The fatal flaw of those burger joints that pile on what they call gourmet toppings is that the quality of beef is neglected. With a few exceptions – Kuma’s, and Lockdown on Western to name a couple – many bar burgers focus on what goes on top of the beef and the sheer size of the sandwich.
Butcher and the Burger (1021 W. Armitage Ave.) prides itself on fresh ground prime beef sourced from local farms as well as most of its other ingredients. Besides offering the standard prime and grass fed beef options, they also have salmon, elk, bison and a few other unique protein-like items – even a lentil burger is available. You then choose your seasoning be it just salt and pepper, or a favorite such as Sonoran Desert Chili, Cameron Parish Cajun Blend or Grandma’s Onion Soup mix – something we’re all familiar with I’m sure. After adding bacon sourced from Benton’s Farm in Tennessee, a duck egg or even foie gras, chef’s prepare your burger to order. You must add an order of the Kennebec fries – the name referring to the kind of heirloom potato. They are fried twice and have a certain rustic quality to them.
My prime grass fed burger came out cooked an absolutely spot on medium rare. The meat had that juicy, glistening sheen you want from a patty. I’m a strong supporter of the pretzel bun, but this time I went with their split top butter egg bun – more traditional. I added the Chicago style steakhouse seasoning, cheddar cheese, griddled onions, Benton’s bacon and of course black truffle mayo. That’s all. No lettuce, no tomato – not necessary. They would just detract from the savory, umami earthiness that is the essence of the cheeseburger. All the ingredients worked really well and not a single one stood out or overpowered the meat. Even the black truffle mayo played nice – balance is key in all of the best food and drink.
Both the guy clearing tables as well as the owner stopped by to see how I was enjoying everything. “You have one of the best burgers in the city.” What more is there to say. I shook the man’s hand and thanked him.
A sweet touch are the beignets – fresh out of the fryer – and for only a buck a piece. I passed on it this trip. Full. It’s great how much the owner and his staff prides themselves on the old school butchering techniques and quality beef product they get to use every day. In fact, butchering classes are offered if you choose to inquire.