Posts Tagged ‘seattle’

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 Рhouse 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 

Elliot Bay Brewing Company

elliot bay brewing company

If there is a safe menu item on a brew pub menu, it has to be the burger. Brew pub, screw up the burger and a plague on both your houses. The Northwest, aka the Pacific Northwest for those that have yet to learn the northwest only borders one ocean, is a beer mecca. In my opinion this regions pumps out more quality brew than any other in the country with a limitless number of brews and producers. Thankfully beer and burgers go well together. Like KP and bruised ankles.

The Elliot Bay Brewing company in west Seattle is cozy and inviting. Kick ass jazz from the swing era helps. They host a selection of gourmet burgers from your typical to your specialties, such as freshly ground all natural buffalo, and claim to be the best burgers in West Seattle. I ordered up the crumbled blue and bacon burger with, you guessed it, crumbled bleu cheese and thick slices of bacon on a natural 1/3rd pound Angus beef patty.

This burger was a ratio clusterfuck. We’ve spoken before about the ratio of beef to cheese to bun to toppings, and though there is no precise magical formula on the ratios, nor should there be, too much or too little of something can straight ruin a hamburger. There is simply no way this was a 1/3rd of a pound patty. Maybe a 1/13th lb. So thin, it could only be cooked to one wellness. The bun, although chewy and delightful, drowned out any reasonable relationship it might have once had with the beef. This was like a burger humbow. The vegetables were relevant and crisp. The bacon chewy with little in the way of crunch or crispness, a little too soft and flabby for my taste. The blue cheese was nice but overly plentiful on such a small patty. So little beef and so much cheese. In the end, I found myself chewing bread and blue cheese with intermittent bits of veggies, bacon, and beef.

So little in the way of beef I have almost no qualitative review of the actual beef. Sad. Decent ingredients woefully assembled in unwelcomed harmony.

+ I give hooves up for a charming bun and relevant vegetables

– I give hooves down for so little beef, and in turn, so much bun and so much cheese

The crumbled blue cheese and bacon burger at the Elliot Bay Brewing Company in west Seattle

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

www.elliotbaybrewing.com

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

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

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

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

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

Red Mill

Red Mill

Double Bacon Deluxe w/ Cheese

Red Mill is a Seattle joint devoted to the art of the burger and what we call the greater burger experience, a staple among Seattle’s “best burgers” lists. We’re not out to shatter anyone’s perception of the world, this is a quality burger, but how does it stack up to a beef enthusiast’s lofty expectations?

The bun is the standard sesame seed fare, seemingly untoasted. The beef is nothing special, a couple 1/4 lb patties cooked to medium-well. Things begin to pick up with their accompaniments; the bacon is well-cooked but still chewy, the lettuce, tomato and pickles are fresh, crisp and working in perfect harmony. The sauce is good, with a slight kick, however it is slightly overwhelming at times. They absolutely nail the cheese, ooey gooey goodness, barely congealing along the sides of the burger.

Unbeef: Fries were quite good, onion rings were different, but good, milk shake was excellent.

+ The pieces fit: the burger is held together by the exceptionally fresh veggies, bacon and heavenly cheese.

– The bun isn’t anything special and the beef is not the star. That would be okay if we were called Legit Condiments.

The double bacon with cheese at Red Mill Burgers

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

www.redmillburgers.com

Return top