A few minutes go by at Deep Ellum's Local when I have the entire restaurant to myself. When I walk in, the music's playing, candlelight's on the tables and I can hear plates chattering in the hallway. It's like I walked into someone's duplex, too early for dinner. I made for the bar, where I was quickly set up for one of the most expensive burgers in Dallas.
If you haven't been to Local--It's a precious metal in Deep Ellum. It's a little food sanctuary. It's nested in the worn wood and brick of the old Boyd Hotel, right across from Mama Mia's, and it serves focused, smart food. I stopped by to see if the burger is still worth its $22 price tag, in this Great Postmodern Age of the Dallas Burger. I really do know what you're thinking: No burger should be this much. No burger is worth this much. What is it made from--Time Warner Cable bills? It'd be easy to toss it.
Don't. Instead, get this burger.
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Dig it out of the rough, when you want to treat yourself to a burger that's meticulously built. This is a burger you think about all day. It's the burger you treat yourself with after a difficult week of work. It's made with Burgundy Pasture beef, topped with Gruyere, caramelized onions, a sunny tomato, pickles and a horseradish "secret sauce." Puffy tater tots come on the side.
Some restaurants, overcompensating for the price tag, would load you up with too many, pretentious toppings. Local keeps things sharp and unapologetic. You pay for good ingredients--the beef patty is hefty and a rumbles with juice and flavor. That horseradish sauce zips through the rich, melted Gruyere and beef. It's not dainty, either. It'd fill you up if you'd been lost in the jungle for 48 days. It's the first burger Cast Away Tom Hanks should have eaten after being rescued from the island.
Things are warm at Local. It's like eating a food monastery. I feel like a monk should have been walking around, swinging those incense chalice things. One single TV above the bar showed baseball on mute. Chef Tracy Miller brought out the burger with a smile. Oh, thank you, kind burger deliverer. I didn't die right, I'm still here?
It's one of Dallas' most costly burgers, and still one of the best.