|The Lovely Bride© texting the |
Brilliant Daughter™ from the
patio at Max Burger
Max Burger, part of the Hartford/Springfield area Max Restaurant Group empire, is one such place. The menu includes non-burger entrees, entree salads, and sandwiches, as well as a number of "burgers" that stretch the definition of the term, but the stars of the show are just what you'd expect: 8 oz. patties of ground sustainably raised Angus beef topped with a variety of cheeses, bacons, onions, greens, and condiments. Over a number of recent visits, we've sampled the Alfred, Inside Out, Blackjack, and Miss Daisy burgers, as well as several of the rotating list of daily "Chalkboard Burgers," and have never been disappointed.
One of my pet peeves about gourmet burgers has to do with the tendency to so load them with toppings, condiments, and sauces that it becomes impossible to actually eat them as burgers. That has never happened to me at Max: The burgers are a real handful, and each mouthful is a real mouthful, but I've never had to resort to knife and fork. Burger, handcut fries, house-made pickle slices... if I didn't need the napkin, I'd never have to unwrap the flatware setup. And that, friends, is how it should be, no matter how fancy your burger gets.
Aside from the whole eating with your hands thing, Max Burger is in all other respects a true fine dining experience, offering appetizers and desserts and a full bar, including signature cocktails and a nice (and ever changing) list of craft and local beers. Rumor has it they also serve wine, though you couldn't prove it by me, philistine that I am.
Another recent fancy burger experience was distinctly different: While moving the Brilliant Daughter into her new grad school digs, we had occasion to check out Top Chef alum Spike Mendelsohn's burger joint, Good Stuff Eatery, in its Crystal City, Virginia, incarnation. Where Max Burger's model is fine dining, Good Stuff's is pure burger joint: Order at the counter; pick up your burger and fries in a paper bag; stop off to serve your own fountain drink, condiments, and dipping sauces; and find your own damn table. You might as well be at Arby's... and that goes for the prices, too.
|Prez Obama Burger cooking at|
Good Stuff Eatery
I'll let you know what I learn.