Good morning! We'll be starting the chat at noon today, but if you'd like to get your questions at the top of the list, post them now. See you in a bit.
Let's get this chat going.
The in-house grind is best way to, I'm convinced. But there are always exceptions. For example, at the Wise Acre Eatery, chef Beth Fisher has her butcher grind the beef for the restaurant's excellent burger.
I didn't rank because it's a sort-of case of apples and oranges, comparing burgers with one another. And the burgers that I featured in the paper were all highlighted in our weekly Burger Friday blog (startribune.com/burger), not a complete survey of Twin Cities burgers. For that, I'm taking it one burger per week. To answer your question, I'll use this as a guide: It's fairly rare that I'll finish an entire burger, but the ones that I practically inhaled were the burgers at Nightingale (nightingalempls.com), HauteDish (haute-dish.com) and Victory 44 (victory-44.com).
I'm with you, they're often dull and mushy. What's with that? But here are two worth checking out: The first is at Be'wiched (bewicheddeli.com), and it's notable because it's beet-based, and they really go out of their way to insert texture and pile on the flavor-enhancing garnishes (the house-baked onion bun is superb). The other is at World Street Kitchen (eatwsk.com), which brims with chickpea and parsley goodness.
As for Common Roots (commonrootscafe.com), I'm all for it (the mustard is awesome, as is the ciabatta roll).
I'm not a huge fan of the Juicy (or Jucy,; someone should trademark that) Lucy, at least the traditional ones; I find them nearly flavorless, and the watery cheese tends to run out at the first bite. But when they're done right, they're fantastic. My money is on the stuffed burgers ("Blucys"" at the Blue Door Pub (bluedoorpubmn.com).
It's certainly the most iconic, at least locally. I'm a bigger fan of the fries at Matt's.
Hilarious. In Burgerland, that's probably the right distinction.
When they're done right, I'm all for it. A few examples: The goat burger at the Gray House (thegrayhouseeats.com) is exceptional, when it's available (the meat is sourced from a southern Minnesota farm that maintains a small herd). I'd recommend the super-savory lamb burger at Colossal Cafe (colossalcafe.com). And one of my favorite burgers, period, is the turkey burger at the Craftsman (craftsmanrestaurant.com).
I'll start right out and say that it's not White Castle, which to me has always been an acquired taste. I'm going to go with Smashburger, although the flavor/value quotient at Five Guys is pretty strong.
Steven Brown can do no wrong, right? There are times when I want nothing more than lettuce and tomato (a good tomato, which means that I'm really enjoying them right now, because they're going to disappear soon) and then other times I want the kitchen sink treatment. Lately for me it's been all about the pickles. I personally cannot have enough pickles on my burger.
Great question. In the summer I'm all about grilling burgers -- I love that smoky flavor -- but one big takeaway on the Burger Friday project has been learning why chefs prefer flattop cooking, burger-wise (particularly on cast iron). It's a better sear, and the meat cooks in its own juices, rather than dripping into the fire.
By that I take it you mean non-chain. It depends on how much you want to spend. You could hit Bacio in Minnetonka (baciomn.com) and drop more than your average visit to Redstone, or for an affordable breakfast-lunch-dinner scenario, there's 3 Squares (3squaresrestaurant.com) in Maple Grove (which is a semi-chain, owned by the same folks that own Highland Grill and Edina Grill, but it has its own personality).
It depends upon the cheese. One lesson I learned from Erick Harcey at Victory 44 and Landon Schoenefeld at HauteDish is that burgers really shine when they're crowned by a slice or two of super-melty American cheese. I was surprised to learn that two food-forward chefs go the American route -- is there anything more representative of processed supermarket food than American cheese? -- but their instincts are right on.
Locally, I think it's the Vincent Burger at Vincent (vincentarestaurant.com), which is a play on the Juicy Lucy, it's stuffed with braised short ribs and Gouda, and it's spectacular. It's $15.50 at lunch and dinner (fries included), but if you order it during happy hour (4:30 to 6 p.m. weekdays, 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday), it's $8. Groupon couldn't do better than that.
You assume correctly. Gather (www.gatherbydamico.com), the restaurant at the Walker Art Center, uses a pretzel bun for its bison burger, and the combination is outstanding.
I've not had one, does anyone know of a local version? They're a big fad in New York City. It sounds like a carb bomb to me.