It'd be fair to say that I've never thought so much about what makes up a perfect burger more than the few hours after eating CBD Provisions' cheeseburger. It may have started with Sam Sifton's story for The New York Times, where a perfect burger means a deepening crust from cooking on a cast-iron skillet. Hard to argue. I'm a sucker for an under-five ingredient burger that lets the meat take a strong lead, with cheese, mustard (or mayo) and pickles hanging on the edge of the stage, humming quietly.
Our own Food Critic Guy reviewed CBD back in December, and the burger didn't exactly blow his expertly mussed hair back. It suffered from dryness and too much ketchup, he wrote. As the house burger addict, I thought I'd follow up to see if it had improved, or whether I felt differently.
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But CBD Provisions' version, which comes with house-made pickles and Texas cheddar (that's it) on a potato bun, really stuck with me. The first bite was one of the best first burger bites I've had in a while. The beef gave way in juicy, coarse chunks to a red center, and the Texas cheddar was so soft it could have been a ghost. The pickles filled the placeholder of "crisp" and "acid" that a burger needs, especially with CBD's puffy potato bun.
It was simple but not simple. The burger comes with shoots of badassly-crunchy French fries in a metal cup. The burger kept me meal-quiet and coming back for new bites, with less and less time in between. That ketchup hits you with a version of savory-sweetness that electrifies an already great burger. Maybe a little too much of it, yeah, but it kept me engaged. The homemade pickles were stationed perfectly to be strong in numbers without forcing their hand. Also, let's talk about the cheese on this burger -- I made of list of things as delicately soft as that Texas Cheddar:
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The whole drive home I thought about fast U-turning the car on Main, avoiding putting my car through the giant-lidless eye in front of Joule, and ordering another one, to go. It's a burger that elevates your conversations on what's a good burger, and makes you want more. A cheeseburger can be a restaurant's thumbprint -- a snapshot of the identity of the rest of the menu's food. CBD's print is one of the most interesting and inspiring in the city.