There’s a super burger block in Deep Ellum. On the walkable stretch of Malcolm X Boulevard at Elm and Main, there are four cheeseburgers in place that are the American sandwich equivalent of Marvel’s Defenders: the happy hour burger at Hide, Junction Craft Kitchen's smashed beef, the oak-fire grilled at IdleRye, and, now, the double-double at Harlowe MXM that may just remind you of In-N-Out.
What’s Harlowe MXM? No, it’s not Vin Diesel’s next film. It’s the brand new barstaurant living right behind IdleRye in Deep Ellum. You know the kind: The bars with the polished concrete and the sexy Edison bulbs and the rooftop patio. Right now, the Elm-Malcolm X block is feeling like sandwich headquarters.
“Yeah, we should have a throw down,” declares Harlowe chef de cuisine Benjamin Leath.
The restaurant, a seafoody spot from the people who brought us such eateries as Bread Winners, has been “slow open” for an unadvertised three days. When I show up the main dining room is quiet and prepping for service; I’m treated to a casual tour, led to the upstairs patio where you can scope the rooftops of Deep Ellum like you’re in mini-Brooklyn. There’s a fully stocked open-air bar up there too. Long tables and fine napkins and community plates for sharing hang out with everything. The menu is printed on mailable postcards. Heading straight for the cheeseburger:
It’s a double patty, each a coarse-grind of 50-50 brisket and short rib, with two slices of melting American cheese, veil-thin onions, lettuce, in-house mayonnaise and a pancake of thick-slice Duroc bacon. The bun, from Village Bakery, is brushed with an electric charge of smoked anchovy garlic butter. Seasoned salt dusts the patties. Harlowe crafts it with dried thyme, paprika and minced onion. Here’s something to remember: You can add a anchovy butter-brushed lobster tail to your burger for eight bucks.
“I just really want to make a good burger. No frills. I mean, you can add lobster tail — I guess that’s kind of frilly — but the actual burger itself is just a double-double with fries.”
Chef Leath, born and raised in Dallas with family tree roots in the Bay Area, consistently refers to his burger as a double-double. It gives away his secret identity: He’s a In-N-Out die hard.
“Honestly, I’m always a fan of the double-double. Always.”
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And it’s a little bit of what his Harlowe burger evokes. Slices of fast-food level American cheese and thick, “steak bacon” made me instantly crave a side of animal-style fries. It also had the unmistakable flavor profile of a breakfast sandwich that I couldn't pin down to one thing. The seasoned, coarse-ground brisket-short rib patties arrive medium rare, loaded with good grease juices, which is always welcome in a double cheeseburger. Many double burgers overcook thin patties, shooting towards a hard crust, but Harlowe treats the brisket-short rib patties with respect (they’re expensive, after all).
The bacon slice, shaped like an American flag over the patties, is phenomenal: crisp-edged and tender, melting in your mouth like carnival cotton candy. Do not miss the fries. They're double-fried, salt-edged and shell-crispy on the outside, mashed potatoes on the inside and eat like their own meal.
There’s some messiness to the burger: The cheese hangs in between melted and unmelted, and the construction on my particular burger felt haphazard. No matter: The sandwich disappeared quickly. Harlowe has been open for a handful of days. Keep your eyes out for a burger signal in the sky: If a super burger throw-down happens in Deep Ellum, you won’t want to miss it.
Harlowe MXM, 2823 Main St.