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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

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Johnny Rockets

One Garden State Plaza, Sp. 1101
Paramus, NJ USA
(201) 291-1700

Rocket Double Burger
Cheddar cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato, white onion, and special sauce.

Smoke House Double
Smoked bacon, sourdough onion rings, cheddar cheese, and "Smoke House" barbecue-ranch sauce.

Smoky Cheddar Pulled Pork Loaded Street Tots (Limited Time Only (LTO))
Tater tots topped with hickory smoked pulled pork, cheddar cheese, chopped scallions, and drizzled with Johnny Rockets special “Smoke House” barbecue sauce.


It's difficult enough to try to convey good tasting food vs. not-so-good tasting food considering how personal taste can vary so greatly from one person to the next. But when a fast-casual restaurant is thrown into the mix it makes my job even harder, for the simple reason that some folks automatically turn their noses up to these types of restaurants. In situations like this, I call them as I see them – no food snobbery here, folks.

Johnny Rockets does a great job bringing back that 1950s malt shop look and feel. In fact, those who were eating burgers in the 50s and 60s will feel right at home here. The effect of bringing back childhood memories is a simple but important one for those of us who lived back in the day. The bun tops are what did it for me. 
They are placed on the flat top grill in close proximity to the frying meat. This ensures a wonderfully glossy bun top when served. And the aroma of that rendered fat atop the bun is nothing shy of awesome.

H.G. Wells would be proud, for the aroma of the crispy, buttery griddled leather on these burgers combined with fresh bread and toppings all make for a hamburger time machine.

My vanilla shake was also outstanding and the side of pulled pork tater tots was exceptionally good. Too bad it's an LTO item (Jan to Feb). Definitely a hearty comfort food for a snowy day. Check my photos for shiny buns and if you've already eaten at a Johnny Rockets, I'd love to hear your feedback.

The Rocket Double receives an 8.5 on the BC rating scale.

Criteria for ratings:
Meat flavor 9
Juiciness 9
Size 8
Freshness 9
Burger to bun ratio 9
Bun Type 10
Overall taste with selected condiments 9
Eatibility 8
Correct Temperature (Doneness) 6

BC Rating Scale:
Fail to Boring 1.0 - 2.9
Boring to Okay 3.0 - 5.9
Okay to Good 6.0 - 7.9
Good to Great 8.0 - 8.9
Great to Bill's Best: 9.0 - 10

Smoky Cheddar Pulled Pork Loaded Street Tots 

Smokehouse Double

Smokehouse Double

Rocket Double 

Rocket Double 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Burger King - Rt. 23 Wayne, NJ

1229 Route 23 South Wayne, NJ 07470

(201) 694-9794

"New" Classic Grilled Hot Dog

"Flame-grilled" hot dog made with 100% beef topped with ketchup, mustard, chopped onions, relish, and served on a "baked" bun.

Chili Cheese & Classic Grilled Dog
"Flame-grilled" hot dog made with 100% beef topped with warm chili, cheddar cheese, and served on a "baked" bun.

Extra Long Cheeseburger
Two beef patties topped with raw onions, iceberg lettuce, ketchup, American cheese, and a mayonnaise spread all served on a toasted hoagie bun.


A letter to the King...

Dear BK,
You have no game.

Your marketing team’s strategy has been in limbo (and all but non-existent) for quite a few years, and your latest menu addition strongly confirms their ineptitude.

Hot dogs...Hot dogs from a burger joint... hot dogs from a burger joint with no game. I'm still fighting off speechlessness.Would you go into a steakhouse and order fish? No.Would you order a hamburger from a hot dog pushcart? No. Why?Because it's not their forté - it's not what they do best... get it?

So, let me get this straight, instead of stepping up your burger game to compete with the onslaught of fast-casual burger chains, you decide to market an Oscar Meyer hot dog. So sad. And I mean that; it's truly sad that the establishment which introduced me as a young boy to The Whopper hamburger sandwich is now spiraling around the rim of the bowl heading for the ultimate flush. On to the food...

There was nothing hot about these hot dogs, mine were served at room temperature, and, with the absence of anything resembling grill flavor, your Classic Grilled Dog solely relies on condiments to make it worthy of human consumption. If you feel selling hot dogs will help keep you out of the red for one more fiscal quarter, why not offer local hot dog brands to your restaurant locations rather than a national brand? I realize it's much easier and more economical to blanket order one type of dog, but giving patrons the local brands they love would have helped your hot dog campaign by leaps and bounds. I'd hate to waste any more of your time describing food that is the epitome of ho-hum, but hopefully I've laid some groundwork of what your patrons expect of you. The photos should finish off my comments nicely...

Bonus Item:
I viewed the Extra Long Cheeseburger as a hidden gem in your inventory. This scantily advertised nugget of goodness was a nice surprise following a ho-hum hot dog. The lack of marketing for such a simple, satisfying, tasty twist on a cheeseburger thrust me further into bewilderment of how your marketing team thinks.

This burger was enjoyable for me for the simple reason that after I've enjoyed a burger and find I'm still hungry, rather than standing on line for a second cheeseburger, the double patty on the submarine shaped bun allows me to keep on going. I also found it much more satisfying than eating 2 burgers separately, and BK's decision to omit tomato was nothing shy of genius. Very tasty.

But alas BK, you still have miles to go to even see the bandwagon, much less jump back on it...

Optimistically yours,
Bill C

Friday, September 23, 2016

Sunset Pub and Grill


Sunset Pub and Grill
425 Beaverbrook Rd, 
Lincoln Park, NJ 07035
(973) 694-8700

What:The Sunset Burger

Build:10 ounce burger patty, Cajun seasonings, bacon, caramelized onions, pepper jack cheese on a brioche bun


If you're looking for decent food in a fun atmosphere, look no further. The Sunset Pub and Grill delivers on both.

I enjoyed a huge burger cooked to perfection while dining alfresco early this summer. That being said, the burger was lightly seasoned to the point that it was disappointingly not spicy at all. 

The brioche was quite good – not the garden variety Americanized crap we've been forced to become acquainted with. Now, had the cook remembered the bacon and pepper jack cheese, I'd be more than up to the task of commenting on both, but no. And, although my burger was a very good and tasty meat blend and cooked to perfection, my Sunset Burger was more of a plain burger with caramelized onions on a bun. The Cajun seasonings were so scantily distributed that I imagined the cook may have only waved the beef patty past the jar of seasonings rather than rub the seasonings on the meat.
My review is based on the burger I was served, along with a grain of salt for not fulfilling my order (or my stomach) the way I had intended.

Overall, this burger receives an 8.1\10 on the BC rating scale.

Criteria for ratings:Meat flavor 9Juiciness 7Size 6Freshness 9Burger to bun ratio 9Bun type 8Overall taste with selected condiments 6Edibility 9Temperature 10

BC Rating Scale:

Epic Crap Fail to Boring 1.0 - 2.9
Boring to Okay 3.0 - 5.9
Okay to Good 6.0 - 7.9
Good to Great 8.0 - 8.9
Great to Bill's Best: 9.0 - 10

In a scene filmed at Lincoln Park Airport, a plane flies into a house Garp is looking to buy. (1982)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Montville Inn

"Crappy Photo Alert"
The Montville Inn
167 Route 202
Montville, NJ 07045

(973) 541-1234

Inn Burger

Kobe beef, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, cheddar, bacon, brioche bun


I would classify the Montville Inn as being an upscale tavern. It's a very nice, comfortable atmosphere with cheery hosts and lousy music. Yes, some heavy metal playing in a vintage setting was as odd as it was annoying – even if it was lunchtime.

With that said, I would be slothful if I did not mention the Montville Inn's standout menu item, which is their Sweet Italian Sausage Platter. It includes pan roasted long hot peppers, crispy potatoes, onions, and parmesan cheese.

The dish has also been endorsed by Buddy Valastro of "Cake Boss" fame.

I chose the burger from the menu because I primarily review burgers – the simple reason being I love to eat them, and was in the mood for one this afternoon even more than usual, despite the fact that the menu states they serve Kobe beef*.

**with only ~350 pounds of Kobe beef exported to the U.S. per year, and only 9 restaurants in the U.S. selling real Kobe beef, I had some serious reservations about the Montville Inn's burger being the real deal.

In short, the burger was very good. For me, the patty size was small, weighing in at about 6 ounces (cooked) although it tasted like a good Angus beef variety. It was cooked exactly to my requested temperature of medium rare. The brioche was fresh but boring as all Americanized brioche buns are, and the bacon was leathery rather than crisp. Overall, this was an "eh" experience. Would I go back? Sure. I just won't be in a terrible hurry.
This burger gets an 8.5\10 on the BC rating scale.

Criteria for ratings:
Meat flavor 9

Juiciness 8
Size 7
Freshness 10
Burger to bun ratio 8
Bun Type 8
Overall taste with selected condiments 7
Edibility 10
Temperature 10

BC Rating Scale:

Fail 1.0 - 2.9
Boring 3.0 - 5.9
Okay 6.0 - 7.9
Good 8.0 - 8.9
Bill's Best: 9.0 - 10

The Real Kobe Story...

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)