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Monday, September 28, 2009

The Grape - September 27, 2009

The Grape on Lower Greenville was voted by Texas Monthly as having the best burger in the state of Texas so yesterday, we made the quest to see how it tasted. Upon arriving at The Grape, we noticed that the place was packed with people enjoying Sunday morning brunch and most had ordered the burger. We were seated at our table and a few minutes later our server brought us menus and took our drink orders. I ordered the Grape Burger cooked medium rare which was served with fries. The burger is listed as being a 10oz patty with homemade peppered bacon, white cheddar and dijonaise on a toasted pain au lait bun.

About twenty minutes later our burgers were brought to the table. Unfortunately my camera batteries had died so I was unable to take pictures but it was a very good looking burger on the plate. The fresh were fresh and crisp, veggies which included lettuce, salt and peppered tomato slices, sliced purple onions and horseradish pickles. The bun was light and fluffy and well toasted.

I ate the vegetables first since I didn't want them on my burger and they were fresh and very tasty. The seasoned tomatoes were very and the highlight was the horseradish pickles. I think they probably would have overpowered the burger but they were great as a side. The dijonaise was on the bottom bun which was topped by the patty, white cheddar cheese and two thin slices of bacon. Taking my first bite of burger, the juices flowed out of the burger but unfortunately it was cooked well done and reminded me of meat loaf. The dijonaise and cheddar had a very good flavor as did the bun but the bacon and patty were somewhat lackluster. I think if the patty had been cooked less, it would have had more flavor but while juices were in every bite it just seemed dry.

Overall, I could see how the burger at The Grape would have been incredible before the Texas Monthly review but now there are two hour waits at lunch to try the burger, I think that it is hard to have an consistency.

Ratings (1-25):

Bun - 20, light fluffy bun, tasted great and held up to the juicy patty

Meat - 17, overcooked thick burger, could have used more seasoning, bacon was lackluster

Appearance - 21, great looking burger, fresh ingredients, juices from patty on plate

Taste - 17, fresh ingredients but overcooked patty tasted dry and unseasoned, bacon could have been crisper and more flavorful, bun was outstanding

Overall - 75
Grape on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 25, 2009

Peggy Sues Barbeque - September 22, 2009

This week, the burger quest took us to Snider Plaza where we tried the burgers at Peggy Sues Barbeque. Peggy Sues is across the parking lot from Kuby's and while it specializes in smoked meats, we saw that it had a burger on the menu so we thought we would give it a try. Walking in the restaurant, you are reminded of a restaurant in a small country town. The place is decorated with various posters of 50's movies, antiques and other western memorabilia.

Our group was seated and we were given menus to peruse while the server took our drink orders. The first thing that we noticed was that the burger had two prices so we asked what the difference and it was a choice between a one meat or two meat burger. The server recommended getting two patties since he said they were fairly small. I placed my order for a double bacon cheeseburger with house smoked onions, mayo and no veggies on the regular bun and served with a side of onion rings. Nick didn't opt for the onions but chose griddled jalapeno cheese bread instead of a regular bun. Ten minutes later our order was brought to the table and my burger was served open face on a plate.

The first thing that I noticed was that the my top bun had lettuce tomato and pickles on it and the bacon wasn't on the burger. They were easily taken off and were tasty as a salad but it's always nice to have to order prepared to your specifications. The smoked onions were served on the side in a small ramekin and when I told the server, he brought out two slices of bacon on a plate. American cheese was melted between the two patties. I put the bacon and onions on top of my burger as well as the top bun and took my first bite. The bun had a good flavor but the bacon was a little limp and chewy and the patty tasted like a frozen patty that you would serve at a pool patty. The smoked onions were the highlight of the burger. They had a smoky sweet flavor and are a wonderful addition to the burger. I also noticed that no mayo had been put on my burger.

As I kept eating the burger, I enjoyed but I kept thinking that for a place that specializes in meats, it should have been better especially since I really like their barbeque; however, I really did like the onions rings which were thick slices of onions that are hand battered in a buttermilk batter and fried and then seasoned with a salt and pepper blend.

Overall I thought that the burger was an ok burger served with some great onions - both the fried and smoked.

Ratings (1-25):

Bun - 18, typical burger bun

Meat - 16, seemed like a frozen patty, bacon was a little limp

Appearance - 17, burger looked good on the plate, smoked onions were wonderful

Taste - 19, ok burger, patty tasted frozen, no mayo on the burger, smoked onions and onion rings were wonderful

Overall - 70

Bonus pic of burger served on griddled jalapeno bread:

Peggy Sue BBQ on Urbanspoon

Melios Brothers Char Bar - September 17, 2009

Last week we ended hitting two burgers places and on Thursday we visited Melios Brothers Char Bar. The Char Bar is on lower Greenville Avenue and specializes in grilled steaks, chicken and burgers. The walls of the restaurant are lined with Greek travel posters. We walked in and saw the menu posted on the back wall. Fairly simple with burgers, steaks, salads and sides and for the early morning person, they also have breakfast foods.

I ordered a bacon cheeseburger with mayo and grilled onions with a side of fries and a drink and my total came to $10.01. The cashier gave us our drinks and we sat down to wait for our burgers to be cooked. The burgers at Char Bar are cooked over open flame while the onions are grilled on a flattop. It is a fairly small kitchen but perfect size for the number of seats in the restaurant.

We could smell our burgers being cooked over the open flame and about seven to eight minutes later, the cashier brought my burger out to our table:

Taking the first bite of the burger you could taste the smoky flavor of the patty along with a crispy taste of bacon and sweet grilled onions. The patty was juicy but could have used a little more seasoning. The bun was similar to your average store bought bun but it held up well to the burger. Bacon was placed on the bottom and was topped by the patty, shredded cheddar cheese and grilled onions. The top bun was slathered with mayo. I like a little less but it was not overpowering. The french fries were nothing special - thick cut fries with a good crisp.

Overall I thought this was a really good burger especially since it was cooked over open flame. If you are looking for a really good burger, it would be worth making the trip to lower Greenville to try out the Char Bar.

Ratings (1-25):

Bun - 16, typical grocery store bun, could have been a little fresher

Meat - 22, smoky flavor, well cooked, bacon was crisp and tasty

Appearance - 21, ingredients looked great when served, good amount of cheese, bacon and grilled onions

Taste - 22, the whole burger worked well, great tasting grilled burger

Overall - 81
Melios Brothers Char Bar on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Central 214 - September 14, 2009

Today we ventured into the Palomar Hotel at Mockingbird and Central to try the burger at Central 214 which is led by the upcoming tv star of The Naughty Kitchen ( on Oxygen Network - Chef Blythe Beck. I had heard through the grapevine that their special burger was a Kobe beef burger with smoked gouda and fried pickles. Although this isn't a bacon cheddar burger, it's still a burger and in the quest for the ultimate burger, it needed to be tried.

We walked into Central 214 and were promptly seated by the hostess. The restaurant is open and the front part of the kitchen can be seen from the tables. Our server came to our table and went over the menu. Unfortunately Nick is not a fan of pickles so he wanted to know if the burger could be made with cheddar and bacon since it is posted on the menu on the website. The server said that the kitchen could prepare it that way but Nick decided to go with the kobe burger with smoked gouda but no pickles. I ordered my burger with pickles and cooked medium rare. Nick then also asked that his burger be cooked medium rare as well.

Once our order was placed we could hear the burgers sizzling in the kitchen. About ten minutes later, our order was brought to the table. The burgers smelled wonderful but unfortunately Nick's burger had fried pickles on top. He was able to take them off which gave me more to eat on the side. The bread and butter pickles were coated with a batter that had a hint of cayenne and were amazing. Being a pickle fan I could have eaten them all day long.

Taking a bite you were treated to a taste of fried bread and butter pickles and a juicy patty of Kobe beef. The smoked Gouda and patty was slightly overpowered by the flavor of the pickles but after taking off the pickles it allowed to flavor of the cheese and beef to blend nicely. The fried pickles were cooked perfectly and were extremely good but I think they were a little much for the burger. The french fries were thin crispy shoestring style that had been lightly salted. They had a good flavor and were nice and crispy. The bun was fluffy and held the patty nicely. A nice touch to the burger was that the bun was buttered and then placed on the grill showing off perfect hatch marks:

Overall I thought that Central 214's burger was a good high end burger but I would have preferred the fried pickles to be served on the side since the pickle flavored was overpowering in every bite. A good option would have been a choice of fried pickles or french fries. The gouda gave a smokey creamy flavor to the patty which was juicy.

Ratings (1-25):

Bun - 16, good flavor but top bun was slightly too thick and gave too much bread in every bite

Meat - 19, kobe beef was juicy and gave a decadent flavor to a traditional burger

Appearance - 18, good looking burger, pickles were perfectly cooked, buttered bun was very pretty

Taste - 19, smoked gouda and kobe were a great combination, pickles were wonderful but overpowered the flavor of the burger

Overall - 72

Bonus pics of cooking temperature of both burgers:

Central 214 on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 11, 2009

Chip's - September 10, 2009

Yesterday's burger quest took us to Chip's Old Fashioned Hamburger located at Lovers Lane and the North Dallas Tollway. Chip's has been serving burgers in Dallas for over 28 years and the menu includes burgers, salads, chicken sandwiches, patty melts, steak sandwiches and shakes and malts. We walked in and stepped up to the register where you order off the menu posted on the wall. The manager/owner was very friendly and I placed my order for a Bacon Cheddar Burger cooked medium with grilled onions and mayonnaise. I also ordered a small order of onion rings. The manager took our names, gave us our drinks and we proceeded to find a table in the fairly crowded restaurant. One thing I do like about Chip's is that you can see your food be prepared in the open kitchen as you walk to your seat.

We got our drinks at the self serve beverage station and about seven to ten minutes later, our name was called and we picked up our order from the kitchen. The burger was half wrapped in wax paper and placed on a paper boat. The onion rings were served in a boat as well.

The burger arrived juicy and perfectly cooked with slices of bacon on top of grated cheddar cheese. The bun was a poppy seed bun that had been buttered and toasted giving it a nice crunch with a soft inside. The bottom bun was substantial enough to hold the juicy patty. Unfortunately the kitchen ended up mixing up my order and gave me grilled jalapenos instead of grilled onions. The jalapenos were slightly cooked to give them a little softness but the amount overpowered the rest of the burger. I took most of them off to enjoy the burger bacon and cheddar combination. The patty was seasoned with salt and pepper and had a good amount of juices in each bite. The bacon could have been a little crisper but it added a good flavor to each bite of burger. Onion rings are not really rings but more thin slices of onion that are dipped in seasoned flour and deep fried. The are light and crispy and seasoned with salt and pepper. Definitely some of the best around town.

Overall, I thought Chips prepared a really good burger that was cooked well, had fresh ingredients and buttered bun that held up well to the burger.

Ratings (1-25):

Bun - 22, loved that they buttered and toasted the top and bottom bun as having a poppy seed bun, bun was able to stand up to the juicy hamburger patty

Meat - 20, well seasoned patty, with nice slices of bacon, juciy patty cooked to medium

Appearance - 19, well melted cheese topped with bacon on a poppy seed bun

Taste - 20, very good tasty juicy burger, good mayo, would have liked to have had grilled onions instead of jalapenos

Overall - 81
Chip's Old Fashioned Hamburgers on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mighty Fine Burgers (Round Rock Texas) - September 6, 2009

Yesterday as I was diving down I-35 to Austin, I saw a billboard for Mighty Fine Burgers which boasted that they were one of the top 50 burgers in Texas as voted by Texas Monthly magazine. Since it was lunch time and I am always on the quest for a great burger, I took the next exit into a new strip center in Round Rock Texas, drove past the IKEA where I found Mighty Fine Burgers. As I walked in, I was quickly reminded of a carnival ride with the metal railing and yellow chains queuing people up towards the cash registers. As you wait in line, patrons have a chance to check out the menu above the registers. Mighty Fine has an extremely simple menu - burgers, hot dogs and shakes. They definately want to focus on burgers and their goal to get them right. To the left of the registers behind a glass window, a worker hand forms all the patties using "all natural" meat procured from local ranchers.

It was my turn to order and I ordered the Bacon Cheeseburger with mayo and onions and a side of crinkle cut fries. Behind the registers you could see the burgers being cooked on a flat top and other employees diligently putting the orders together which are written on white bags. After you place your order and pay, customers are encouraged to use the hand jacuzzi to the left. Placing your hands inside two sleeves a burst of water and sanitizer cleans them. It was a interesting take on a hand washing station and I'll admit it did feel good. Five minutes later my name was called and taking my white bag back to the table, the following was opened:

The mayo and onions were on the bottom bun under the patty and the cheese was placed on top of the patty with bacon crowning the burger. The 1/2 pound patty was cooked well done but at a fast food place, you rarely get anything different. Taking a bite, the harshness of the white onion was a little overpowering. A Texas 1015 onion or grilling the onions would have probably been a better option. The freshness of the meat came out in each bite and the cheese was nice and gooey but the bacon was a little lackluster. The bacon was thin slices and was not very crispy. There also could have been a little more on the burger since you didn't get a bacon bite in every bite of the burger. The buns were average burger buns that didn't detract from the burger but didn't add anything like the buns at Ozona or Jakes or Kellers. The crinkle fries are made fresh and fried in 100% peanut oil. I didn't get to see the machine but supposedly the Urschler family created it for the restaurant as they had several pictures of the family up on the walls. The fries were thin cut but crinkled and lightly dusted with Morton's sea salt. I thought they were really good and crispy.

Overall Mighty Fine Burgers ( was a good flavored burger with fresh meat and fries and if you are driving down I-35 towards Austin and craving a burger, it's worth a stop by the restaurant.

Ratings (Scale 1-25:)

Bun - 16, average burger bun, not much flavor, held up well to a 1/2 pound patty

Meat - 18, fresh meat, "all natural" and locally sourced, bacon could have been thicker and crispier

Appearance - 20, very good looking burger, cheese melted nicely on the patty, ingredients placed nicely on bun

Taste - 18, fresh flavors, not as juicy as other burgers, onions could have been less harsh

Overall - 72
Mighty Fine Burgers on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ozona - September 2, 2009

We were "forced" to make a second day of Burger Quest since one of our fellow bloggers wimped out yesterday and didn't join us at Hole in the Wall. Today we ventured to Lovers and Yale to Ozona Bar and Grill. It is a beautiful day outside in Dallas so when we arrived we were promptly seated in the courtyard of the restaurant. Ozona specializes in Texas food such as burgers, chicken fried steaks, salads, chips and queso, etc. It was a toss up between the one pound double cheeseburger but I opted for the Single Bacon Cheeseburger with mayo and grilled onions cooked medium rare and served with onion rings. About ten mintues later, the burger arrived in a wax paper lined basket.

The burger arrived and looked really good but unfortunately it had been cut in half and the patty was cooked more to medium well. The patty sat on the bottom bun and then the onions and bacon sat on the top of the patty. All the items were covered with a slice of cheddar cheese and the top bun was slathered in mayo. Taking my first bite showed off a well seasoned patty with thick slices of bacon. The grilled onions could have been cooked a little longer but were flavorful and added to the overall flavor of the burger. The highlight of the burger was the bun. It was a substantial bun that held up to the weight of the ingredients on top of it. It also had a semi sweet flavor that went well with the smokiness of the patty and bacon. The onion rings were battered with the same batter as the chicken fried steaks. The batter is a well peppered batter that held up well to the thick slices of onions but the side of rings (which also cost $1 extra) only came with three onion rings.

Overall, I thought that Ozona cooked a really good burger. It definitely had the best bun of any that we have tried so far. The bacon was also thick and crispy and every bite held a piece. I would not cut the burger in half and would serve more onion rings but Ozona is definately a place to try if you are craving a burger.

Ratings (Scale 1-25):

Bun - 23, perfect bun to place a burger on

Meat - 19, well seasoned patty, thick crispy bacon, would have been better medium rare as ordered

Appearance - 19, fresh ingredients placed perfectly on the bun

Taste - 20, overall a really flavorful burger, good spice in the meat and bacon, great flavor of bun

Overall - 81

Bonus pic of cheeseburger cooked medium rare and served with grilled jalapenos:

Ozona Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Hole in the Wall - September 1, 2009

Yesterday quest for burgers took us to Hole in the Wall at the corner of Harry Hines and Forest in northwest Dallas. Hole in the Wall is a blues bar by night and burger joint by day. The menu consisted of burgers in various forms and chicken sandwiches. We walked in and you place your order at the window where behind the cashier you see a large griddle and a fryer cooking your order fresh. If you are a clean freak, Hole in the Wall is not the place for you but I have found that looks aren't always important when you seek a great tasting burger. Hole in the Wall seats approximately 50 people and at 11:45 am it was a fairly full restaurant of patron enjoying their burgers. I ordered a double bacon cheeseburger with mayo and onions. Unfortunately they don't offer grilled onions. About 10 mins later our name was called and the burgers and fries were served in a brown paper bag which would took back to our table. The burgers and fries were both wrapped in wax paper:

I am not sure if the patties are frozen or fresh but they have a unique texture that makes me think that they are freshly made. The patties were sparsely seasoned and placed in an average sesame seed bun that reminded me of a grocery store burger bun. The mayonnaise, onions and bacon were placed on the bottom bun and a slice of American cheese was placed on top of each patty. The patties could have used a larger slice as the cheese wasn't very noticeable in each bite. We all commented that the burger could have used a little salt and pepper on the patties. The onions were pungent white onions that had been rough chopped and placed on the bottom bun. Grilling them would have softened their flavor but they still added a good flavor to each bite of the burger. French fries were outstanding. Crispy well salted thick slices of potatoes were served in wax paper and were fresh out of the fryer.

Overall Hole in the Wall served a good burger that is in between the fast food style of Jakes or Kellers and thick patty served at Midway Point. I am not sure if I would make a return trip out there but if I was in the mood for blues or in the area and craving a burger, it is definitely a place I would visit again.

Ratings (Scale 1-25):

Bun - 16, not very flavorful but held up to the double meat patties

Meat - 19, fresh meat but not very flavorful patties, bacon was crisp and tasty

Appearance - 18, burger was very appealing looking, melted cheese gooey over the patites, bacon was plentiful

Taste - 19, each bite gave a good flavor of bacon, onion, beef and bread but the patties could have used a little more salt and pepper

Overall - 72

Bonus Pic of Bar:

Hole in the Wall Burgers on Urbanspoon