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Taster’s Cherce

Over at Food and Wine, Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert break it down…like this:

Fancy Chefs Making Burgers

AB: I understand this trend. It’s dismaying, but I completely understand the impulse. What chef wants to die broke? And let’s face it: Burgers are good. But it is definitely a little dismaying, any time you see really great chefs cooking below their abilities by putting out a burger.

ER: A burger is part of the menu at our Westend Bistro in Washington, DC. Our burger was actually inspired by McDonald’s—except for the quality of the meat, of course. A McDonald’s bun is perfect. You put it in your hands; it’s not too big, it’s not too tall. The ratios, the slice of tomato—for some reason, it’s all perfect. The pickles are perfect. The shredded salad, it’s not too much, not too little. When we did our burger, for us, it was a very interesting research project. We looked at companies like McDonald’s and Burger King and thought, What is great in their approach? And how can we make it great with the meat that we have, which is, obviously, of different quality?

[Photo Via:  Gourmet]


1 Chyll Will   ~  Jul 5, 2012 1:10 pm

As much as I get down for a burger, I cannot for the life of me entertain the idea of paying upwards of $10 for one burger, with or without the "deluxe" package. That does not mean I settle for Mickey D's or BK, as I do like certain diner and pub burgers that are priced within a reasonable range. But I can live without a burger from a fancy joint as they are often no different than the heralded places within my decided range, and ambiance is overrated when it comes to burgers.

The higher end restaurants usually get their meant from Pat La Freida, which is definitely on the high end of the scale in terms of quality, and the company also offers service and advice on meat grinding and cooking it to highly recommended spec. I applaud that, but it's kind of a slap in the face when you're either on a cheap date or a tight budget (but then in either case, why go to a fancy restaurant?) that's more in response to the competition angle...

2 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 5, 2012 1:19 pm

"...and ambiance is overrated when it comes to burgers..."

Amen to that.

3 Bronx Boy in NC   ~  Jul 5, 2012 4:09 pm

I'll second [1] and [2] re ambiance, and add: The more "gourmet" the burger, the more compelled the chef seems to be to make it taller than my jaws can open.

A burger exists to fit in two things: my hand and my mouth. Anything too big for that is just self-indulgent and silly.

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