Archive for November, 2011

Towne

November 28th, 2011 by Richard Chudy

Beware the gourmet burger they say, expensive burgers can’t be trusted. If people start talking about a burger, there’s probably a reason for it, although in the case of Towne, most of the chatter seems to have vanished after a hot start. Priced at $16, I’ve somehow avoided this burger for months, but like most things, this was worth the wait. To make the upper tier, you must nail execution, flavor, and offer something that other burgers can’t. Ironically labeled the “Deluxe All-American Bacon Burger,” it’s all about the meat, but for the gourmet crowd it should go without saying. How premium the entire package is and how much value is attributed to a hefty price tag is the question. continue reading »

Bergamot

November 7th, 2011 by Richard Chudy

I’m done with expectations, the next time I hear great things about a supposed great burger I’m going to ignore it. The problem with mostly eating burgers is that in the case of a higher end restaurant, the burger is a perfect barometer to judge any future meals at the same establishment. Fair or unfair, if they can’t properly cook a burger, what hopes do they have to cook any other dish? Served only at the bar, the Bergamot burger is rumored to be a beef blend consisting of marrow and brisket, but it was so salty and cooked so poorly I could have been eating a turkey burger. Ironically, we waited close to an hour for what was promised to be a very thin, medium cooked, and incredibly juicy burger. For such a slim patty, which should have taken mere moments to cook, the wait was far too long, but that’s what happens when you’re banished to the bar, our backs turned to the rest of the dining room. continue reading »

The Buffalo Burger

November 7th, 2011 by Richard Chudy

First, there was The Lamb Burger, a nice break to actually make burgers at home, and now comes The Buffalo Burger. I was excited to see what I could come up when the Wild Idea Buffalo Company asked if I would test out some of their ground Buffalo meat. It was an easy sell, to be able to cook and use a product I could stand behind is just a bonus, but the benefits of their Buffalo meat is no joke.

A couple of facts for you to consider:

Their meat is 100% grass-fed, it’s always humanely harvested (never seeing a slaughter-house or feedlot), 100% antibiotic and hormone free, and is completely free roaming. That should be good enough for you, but if it doesn’t taste good, what’s the point? Fortunately, I was an instant fan of my Buffalo Burger, and keeping in line with my burger philosophy, I kept things fairly simple. Of course, simple for me meant creating a Burger Bar for everyone to create their own perfect burger; homemade Ketchup, homemade Steak Sauce, caramelized onions in beef fat, thyme roasted mushrooms and a slew of cheeses to choose from. The meat was cooked in my trusty cast-iron skillet in just a little bit of clarified butter. Heavy on the salt, heavy on the pepper and the burgers were good to go. continue reading »

Catalyst

November 2nd, 2011 by Richard Chudy

I have no doubt William Kovel is a supremely talented chef, his food has been well received for years and he’s put his heart and soul into the opening of Catalyst. I’m confident his Chicken Liver Mousse is divine and the Roasted Cod is lovely, but the burger, at least on my visit, was far from adequate. Customer service is a huge factor in the restaurant world, of course the food is top priority, but great service should be a no-brainer. But far too often I can’t help but feel like it’s a complete afterthought; maybe if I was twenty years older and dressed in a suit perhaps I’d get the respect I deserve. I hate the ageism, it has no place and this was evident from the cold and silent greeting we received upon arrival, the snobby bartender who was disappointed that his attempts to up-sell were denied, and the hostess who refused to wish us a good night as we vacated. And it wasn’t even a busy night at the restaurant, aside from one or two large groups it was mostly empty as we dined at the bar. Curious that the bartender felt the need to only suggest the most expensive items on the menu to us, and the faux-wisdom presented to us as he explained such pedestrian menu items to us such as the shape of a pasta or the type of cheese used in another dish. Does this happen to all patrons or just the “younger” crowd? I know what Taleggio cheese is and just because of my age (31, for the record) or the size of my wallet, I shouldn’t be spoken to like a nine year old. I doubt this happens to the 50-year old suit with deeper pockets. continue reading »