The giant steer sits atop the roof, towering over Jefferson Boulevard.
The notable fixture's not far from where, in Normal Times, we could sit at El Ranchito for Chorizo y Menudo (the monthly political event, not just the plates of food). But now we don’t, and if we’re going into the Hereford-topped Charco Broiler, we’re doing so with masks (they insist) and taking the food to go in Styrofoam containers.
As we are at most establishments these days, right?
What makes this Oak Cliff institution good to go is that it has a simple burger that’s not too expensive and hits the spot. The spot being melted cheese over a patty that tastes of the grill and sits alongside the crunch of a thick slice of red onion.
A hamburger special costs just $7.99 with thick-cut fries (that require a very short commute and added salt), the burger and a drink. You choose between a quarter- or half-pound patty. They don’t ask how you want your burger cooked — it’s going to be cooked the way they want to that day (on a recent visit, that desire was pretty well done).
The American cheese melts perfectly, accomplishing its job here alongside a couple of crisp but otherwise unremarkable slices of bacon. The tomato, lettuce and onion are fresh enough, all in a bun that seems to squish and stays squished when it’s picked up.
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It’s a burger that holds the flavor of whatever magic is on the grill at the restaurant from years of operation. At least, magic is what we’re calling it after more than 50 years of use.
No, it’s not fancy — there isn’t housemaid pimento cheese or local meat that’s used by the top chefs in town.
Charco’s not trying to be something it’s not. It’s just a sentiment to simplicity: One that doesn’t cost a lot, offers a bit of protein and provides a good-enough burger to go during our summer of COVID.
Charco Broiler, 413 W. Jefferson Blvd. 214-942-6806. Open for takeout.