Friday, February 5, 2010

Burger Time - Taste Test #1

Welcome to the first Burger Test for Taste Test Madison.

Our mission: To seek out the best burger in Madison, Wisconsin.

Background: For years, we have seen signs posted throughout the community: "Best Burger In Town." We have often thought one of two things: 1) Oh yeah? Sez who? and 2) How can YOU have the best burger if that shack over there has the same claim on a sign!

So we set out to test a different burger each month (hey - we're all over 40 and don't want to speed up our inevitable heart troubles). On the first Friday of each month, we will try and review a burger from a different restaurant/pub/bar/cart/dive in Madison, Wisconsin.

Today, we're starting out with a hotel restaurant - The Dayton Street Grille. It's located in the Madison Concourse Hotel. (Full disclosure - I work there, so it made for a real easy choice since I was too lazy to go elsewhere this month. Even so, this won't influence my review. I don't care if this is the best burger or not - I just want to find which one IS the best burger!)

I brought 4 buddies along for the test, although one guy opted for the grilled cheese. Hrmn.

The burger here is advertised simply - Grilled Burger, made with aged Highland Beef (from the local Fountain Prairie Inn and Farm). It came out well presented and straight forward. I took this photo before diving in. (Click on the photo for a closer look - you can almost smell it!)

I had ordered it medium rare, and it was a little more on the medium side. Steve ordered it the same way, and got it a little more on the rare side. In any case, both were within reasonable range.

It looked to be about a third-pound patty, and there was very little seasoning. Maybe some salt and pepper, and maybe not. The beef was certainly the highlight - real high quality, as you'd expect from a local farm. If anything it was a little lean for my tastes, although my compadres thought it was terrific. Very good beef flavor that came through right with the first bite.

The bun was fresh, toasted on the inside, and soft under the crust. A very nice combination in the burger, and makes up at least a third of my score.

Here's how it rated:
Me (John) = 8 out of 10
Steve = 8
Chris = 8
Rich = 9
Adam = Grilled cheese (what can you do?)

Quotes in support:

Rich: "The nice thing is that you don't have to throw a lot of crap on it for it to taste good."

Steve: "Good burger"

So, we start off with a success. We're trying to only review successes, so we do recommend this one!

Next month - The Caribou Tavern on East Johnson for a Bou Burger!

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