Local & Edi-Bull: Burger Joints
Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 11:04
Everyone has to eat sometime. However, as most students know, visiting the Marshall Student Center’s food court for the fourth time in a week can get tiresome. The Oracle rates a few USF area restaurants on criteria including taste, price, service and atmosphere (1 being the worst and 5 being the best). To preserve the authentic customer experience, Abuelenen and Castillo never reveal that they are critics. This week’s theme: burgers.
Burger Monger offers a novel alternative to the usual burger joint. The restaurant touts fully customizable burgers, providing nearly endless options for the customer. They feature more than 20 basic toppings — tomatoes, lettuce, banana peppers, several sauces — as well as condiments free of charge and a variety of cheeses and other “premium” toppings for an additional fee. The small restaurant also offers several discounts, including $5 Burger Monger Monday.
The Burger Monger ($6.99), a 6 oz. patty of Akaushi Kobe Beef, can be personalized in countless ways. A simple combination of ingredients — fresh lettuce and vine-ripe tomatoes — allows the beef to be the central focus of the burger. The Kobe beef, seasoned only with sea salt and ground pepper, had a strong flavor and was delectably juicy. This, combined with the garlic-buttered challah bun, made for a sizeable and mouthwatering burger.
The Veggie Monger ($6.99) features a veggie patty on Burger Monger’s signature challah bun. The well-seasoned veggie patty, primarily made of a mixture of beans and vegetables, lay in between a warm and delicious bun and was astonishingly tasty. Though the patty’s texture was firm, it began falling apart after a few bites and was hard to keep together long enough to finish eating it.
Despite this annoyance, the additional toppings, such as jalapenos and banana peppers, ketchup and the standard lettuce and tomatoes, gave the burger a slight kick of spiciness and freshness that made it a satisfying meal.
Verdict: Returning some Mondays
Burger 21 embodies the feel of a modern diner with its red, white and black color scheme, bar stools and chrome furniture. The family-friendly establishment offers a variety of specialty burgers, fries and shakes, among other menu items.
The Cinco Burger’s ($8.55) colorful ensemble of ingredients — lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, salsa, jalapeños, Monterey Jack cheese, cilantro and sour cream, all on a sesame bun — make the Mexican-spiced beef burger appear as festive as the holiday for which it was named. Yet, despite the layers of vegetables, salsas and cheese, the burger’s taste was bland rather than exciting: The under-seasoned beef patty had an overpowering flavorless quality that could not be masked.
The BBQ Bacon Burger ($8.34) — supposedly containing lettuce, tomato, smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, crispy onion strings and sweet hickory barbecue sauce, all on a sesame bun — seemed mouth-watering at first sight. The harsh reality was that the beef was overcooked and dry, the barbecue sauce was completely nonexistent and the bacon overpowered any freshness brought on by the lettuce or tomatoes. The result was an utterly insipid and dissatisfying mess of a burger.
Verdict: Not returning
Stepping into BGR: The Burger Joint takes you back to the ’80s with album covers lining the dark blue walls, and all the tables are decorated with iconic mosaics, such as the Superman symbol or Bart Simpson. Once you order one of their feature burgers, the open kitchen allows you watch your meal being prepared.
The Wellington ($8.99), with caramelized onions, garlic, blue cheese, mustard seed and roasted mushrooms, was served on a fresh, buttery-toasted brioche bun with mojo sauce. The burger was excellently prepared: The beef was warm, juicy and packed full of flavor. Blue cheese generously coated one side of the burger, adding a surprisingly subtle taste that supplemented that of the other ingredients without being overwhelming.
The Cuban ($8.99) is an extremely flavorful and juicier version of the Cuban sandwich. Though the Cuban bread is replaced by a sesame-studded brioche bun and the burger contains a juicy, plump beef patty that is cooked to perfection, the rest of the components kept true to the original — slow-roasted pork, ham, sweet pickle slices, Dijon mustard and Swiss cheese — and added an extra dimension of flavors to the mix. The countless flavors, however, completely overshadowed the taste of the Swiss cheese, while that of the pickles shone through excessively.
The Burger Joint’s side of sweet potato fries ($3.99) is undoubtedly large enough for two. The fries were warm and crispy, and had the perfect degree of sweetness, complementing the meal.
Verdict: Returning rarely because of price.