Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Alee Burgers - December 29, 2010

Our final burger quest of 2010 took us to Alee Burgers which is a recently opened burger and wing restaurant at the southeast corner of Forest Lane and Webb Chapel. Alee Burgers is a no-frills restaurant with seating for about twenty people and an open kitchen behind the register. It appears to have been a Subway in a past life. There were a few people waiting in line to order and when it was my turn, I ordered a half pound bacon cheese burger cooked to medium which at lunch is served with fries and a drink for $5.68. Behind the register, I saw that all the burgers were cooked on a small shiny flattop. Aftr I paid for my order, the server took notice where I was sitting and then went to work on cooking my burger to order. About ten minutes later, the following burger was brought to my table:

Shredded lettuce and slices of tomato were placed on the bottom bun which had been very lightly toasted and then salad was topped by the patty which reminded me of the patties at Smashburger. A single slice of slightly melted American cheese was then placed on top of the patty and the topped with a large serving of diced grilled onions and two crispy slices of bacon. The top bun was also lightly toasted and was slathered with mayonnaise. Taking a bite, I could tasted the salt and pepper used to season the patty but the flattop needs time to build up the seasoning which gives those nice crusty bits that only come from a well seasoned cooktop. The patty was cooked to medium-well but it was still somewhat juicy in every bite. The American cheese really didn't add anything to each bite of the burger since it only covered a part of the patty and was pretty flavorless in itself. The bacon was cooked to a nice crunch and the grilled onions were cooked perfectly to a nice golden color with just a slight crunch in each bite. The bun was a standard seedless hamburger bun but it did not fall apart and gave a good flavor to each bite of the overall burger. Finally the fries were probably my favorite part of the whole burger. The were medium cut skin-on fries that were hot and crispy and seasoned with a spicy seasoning salt. I am usually not a fan of this style of fries but I will be back to try them again.

Overall, Alee Burger was a good burger made even better by it's price point. It's hard to find a half-pound burger with fries and a drink for less than six dollars. I really liked that the burgers were cooked to order and with time, the flattop grill will get used and the patties will have even more flavor. The staff was very pleasant and seemed to be interested in serving up great food. I will definately be back to try the other burgers on the menu at Alee Burger and I look forward to having some more of their fries.

Ratings (1-25):

Bun - 18, standard hamburger bun, lightly toasted

Meat - 19, nicely cooked patty, lightly seasoned, crisp tasty bacon

Appearance - 20, smashed style patty and great grilled onions looked really good on the platter

Taste - 19, good flavors, time will make the burgers even better

Overall - 76

Friday, December 10, 2010

Nosh Euro Bistro - December 7, 2010

It has been a busy time with work so the burger questing has unfortunately been taking a back seat lately but on December 7, we were able to visit Avner Samuel's newest restaurant, Nosh Euro Bistro which is on Oak Lawn Avenue. Nosh is a very open restaurant featuring lots of light, warm colors, open kitchen and a large flat screen television which gives patrons a better view of the food being cooked. Our group was seated by a pleasant server who went over the features of the day and asked us for our drink orders. Unfortunately Nosh only serves bottled ice tea which I found strange so I stuck with reliable Dallas tap water. When the server returned with our drinks, I ordered the Nosh Stacked Kobe Burger which featured a 1/2 pound of house ground Waygu, a blend of cheddar cheeses and fries for $14. While we waiting for our main courses, we tried the Spiced Beef Cigars and Crushed Avocado Crostini. The cigars were perfectly cooked but their delicate flavor was overpowered by the pear chutney served on the side. According to the menu on their website, it looks like they might be serving the cigars with a lighter sauce now. I really enjoyed the Crostini - The crushed avocado was lightly seasoned and then topped with a nice amount of Spanish Chorizo, olive oil and sea salt. I could snack on those all day long as the fattiness of the avocado was nicely offset by the spice of the chorizo. After we were done for our small plates, the following burger was placed on the table:

The thick patty was placed on top of a well toasted sesame seed bun and was the patty was then topped with a blend of melted white and yellow cheddar cheese. The burger was then finished off with an average blend of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and thinly sliced pickles. I removed the salad blend, took my first bite of the burger and tasted a lightly seasoned but somewhat dry burger. You could taste the flavor of the Waygu but overall it just didn't taste like a burger. It reminded me a lot of a chopped steak plate but in burger form. The cheddar cheeses had a great flavor and were melted nicely over the patty. I am not sure if the bun was made in house but it was toasted perfectly, had a good flavor and texture and did not overpower the rest of the burger. Finally the french fries were my favorite part of the whole burger. They were crispy thin-style fries that was seasoned with salt and fresh herbs and I enjoyed dipping them in the remoulade sauce served with the burger.

Overall I thought the Nosh Euro Bistro prepared a decent burger but when I return in the future, I think I will stick with the other offerings. The small plates that we had were great and I tried a little bite of the other main entrees and they were wonderful. If you are craving a upscale burger when you visit, then its worth trying but I think you'd enjoy Avner's other offerings on the menu at Nosh better.

Ratings (1-25):

Bun - 19, nicely toasted, liked the sesame seeds

Meat - 19, high quality meat, just not enough burger flavor

Appearance - 20, very pretty presentation of burger and fries

Taste - 18, decent upscale burger, fresh meat used in patty

Overall - 76

Bonus Pic of Crushed Avocado Crostini:

Nosh Euro Bistro on Urbanspoon

Restaurant AVA - November 20, 2010

The Saturday before Thanksgiving took the burger quest to Downtown Rockwall to try The "AVA" Burger at Restaurant Ava. Ava is owned by Randall Copeland and Nathan Tate and the restaurant strives to use locally sourced ingredients in their dishes. I entered the restaurant from the back entrance and walked past the open kitchen where I saw a burger cooking over open flames. The smells coming from the kitchen were wonderful and I was glad I had made the trek to Rockwall. I was seated at a table in the main dining room which had a nice view of the shops in Rockwall. A few moments later, the server took my order for The "AVA" Burger cooked medium which is one of the less expensive gourmet burgers at $12. I could hear and smell my burger cooking and after a short wait, the following burger was brought to the table:

The presentation of the burger was very pretty - thick slices of purple onion, homemade pickles and mixed field greens were served on the side next to a large cup of thick house-cut fries. The bun was lightly toasted on the top and bottom and a thick hand-formed patty was placed on top of the bottom bun. A slice of lightly melted white cheddar was on top of patty and the burger was finished with two thick slices of bacon that were made in house from Niman Ranch pork belly. The server told me that the meat for the patty was ground from steak scraps and the bun was baked in-house as well. Taking my first bite, I tasted a lightly seasoned, very juicy patty that was infused with smokiness from being cooked over a wood fire and it was cooked to a perfect medium. The cheddar cheese gave a mild nutty flavor to each bite. The bacon was extremely good but it wasn't a typical crispy bacon but it added a welcome layer of texture to each bite. Unless I am wanting Maple and Motor's crispy bacon, this would be the bacon I would want on my burger and is some of the best in the Dallas area. The homemade bun was light and fluffy but held up well to each bite of the burger. I would have expected it to fall apart from the juicy patty but I never had to pick up my fork and knife. Finally the fries were seasoned well and cooked to a nice crisp. Although I prefer a thinner style fry, the had a good flavor and were great dipped in the homemade mustard, mayonnaise and ketchup.

Overall, Restaurant AVA served a great burger using fresh ingredients prepared in house. The flavors melded together nicely and it was a great showing of what can be done with a gourmet burger. If you aren't in the Rockwall area but are looking for an outing on Saturday, I would recommend visiting the shops in downtown Rockwall and then having The "AVA" Burger.

Ratings (1-25):

Bun - 19, lightly toasted bun, good flavor in every bite

Meat - 22, great patty, thick slices of bacon, well cooked

Appearance - 20, fresh ingredients, well cooked burger, great presentation

Taste - 22, great flavors in each bite, tasty burger

Overall - 83

Bonus Picture of Homemade Condiments:

Restaurant AVA on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Another Broken Egg Cafe - November 18, 2010

Another Broken Egg Cafe recently opened its second location in Dallas on Greenville Avenue just north of Lovers Lane. Another Broken Egg is open for breakfast and lunch and features a variety of breakfast items, sandwiches, soups and burgers on their menu. Our group arrived shortly after noon and patrons were scattered at tables around the restaurant. We were promptly seated by our friendly server who returned a few moments later with our drink orders. I ordered the Bacon and Cheddar Burger with grilled onions cooked medium. All burgers are served with a pickle spear and country potatoes. After a short wait, the following burger was placed in front of me:

A hand formed patty sat on top of crispy golden bun and was topped with bacon, melted cheddar cheese and lightly grilled onions. The grilled onions has a light caramel color on them and were still crisp in each bite. Taking my first bite, I tasted fresh ground beef that was lightly seasoned intertwined with the smokiness of the bacon and the cheddar cheese. The onions really didn't add much flavor to the burger. If they had been cooked longer, their sweetness would have come through more. The patty was cooked to a perfect medium and stayed juicy until the last bite. It was lightly seasoned with salt and pepper and had a nice crunch from being cooked on the flattop. The bacon was cut into thick slices and was very crispy and hot on the burger. The bun was very buttery and had been cooked extra crispy. It reminded of buttered french bread you eat at Italian restaurants. It was a different style of bun but it worked for the burger and added a different layer to the flavor profile with the buttery crispy bun. Finally, the country potatoes were good but didn't seem to go as well with the burger as tots or fries would have. They were cooked crispy and were tasty lightly salted and peppered but I like country potatoes with my scrambled eggs not my burger.

Overall, I thought that Another Broken Egg cooked a good burger using fresh ingredients and a crispy buttered bun. I would have liked the onions to be caramelized more but they did add flavor to each bite. If you aren't craving fries and aren't interested in breakfast fare, Another Broken Egg Cafe served a good burger at a reasonable price.

Ratings (1-25):

Bun - 20, crispy buttered bun, held up well while eating burger

Meat - 19, handformed patty, nice crust from flattop, good seasoning, crispy bacon

Appearance - 20, nice looking patty, cheese melted nicely, golden toasted bun

Taste - 20, well seasoned, tasty burger

Overall - 79

Bonus Picture of Hamburger:

Another Broken Egg Cafe on Urbanspoon