We happened to be driving through Syracuse a couple of weeks ago, on a visit to Toronto to meet our new niece, and of course needed to stop somewhere for lunch. After researching seemingly forever to find the perfect place (what else are we supposed to do on a ten hour road trip?), we came across Beer Belly Deli, which had a burger that jumped right off the page. The Curd Burger sells for $13 and is topped with candied bacon, deep fried cheese curds, ranch and deli bbq sauce on an onion roll. Of course I was immediately drawn to the fried cheese curds, certainly not something we often or ever see in Boston, with the exception being a random guest appearance on our limited supply of poutine offerings.
The 50/50 blend of sirloin and brisket is very tightly packed and is neither too thick or too thin, covering the surface of the wide bun quite nicely. The bun unfortunately is too tall and dense, not really tasting like onions at all and not feeling super duper fresh either. The patty is pretty well seasoned, and has a well-rounded, moderately beefy flavor that is neither boring nor very exotic. It’s got a fair amount of juiciness to it, staying moist from start to finish. The fried cheese curds are the only cheese component on this burger, and are an interesting choice, if nothing else. The breaded and fried treatment makes them feel more like tiny rounds of mozzarella sticks and less on the squeaky side of the equation like a good curd need be. I enjoyed them, even though they were a tad dense, and made me long for traditional melted cheese on top of the burger, but a unique change of pace it certainly was. The bacon had a slight chew to it and boasted an overwhelming sweetness that paired well with the lush burger. A side of sweet potato tots were wildly under-seasoned and were more likely than not straight from the freezer, and the accompanying maple aioli was more like candy than the savory balancing act it could have been.
The beef on the burger at Beer Belly Deli in Syracuse is ahead of the normal burger curve, with a good amount of juices, meaty flavor and is cooked to a solid medium-rare. The choice of fried cheese curds is an innovative one but quite possibly is a classic case of sounding better on paper than the final execution. Slight missteps with the bun and tater tots are unfortunate because this probably could have snuck in as a repeat burger visit for us down the road. Burger aside, we enjoyed the innovate eggplant wings immensely, so stopping in here again is not out of the question, I’m just not sure if I’ll be back for the burger.
Overall Score: 77