The first thing that happens at John Tesar's three-Brenner-star Knife, after you order a glacially-cold beer from an iPad, is a flight of complimentary crudités (fancy word for chopped, fresh vegetables with dip) hits the table. The place-mats look like woven, Elvish armor. Because this is Texas, the crudités comes with a boat sail of homemade beef jerky. A tray of bread shuttles around, and you get a butter structure that looked Roman. I grabbed a pretzel roll because who doesn't like pretzel rolls? All this happens before a burger that sets you back a mere 12 bucks, and it's one of the most fun and simply best meat experiences in Dallas.
I sat at the counter facing the kitchen, which made the experience more fun. There are few things better in life than watching a cook not disturb your burger. I watched one of the chef's season it, a nice winter coat of salt and pepper (only) from what I could tell, and place it gently on the griddle. She only disturbed the burger's sizzling meditation to do a quick flip.
I ordered THE OZERSKY, which is the sigil of the great house of Josh Ozersky (food writer for Esquire and beyond). His namesake burger is completely genius in its simplicity. It comes with a couple slices of American cheese, sheers of red onion, and housemade pickles on the side. All on one of those buns you grew up with in the twisty plastic bag. No overdone condiments -- just mustard and ketchup on the side. It didn't need either.
I asked for medium rare, and Rembrandt couldn't have painted a better gradient of crust-to-rosy red beef. It was juicy, and had that crusty crunch that satifies right to the chromosone. You want this burger. Actually, you need this burger. I forgot about the ketchup, mustard and salsa verde fries. The pickles added a sweet, Thanksgivingy flavor and a nice clap of acid.
I needed some serious quiet time after cleaning the burger side of the plate, like I was at the base of a big oak tree. Don't talk to me, I'm burger, I thought. Which is when I realized I completely forgotten about the fries. I wouldn't mind if Knife just left the fries off, even though they had that big potato flavor cut with the acid of the salsa verde. Actually, I think it'd be great if the burger was placed in the center of the restaurant around a ring. You'd have to fight a huge luchador to win the burger. I'd chokeslam that luchador to get this burger.
After dinner, a clean white plate marked with four, thumbnail sized desserts come on the house. From left to right, they worked from deep chocolate to bright and fruity. Go indulge yourself at the Knife House of Meat Fun. You really won't forget it.
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