In my last post I wrote down my preferences and biases of what I think makes a great burger. If you haven’t read it, you should read it before reading this post, to put this post in better context.
Today, I want to share 3 local burger joints I’ve eaten at recently and share my thoughts about how they stack up against my ideal burger.
In order from what I liked least to what I liked best.
Juicy Burgers & More
Juicy Burgers has been around for quite awhile, and they are a local favorite. People rave about them on yelp.
|My! What big buns you have!|
They don’t serve hamburgers they serve “steak burgers”. Ugh. Spare me the marketing hyperbole.
What’s interesting about Juicy Burgers is how they cook their burgers. No grill. No flat top. They use an oven/broiler contraption. AN OVEN? That’s just crazy man. Are they making pork roasts back there or burgers?
From their website, the burgers are cooked in: “…our specially designed 1800 degree over-fired broiler”. I’m not sure what ‘over-fired’ means. Maybe it’s a typo.
Anyway, the key to having a good burger there is to get it slightly rare, or cooked ‘pink’ in their lingo. My burger was perfectly pink throughout, it was indeed juicy, tender, and flavorful.
I’ll eat a rare steak all day long, and it’s a sin to cook a steak well done, but ground beef is not steak (no matter what Juicy Burgers claims). I’m just not a huge fan of eating rare ground beef. It’s good, but lacks the rich, intense flavor of caramelized ground beef. There were tiny specs of char on my burger but no caramelized crust, the patty was a soft, pale, brown. Plus, the bun is too big. There’s too much bread to beef ratio.
Juicy Burgers burgers are good, but they miss the mark with a too large bun, and no caramelization or crust on the patty.
Crave is the new kid on the block, they opened up just last week. Their menu looks fantastic, with creative and interesting burgers, wings, and fries, among other items. I was really excited to check them out, and I stopped in for a burger just 2 days after they opened.
|Crave likes to show off their patty too.|
My Burger at crave could’ve passed as a twin of a Juicy Burger, with it’s single patty, and shiny brioche style bun. But that’s where the similarity ends.
Crave’s patty is larger than JB’s, and it’s not dwarfed by the bun. And unlike JB, the burger had a dark brown crust. It was cooked about medium, with a little pink in the center. The burger was very juicy, and had a good amount of fat. A delightful little pool of juice and fat was created in the tray from the drippings as I ate the thing.
It was very good, but didn’t blow me away. I think that’s due to getting the basic cheeseburger. Next time I go to Crave, I’m going to try one of their more creative offerings. Have a gander at the menu. There’s almost two dozen burger combos, and many of them look very interesting, though a couple are over the top, including one that’s topped with Fritos, chili and cheese sauce. (On second thought, that sounds good!)
Bun & Bean opened up back in May, on Madison Ave, in the college ghetto (as I like to call it) to little fanfare. The shop is tiny, with a couple of tables, and a bench to chill out on while you wait for your food. I saw the shop walking by it one day, and after checking out the menu, my curiosity was peaked. Like Crave, they have interesting burger creations (though far fewer than Crave). And while the menu is interesting, I was skeptical the burgers would be any good.
Boy was I wrong. Really wrong. Colossally wrong.
These guys make a fantastic burger. Double patties, well crusted, cooked on a flat top, on a thinner, plain bun. This thing is right in my wheel house. Bun & Bean gets it!
I ordered the El Diablo: Pepper Jack, Jalapeños, Sriracha Mayo, Lettuce, Tomato, Onion.
Wow! This thing is good. Unlike Juicy Burgers, where the fancy bun takes center stage, and unlike
Crave where crazy toppings are the star of the show, B&B’s beef patties are front and center. They’re in your face. They scream, “Look at me!”, in all their greasy, cheesy, beefy glory!
I want you to look at something. Compare the smooth, shiny, cheese on the Juicy Burgers burger, with the pepper jack of the Bun & Bean burger. Look how much more runny and gooey the B&B cheese looks. That runny, gooey cheese is commingling with the fat from those well caramelized, crusty patties, and it tastes amazing. Not only that, but the texture is comforting and satisfying.
That’s burger nirvana people.
Juicy Burgers doesn’t get my juices flowing, and I’m not craving another burger from Crave. Next time I’m in the mood for a burger, I’m getting me one of those messy, greasy, cheesy, beefy Bun & Bean burgers.