What are you doing tonight? If you don't have plans, do you want to grab a burger? I was thinking we could eat and talk about how the Earth’s surface is drying up like a premium saltine. Could we take a few minutes and weep openly for the walruses — huddling together on a shrinking patty of ice — while we feed each other great walls of cheeseburger? How's 7:30?
The end could come any day now, so let’s talk for a second about the great new cheeseburgers that have appeared on our menus in 2015. Buttery, towering icons have erupted from the ground! Burgers griddled and delicious from great wizards of meat! There is a lot to anticipate this fall, of course, including chef John Tesar’s The Royale and Blythe Beck’s Pink Magnolia, but let’s give burger credit where it's due.
Presenting! Awards for the new burgers of 2015 (so far).
Best New Burger to Eat After Months of No Burgers - The “Uncle Herky” Burger, Luscher’s Red Hots
You know the right thing to do: First, add the peppered bacon. You haven’t had a burger in weeks, maybe months, and you’ve got eyes like a lion. Get the peppered bacon, and note that the mustard and mayo are house-made. The bun is cloud soft and seeded. Come alone. You don't want someone you love to see what you look like while eating this burger. Blackout-good. Last time I ordered this burger, I unwrapped it, and then suddenly woke up days later, bottomless and covered in plastic Mardi Gras beads. It wasn’t Mardi Gras. Welcome to Dallas, Uncle Herky.
2653 Commerce St.
Best New Burger Construction - K.T. Burger
Nicely done, burger Gandalfs! K.T. Burger, a spin-off of the Katy Trail Ice House in Highland Park Village, crafts simple burgers meticulously: shredded lettuce, marbled with just enough yellow mustard, manageably thin slices of tomato and pickle slices layered neatly over melted American cheese. Salty double-beef patties are stacked so that the first patty gives way to a heavily crusted second. The bun is big enough to keep in shards of tomato and onion, but not too bready.
32 Highland Park Village
Best Fundamentals in a Gourmet Burger - Remedy
Remedy, which opened up around the new year, is all about time travel. It happens the moment the flat-top-char crunch of the burger meets the creamy mustard, chopped lettuce and dill pickle: Suddenly, you're transported to the '50s diner and George McFly is telling you he’s your “density.” It’s a burger with soda-fountain simplicity, but four-star execution. Make sure you ask for a little pink in your burger, and for the love of Robert Zemeckis, get a sundae afterward.
2010 Greenville Ave.
Best Reboot - Off Site Kitchen’s Reopening
Off-Site Kitchen’s stock cheeseburger is, on good days, a contender for best burger in the country. There’s a heavy sear on the Angus chuck roll and shoulder patty, a little pile of micro-shredded lettuce and a nice, golden slice of American cheese. It tastes like what it must feel like to connect a wooden bat to a baseball, and watch it soar out of Fenway Park. In June, Off-Site's original location, in the Design District, closed down. After what felt like 400 years, Off-Site Kitchen reopened in Trinity Groves. The people of Earth rejoiced.
331 Singleton Blvd., No. 100
Best Concept Burger - Dugg Burger
Just remember: Don't shout, "JUST NEED BURGER." Deep breaths. That’s how I consoled myself while standing in Dugg Burger’s ordering stage, where you can see how they’re reverse-engineering their burger concept. Refrain from screaming and running. Here’s an attempt at a breakdown, so you get the concept and don't have a nutty: 1) A scoop of bun is removed from the top bun’s center mass. 2) A metal pike, which looks like something from Medieval Times' basement, toasts the divoted bun. 3) Pick burger toppings. 4) Make burger go into mouth. It’s simple, a little weird and good. Try it.
9540 Garland Road, No. 407
Best Burger Side / Best Burger Topping - The Grass Fed Burger, Rapscallion
At Lower Greenville’s Rapscallion, careful attention is paid to the toppings. The three-cheese pimento, which you might picture as thick, creamy and overwhelming, was like a slice of melted cheese. It added fireworks to an already luscious burger. On the side, a pile of sweet potato chips, hit with salt and fried so thin and crispy they could slice atoms. I ate them in rapid-fire snake strikes.
2023 Greenville Ave.
Best Bun Alternative - The Kin Kin Burger, Kin Kin Urban Thai
For some reason, the burger at Kin Kin Urban Thai has two sticky rice patties as buns. And it works. It really shouldn’t. There’s no reason Kin Kin Urban Thai needs to have a burger, but there it is, on the menu, with sticky rice formed into a bun-shape. The burger is also surprisingly beautiful, with manicured columns of pickles and bright cilantro and pickled peppers. It looks like something Wes Anderson came up with.
3211 Oak Lawn Ave.
Best Heat - The HMF Burger, Blues Brothers
Jalapeños on a burger are very hit or very miss. A pile of raw peppers and seeds is an abrasive mouth-killer. Blue Brothers’ HMF burger grills them right, tosses them in with buttery caramelized onions, and works them in step with a slice of powerful heat — ghost pepper cheese. This isn’t challenge food; it’s smart and spicy eating. A “spicy blues” sauce adds the creamy mayo dimension needed to allow the heat to build up nicely in the chest. It’ll clear out the cobwebs.
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1820 W. Mockingbird Lane, No. 44
Best Reason to Take Your Sandwich on a Romantic Vacation - The Coma Burger at Braindead Brewing Pub
Let me just say, before I explain, that the Coma Burger comes with sweet onion jam, clarified butter, house-made pickles, smoked cheddar, and crispy shallots on a bacon and brisket patty. And if you haven’t already booked a weekend in St. Barts, for you and the burger, than you are clearly not OK. Braindead’s burger is smartly curated, house-ground and delicious from bun to leaf. Call in sick at work and spend the day with the Coma Burger.
2625 Main St, Dallas, TX 75226