Burger Hunt: BurGR – Las Vegas, NV, April 2013
It’s been 3 weeks since I left Vegas and all I can think about is “When the hell am I going to get this review done!” Work, buying a house and finding time to blog about my passion has been difficult, but I’ll stop with the sob stories and focus on the issue at hand.
I have been searching for the perfect burger for a while now, and I have my top pick for all that is burger at a little place called Maple & Motor, located in Dallas, TX. It’s legit, and make no mistake, I can’t exactly compare the two, so I’m going to claim a new favorite burger… outside of Texas! Yes, I know… there will be some dissenting views and opinions, but the world has much to offer and Gordon Ramsay has done it right in Las Vegas with his latest creation. It’s BurGR time!
First off, let me tell you that a friend of mine told me about this place when he went just a few weeks prior to my trip. He and I went to Maple & Motor before a Mavs game one night, and we were squaring up for a football bet we had. I felt it appropriate that if I had to pay up for a good burger, Maple & Motor was the place to be. As we were discussing how good M&M was, he told me about his trip to Vegas and how he had tried the new Gordon Ramsay joint at Planet Hollywood. While he loved the burger we were eating in Texas, he kept raving about BurGR and if I ever had a chance to go, knowing that I’m always on the hunt, he suggested I make it point to go.
Of course at this point, I figured I wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so I kept it in mind and thought that if I ever went to Vegas on the spur of the moment, I’d try it out. About a month passed and my Dad called me up about sending my Mom to Vegas for her birthday. A whirlwind of phone calls and trying to get off work last minute, and the next thing I know… I’m going to Vegas.
So, with all of that said… let’s get to the review!
Once the trip was planned and the tickets were booked, I suggested that we make one of our dinners at BurGR. Mom agreed and the rest was well, you know. Our trip consisted of gambling a little, sightseeing and seeing a couple of Vegas shows. Determining when we would go to dinner wasn’t difficult per say, but when a show starts at 9 PM, and you don’t plan ahead in Vegas to eat a popular restaurant, you are either eating at 6, or you are waiting till Midnight.
This particular night we went to BurGR, we had just left seeing Penn & Teller at the Rio, where we were staying. Knowing full well that we probably couldn’t eat late on a Monday night, I suggested we go anyway to Planet Hollywood and see where the place was first and then just spend some time gambling in the casino. Turns out, we got there by 11 and the restaurant was still serving. We hadn’t eaten since Noon, and figured why not? Let’s eat now!
Not knowing where we were going exactly other than Planet Hollywood, I’ll go ahead and say the one negative about out experience, and then I’ll move on. The restaurant had only been open for about 3 months, and the signage in the hotel had not been updated to reflect where exactly the hell it was. As tourists, we figured it would be simple to locate, but Planet Hollywood has a shopping mall behind it called the “Miracle Mile,” and it really is about a mile long in diameter of retail shops located behind the hotel. With this said, finding someone to help, much less give you directions when the mall area is closing, as well as the long walk to the front of the hotel where BurGR is located, is a bit much with no signage or any sense of direction, but after a few minutes of parking and asking a few questions, we finally made it to our destination.
When we arrived, the hostess was awesome and excited that we had come to join them for a fantastic meal. She said, “I have a couple of servers working, but I have the perfect guy for you. He’s awesome, and you’re really going to have a great time!” This set the tone for the night, and we were not let down.
We sat down, got our menus and began looking them over, while looking at all of the wonders the restaurant had to offer in regards to decoration and experience. Next thing I know, a guy named Alex (with glasses) walks up, says “Hello,” and thus began our journey to Awesomtown.
A glass of wine and a Boddington’s for myself were quickly ordered. The menu was fully explained, and then we were given a few minutes to decide. There was little debate for the both of us, as we both quickly found our favorites. My Mom decided on the Hell’s Kitchen Burger (Asadero cheese, jalapenos and avocado) and I chose the Farm Burger with duck breast bacon, English sharp cheddar and a fried egg. We also decided to split a side of truffle Parmesan fries with truffle salt, truffle aioli and chipotle ketchup with molasses. Wow!
The burger was served medium rare with a solid ½ pound of a chuck, short rib and brisket mix. The 600-degree wood burning grill gives the meat a texture like no other and the apple and alder wood gave an amazing smoke flavor. This burger was juicy, flavorful, a bit glamorous to taste, but with a bit of a backyard feel that made me love every bite. It was simple. No dressing, no veg and a made from scratch daily sesame seed bun that was to die for. What could possibly make this any better? Yes, those previously mentioned truffle Parmesan fries. They were amazing, and the truffle aioli spread that came with them, I could have eaten by the spoonful and had been satisfied.
Surprisingly, the food didn’t really take that long to come out. From the time we sat to the time we finished our meal, was probably only an hour, but while the food was fantastic and way beyond my expectation, the service from our waiter Alex (with glasses) was memorable and definitely worth a repeat trip, just to have him wait on us again.
Turns out that night at Midnight, Alex (with glasses) was having a birthday. We started talking and I told him about my Mom’s birthday, where we were from and why we were there. Next thing I know, the manager Emily from the restaurant came by, and then Alex (with glasses) brought us out an amazing treat to share with him for his birthday. I never would’ve thought prior to my night at BurGR that I would ever enjoy this particular dessert, but we were brought a salted peanut ice cream and chocolate maple pudding cake, served push up style. All I can say is, “Damn, that was a tasty treat!”
I’m officially claiming this Burger Hunt as the best I’ve ever had, outside of Texas. The greatest I have experienced in the Lone Star state still hands down is Maple & Motor, but I would be hard pressed to claim a winner if these two establishments were in the same town. The style and atmosphere is 180 degree opposite of each other, but the food doesn’t lie. Great burgers and great people serving up something they believe in always wins.
Well played, Gordon Ramsay! You’re not just another TV chef with attitude anymore in my eyes. Now that I have experienced what you have to offer, I have a whole different respect for what you’ve accomplished in your life.
Thanks go to Emily Debenham the manager and Alex (with glasses) for making our night special, and I hope that anyone who has a chance to go to Las Vegas can experience the greatness of BurGR.
Till next time my friends… stay hungry and keep on the hunt!
They say, “Never judge a book by its cover,” and in our continuous hunt for the best burgers around, this statement certainly comes to mind. Don’t let the strip center location and somewhat of an office break room motif spoil your appetite. Here, it’s all about the food, and Chef Kenny Mills aims to make you all believers. Located in the heart of Arlington, right across the corner from the University of Texas at Arlington Baseball Complex is where it all happens. This is Chop House Burgers.
When I first heard about Chop House Burgers I was intrigued to know its owners history, and how he came about opening up a burger joint. Chef Kenny Mills has done it all. Working his way up from the bottom as a busboy when he was a teenager, to eventually being named in the 2004 a “Who’s Who of International Chefs” for his work at The Capital Grille in Dallas, TX. Another local burger joint in Arlington boasts three chefs trying to make a better burger, and I have to say it’s one of my favorites; so coming here was definitely a must.
I had heard that if you go during the lunch rush, depending on the number of customers, it could be a bit of a wait, but we risked it anyway and was pleasantly surprised to see it not too busy for a Monday around Noon. Walking in the restaurant, it is split into two sections. The one on the right is basically just tables and chairs with white walls and a few pictures on the walls. The left side is where you order and has a different feel like this where it all started, and then rented the space next door to accommodate the extra customers when needed. Make no mistake, there’s nothing fancy about the décor, but the question remains does that really matter?
The signature burger is the “Chop House” burger. It’s a mix of char grilled beef and brisket with homemade steak sauce, topped with bacon and cheddar cheese. While this particular burger sounded pretty good, I usually keep to the same kind of burger I get at all the places I try in order to have a baseline of comparison, so I ended up with a regular cheeseburger with bacon of course! My wife and I heard the onion rings were fantastic so we got a basket and they split it for us with fries and onion rings so we could have both.
After only about a 10-minute wait and calling to the name “Cheech” (not a new concept but still kind of fun), we received our food in a traditional basket lined with paper. The smell was amazing and I could tell that the char grilled flavor we were about to enjoy had a hint of smoke to it as well. After dressing the burgers to our liking, we tried the sides first. First off, the onion rings were as great as we had heard and they were cut thick with a crispy seasoned batter that flaked off with perfection. The fries on the other hand were a little greasy and slightly soggy. Now we all know this isn’t why you come to a burger joint, but it is an important side dish. They were hand cut and seasoned well, I just would have preferred them a little crisper.
After working on the sides for a minute, we both hunched over and got into the burgers. There was good meat to bun ratio with the bun being toasted and buttered with that slightly crisp edge everyone loves. The toppings were all fresh and crisp. After ordering, I saw a sign that stated all burgers will be cooked medium well, “unless otherwise stated,” per the Arlington health code, so I knew we were probably going to get something overcooked to our liking, but surprisingly enough even medium well, the patty itself was still pretty juicy and had a great char grilled taste.
Overall if I was to rate the total experience, and this was just an average burger, I’d probably give this burger joint 2 ½ to 3 out of 5 (stars, patties, widgets, etc.), but I have to say this might be the best “flame grilled” burger I’ve had in Dallas/Fort Worth. As soon as I bit into the burger, it reminded me of grilling outside with my friends on the patio, and having a good ol’ fashioned backyard BBQ. For that memory and taste, Chop House Burgers is worth every bit of 4 out 5 whatever you want to call them. Work on crisping up the fries a bit and I’ll rewrite the review, and that’s a promise, because fries or not I’ll be back.
Be on the look out as well for Chop House Burgers on a future episode of Diners, Drive-In’s & Dives with Guy Fieri in 2012. Guy was recently in town to check the place out, and it will be great to see and hear what he has to say! For more information, check your local listings or go to http://www.foodnetwork.com/diners-drive-ins-and-dives/index.html to see all the upcoming show listings.
You can also check out Chop House Burgers on the web at http://www.chophouseburgers.com/
And as always, if you have a place in your crosshairs for great burgers and more, add them to the list and we’ll see you on the hunt!