Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Burger Challenge Continues

The hamburger is distinctly and uniquely American.  We all make them at home, we grab them from a window and eat them at 80 mph, we order them in bars, restaurants, at cookouts, birthday parties, even fine dining restaurants have gotten in on the action.  It seems to be the one food we Americans can't live without.  Proof?  Even the vegetarians still wants burgers, thus the invention of the veggie, or veggie-substance, burger.  

The funny thing is that in the burger restaurant world, there is this constant, on-going battle to be the best burger on the planet.  After 44 years on Earth, years of watching Guy Fieri travel the country, experimenting with a gazillion types of burger at home, I've come to the conclusion that WE WILL NEVER CROWN A WINNER. It's just that simple.  For the most part, all burgers are good.  Now, some have their time and place.  For instance, I'd never find myself craving a fast food burger, but if I'm traveling through Beavistown with nothing else in sight, all of a sudden, the Golden Arches seem to have just earned a Michelin star.  As far as real restaurants go, I've decided to quit trying to determine who has the best because there's another factor at play here:  the cook.  One day it may be the best hamburger you've had all year, then next time, someone else is manning the grill, and it's just a whole different burger.  From now one, I keep a list of where my favorite burgers reside, but I won't even make myself crazy by trying to name one as the king-daddy burger master.

Many of you are aware of the new restaurant called Burger Tavern 77 on Devine Street. It's located in the old Yo Burrito building.  This past weekend, I met Neil and the Vivver there for lunch.  We had yet to make it over there, so this was our maiden voyage.  Their menu can be viewed here. One thing to note, that section on the right that says "Build your Burger" isn't attached to the menus that you are given in the restaurant.  Turns out they are in a little rack on the table, but our server didn't point that out.  Neil was pretty disappointed to realize what they were after we ordered, because he would have preferred to go this route.  That would be a good thing for the servers to be in the habit of mentioning.  One other note about the menus.  They were beat up, bent and dirty.  If a 6 year old points that out, your menus need help, people.

Okay, on to the food.  I ordered "the Charleston." I asked for it to be cooked medium-rare and explained to the waitress that I like it just on the "medium side of medium-rare."  She nodded her understanding and told me that they tend to cook on the rare side, so if she put it in as medium, it would be pink and juicy inside.  Well, I guess someone else was in the kitchen that day, because this was one friggin' well done hamburger.  You can tell just by looking at the picture of it.  

But, I will admit that it was still a flavorful burger.  The pimento cheese was pretty tasty and melded well with the good quality bacon they use.  I chose the fries which were presented in a cup lined with a newsprint look paper.  Very cute and they were well cooked.

Neil ordered "The Bleu" and added jalapenos (of course!).  His was also overcooked, but he still enjoyed it.  

For his side, he ordered the tomato/cucumber salad.  Sometimes I think he orders the most bizarre side dish possible.  It's like he worries about all the other weird sides sitting around in the kitchen, little fingers crossed, saying "pick me, pick me!" and he has to help them out.  I mean, a tomato/cucumber salad isn't a bad thing, but with a hamburger?  I just don't get it.

As I was trying to come up with an appetizer or sharing scenario for the Vivver (note that there is no children's menu here), the waitress then let me know that they do indeed have a kids menu, but it's not printed anywhere.  One question:  WHY? Apparently, you have to be "in the know" or hope that your server will casually mention this to you, or you will never know.  So, the little one got a child's plate of 2 burger sliders (I hate this term, but that's a whole other story) and fries.  She was pleased and ate them both.

The burgers were good, although I hope next time we go we can get them cooked the way we want them.  But, there was one major complaint that we had.  In fact, I'm surprised that Neil didn't want to pack up our plates and take them home.  FLIES.  Tons of flies.  There were so many flies buzzing around this place, we might as well have been sitting out in the park trying to eat our lunch.  For Pete's sake, invest in one of those fans that you install at the front door to blow all that air OUT  as people enter, then these vile creatures can't invade your restaurant.  And, the 1" crack under your back door could have something to do with it too.  Seriously, this is a problem that this restaurant must fix.  If I decide to start at $10 to build my own burger, I'm going to be royally pi$%ed off if I have to shoo flies off it the whole time, like I did the other day.  Or, as Neil said, we can only go there in the winter.  

Burger Tavern 77 on Urbanspoon

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