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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

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Steak & Shake, Paramus NJ

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Where: Steak and Shake, Paramus, NJ
What: The Original Double 'N Cheese Steakburger
Build: 2 burger patties, American cheese, toasted bun, raw onion, tomato, pickle, mayo.
Comment: I've been wanting to get to Steak and Shake in Paramus since they opened a few weeks ago. Yesterday, I finally made it there. The place is new, very clean and seemed to be very well managed. The staff was just as nice as they could be and I couldn't wait to place my menu selections. I had been on the S & S web site all week perusing the burgers and was set on ordering the Original Double 'N Cheese Steakburger and was also going to go out on a limb and order their Oktoberfest Steakburger. I'm ashamed to say I was taken in by the awesome photo and figured, what the heck, I'll give it a shot. Needless to say by the time I got to the counter I had a tough time hiding my drool. My first glance at the menu showed 2 original burger items and 4 specialty items. I figured the Oktoberfest burger was seasonal so that's why it wasn't on the standard menu - Not so. In fact, of the nine, count 'em, "9" specialty items listed on the website they only offered the 4 which were next to the two original burgers. That's 6 burger types to choose from. I'm digressing... back to my order... when I ordered the Oktoberfest burger, the girl at the register said: "we don't have that" - I asked: "why" and she said it is because they are a "Signature" store and not a regular Steak and Shake and that they have a "modified" menu. Modified menu? - I call it "The extremely disappointing menu".   Had I only seen 6 menu items on the website, I would've been just fine with them, but when you see over a dozen burgers with crispy edges oozing cheese, pickles and onions you tend to get quite stoked on eating them. The folks at S&S really need to clarify the fact that different locations may have different menus. 
On to the burgers...
The burgers come tightly wrapped in paper, served red hot off the flat grill and are very very appealing. The meat although very scarce, is very tasty and fresh. (I think both patties barely made up 1/4lb.).  All the toppings were very fresh and good, especially the pickles which were thicker cut than the average slices - so much so in fact that the pickles took on a life of their own and rivaled the burger for bun-to-burger ratio - or one might say, bun-to-pickle ratio. In any event, it was a good burger, just lacking in the burger size dept. Really good old-fashioned flat grill favor which we all look for. When I go back (and I will go back) I'll be ordering the Triple Steakburger with cheese. Although this one only gets a "good" rating (8/10) for lack of burger in the burger - it's def worth the trip.

See below for comments on my other Steakburger selection...























This is the Grilled Portobello 'N Swiss Steakburger....  The mushrooms and onions were fantastic.... Def a better choice than the original burger....  makes me want the non-signature menu even more......
Build: 2 burger patties, Portobello mushrooms, Swiss cheese, Caramelized onions, garlic mayo.  8.5/10




























Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fire & Oak, Montvale, NJ

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Where: Fire & Oak, Montvale, NJ
What: House Burger
Build: 1/2 lb. Burger, Cheddar Cheese, raw onion slice, pickle slices, toasted sesame bun.
Comment: A co-worker of mine has been bugging me to try the burger at Fire & Oak - he had been there recently and saw someone eating the burger and he's been obsessing ever since. (we all know what that's like, can't think of anything till you scratch the itch). Anyhow, we went to try out the burger today with very high hopes. I have to admit, I was troubled by the fact that I tried this burger a few years ago and could not remember anything about it, but, my co-worker was pinging about this thing so much I found myself getting a little stoked. Insert sigh. This was one of those burgers that was conceived, and executed masterfully with fresh ingredients and a superior roll - (here comes the "but")
But, despite the fact that both burgers were cooked absolutely perfectly (his medium, mine medium/rare) the meat lacked flavor. It was tender and seemed to be fresh ground, but there just was not enough flavor to make this a memorable outing.  That's when I remembered why I couldn't remember this burger.  Hey, a little salt and pepper goes a long way - I'm just sayin'.... 
The best I can do with this is a 7.5/10 and it's a shame because the inside of this place just screams "awesome burgers made here".






























Monday, October 22, 2012

Ben's Best - Rego Park, Queens, NY

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Where: Ben's Best Kosher Delicatessen
What: Pastrami Sandwich
Build: Homemade pastrami, deli mustard, rye bread.
Comment: On our way out of Laguardia Airport yesterday, I just had to make a stop at Ben's for the Pastrami. Unfortunately, there is not much to review when a sandwich is as fresh and delicious as this. Ben's pastrami is my favorite of all the NYC deli meats. My only regret is that while being consumed with flavor I only got one good photo of the sandwich. Please check the photo, then come back to reading this....  this meat, this exquisitely prepared, seasoned, smoked, steamed, sliced meat is so tender that when you take a bite of the sandwich you realize it's not tender, it's much more, it into the valley of "soft" - yes, if the tenderness of a meat could be described as being soft, this is it. The next thing that hits you is it's moistness, it is incredibly moist - and last but not least, once the preliminary textures have been sensed, the meat and bread finally find their way to your taste buds, and the seasonings along with the flavor of the meat converge for a mind-blowing lunch experience. Ben's pastrami sandwich is without a doubt, a 10/10. You need to try Ben's in Rego Park.... it's simply, the best.
































Marietta Diner, Marietta GA

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Where: Marietta Diner, Marietta Georgia
What: Cheeseburger Deluxe
Build: 1/2 lb. Angus beef burger, American cheese, sesame seed bun, buttered and toasted,   raw onion.
Comment: I flew to Georgia this weekend to attend a wedding and realized I was about 3 miles from the Marietta Diner, an eatery of "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" fame. For some reason I was under the impression that their burgers were to die for... I should have read what Guy Fieri recommended : (  The burger was unexceptional. A typical mediocre diner burger you would get just about anywhere. The meat was a very fresh coarse ground beef, tender and flavorful enough. I ordered mine med/rare and got served medium - ouch. As I was eating my sandwich, I noticed a man at the table next to us being served the homemade chicken pot pie and I was floored. It was huge, served in a bowl with a homemade flaky crust; it looked amazing. Then I saw what looked like beef stew over egg noodles, again, amazing. This is when I realized there is more to the Marietta Diner than their cheeseburger - a lot more. Overall, I just can't give this burger more than a 7.5/10.  The next time I'm at the Marietta Diner, I'll try to turn off my burger tunnel vision.
  
Below you'll also see my son's more insightful menu selection... the Caribbean Monte Cristo - a wonderful  sandwich of Turkey, Ham, melted Swiss & Cheddar Cheese wrapped in a Tomato Basil Tortilla, Beer Battered and Deep Fried, served with Pesto Mayonnaise & French Fries, very nice.






























































The Caribbean Monte Cristo