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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Liberty Burger - November 7, 2011

This week's burger quest took our group to the Northeast corner of Forest and Inwood to try the burger offering at Liberty Burgers. Liberty Burgers is the creation of Mariel Street and its menu features a dozen burgers, salads, grilled cheese sandwich and a grilled chicken breast sandwich. Their beef patty is a blend of chuck, brisket and tenderloin but they also have a turkey, bison or vegetarian option for the patty. Entering the restaurant, I was impressed with the change from Roma's Italian to Liberty Burger. The space is very open with menus on the wall by the entrance, a bar featuring beer, wine and alcohol and an open kitchen behind the registers where you can see your burgers being cooked on the flattop. While the specialty burgers intrigued me, I ordered The Liberty Burger with bacon, grilled onions and cheddar cheese with a side of skinny fries and an iced tea which cost $11.91. I was handed a number for my order and a cup for my drink and after getting my iced tea, I waited about ten minutes and the following burger was brought to my table:

All of the burgers are served with a knife stuck in the middle so that you can slice it in half yourself. I was glad to see that they gave the diners the option instead of slicing in half and having all of the juices run out on the plate. While I didn't order any vegetables on my burger, the lettuce, tomato and pickles were very fresh and made for a nice side salad especially paired with Liberty's homemade mustard which tasted like a blend of mustard, mayonnaise and dill. The homemade bun was toasted crispy and then topped with a hand formed patty. A thick slice of cheddar cheese covered the patty and was topped with several rings of grilled purple onion, three slices of crispy bacon and the top bun which had a light amount of mayonnaise. Taking a bite of the burger, the flavor of the lightly seasoned patty was very evident. The meat was fresh and juicy and the texture of the beef worked well with the crispiness of the bacon and light flavor of the bun. The cheddar cheese had a light flavor and was slightly overpowered by the beef and bacon. The grilled onions were cooked to a point where they were slightly crispy but there weren't enough of them to really add flavor to every bite. Next the bun was the perfect bun for this burger. It was light and fluffy but didn't fall apart while eating the burger. The bun soaked up the juices from the patty but kept its shape and texture. Finally the fries were very thin extra crispy matchstick style fries. They were very good in the first few bites while hot from cooking but quickly grew lukewarm on the plate.

Overall, I enjoyed my burger at Liberty Burger. The dedication to featuring a high quality blend of beef for the burgers and trying to be as Eco-friendly as possible is a welcome addition to the neighborhood. I thought the burger was very tasty and really enjoyed the homemade bun. I enjoyed the sides but wish they could have stayed hotter longer. I look forward to visiting Liberty Burger again in the future and trying the other burger options such as the Napa Burger with Gorgonzola, wild arugula and olives or the Amore which features Parmesan cheese crisp, ham, cantaloupe and spinach.

Ratings (1-25:)

Bun - 21, fresh homemade bun, toasted well and could handle the very juicy burger

Meat - 21, fresh meat, lightly seasoned, good blend of brisket, chuck and tenderloin

Appearance - 20, very pretty burger, fresh ingredients which were layered nicely

Taste - 20, good tasting burger, dedication to quality ingredients

Overall - 82

Bonus Pictures of Napa Burger, Nooner Burger and Onion Rings:

Liberty Burger on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Stackhouse - November 1, 2011

This week's burger quest took our group to Gaston Avenue to visit Stackhouse. The menu at Stackhouse features 6 ounce single burgers or 12 ounce double burgers, sandwiches including a Pulled Pork Cuban, Chicken Club or a Grilled Tilapia, a quarter pound hot dog and a variety of salads. Sides that are available include chips and salsa or dips, french fries, onion rings, mac and cheese and sweet potato fries. For what it is worth, I did hear one of the employees tell a guest that the sweet potato fries were a frozen product while the regular fries were cut fresh and were better option. Stackhouse is housed in a renovated home that has a very open floor plan on the bottom floor, plenty of seating outside both on the ground floor and on a very spacious second floor patio. TV's featuring sports are scattered throughout the space so that you can watch your favorite game while you enjoying a burger and one of Stackhouse's beers on draft. When you enter the restaurant, you are pointed to the cash register and are shown the menu which is posted on the wall. Burger choices are very simple - do you want one or two patties and do you want extra toppings including cheese, bacon, chili, avocado, grilled onions or fried egg. I ordered a single bacon cheddar burger with grilled onions which cost $8.95. Just like at Maple and Motor, you are given a choice of pink or not pink. I went with pink. Once you are finished ordering, you can hear and smell the fresh patties cooking on the griddle. About ten minutes later, the following burger was brought to my table:

The bottom bun was buttered and lightly toasted and topped with lettuce, tomato and long thin slices of pickles. The salad was then topped with the patty that was completely covered with melted cheddar cheese, a generous serving of grilled onions and three slices of crispy bacon. I removed the salad from the burger and enjoyed the healthy fresh vegetables as a nice contrast to the burger. Taking a bite of the burger, I was pleasantly surprised at the juiciness of the patty. Unlike Maple and Motor which is closer to medium, pink at Stackhouse was just a step below medium rare and it allowed the flavor of the beef to shine through. The patty was lightly seasoned and was made from a proprietary blend of brisket and chuck that is freshly ground every morning by Patterson Meats. The cheddar cheese had a mild flavor and added creaminess more than anything to the burger. The bacon was crispy and flavorful and complemented the flavor of the patty. The bun was light and fluffy and soaked up all the juices from the patty and bacon. I kept expecting it to fall apart but it stayed together until I finished my burger. My least favorite part of the burger was the grilled onions. They had a good flavor with a nice sweetness to them but they had been cooked just past the point where they still had a little crispiness in each bite. Finally the fries were fresh cut and were cooked crispy and served without any salt on them. I could taste the fresh potato flavor and after adding a little salt, they made a good side to the burger. On my next visit, I would like to try the onion rings to see how they stack up.

I didn't realize that I was trying Stackhouse on its opening night. I thought that they had been open for a little over a week but I was impressed with the efficiency of the staff and the quality of the burger. I have a feeling that this burger will be ranked highly in listings of top burgers in Dallas.

Ratings (1-25:)

Bun - 20, light and fluffy, good flavor

Meat - 21, very juicy patty, good beef flavor

Appearance - 21, glistening bun, melted cheddar completely covering patty, nice contrast between bacon, patty and grilled onions

Taste - 21, very good flavors, beef bacon cheddar melded nicely in each bite

Overall - 83

Stackhouse on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Goodfriend Beer Garden & Burger House - October 24, 2011

This week's burger quest took us to east Dallas to visit Goodfriend Beer Garden & Burger House which is next door to Good 2 Go Taco on Peavy Road. Goodfriend is a neighborhood bar that features a great line up of burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs and appetizers to pair with drinks from their full service bar. After we parked, we noticed a large crowd seated on the large outdoor patio enjoying drinks and watching the beginning of Game 5 of the World Series. Since all the seating was taken, we stepped through the large doors into a very open room with couches and tv on one side, a large bar in the middle and table seating on the other side. Seating was first come first serve so after a short wait, we were able to snag a table. A few moments later, our server came by with water and took our drink orders. The menu featured 10 different burgers ranging from vegetarian options to lamb burgers and five different beef burgers but I decided to go with The Coop burger which came with lettuce, tomato over-easy egg, grilled bacon and brie. All sides are served a la carte so we decided to go with the Pig Pile which is Goodfriend's version of cheese fries. About fifteen minutes later, the following burger was served to me:

The burger was served on a very fluffy lightly toasted bun and I enjoyed the grill smells when it was placed before me. Three crisp slices of bacon were placed on the bottom bun which were then topped by the juicy hand formed patty on which you could see the black pepper that it had been seasoned with while cooking. A thick slice of brie was melted on the patty and the burger was then topped with an over-easy egg. Taking my bite of the burger, I tasted the earthiness of the brie and the grass-fed beef that contrasted nicely with the smokiness and crunch of the bacon. The egg also combined with the brie to give the burger a unique richness and flavor. I am not a big fan of over-easy eggs but it did add a nice touch to the overall burger. The patty was seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked to a perfect medium. The hamburger bun was one of my favorites so far in the burger quest. It was light and fluffy with just enough sponge to hold up well to every bite of the very messy juicy burger. Finally the Pig Pile was good but could have been cooked slightly less. The cheese was cooked just to the point of being crispy but the overall order of cheese fries was still very tasty. My favorite part were the jalapeno peppers. They had been cured in a sweet tangy vinegar that mixed with their heat perfectly. I will have to order some of them on my next burger.

Overall I thought that Goodfriend served a very tasty burger and the atmosphere inside is very welcoming. They are trying to use high quality ingredients to make burgers that reflect a variety of flavor profiles and cultures. I look forward to returning and trying one of the other offerings such as the Fungus Among Us, Pepper Bomb or Loretta burger.

Ratings (1-25:)

Bun - 21, great bun, lightly toasted, sponginess soaked up juices but didn't fall apart

Meat - 20, great bacon, flavorful patty, cooked and seasoned well

Appearance - 20, great looking burger on the plate, fresh ingredients

Taste - 20, very flavorful burger, great contrast of flavors between the components

Overall - 81

Bonus Pictures of Menu and Pig Pile:

Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Jack's Chowhound (Food Truck) - September 27, 2011

This week's burger quest took our group to Jack's Chowhound - one of the food trucks that have started making their way around the Dallas/Fort Worth area. When we arrived the truck was parked in front of the Preston Commons office building. The deli inside the building is undergoing renovations so the building management has invited a different food truck to show up each day. Jack's menu features a variety of sandwiches, a hot dog and hand-cut fries. I placed my order at the window for a cheeseburger with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and grilled onion with a side of Cajun fries for $9. There was a large crowd waiting for food so about fifteen minutes later, my number was called and I was given the following burger and fries:

Opening the Styrofoam container, I was met with wonderful smell of beef and fries fresh from the fryer along with a slight scent of pepper from the Cajun seasoning. The hamburger appeared to be a basic quarter-pound preformed patty. The patty appeared very juicy and a nice crust had formed on both sides of the meat. The patty was placed on top of a very lightly toasted hamburger bun which had a thick slather of mayonnaise. A small slice of cheese was melted on top of the patty which was then topped with thick rings of caramelized white onion, fresh tomato and a few leaves of lettuce. The burger was then topped with the top bun. I would have liked to have seen a better quality of bun but the standard picnic style bun did bring me back to days of burgers at the lake after a long day of swimming. Taking a bite, I tasted a patty that was very juicy and cooked to a perfect medium. It had nice beef flavor that was complimented with a little bit of salt and pepper. The cheese slice was a little too small to be prominent in every bite but in the bites that did have cheese, it had a good flavor. I ended up taking off the lettuce and tomato but they were fresh made a good salad. I did enjoy the generous portion of grilled onions. They had a hint of sweetness from the browning but still had the bite of white onion in each bite. Finally, the fries were served very hot and had a great flavor. They were cooked slightly crispy and the Cajun seasoning added a nice bite of heat in each bite.

Overall, I enjoyed the burger offering at Jack's Chowhound. The food truck used good ingredients but I thought it was priced a little high for the style of burger. That being said, I would return to Jack's and order their burger again as well as try their other offerings. I like the idea of food trucks roaming our city and bring home cooked favorites to the public. The pulled pork grilled cheese sounded really good and people in line were raving about the Steak Frites - rare tenderloin sliced thin and served on a bed of garlic Parmesan fries.

Ratings (1-25:)

Bun - 18, standard hamburger bun, lightly toasted but held up well to the juicy burger

Meat - 19, good quality meat, lightly seasoned and cooked to a perfect medium

Appearance - 21, nice presentation of ingredients, good char to burger

Taste - 19, good flavors, great burger to eat outside on a beautiful fall day

Overall - 77

Bonus Pictures of Truck, Menu and Texas Dog:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

JC's Burger House Addison - September 22, 2011

This week's burger quest took our group to JC's Burger House in Addison Texas. JC's has locations in Addison, Plano, McKinney, Allen, Frisco and Richardson. The menu features burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads and chicken strips along with tator tots, fries and sweet potato fries. Walking into the restaurant, we passed the dining area featuring two tops and four tops and made our way to the register to place our order. The friendly cashier too my order for a bacon cheddar burger with mayonaise and grilled onions, fries and an iced tea for $10.11. I looked behind the cashier to the open kitchen and noticed a large flat top where burgers where cooking for all the patrons. Ten minutes later my name was called and the following burger was brought to my table:

The burger was simply presented next to a side of fries in a plastic red basket. The half pound patty was placed on top of a buttered bottom bun and then topped with a layer of cheddar cheese then grilled onions, bacon and top buttered bun. Unfortunately the kitchen forgot the mayonaise but taking my first bite, I didn't miss it all. I tasted a very juicy patty that was lightly seasoned with salt and pepper and had a small crust from the being griddled. The grilled onions were very sweet and contrasted nicely with the abundant amount of crispy bacon on top of the cheese and onions. The patty fit nicely on the bottom bun and you could taste the fresh flavor of the fresh ground beef. I was impressed with the nice contrast of beef, bacon, cheese, onions and bun. The only disappointing part of the basket was that the fries really weren't anything special. The thick cut fries were served hot and crispy but they really weren't any different than the standard frozen fries served by many places. I was told the tator tots were very good and next time I will definitely order them.

Overall I thought JC's served a good burger. I am not sure if it is deserving of the best burger awards that it has won but I wouldn't turn down an opportunity of visiting the restaurant again. The burger was fresh tasting with a nice presentation of beef, bacon, cheese, onions and bun. I would have liked to seen a better order of fries but the burger was well prepared and tasty.

Ratings (1-25:)

Bun - 19, nicely toasted buttered bun, held up throughout entire burger eating

Meat - 20, well cooked patty with good seasoning, bacon was abundant and crispy

Appearance - 20, good looking burger, nice contrast of textures and colors

Taste - 20, nicely seasoned burger, good flavors of beef, onion, cheese and bacon

Overall - 79

Bonus pics of Chili and Burger with Tator Tots:

JC's Burger House Addison on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sevy's Grill - September 6, 2011

This week's burger quest took our group to Sevy's Grill in Preston Center. The last time I was at Sevy's was when Nancy Nichols hosted her SideDish Supper Club featuring seafood from Steve Connolly Seafood out of Boston, Massachusetts. I had been meaning to go back and this week at lunch I had my chance to try their burger offering. Sevy's has been open since 1997 and is owned and operated by Chef Jim Severson and their menu features a variety of steaks, seafood, pastas along with a weekend brunch. After being seated by our server and ordering drinks, I placed my order for The Sevy Burger which was priced at $10 and featured bacon, sharp cheddar cheese and homemade coarse ground mustard. About ten minutes later, the following burger was placed before me:

The burger was served on a salad of lettuce, tomato and pickle along with a side of crispy fries and ketchup and mustard. The burger was simply presented on a lightly toasted bun and topped with melted cheddar cheese, grilled onions and two slices of bacon. Normally I prefer mayonnaise with my burger but I tasted the mustard and put a small layer on the top bun. Taking a bite, I tasted a very juicy burger that had a little bit of smokiness to it. The beef was very fresh tasting and contrasted nicely with the cheese and the sweetness of the grilled onions. The onions had been sliced in large chunks and caramelized to a crispy outside and soft inside. Although they were not listed on the menu, the onions presented a nice flavor in each bite and were a welcome addition. The bacon was cooked crispy but I would have liked to see another piece on top of the burger to add a little more pork to each bite of the burger. Next the bun held up well to each bite of the burger. It was a traditional white bun and did not detract from the flavors of meat and cheese. Finally the fries were shoestring style fries that were lightly salted and served hot and crispy.

Overall I enjoyed the burger offering at Sevy's Grill. It was a well prepared burger in an upscale Park Cities location with a surprisingly low price for the location. I would definitely try the burger again but I could easily be swayed by the blackened red fish poboy or the tenderloin wedge salad.

Ratings (1-25:)

Bun - 19, nicely toasted bun, good flavor

Meat - 20, well prepared patty, well seasoned, crispy bacon

Appearance - 20, pretty mix of onions, melted cheese and beef

Taste - 20, flavorful burger, juicy patty, good onion beef and bacon flavor in each bite

Overall - 79
Sevy's Grill on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Second Floor Bistro-Bar - August 25, 2011

Last week's burger quest took our group to the Westin Galleria Hotel to try the burger offering at The Second Floor Bistro-Bar whose kitchen is headed up by Chef J. Chastain and overseen by Scott Gottlich owner of both Second Floor and Bijoux. At lunch Second Floor features a variety of soups, salads, sandwiches and entress such as hand rolled fettuccini, risotto and house made gnocchi. As intriquing as those dishes sounded, we were there were burgers and a few moments after sitting, our server took our drink and lunch orders. I ordered the Second Floor Blue Burger cooked medium which featured blue cheese, pancetta and grilled onions for $14.50. The regular cheeseburger comes with white cheddar, gruyere Swiss or jack cheese. About 10-15 minutes later, the following burger was placed before me:

I didn't expect the side salad to come with the fries but it was a welcome addition to the plate after tasting. The mix of field greens was topped with a flavorful vinagrette and added a healthy foil to the decandent burger. If you wanted some greens with your burger, they would add a different flavor and crunch to this burger. The burger was served simply with a fresh bun topped with a patty topped with a generous portion of blue cheese, pancetta and red wine grilled onions. Taking my first bite, I was overwhelmed with the flavor of the blue cheese but after removing a portion of it, I really enjoyed the burger. The patty was cooked to a perfect medium and and crispy smoky pancetta was offset with the sweet grilled onions. I think that the blue cheese is great in concept but a little bit goes a long way. In the future I would choose the cheddar or the gruyere option. The pancetta was cooked crispy and gave a unique alternative to the typical bacon placed on a burger. It had a nice smoky flavor and melded well with each bite of the patty. The onions were cooked to a very soft texture and picked up the flavors of the red wine that they were cooked in. Next the patty was very juicy and seasoned lightly with salt and pepper. I thought that the patty held up well to the burger. Finally the fries were thin style and cooked crispy. They were seasoned with salt, pepper and a few herbs and were a welcome side dish to the burger.

Overall, I thought that the Second Floor served a really good upscale burger. The patty was cooked perfectly and seasoned to provide a nice flavor in each bite. The blue cheese was tasty but tended to overwhelm the flavors of the pancetta, onions and beef in each bite. Ultimately I think it is difficult to balance all the rich flavors that a blue cheese burger provides. I would definitely order a burger again at Second Floor and look forward to trying the other options such as the Friday night molecular gastronomy drinks and bites.

Ratings (1-25:)

Bun - 20, stood up well to the very juicy burger, nice flavor

Meat - 21, perfectly cooked, pancetta added nice dimension to each bite

Appearance - 21, beautiful presentation, nice contrast between cheese, greens, fries and onions

Taste - 20, blue cheese overpowering at first, great flavor of beef, pancetta and onions

Overall - 82

Bonus Pic of Cheeseburger with Cheddar:

Second Floor on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Coffee House Cafe - August 10, 2011

Last week's burger quest took our group to Jeff Rockow's new gig - Coffe House Cafe at Frankford and Preston in North Dallas. Chef Rockow was formally the head chef at Rex's Seafood Market and is now working at Coffee House. The restaurant is open from 6-4 M-F and 8-4 on weekends and specializes in typical diner food done in Rockow's style. When we entered the restaurant, we were pleasantly greeteed by the hostess and seated at our table. A few moments later our server came to our table and took our drink orders. After bringing my ice tea, I ordered a 8 ounce Akuashi burger cooked medium with bacon, cheddar, grilled onions and mayonnaise. It seemed pricey at over $14 but I was curious to see what Chef Rockow could serve after being a regular at Rex's Seafood Market. About fifteen minutes later, the following burger was brought to the table:


The whole wheat bun was lightly toasted and red wine sauteed onions were placed on the bottom bun and then topped with the half pound patty. Cheddar cheese was then melted perfectly over the hamburger patty and then the top bun was placed on top of the burger. For some reason neither bacon nor mayonnaise made it on the burger and after I was almost done eating the burger, the server came by and asked how we were doing and said he would bring some mayonnaise. I declined at that point but it was a little disappointing. When I took my first bite of the burger, I was impressed at how juicy the patty was and how the cheese and onions worked really well in the bite. The onions had been sauteed in red wine and were caramelized nicely and were definetly a highlight of the burger. Akuashi beef is a Kobe style beef that is well marbled and while I had never had Akuashi beef before; I had seen it on several menus around town at a high price point. The patty was very juicy, was seasoned well and was cooked to a perfect medium. I would have liked to have had bacon on the burger to add even more richness to the burger but it really wasn't needed. Finally the burgers were served with kettle chips instead of fries. I know it is easier to pour chips out of bag but when serving a burger made from Akuashi beef, you would think that Coffee House Cafe would serve a great side of fries with the burger.

Overall I thought that Coffee House Cafe served a really good upscale style burger. The patty was extremely juicy and cooked perfectly. I was a little disappointed in the service issues but I think with time, they will work out the kinks. This was an upscale burger that can compete with some of the better burgers in town. I will be back to Coffee House Cafe to either get a burger or try some of their other menu offerings.

Ratings (1-25:)

Bun - 19 - nicely toasted bun, prefer a white bun as opposed to wheat bun

Meat - 21, great blend of fat and beef, very flavorful

Appearance - 20, good looking burger, cheddar cheese melted perfectly on top of patty

Taste - 20, great representation of upscale burger, cooked well and tasty grilled onions

Overall - 80

Coffee House Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 25, 2011

Stratos - August 1, 2011

Last week's burger rave took our intrepid group to Nick Rizo's restaurant Stratos which specializes in Greek food. Greek specialties include gyros, soulvaki, moussaka and spanakopita. When we entered the restaurant, we were greeted by a friendly hostess and seated at a marble topped table near the main bar. Our server took our drink orders and I ordered Max's Greek Burger cooked medium rare which featured sauteed red onions and feta cheese and cost $9.99 on the menu. This isn't my normal choice of burgers but I was interested to taste the speciality burger of the house. About ten minutes later, the following burger was served to me:

The half pound patty was placed on top of a lightly toasted hamburger bun and and few slices of barely caramelized red onion. The patty was then topped with a generous handful of feta cheese and then topped with the buttered top bun. I was a little leery at first at the amount of feta cheese on the burger but taking my first bite I was pleasantly surprised at the earthiness of the feta cheese. The hamburger patty appeared to be a frozen patty which had been cooked over open flame but it was fairly juicy and cooked to a nice medium temperature. The patty was seasoned lightly and worked well in each bite with the cheese. I was slightly disappointed in the amount and doneness of the sauteed onion. I would have expect slightly more caramelization on the onions but instead they were crispy with a slight amount of warmth from cooking. The hamburger bun was a typical Mrs. Baird style bun but it had a nice crunch from being buttered and toasted and it held up well to the patty and feta cheese. Finally the fries were battered and seasoned fries and were cooked to a nice crunch but they were nothing special and were very similar tasting to Arby's curly fries.

Overall, I thought that Stratos served a decent burger. I probably wouldn't order it again as I enjoy the Meat Lovers Gyro much better; however if you aren't an Gyro fan, the burger is a good choice for lunch or dinner. I will be back to Stratos to enjoy their daily drink specials and Greek specialties but for now I won't be ordering another cheeseburger.

Ratings (1-25:)

Bun - 19, nicely toasted; held up well while eating the burger

Meat - 19, cooked well, good flavor, would have liked a non-frozen patty

Appearance - 19, nice contrast of feta cheese, sauteed onions and patty

Taste - 18, decent flavors, cooked well; feta added a different flavor to the burger

Overall - 75

Bonus Pictures of regular cheeseburger and Dancing Cow :)

Stratos on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 8, 2011

Company Cafe - July 5, 2011

This week's burger quest took us to Lower Greenville to visit Company Cafe. The menu at Company Cafe features natural fresh items that strive to be organic and healthy. Items on the menu include burgers, ground beef and vegetarian tacos, a gluten-free chicken fried steak, salads and steak frites featuring grass-fed beef. When we entered the restaurant, we were told to sit at any open table and after sitting, our server took our drink and lunch orders. I ordered the Belmont Burger cooked medium with raw cheddar cheese and bacon which cost $12. A few minutes later the following burger was placed in front of me:

The first thing that I noticed was that the burger was served on Texas toast which was a little unexpected but gave the burger an interesting twist. Our server told us that they serve all the burgers on their Challah bread unless we wanted a gluten-free bagel. The lettuce and tomato on the burger was very fresh and made a nice side salad to go along with the sweet potato fries. The thick hand-formed patty was placed on top of the bottom slice of toast and then two slices of bacon were placed on top of the patty. Both meats were then topped with a slice of melted cheddar cheese. Taking a bite of the burger, I really liked the Challah toast and the texture that it added to each bite of the burger. I thought that the patty was very juicy and cooked perfectly but overall the patty really didn't have much flavor. The cheese and bacon complimented the burger well but the grass fed beef could have used a little more seasoning. A little more fat content to the beef might have helped as well. The bacon was two slices that had been applewood smoked and cooked crispy before placing on the burger. Finally the sweet potato fries were cooked perfectly in olive oil and lightly seasoned. Normally I don't order sweet potato fries but I really enjoyed these fries and I have a feeling they work really well in the loaded fries which cover them in melted cheese, bacon, green onions and jalapenos.

Overall I thought that Company Cafe prepared a fresh healthy burger. The Challah toast and fries were my favorite part of the burger but it is nice to know that there is a healthier choice for a burger in Dallas. I look forward to trying the Challah French Toast in the future and will return to Company Cafe in the future to try their other menu items.

Ratings (1-25:)

Bun - 21, loved the Challah bread Texas toast, great flavor

Meat - 18, great bacon, patty needed more seasoning and fat content

Appearance - 19, good looking burger, fresh ingredients

Taste - 18, healthier burger but still juicy, cooked well, fries and vegtables were flavorful

Overall - 76
Company Cafe on Urbanspoon

Top Golf Dallas - June 30, 2011

Last week's burger quest took us to the Dallas location of Top Golf which is located on Park Lane near Abrams Road. The menu at Top Golf features a variety of sandwiches, burgers, pizza, breakfast items including Migas and granola with Greek yogurt, appetizers and a specialty golf themed drinks. After we hit a bucket of balls, we went to the open dining area on the first floor where we seated at a table and our server took our drink orders. Upon returning with my iced tea, I orderd the bacon cheddar burger cooked medium. About ten minutes later the following burger was placed in front of me:

I liked the presentation of the burger and I could smell the aromas from the hamburger patty and bacon. The fries were lightly salted and then topped with chopped herbs. The sesame seed bun was lightly toasted and the thick half pound patty was placed on the bottom bun. Two slices of bacon were placed on top of the patty which was then covered with melted cheddar cheese. The top bun was then slathered with mayonaise and placed on top. I took my first bite and enjoyed the juicy patty that had been seasoned with salt and pepper and the smoky peppery bacon. The melted cheddar added a nice texture and earthiness to each bite of the burger. The bun held up well with each bite of the burger and was light and fluffy and had a good flavor. Finally the fries were hot and crispy and had a great salty flavor with each bite. The chopped herbs really didn't add anything to them but looked nice on top.

Overall I thought that Top Golf served a pretty good burger. The ingredients were good quality and the hamburger was seasoned well. I really enjoyed the flavor of the bacon and the cheddar. It is not a burger that I will crave over and over but it is a great choice after hitting a bucket or two of balls.

Ratings (1-25:)

Bun - 19, lightly toasted, light and fluffy

Meat - 19, nicely seasoned, juicy patty, thick crispy bacon

Appearance - 20, fresh ingredients, cheese melted over bacon and patty

Taste - 19, good flavors, well cooked

Overall - 77
Top Golf on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ratings Through June 10, 2011

Updated Ratings through June 10, 2011

83 – Club Schmitz
83 - Dairy-ette
83 - Restaurant Ava
82 - Angry Dog
82 - Marquee Grill
82 - Meddlesome Moth
82 – Roasters ‘n Toasters (Now Closed in Dallas)
82 - Screen Door
82 - Ye Ole Butcher Shop
81 - Barley House
81 - Maple and Motor Burger and Beer
81 - Chips
81 - Ozona
81 - Melios Brothers Char Bar
81 - Nova
81 - Tramontana
81 - Yourway Burgers
80 - Cisco Grill
80 - Elevation Burger
80 - Grazing Cow
80 - Neighborhood Services Bar and Grille
80 – Riverside Grill
80 - Smashburger
80 - The Commissary
80 – Wingfields Burgers and Breakfast
79 - Another Broken Egg Cafe
79 - Del's Charcoal Burgers
79 – The Burger Girl
79 – Kellers
79 - John's Cafe
79 – Park
79 – Taco Diner
78 – Back Country Bar B Q
78 - Jake's
78 – Scotty P’s Hamburgers
77 – Burger Spot
76 - Alee
76 - JG’s
76 - Mooyah
76 - Nosh Euro Bistro
76 - Razoo's
76 - Twisted Root
76 – Burger House
76 – Village Burger Bar
75 - 12 Burgers
75 - Flaming Burger
75 – Grape
75 – Snuffers
75 - Stephan Pyles
74 – Five Guys Burgers and Fries
74 - Goff's
74 - Lakewood's 1st and 10
74 - Stroker's Ice House
73 – Adair’s Saloon
73 - Flying Fish (Preston Center)
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
69 - Kuby's Sausage House
68 - Buck's Prime
68 – Loon
67 – Gazeebo Burger
66 – Lucky’s Cafe
66 – Pappy’s Old Fashioned Hamburger Company
65 – Dunston’s Steakhouse
65 - Midway Pointe

Monday, June 13, 2011

Marquee Grill - June 10, 2011

Last Friday's burger quest took me to Marquee Grill, Tre Wilcox's restaurant that recently opened in Highland Park Village. Marquee Grill is open for lunch and dinner and features two different menus depending on the time of day. At lunch, the menu features items that are quicker to prepare and eat such as salads and sandwiches so that diners can return to work while at dinner, the menu features more complex entrees. As our group entered the restaurant, we were greeted by a friendly hostess who brought us to our table which was located near the open kitchen. Marquee Grill is a two story very open restaurant with the kitchen on the first floor and an expansive bar on the second floor. After we were seated, our server asked for our drink orders and then he explained the features of the day. He returned with our drinks and I ordered the Marquee Grill Burger which features caramelized cipollini onion, Neuske's bacon, smoked cheddar cheese and fries for $15. After a short wait, the following burger was placed before me:

While I was waiting for the burger to be cooked, I could hear it cooking in the kitchen and it smelled wonderful when it arrived. The cheese was melted nicely on top of the patty while the bottom bun soaked up the juices from the half pound patty. The onion was lightly caramelized and served on top of the cheddar cheese. The burger was crowned with two crispy slices of bacon and the toasted top bun. Taking a bite, I was impressed with the layers of flavors and textures of ingredients from the smoky and crispy bacon, the earthy smoky cheese, the sweetness of the onion and juicy hamburger patty. I am not sure what kind of beef was being used in the patty but it was cooked medium and was seasoned with salt and pepper and lightly coated with a ancho-bourbon sauce which gave each bite a little bit of heat. I would have liked the bacon to have been cut slightly thicker and cooked a little less crisp but it had a good flavor and complimented the burger. One of my favorite parts of the burger was probably the cipollini onions which were sweeter than typical red or yellow onions and added a unique dimension to the burger. Finally the fries were thick cut fries that were crunchy and salty.

Overall I thought that Marquee Grill served a very good burger especially in the high-end burger category. They used high quality ingredients in the entire burger and the flavors worked well together. It is definitely not an everyday burger but on a hot summer day in Dallas, it was a tasty splurge. I would order the burger again but I would also like to try the other offerings from Tre Wilcox and Jermaine Brown as well as try one the drink concoctions created by Jason Kosmas at the bar.

Ratings (1-25:)

Bun - 20, light fluffy bun, held up well to a very juicy burger

Meat - 21, flavorful high quality patty, crispy smoky bacon

Appearance - 20, good presentation, nice contrast of cheese meat and onions

Taste - 21, very tasty burger, sweetness of onions complimented beef, cheese and bacon flavors

Overall - 82
Marquee on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Commissary Dallas - June 6, 2011

This week's burger quest took our group to One Arts Plaza to visit The Commissary - John Tesar's new restaurant. At lunch, the Commissary's menu features small plates, salad and a variety of burgers including ones made with short ribs, braised pig tails and pork belly, duck eggs and lamb among other ingredients. While the other burgers sounded intriguing on the menu, I decided to go with the Magic Burger which featured an eight ounce grass fed beef patty and apple wood smoked bacon. I ordered the burger medium and served on a brioche bun instead of the standard English muffin. All burgers come with skinny fries and the half pound Magic Burger cost $9.74. After placing my order with the friendly server, the following burger arrived fifteen minutes later:

I was slightly disappointed to see that the burger had been cut in half but overall the presentation of the burger, fries, homemade pickles and condiments was very pretty. The burger was smaller in diameter than I had expected due to the thickness of the hamburger patty. The thick brioche bun had been lightly toasted and the patty, bacon and cheddar cheese was stacked neatly on the bottom bun and then held together with toothpicks for serving. Since the burger had been cut in half, you could see that it had been cooked to a perfect medium. Taking a bite, I could taste the freshness of the beef that had been seasoned with salt and pepper along with the earthiness of the cheddar cheese. The patty was still juicy but I wonder if it would have been even juicier if it hadn't been cut in half. The top of the patty had a nice crunch from finishing on the griddle. The bacon was crispy and added crunchiness to the burger but bacon flavor wasn't prevalent in every bite. Next the cheddar cheese was high quality and added a nice contrast of flavor to the overall burger. Also the brioche bun was light and fluffy, soaked up the juices from the burger but held together with every bite. Finally the fries were very good. They were thin and crispy style that were well salted.

Overall, I liked the Magic Burger at The Commissary. I thought that the fresh grass fed beef was seasoned well, cooked perfectly and had a great flavor. This is not your typical hamburger but it was definitely a high quality well prepared upscale burger. The fries and homemade pickles were excellent and I would like to go back and try some of the other offerings such as the tandoori burger, the ancho chili rubbed burger or even the Sunday Lobster Bake that will be held every Sunday afternoon during the summer.

Ratings (1-25:)

Bun - 20 - fresh light and fluffy bun

Meat - 20, grass fed beef, cooked and seasoned perfectly

Appearance - 20, well presented burger and fries, cheese melted nicely over bacon and patty

Taste - 20, good seasoning, good beef flavor, cheese and bacon complimented patty

Overall - 80

The Commissary - Dallas on Urbanspoon