August 15th, 2011 by Richard Chudy

The perfect example of “looks better than it tastes,” the Pops burger is a head turner. It’s one of those burgers that once someone orders it, half the people in the room will follow. And why not, a glistening burger with a huge cone of golden fries looks good to everyone, right? Looks can be deceiving, as many choices made with respect to the burger are puzzling and not up to par. The first (predictable) downfall is the use of the much maligned Brioche bun. Quite possibly the largest bun to date, it was mostly over-charred and incredibly sweet to boot, more reminiscent of Challah, but still a massive disappointment. Above average beef flavor couldn’t save this burger, poorly prepared mushrooms and bacon only add to my list of gripes.

Bigger is almost never better; the individual ingredients will never shine, and the burger at Pops is no different. Seasoned unevenly, the few bits of salt are welcome, forming a minor crust on the exterior, but vastly overwhelmed by black pepper and not much else. Medium juiciness is appreciated, but the patty is cooked inconsistently, ranging from rare to medium-well all over the place, it epitomizes the downfalls of a colossal burger. The bacon and mushrooms just don’t work for me; both tasting as if they had been prepared from the earlier brunch shift, the bacon was off-putting and sweet, while the mushrooms were soggy and bland. Ditto for the caramelized onions, which tasted watery and lacked any pungency.

The fries are a mystery too, a very hard exterior, although not necessarily crispy in a traditional way, they are dense on the inside with no fluffy potato to speak of. Salted nicely with the faintest hint of rosemary, they also didn’t taste like they were freshly prepared. Despite a fair amount of beefiness and modest seasoning, the Pops burger is a major let-down. The brioche bun takes over everything, but the mushrooms, bacon, and caramelized onions are not on point regardless, so I’m not sure it makes much of a difference. For $14 you’re better off splitting this burger, if you even decide to go.

Overall Score: 70

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