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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ye Ole Butcher Shop - May 26, 2010

This week's burger quest took our intrepid group to Historic Downtown Plano to visit Ye Ole Butcher Shop which is a combination meat market and burger restaurant. The shop is located in strip center in downtown Plano and the interior is decorated with pictures of the cattle industry, buffalo and elk mounts and meat hooks that appear to still be working. We waited in a short line before placing our order at the counter where enthusiastic men in cowboy hats asked us what we wanted for lunch. I ordered a bacon cheeseburger with a beef patty and cheddar cheese. Other options included buffalo meat, turkey meat and the special of the day was elk meat. I will have to go back to try the other meat options but I wanted to see how the beef would work before trying "exotic" offerings. Sides were a choice of tots and fries so we ordered both. We were given a number and our cups for our drinks. The kitchen was located behind the register and consisted of a flat top for the burgers, a deep fryer for the tots and fries and a box smoker for the bbq platters that are also offered at lunch. While we waited, we could hear the burgers sizzling on the flattop and the smells coming out of the kitchen teased us while we waited on our order. About ten minutes after ordering, our number was called and we paid for our order and picked up the following burger:

The first thing we noticed was the the bun had been griddled on both the top and inside to give it a nice shine and crunch. The bottom bun was topped with a substantial hand formed patty which was topped with melted cheddar cheese and four slices of Wright Brand Bacon. The bacon was not as crispy as I like but the amount provided was a welcome addition to the burger. Taking a bite, I was intrigued by a smoky flavor of the patty. I don't know if the patty picked up flavor from the smoker which was next to the flat top or if they used Liquid Smoke but there was a definite smoke flavor to the meat. The burger was cooked to medium well but was still juicy. Next time I would request medium but I am not sure if they cook all the burgers the same or if you can request a different temperature. Each bite of the burger was a good combination. The bun was buttered and crispy, the patty was seasoned nicely, the bacon was flavorful but could have have been a little crispier and the cheddar was melted perfectly and added a great flavor and texture to each bite. The fries and tots were cooked well but the flavor wasn't anything special.

Overall I was very impressed with the burger at Ye Ole Butcher Shop. The meat was fresh, the bacon was tasty and the griddled bun and cheddar cheese added to the overall package. You would expect a great burger at a butcher shop and this place came through. I look forward to trying the other varieties of meats the next time I make my way to downtown Plano.

Ratings (1-25):

Bun - 20, good flavor, held up well to patty, perfectly toasted

Meat - 21, fresh meat, great smoky flavor, nice amount of bacon

Appearance - 20, great looking package, meat had a little crust from the flattop

Taste - 21, a very good burger, tasty meat cheese and bacon

Overall - 82

Bonus pics of Tots and Fries:

Ye Ole Butcher Shop on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Meddlesome Moth - May 20, 2010

This week's burger quest took us to Oak Lawn Avenue in the Design District to try the burger at Meddlesome Moth, Shannon Wynne's newest venture. The kitchen of Meddlesome Moth is headed up by Chad Kelley and the menu focuses on small plates of food designed to go well with over 40 draft beers and 75 bottled beers. We walked in and were promptly seated by the host and were given a dinner and beer menu and the lunch menu. Unfortunately the kitchen was unable to prepare any of the small plates featured at dinner but the lunch menu still had a nice array of salads, entrees, sandwiches and a cheeseburger featuring Burgundy Pastures beef from Grandview, Texas, fresh lettuce and tomato, horseradish pickles, aged cheddar cheese and a side of hand cut fries for $12. I ordered the cheeseburger cooked medium and waited while enjoying the stained glass windows which were previously featured at the Hard Rock Cafe on McKinney Avenue. While waiting I could look into the kitchen where I saw the meat for the burger being weighed and the patty hand formed before being cooked on a flattop. About ten minutes later the following burger was placed on the table:

The thick patty was placed on top of a thin bakery style bottom bun and then topped with a thick slice of cheddar cheese, fresh tomatoes and lettuce and a fairly thick top bun. Taking a bite I was surprised at how juicy the patty was. Even though the patty was cooked to a medium well, it was still very juicy and I could taste the freshness of the grass fed beef and the salt and pepper seasoning. The flat top cooking gave the burger a nice crispy outside which I enjoyed. The cheddar cheese added a salty somewhat smoky flavor to each bite and the lettuce was crisp in each bite. The bun was probably my least favorite part of the burger. It had a good flavor but the bottom bun didn't hold up well to the juiciness of the patty and the top bun was slightly too thick. The fries were some of the best hand cut fries that I have had. They were lightly salted and the server then cracked fresh pepper over them. The fries were cooked to a good crisp and weren't soggy like a lot of hand cut fries tend to get after cooking. While I didn't put the horseradish pickles on my burger, they made for a tasty snack in between bites of the burger.

While more expensive than most burgers, overall I thought that Meddlesome Moth created a great burger offering. The service was top notch, the burger was tasty and I would definitely like to return to try some of the small plate offerings and the 115 different beers that are offered to patrons while enjoying a beautiful afternoon on the patio looking towards downtown Dallas.

Ratings (1-25):

Bun - 18, bun tasted good but was slightly too thick on the top and too thin on the bottom

Meat - 22, fresh grass fed beef, crispy crust, nicely seasoned

Appearance - 21, nice presentation of the burger, fresh ingredients

Taste - 21, great flavor in the beef and cheese, all the parts worked well together

Overall - 82
Meddlesome Moth on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 17, 2010

Updated Rankings Through May 12, 2010

83 – Club Schmitz
82 - Angry Dog
82 – Roasters ‘n Toasters
81 - Maple and Motor Burger and Beer
81 - Chips
81 - Ozona
81 - Melios Brothers Char Bar
80 – Riverside Grill
80 - Smashburger
80 – Wingfields Burgers and Breakfast
79 – The Burger Girl
79 – Kellers
79 – Park
79 – Taco Diner
78 – Back Country Bar B Q
78 - Jake's
78 – Scotty P’s Hamburgers
77 – Burger Spot
76 - JG’s
76 - Twisted Root
76 – Burger House
76 – Village Burger Bar
75 – Grape
75 – Snuffers
74 – Five Guys Burgers and Fries
74 - Goff's
73 – Adair’s Saloon
72 – Ball’s Hamburgers
72 - Hole in the Wall
72 - Mighty Fine Burgers (Round Rock)
72 - Central 214
72 – Tre Amici
70 - Peggy Sue's BBQ
68 – Loon
67 – Gazeebo Burger
66 – Lucky’s Cafe
66 – Pappy’s Old Fashioned Hamburger Company
65 – Dunston’s Steakhouse
65 - Midway Pointe

Smashburger - May 12, 2010

This week's quest took us to Addison to visit Smashburger which is just west of the Tollway on the south side of Beltline Road. Smashburger is a chain of burger restaurants that started in Denver and has rapidly expanded throughout the southwest. The Addison location of Smashburger is co-owned by Leonard Davis and Marc Colombo of the Dallas Cowboys and both of their jerseys are prominently displayed at the entrance to the restaurant. As we entered the restaurant, there was a short line to place our order at the registers. As we noticed the clean modern look of the restaurant which was full of hungry patrons enjoying their burgers or waiting for their orders and we could smell the cooking through the small window to the kitchen. As we waited to place our order, we reviewed the menu which has various topped burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads and hot dogs. After a short wait, I placed my order for a 1/2 pound bacon cheeseburger with grilled onions, an order of Smashfries and a cup of water which totaled $10.03. I was given a number and my drink cup and was told that my order would be ready in five to seven minutes. About six minutes later, the following burger was brought to my table:

The large smashed patty was placed on top of the bottom bun and easily dwarfed the small bun. It was then topped with a small slice of cheddar cheese, a generous portion of grilled onions and three slices of bacon. The buttered top bun was slathered with mayonnaise. The first thing that I noticed when taking a bite was how large the patty was compared to the bun. It was a little difficult to eat at first but taking a bite, I could taste the combination of the bacon, the crispy bits on the patty from being smashed on the flattop and the buttery bun. The patty was very juicy and seasoned with salt and pepper. The fresh meat flavor was very good. Unfortunately the cheddar cheese was missing from most bites. Another slice or a large slice of cheese would have helped since the patty was so large. The grilled onions were thin slices of white onion that had been slightly caramelized and added a nice profile to every bite. Finally, the Smashfries had a good flavor but were served at a lukewarm temperature. It was almost as if they had been sitting under a heat lamp before being tossed in the olive oil and seasoning mixture. I was able to taste the regular fries and they were very good when fresh from the oil.

Overall I thought that Smashburger prepared a really good burger. The meat and toppings were fresh and the patty was very juicy and cooked nicely. I would have liked more cheese but I am sure I could order double cheese to help the flavor. I would go back to Smashburger and try some different combinations of burgers as well as the hot dogs or chicken sandwiches.

Ratings (1-25):

Bun - 19, toasted bun, good flavor, could have been a little larger to hold the patty better

Meat - 21, fresh well seasoned meat, crispy bacon, burger was very juicy with crispy bits

Appearance - 20, fresh ingredients stacked nicely, very good looking burger

Taste - 20, very good burger, nicely seasoned with good flavor in every bite

Overall - 80

Bonus Pic of Smashfries (French Fries tossed with olive oil, rosemary, garlic and salt):

Bonus pic of hamburger, fully dressed:

Smashburger on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lucky's Cafe - April 28, 2010

Last week's burger quest took our group to Lucky's Cafe on Oak Lawn Avenue near Lemmon Avenue. Lucky's Cafe has been open for over twenty years and specializes in diner foods such as meat loaf, grilled chicken sandwiches, chicken fried steak and chicken, omelets, pancakes and hamburgers. We walked into the restaurant and were promptly seated by a server. The restaurant is very open with an open kitchen in the back where great smells and sounds were welcoming guests to enjoy their meal. I ordered a medium cooked Bull's Eye Burger which was described as half-pound wood-grilled burger topped with sauteed onions, bacon and cheddar served open-face on a whole wheat bun for $6.99. It was almost as if Lucky's had created the perfect menu item for me. About ten minutes later, the following burger arrived at the table:

The thick patty was placed on top of the bottom bun and then topped with bacon, sauteed onions and shredded cheddar on top of the onions. The top half of the whole wheat bun was slightly toasted and topped with fresh tomatoes, pickles, lettuce and purple onions. I took off the vegetables and made a nice salad and then took my first bite. I noticed that the bun was somewhat dry and bland. The bacon was cooked crispy and had a nice salty flavor. The patty was cooked to well done and was somewhat dry and unseasoned. It did have some nice grill marks from being cooked over wood-fire and I could taste some smokey flavors from the grilling. I would have liked to have seen the cheese get placed directly on the patty so that it would have melted more over the patty. The sauteed onions had good flavor and a little bit of caramelization on them but still added a nice crunch to each bite of the burger. The fries were larger shoestring style and were crunchy and were very tasty.

Overall, I thought that Lucky's Cafe served an average burger. It had fresh ingredients but they didn't blend well to create a great burger. The whole wheat bun was probably a healthier option but it detracted from the overall burger. The patty could have used some more seasoning and not cooked past medium to medium well. I will continue to visit Lucky's Cafe for their great breakfast items and chicken fried chicken but a burger probably won't be my first choice of menu items.

Ratings (1-25):

Bun - 15, whole wheat bun slightly toasted, dry and bland

Meat - 17, thick patty cooked over wood-fire, crispy bacon was highlight of burger

Appearance - 17, fresh ingredients, well put together burger

Taste - 17, tasty bacon and sauteed onions, patty could have used some seasoning, flavorful cheddar cheese

Overall - 66
Lucky's Cafe on Urbanspoon