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No Bull Burger Purist - Born and raised in NJ, the heart of the tri-state area and home to the oldest (and best) burger joints in the country. I don't need all the frilly toppings, happy servers or trendy decor, just a good burger...

The Crew

The Crew

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Filling Station Burger Works

TFS Burger Works
45 South Route 9W
West Haverstraw, NY 10993

The Fill'r Up Burger

A 6-ounce (brisket, hanger steak and short rib blend), 100% free-range Black Angus beef topped with white American cheese, and fried Vidalia onions on a toasted sesame seed bun.
You'll also see samples of the Naked Fill'r Up, the Black Angus hot dog with kraut, and of course, a sampling of TFS's Belgian-style fries.


TFS gets an "A" for their decor and innovation. The way they carried the filling station decor all the way through to their condiment station is nothing shy of genius.
The place has all the look and feel of a service station, but the gas and oil smells have been replaced with the aroma of fresh beef searing on the flat top. It reminded me of walking on a Jersey shore boardwalk where the smell of sausage, peppers, and onions frying is intoxicating. Only this was beef, a crazy-good blend of beef being fried alongside onions...

My son ordered the Naked Burger with cheddar, lettuce, and raw onion, and I ordered a hot dog for the table to try after my Fill'r Up burger and fries. 
The wait staff could not have been nicer, and it was very nice to have been asked, "How do you like your burger cooked?"

But alas – although my order was for a medium-rare burger, I was served a well-done, almost burnt-crusted burger. Miraculously, the burger was not that dry and still had a very nice flavor, which made me think I would have given this burger a 10/10 on my rating scale if it were the least bit pink inside. With that said, this won't keep me away; I need to get back and give that burger blend (and the cook) one more chance. Despite the incorrect doneness, TFS burger gets an 8.5/10 on the BC rating scale.
(My criteria for rating burgers is located at the bottom of my homepage)

The hot dog was "just okay" with what tasted like an attempt at German-style sauerkraut – also "just okay.”

The Belgian-style fries were very, very good, and that's coming from a guy who usually shies away from potatoes...

Very friendly service...

Coolest condiment rack ever...

The Naked Fill'r Up burger - dat's wit cheddar, iceberg lettuce & raw onion, hold the bun...

Belgium-Style fries
 I've no idea what Belgium-style means because I'm not a huge fan of fries, but these were fresh cut, not frozen, and they were awesome - crispy to the very last one...

My Fill'r Up Burger with American cheese and fried Vidalia onions on a toasted sesame seed bun...

The latest in condiment storage... very cool...

Al Fresco dinning? Just open the garage door...

The black angus hot dog... 

Ordered it medium rare, I was served a well done burger... (Major Bummer)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Center Street Nook

The Nook
223 Center St, Jupiter, FL 33458
(561) 745-7477

The Gravedigger
The Ugly Dog

The Gravedigger
1/2 pound burger patty, beer battered and deep-fried, topped with American cheese, lettuce, sliced tomato, onions, and Thousand Island dressing.

The Ugly Dog
Hot dog topped with homemade chili, onions, and Cheese Whiz.


We did The Nook an injustice this day. We ordered takeout rather than sampling the food fresh from the kitchen so I really have no business reviewing food that I ate warm rather than hot.
With that said, The Nook has some menu items that are as alluring as they are tasty. Take my burger for example – how could I possibly pass up a burger called "The Gravedigger"? A beer battered, deep-fried 1/2 pound nugget of goodness. Damn! And they pulled it off! The burger was done a perfect medium rare with a crispy batter coating. I never expected it to be good, but it was better than good. The coating had a sweet funnel cake-ish flavor that contrasted so well with the savory meat.

The Ugly Dog was fantastic, with loads of fresh raw onion on house-made chili topped with Whiz and the butter toasted bun was magnificent.

The fries were eh, but the house-made onion rings were thoroughly addicting.
These are some of the worst photos I've ever posted, but I just had to comment on the food.
The burger gets a 9.5\10 on the BC rating scale

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sara's Kitchen

Sara's Kitchen
2000 PGA Blvd., Building A, Suite #3140in Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33408
(City Center Plaza)  (561) 540-2822

Mama Skillet & Veggie Benedict.

#1 Mama SkilletHam, bacon, sausage, onions, green peppers and tomato.

#2 Veggie Benedict
Two poached eggs on a jumbo English muffin with garden fresh spinach, fresh mushrooms, tomato and hollandaise sauce, served with side of fresh fruit.


Great little local breakfast and brunch restaurant to visit if you're ever in the area of Florida's east coast near Jupiter or West Palm.
I'll apologize in advance for the scarcity of photos in this review. I was in a minor state of starvation the morning I visited Sara's so my stomach took priority over the pics.
First up, the Veggie Benedict – a classic dish with some added veggies on a butter toasted English... um, um. The only way you can really screw this up is by overcooking the eggs – it's all about the doneness of the eggs. And these were done a tad too much. The overall flavor and freshness were great, however, so I'd gladly order this again.

Next up, the Mama Skillet – like the Veggie Benedict, this small truckload of diced breakfast meats mixed with onion, eggs, and butter represents a breakfast meal that's hard to screw up (great hangover food).

Since I did not sample a burger at Sara's there is no BC rating, but I will highly recommend stopping at Sara's if you're ever in the area... she's serving up some really great stuff.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

381 Main Bar and Grill

381 Main Bar & Grill
381 Main St.Little Falls, New Jersey 07424
(973) 785-3815

Original Brick Oven Pizza.
Artisan Fig & Blue Pizza.

Cheeseburger Build:
1/2 pound angus burger topped with raw red onion, American cheese, lettuce, and tomato on a brioche bun.

Original Brick Oven Pizza Build:
Mozzarella cheese, sauce.

Artisan Fig & Blue Pizza Build:
Figs, blue & mozzarella cheeses, arugula, onions confit & balsamic glaze.


I was told 381 has a decent burger, so it went on my bucket list a year or so ago and I finally made it out to taste one for myself.

It was, in a word, "average.” Yes, dead-average in every way I could possibly explain, but don't care to. The bun, the meat, the lettuce, the tomato, the onion – all of it was as mundane as it gets. Don't get me wrong, everything was fresh and tasty with a great meat flavor in the burger, but I'm just tired of the same old boring pub style burger.
The interior decor and the al fresco dining are both pretty cool and I'm sure it'd be great to hang out there on a nice summer night.

To alleviate my disappointment in the burger, I promptly focused on the two pizzas we ordered. First, the 381 Main Original Brick oven pizza, the second, an artisan pizza with a blend of decadent ingredients which I rated as best-in-show (BIS) for this particular evening.

This happens all the time; I'm told how good a burger is at some restaurant and then I find out how really good the pizza is, and vice versa.
Even though it's a cookie-cutter pub style burger, the 381 main burger receives an 8.5\10 on the BC rating scale.

*sorry about the crappy photos...

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Nardi's, Good Food, Terrible Service...

Nardi's Tavern and Grill
118th Street & The Blvd, Long Beach Island, NJ
Phone: 609-492-9538


Build:1/2 pound certified Angus burger topped with raw red onion (yawn), American cheese, lettuce, and tomato on a brioche bun.

Comments:Nardi's makes a decent 1/2 pound burger. It's not earth-shatteringly great, but it's a very good tavern burger and if I had been drinking, I'm sure I would have rated it an excellent burger. The burger was cooked to a perfect medium-rare and the bun was very fresh. The fries were out-of-the-freezer-bag-and-into-the-fryer, so they were mediocre at best.

The toppings were also a disappointment.The generic hot house red onion (sliced through the equator, not pole to pole), the wilted, leafy green stuff people are calling lettuce these days, and of course, the hot house tomato absolutely devoid of any flavor or color whatsoever and carrying with it a mealy texture. It's amazing how people have come to accept these poor excuses for tomatoes. But I suppose there's a good chance that the last 3 decades of children probably don't know what a Jersey Red even tastes like...what a shame.

Again, the burger was decent, although the typical tavern toppings Nardi's offers is a crime…and it's not just at Nardi's – it seems pub style burgers everywhere are serving toppings without care. The latest craze and biggest abomination being toppings served on the bottom of the burger... (don't get me started).

When is someone going to offer an old-fashioned "hamburger sandwich" with salt added to the meat prior to forming the patties, which are then sprinkled with ground black pepper and flat-grilled to a crisp golden brown perfection on the outside, and still juicy as all hell on the inside? This, served with nothing less than 2 slices of cheese (one fore and one aft) makes for a perfect no frills, no toppings, no nothin' and definitely NFK, burger purist's delight.

Side note:Nothing compares to iceberg lettuce for ANY type of sandwich... and since it completely loses its crunch when shredded, iceberg must be served full-leaf. Remember, the purpose of lettuce is to provide a crisp, cold, crunch to a sandwich without altering its flavor profile; that's the beauty of iceberg lettuce. For now, it looks like we'll be forced to continue eating leafy green lettuce. I'd love to continue my rant about the widespread use of the "politically correct" leafy green lettuce (because it's good for you), but I'll spare you.
Nardi's service:
The service (or lack thereof) is so slow that it actually gets to be a bit funny. You can hear people at other tables talking about why they think the food is taking so long..."maybe they are short-staffed today,” "maybe the cook is new," "perhaps they lost our order,” or "maybe some other table got our food.” Too funny.
I've been to Nardi's with my family and friends for brunch many times with parties ranging from 2 to 10, and every single solitary time the food takes no less than 45 minutes to reach us after ordering. And you'd think it would be cold after waiting so long, but no, it's always served hot - I just don't get it.

Ahhhh, but the bloody marys are wonderful...

Nardi's burgers get an 8.5/10 on the BC rating scale.

The Chicken Florentine Cheesesteak consists of chopped chicken with plum tomatoes, spinach, garlic, and cheese on a submarine roll.
It was ridiculously good. Sorry only 2 photos, but check them out.

The original Nardi's bus

Nardi's entrance

At our table, waiting for our food....
and waiting...
and waiting...
and waiting...

Very good burger...

What ever happened to finely diced white onion and iceberg lettuce?  This leafy green stuff is (roll the R's) Crrrrrrrrrrrrap!

The Chicken Florentine Cheese steak

The Chicken Florentine Cheese steak