Posts Tagged ‘great buns’

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

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.

Quinn’s Pub

quinn's pub

I have been hearing about the burger at Quinn’s Pub on Capital Hill for some time now. Last night I finally got up enough motivation and spite to pay them a visit. Known as a gastro pub, a pub which is gastronomically sound AKA serves delicious quality food yet remains true to it’s pub roots. Frankly, the idea seems illogical in some sense. I mean, who goes to a pub looking for high-brow pretentious food and the wankers that often times frequent such places? Well, honestly, when pulled off correctly a gastro pub makes all the sense in the world. Great beer and great food. Without the idiots.

The Quinn’s Pub burger is, in a word, exceptional. A 1/2 pound patty of gorgeous, and I mean gorgeous beef from the people at Painted Hills. A lovely melted slice of cheese, white cheddar I believe, and a generous slag of quality bacon. Add to the equation a ridiculously serious bun and some nice fresh mayo and the burger is complete. No lettuce, no tomato, no pickle, no onion, no nothing else. Sans rabbit food, This burger is a statement.

What might strike most as a glaring burger oversight, the risk involved with a vegetable-free burger is tremendous, is simply executed with perfection at Quinn’s. The beef is so absurdly good that it serves as both the main event and supporting cast that provides that accompanying freshness that most burgers rely on earthy toppings for. Quinn’s burger is legit and lives up to everything one can hope for in a hamburger, providing us all with hope and a reason to live.

+ We give hooves up for Exceptional beef, cooked to order, and one of the best burger buns one is ever likely to consume.

– We give possible hooves down for lacking any vegetables, though this is an extreme stretch as I’m still searching for a negative with this burger. It’s that good.

The burger at Quinn’s Pub

Rating: ★★★★★ 

www.quinnspubseattle.com

The Brown Bag Cafe

the brown bag cafe

The Brown Bag Cafe in Kirkland WA, a place better known for their Buick-sized portions than their burgers, was not my idea of a good burger house. Large portions tend to scare me off for fear the chef respects quantity more than quality. I don’t want a giant pile of food if it’s mediocre food I’m in store for. Known for their giant breakfasts and housemade breads, could they really do a proper burger?

Well,the buns are delicious, made in-house, grilled then buttered and are easily the highlight of the burger. The burger meat is nice with a pretty slice of melted cheddar. Nothing outstanding but nicely done. The bacon is crispy, heavy on the hickory flavor, and a nice touch. Liberally sauced with simple mayonnaise spread evenly. But then in march the stock vegetables. The lettuce, insipid and bland like all pre-shredded bagged lettuce is. The tomatoes, off colored and watery in flavor. The pickles, well, as stock as stock can be. The onions, however, are nice but do little in the way of making up for the rest of the garden. A nice effort, a decent all around burger that actually exceeded expectations.

+ We give hooves up for the baked in-house buns, delicious and well toasted, and a cooked-to order beef patty.

– We give hooves down for seriously insipid vegetables, a tad too much mayonaise, and a slightly forgettable burger.

The bacon cheese burger at the Brown Bag Cafe

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

www.brownbagcafes.com

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