Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Square Burger Review

So a while back, before Burger Club Dallas officially kicked off, I went to a place that my friend Albert was nuts about, and wrote a blog review on how glorious it was ,
(see Albert's Square Burger Review)
Square Burger in downtown McKinney, TX is a newer place in the area, that is getting some great reviews
(mostly from Albert, love ya buddy). So, I went to check out the hype, this is the review I wrote on his page, while not the best place around it was good, and I do recommend you check it out if you are in the area.

  1. Bugs, Buns, and Barmaids….
    So after a great deal of hype from Mr. Samuels about Square Burger in downtown McKinney, I made it in for some “Genius” burgers. We came to the restaurant about 1:00pm on a Tuesday afternoon, we would have been there sooner but could not find it as they have no visible sign.
    There were several open tables, but we were seated at the bar as the hostess, a very nice lady, advised us they were expecting a large party. The overall appearance of the restaurant was very modern looking, slightly cramped and not very inviting. Some folks love the modern look, to me that is not what I expect for a “burger place”.
    My lunch companion pointed out right after we were seated a rather large bug on the bar, and then a spider on my shirt shortly after. Now I am thinking “okay this place must be great even the bugs love it!”. We waited for a few moments for the bar tender, a lovely young lady whose name escapes me. I ordered the square burger with onion rings, and was very surprised when the bar maid did not ask how I wanted my burger cooked ( I do not recall seeing a specification on the menu, regarding cooking temperatures.) interesting, I thought I had read somewhere that the service here was “on their A-game” I guess this was a different staff. It is important to mention that the time our order was placed was about 1:10pm.
    So I waited for the amazing burger that I had heard so much about, and waited… two glasses of water later… still waiting. Now the time is 1:35pm almost 30 minutes have gone by no sign of our order. Now for those of you who do not know me, I did attend culinary school and cooked in a four star restaurant, a country club, and several other fine establishments, under the guidance of chefs that trained and taught at the Culinary Institute of America , and cooked on the US culinary Olympic team. I have made a few burgers, and don’t recall it taking that long to prepare a burger and onion rings, ever. Finally at 1 :45pm our food arrives, well part of it anyway. Our server brought us our sides (fries and onion rings) first stating that the rest would be right out. Remember the large party that I mentioned was supposed to be arriving, they had still not shown up as far as I could see, and the restaurant was not that busy for the time. So my long awaited onion rings (which really take about 5 minutes tops from fresh or frozen state to prepare) are getting cold. A few minutes later the burger has finally arrived.
    I ask the bar maid, who has mixed up our condiments and is busy switching them, before she goes get the mayonnaise she forgot, “So how was this burger cooked?” Her response, “We cook everything to medium.” That is great for me because I order mine medium anyway, but what about someone else who likes well done? So I still have great expectations at this point, and I am not disappointed. I bite into a fresh juicy burger with a slightly tangy Cheddar, and a wonderful bun. I am disappointed as was Mr. Samuels by the iceberg lettuce, and to find that the burger was not cooked medium but more medium well, I could see almost no pink. The quality of the meat was good, well seasoned and not dry. The bun was probably the best part of this burger, very well made, great job as always Empire! Now for the onion rings, they were fantastic, defiantly in my top ten of all time, wonderfully crisp and not soggy at all, the tempura  batter was made with a local beer which I love!
    So in summation (I know I wrote a small novel Albert), I would give Square Burger 6.5/10. The lack of service, over all snootiness of the place (just because you are gourmet does not mean you have to be pretentious), and the wait time after order were the real downers. Twisted Root (Deep Ellum Location) is still the King of Dallas burgers in my humble opinion. Still looking for better, and haven’t found it yet. Not bad food, Square Burger, a little pricey — $9.50 just for a burger, not my style on the atmosphere (what do you expect from downtown McKinney). I will be back and hopefully not for the last time, waiting and waiting to be impressed.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Burger Club #1 Kenny's Burger Joint

Kenny Bowers is a good restaurateur. Where to start, from his other previous ventures his fare has been proven, it was proven again tonight at Kenny's Burger Joint in Frisco. From the moment one opens the doors and has the sweet smell of Hickory waft over them in the clean lined  restaurant that  is comfortable and welcoming, to the moment when my burger arrived very promptly and in hot and wonderfully fresh condition, the experience was wonderful. I'll say that the Burger Club was not up to the numbers we had expected, but still the fantastic staff greatly accommodated us even on their busiest night of the week!

We arrived early (in official Burger Club Dallas T-shirts, the first person to comment me on this gets one for free). The restaurant had a table for us even though they don't really do reservations. Soon several other patrons began to ask about Burger Club from my shirt, and I told them to check us out online  (Burger Club Dallas). They in turn told me of an amazing Dallas Burger...Adair's? Hmmm...anyone know about this place? This group raved about it; needless to say Burger Club may look into it.

On to the Burgers, that is what this is all about. Our order was perfect, and in great time. My wife having the bacon cheddar burger, and myself going classic cheeseburger and fries, and we shared and adult shake, called the "Naughty Mommy" .. get your minds out of the gutter it was a cheesecake ice cream and liquor glass of amazing! I also ordered some fries which I will get to later. I took a huge bite, and it was wonderful, all very fresh ingredients from the Ciabatta Bun to the thick patty cooked  perfectly medium and the cheese melted just right. Biting into the succulent burger, juices ran down by chin in meatful bliss. While my own personal rating for the burger stands at 8.5 out of 10, I feel the only thing that could cause this burger to be better would be a bit more crust on the patty; not char, the wood fire imparted just the right flavor, and being juicy it was obviously seared well, but maybe just not quite enough. Although being seasoned excellently, I think I could have used some more spice, maybe I'll add a jalapeƱo next time, that one's on me. Defiantly in my top 10 burgers  of all time and somewhere near the top. Oh and the fries, I almost forgot, they are battered, which gives these golden sticks of goodness a great crunch and flavor, no soggy potatoes here.

All in all, it was a great night and a great start to a great adventure.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The adventure begins

"To me, the burger is the perfect sandwich, the perfect meal, one that should never fail to satisfy. But the hamburger is too often over looked and taken for granted." - Chef Bobby Flay

So true are the words of the great Chef Flay, the simple Hamburger has a vast history, who made the first is hard to say. For a detailed history, one can visit this site for more information ( probably more than you would ever want to know.) Hamburger History.

From a very early age I recall loving hamburgers, going out to different places on Sunday after church with my parents became somewhat a family tradition. One establishment in particular stood out, not as much for the burgers as the atmosphere. The Dairyette in Dallas, TX was and still is a wonderful treat, dating back to the 1950's , they serve classic burgers, fries and huge frosted mugs of root beer. Dairyette to see pics/ reviews.  As an adult and a culinary student I have learned to appreciate a simple dish done very well. Most of the best foods in my opinion are simple dishes done very well, the term " peasant food" has been applied to many such dishes, Brisket, Fajitas, even Hamburgers! There is much to be said for a sandwich that serves as a complete meal in and of itself. Bread, meat, cheese, fresh lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles all piled high, what more could one ask for?

So at the ripe old age of thirty one I begin my quest for the perfect burger.  Having traveled around a bit and sampled some really great food, I feel that I must start over from home, Dallas, TX more precisely the Dallas, Fort Worth Metroplex.  The quest was spurned by a conversation(s) via blog with my friend Albert Samuels, who gave a rather dismal review of one of my favorite places, Twisted Root Burger Company. To read this blog and other great articles please go to Twisted Root Review. Okay, so maybe Twisted Root should not have franchised it's restaurant, I said it before and I will say it again, it is not always a good idea to franchise a great restaurant! The folks that love your place may not do it as good as you do.

For this and many other reasons, mainly an excuse to eat some great food, I have formed Burger Club Dallas
, to have some fun with friends (and make new ones) who also share a passion for finding the next great american burger.   We will go out once a month to a different establishment to eat and rate their fare, it will be a simple 1-10 rating system for the burger, with a second rating for the establishment as a whole. Nothing snobby, no nit picking, just an unbiased review of  what the place has to offer. Scores will be averaged, and absentee ballots will be excepted at any time! This blog will serve as an outlet for these meetings for myself, as well as other adventures to far off places and the Burger experiences there, like last summer at Wimpy's in South Africa!

So if you love burgers, regardless of where you live, come along for the ride, it should be fun, and Chef Flay if you are reading this, I would love to meet you and try one of your burger creations.