We were honored and thrilled to have our first invitation and conversation with a chef in our fair city yesterday, as Chef Nick Dixon of Lucky’s Lounge was gracious enough to have us in, chat about burgers, and fill our bellies up with seared goodness. We want to be upfront about everything, as I’ve said before, we are not journalists, although it may be hard to dismiss the idea that maybe we are becoming such, moreover we are just obsessed with burgers and we want to pass along all our new-found burger knowledge onto you, the reader. I didn’t think, after graduating from culinary school, as much as i loved burgers, that it would become my obsession as much as it has. I thought I’d be cooking fancier foods, innovate dishes and using trendy ingredients. Hell, I’d be the trendsetter. But people don’t want that, I think there’s a time and place for foie gras and sea urchin, but people, for the most part, want familiar foods, they want comfort, so here we are.
Listening to Chef Dixon speak, I understand what he’s going through, as he mentioned frequently how he rarely gets to cook “his food.” It’s a compromising business, and to be able to fulfill a chef’s ambition with everyday, sometimes mundane food is a tricky thing to accomplish, but Chef Dixon has done it at Lucky Lounge. Not that there’s anything mundane about a burger, at least not for me, but Chef Dixon has been able to take a product that’s been done a million different ways and still make it exciting again.
We first sampled the mini burgers, perfect in size and taste, bursting with mustard flavor and cooked to perfection. We moved onto the Lucky Burger, just a larger version of the sliders really, loaded with caramelized onions and as juicy as could be. Then the fun really began, as we were treated to Kobe sliders (American Kobe), served with an applewood smoked bacon aioli, muenster cheese and a perfectly cooked sunny-side up quail egg that dripped yolk-y goodness throughout and made me a happy diner. We got the full treatment with the full-sized Kobe burger loaded with Blue Cheese and bacon, but for me, the real showstopper was the duck burger. I know in the past I’ve preached how we’re after beef burgers, but let me tell you, there’s nothing wrong with a little duck. This burger, made from thigh meat, was topped with beautifully cooked mushrooms, onions and tarragon aioli dressed greens. It was perfection. I can’t dismiss the fries either, cooked perfectly and seasoned nicely, they were Belgium in style and were wonderful. I also have to mention how much I appreciate the ongoing changes Chef Dixon makes to the menu. He’s always looking for the best, as he told us the day before, on a whim, he changed the buns they used for burgers because it was a better product. And he isn’t afraid the mix up the meat, either, as he now uses D’Artagnan, which is supremely high quality as some of you know. Lesson learned, it really is all about the ingredients.
I knew ahead of time I just couldn’t review Lucky’s Lounge, it wouldn’t be fair. We’re not doing all this to be friends with chefs and get free food, we are not the Phantom Gourmet after all, who will stop at nothing to become friends with sponsors and talk a place up no matter how mediocre it is. To me, it’s a complete conflict of interest, but I will tell you to go Lucky’ Lounge, try the duck burger and Kobe sliders, if nothing else, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.