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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Strokers Ice House - October 20, 2010

After not being able to quest for burgers for the past two weeks due to crazy times at work, our intrepid group decided to head to Strokers Ice House to try one of Ma's famous burgers. We walked into a sparsely populated dark bar and after reviewing the menu full of typical bar food such as burgers, hot dogs, jalapeno poppers, grilled cheese sandwiches and Frito pies, I placed my order for a double bacon cheeseburger and iced tea which came with a side of potato salad and chips for $12.50. The cashier took our name and we could smell our burgers being cooked as we paid for our orders. About seven minutes later the following burger was brought to the table:

The first thing I noticed was the grill marks on top of the lightly toasted and buttered hamburger bun and the melting American cheese spilling off each side of the burger. The patties appeared to be preformed quarter pound patties and each was covered with a slice of American cheese. Five pieces of bacon which still had sizzling grease on several of the pieces were then placed on top of the burger. Taking a bite, I was met with a very smoky flavor from the hamburger patties. At first I thought it was from cooking the patties over open flame but as I continued to eat the burger, I seem to think that Liquid Smoke had been used on the burgers as the smoke flavor overwhelmed the greasy burger at times. The patties were cooked well done and were lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. I would have liked to have seen a hand formed patty but the burger still turned out greasy and flavorful. The American cheese melted well throughout the burger and was present in every bite from start to finish. The bacon was crispy and hot and was worth spending an extra $1.50 especially with the amount placed on top of the burger. Finally, the hamburger bun help up well to the greasy burger served at Strokers Ice House and the toasting gave a nice crunch to each bite taken of the burger.

Overall, I thought that Strokers Ice House served a decent burger. It was greasy and seasoned well and definitely fit the feel and vibe of Strokers. If Liquid Smoke was used in the cooking process, I would want less to be used in the future which would let the other flavors of the burger shine more. I also wish that Strokers had a deep fryer. While chips and mustard potato salad are fine sides, an order of fries or onion rings would go great with a Strokers burger and an ice cold beer.

Ratings (1-25:)

Bun - 18, nicely toasted bun, buttered on top and held up to greasy patties

Meat - 18, patties grilled over open flame, lightly seasoned, slightly too much smoke flavor, bacon was cooked fresh, would have liked to have seen hand formed patties

Appearance - 20, gooey mess of meat cheese and burger, nice touch with grill marks on top of toasted bun

Taste - 18, good burger, great bacon and bun, cheese in every bite

Overall - 74

Monday, October 4, 2010

Buck's Prime - September 29, 2010

Last week's burger quest took us to just north of downtown Dallas to visit Buck's Prime. The first thing we noticed when we arrived was the sign proclaiming that Buck's had the best burger in Dallas. When we walked in, we could smell the mesquite smoke from the wood grill in the open kitchen and we could various meats being grilled over open fire. The menu featured bbq meats, steaks, hamburgers, grilled chicken and a variety of appetizers and sides. We walked past the troughs full of beer and bottled soda and the cashier greeted us at the register. I ordered a bacon cheddar burger cooked medium with a side of fries and a large iced tea and the cashier collected my ten dollars and gave me a cup of ice and a number. About ten minutes later, my number was called and I picked up the following burger from the counter:

The burger was served open face in basket and the side of fries was served in another basket next to the burger. A lightly toasted bun was topped with the patty which was topped with a slice of lightly melted cheddar cheese. Two thick peppery slices of bacon crossed the slice of cheese. I could smell the smokiness from the patty and I took my first bite. I tasted a lot of bread, a little bit of smoke and a fairly dry hamburger patty. The patty appeared to be a preformed half pound patty that might have been frozen before delivery to Buck's Prime. It was cooked to a perfect medium but was missing something in flavor. I would assume that Buck's was using a leaner patty when slightly more fat would have helped the flavor of the burger. The cheddar cheese had a good flavor and the highlight of the burger was the bacon. Buck's Prime uses a black pepper bacon for their burgers and it was cooked to perfection before being placed on the burger. The flavor of black pepper and bacon added to each bite of the burger. The bun reminded me of buns that I would eat when eating burgers in the backyard. It was a standard white bun and it held up the entire time I was eating the burger. Finally the fries were thick battered fries that arrived crispy and hot. While not my favorite style of fries, they had a good flavor and were a nice compliment to the burger.

Overall, I thought that Buck's Prime did not live up to the claims on their sign by serving a average burger that reminded me of backyard cookouts. It was nothing special but I have had worse burgers. The meat was dry and under-seasoned but it did have a nice flavor from cooking over a wood fire. The bacon and cheese gave a nice flavor to each bite of the burger and the fries were hot and crispy. I am not sure I would try another burger but I liked the location and I would go back to try their other offerings.

Ratings (1-25):

Bun - 17, standard hamburger bun, lightly toasted

Meat - 16, great bacon, average patty

Appearance - 18, nice looking burger on the plate, cheese melted well, bacon was crispy and covered with black pepper

Taste - 17, average backyard style burger

Overall- 68

Bonus pic of fries:

Buck's Prime on Urbanspoon