quickly dissolved the bottom of the bun, making the last half of the burger a little challenging to eat.  The cheese was a real disappointment – I’m a huge fan of Beecher’s and use it on my burgers at home, so I was really looking forward to what it would bring to the table.  As you can see in the photo, the slice was extremely thin which resulted in the taste of the cheese being completely lost.  When I could taste the bacon it was very good, but there weren’t a lot of bites where I could taste the bacon.  The red onion was fine, but the wedge of lettuce was big enough that I wound up setting it aside halfway through.  The “drive-in sauce” tasted like a typical smoky mayo-based sauce, and was quite good.  

With all that said, I really liked the burger and will be going back – but it didn’t deliver on my admittedly high expectations.  Taking this burger to the heights it could reach wouldn’t be hard – a better bun, make the cheese three times thicker, another slice of bacon, and better lettuce would result in a simply astounding burger.  

The fries were solid.  Crispy with fluffy texture inside, and with what tasted like sea salt sprinkled on them.  Definitely above-average.  Even the ketchup was a notch above what you’ll get most places.  The house-brand amber beer was good, and if you’re a dessert person check out the exceptional pear and raspberry sorbet.

  + Really dig the beef, the burger was solid, and everything that wasn’t between the buns was top-notch  

  –  The bun and the toppings keep the burger from being everything that it could be  

The burger at John Howie Steak

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

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