Years of ridiculous McDonald’s Big Macs and seared diner burgers — the smashed bun, half-melted cheese and diced onion — have clearly put a spell on the chefs at Kitchen LTO, Filament and CBD Provisions. They're serving three of Dallas’ best burgers, and each is layered with American cheese and a chef’s take on “special sauce.” There’s no guanciale, no goat cheese or pesto. These are simply seasoned beef patties crushed into the griddle with sheers of onion and Duke's mayonnaise. Instead of crisp romaine or peppery arugula, they’ve got a bed of shredded lettuce, some pickle discs, and that’s it.
Of course, chef-driven versions of simple cheeseburgers aren’t new, but the latest Dallas chefs’ heartfelt homages to the fast food we loved as kids feels fresh.
CBD Provisions’ updated cheeseburger, two beef patties seared with a bed of buttery onions on the flat top, invokes a lot of feelings, many involving greasy spoons and diner flat-tops. Every time you take a bite of their new burger, somewhere Guy Fieri shoots up from his bed, covered in sweat, wracked with fear of missing out.
So here I am at one of downtown Dallas’ best and trendiest restaurants, one with a killer cocktail program and a famous dish of pigs-head carnitas, eating a burger that evokes sitting on the stool of a cheap diner. When melted American cheese (there are two slices on each patty) finds griddled beef and a wreath of caramelized onions, something stirs in the soul. You’ll be transported to some roadside spot, an ashtray nearby, Don Draper nursing a hangover on the next stool.
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The slices of pickle and “fancy sauce” help this nostalgia along, too. The bun is excellent, flaky and crusty; it’s made in-house by the CBD Provisions’ pastry team. My patties are just over medium rare, but juices run into the onions. With a few french fries — they have a deep, satisfying crunch and salt to them — this is a memorable, indulgent burger. Four slices of American cheese will do that to you.
“Right now, we are using 44 Farms grass-fed chuck, which is dry-aged for 28 days and ground 80/20, meat to fat,” says executive chef Thomas “Coner” Seargeant. They also use two sauces, including a “trinity mustard” made with three in-house mustards: fermented, pickled and beer. The second sauce is “fancy sauce,” which is a drop-dead sexy blend of ketchup, Duke’s mayonnaise and fermented chilies.
The formula isn’t magic, nor is it fancy. It’s chef-driven drive-thru, made with passion and a little griddle science. It’s a simple burger, meticulously crafted, to find your diner nostalgia.
CBD Provisions, 1530 Main St.