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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

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Bonefish Grill, Pinebrook, NJ

Hill Country on Urbanspoon

Where: Bonefish Grill, Pinebrook, NJ
What: "American Style" Kobe Burger
Build: 1/2lb Kobe beef, Soft brioche bun, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, special sauce and sharp Cheddar cheese.
Comment: First off, I have to get this out of the way: I ordered the Bang Bang shrimp because I was at the Bonefish Grill and was told that you just have to. You can't go to Luger's and not order a steak, and you can't go to Bonefish and not order the shrimp, and although the flavors were every bit as good as I heard they would be, the shrimp were a tad under-cooked. Nuff said - this is about the burger, and what a burger it was. A perfect med/rare temp with the freshest of toppings (I added the mushrooms) held together with a perfect bun which had a little sweetness to it.  Although I never do it myself, the upside down build actually works. Having the lettuce, tomato and onion on the bottom was a nice change as it kinda forces you to appreciate the meat first. The tartness of the pickles contrasted the creamy cheddar perfectly. I enjoyed a side of sauteed asparagus and yes, the glass in the photo below contains a double bourbon, neat. One more thing, (and not that I care either way) the service was outstanding. My wife ordered the Haddock which was probably the best we've ever tasted. You NEED to try this burger. It's a 10/10 - hands down.






























Sorry about the partially eaten photo.... couldn't wait for the camera....




Friday, January 18, 2013

CG Burgers, Jupiter, Florida

Hill Country on Urbanspoon
Where: CG Burgers, Jupiter, Florida
What: CG Single
Build: 1/4lb. steakburger, American cheese, pickle, raw onion, sesame seed bun.
Comment: This was my second time back to CG Burgers in Jupiter and the second time it was crap - a well-done charcoal cinder. Have you ever been served a burger so well done that it's like biting through a shoe-leather casing? Bingo. 
Why? Why-Why-Why? Again, this was my second trip back in a year... both times the burger was cooked beyond recognition - coincidence? 
Epic Crap Fail 3/10








































Thursday, January 17, 2013

East Coast Burger Company, Ridgewood, NJ

East Coast Burger Company on Urbanspoon
Hill Country on Urbanspoon


Where: East Coast Burger Company, Ridgewood, NJ


What: 
East Coast Burger & "Secret" Burger


Build: 
4oz. Creekstone Farms burger (chuck-hanger-short rib blend), American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle and ECB secret sauce.


Comments: 
I hear people say, and I read in reviews that ECB has great burgers but they are too small. Not sure why this is.. it's a 4+oz burger that's under $5 and if you double it to a 1/2lb of goodness it's only 2 bucks more making a really great burger at $6 and change. It's a no-brainer. 

I took Chris and Matt (my mailroom staff), to ECB for lunch on a recommendation I received from one of my blog readers. (thanks Roger - good call). I read the menu and saw things like, clams, lobster, tuna and hot dogs and I started thinking maybe the burger thing was just a clever ploy to lure you into the place and then hook you into a lobster roll. Not so - this place was legit.

After I ordered my burger I discretely walked to the far side of the kitchen to take a few quick photos and while grabbing a shot of the kitchen, (and unbeknownst to me), the proprietor, "Mark" was sitting at the counter and promptly asked what I was taking pictures of. (This is the first time I've ever been caught) As my mission statement says: I don't go in with cameras blaring, (at least not until after I'm served). But my burger was well on it's way to being plated so my worries of the camera influencing the chef faded with a sigh of relief. 

Mr. Mark (didn't get his last name) is a very cool guy and very proud of his products. Rightfully so. The burgers were excellent. The Creekstone Farms meat was great. I had their standard East Coast Burger which was done perfectly as the photos show with very fresh toppings. The tenderness of the baby bib lettuce was an excellent choice. 

Another burger at the table was the Maytag & Apple Smoked Bacon Burger with that same baby bib lettuce and plum tomato which looked awesome, and finally, the double bacon CB. Equally awesome. The yummy noises at the table elevated to "feeding time at the zoo" status but silence came quickly as the feeding frenzy lasted less than 3 minutes. 

It's so darn easy to inhale a burger that's this good. We were discussing all the great flavors we had just devoured when Mr. Mark brought over a sample "Secret" burger and set it on the table for all of us to enjoy. Thanks again, Mr. Mark... very generous. It was a burger served over fresh avocado and what I believe was chipotle sauce this was also topped with sauteed onions and a roasted Chile pepper (hope I didn't leave anything out) - Whoa - The creaminess of the avocado kept the fire of the Chile pepper from blazing out of control. It was a great blend of flavors and textures and at the same time it was a great contrast of flavors and textures. Or am I saying the same thing? Either way, Mr. Mark is on to something here. And as for the complaints on burger size - and this is only my opinion, (and we all know what opinions are like), but I think Mr. Mark could skirt around all those Haters who complain about burger size by simply making nothing-but double burgers - (kinda like that other burger joint does). If a customer wants a single, they have to ask for it which means no more complaints. You wanted a smaller burger, you got it. Might be better to WOW the customer right off the bat rather than start small and work your way up. Again, I'm just sayin'. 

The temperature of my staff's burgers were med/well and well, but hey, this is about my burger and my burger was a perfect med/rare(although the lighting made mine look med in the photo). I'm giving this baby a 10/10 - Darn good burger, keep up the good work.. I'll be back soon.












Click to enlarge these high-res beauty's......




































 East Coast Burger









 Maytag & Applewood Smoked Bacon




 Double Bacon East Coast Burger














 Secret Burger



















 Secret Burger




 Secret Burger







Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Franklin Steakhouse, Fairfield, NJ

Where: 
Franklin Steakhouse, Fairfield, NJ

What: 
Franklin Big Mac

Build: 
1/2 lb. Burger, American cheese, sauteƩd onions, pickle chips, special sauce, bun.

Comment: 
Good find tonight. I've been driving by The Franklin Steakhouse for a while now, and I keep promising myself I'm going to stop in as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Tonight it did.
Steakhouse, schmeakhouse, I was going for the burger. Our waitress Sharon, was very nice and when I asked her how the hamburgers are I almost got the feeling she was trying to talk me out of ordering one. I said, listen, I'm a fat guy and I love burgers so which would you suggest? She finally caved and told me the Franklin Big Mac was very good even though "I'm really not a burger person but our customers tell me it's very good". My heart sank for her and all those other Haters who are not "burger people".  Sharon's customers were right. The burger was very good... my 1/2 lb of grilled goodness was sitting on top of thick pickle slices and a chipotle sauce which was topped with nicely melted American cheese and sauteed onions. It was very tasty and would have earned high marks if not for the over-doneness of the meat.

I ordered the burger my usual med/rare and it came out med/well. But in order to give you the full spectrum of the evenings events we'll have to rewind back to when we were served our food - my burger came out first and it was the wrong order. I was served their "Jersey Burger" topped with Taylor ham - and I almost went for it, but if there's one thing I've learned, it's this: whenever a restaurant serves their version of a Big Mac, you go for it. Do not pass Go, go directly for the homemade Big Mac because it's almost never bad. So I did - and promptly denied the Jersey Burger. That's when the anxiety set in... the thought of the Jersey burger being surgically stripped of its Taylor ham so as not to leave any clue that it may have once topped my burger and then thinking the chef was adding the Big Mac ingredients to my already cooked burger. I'm not saying that's what happened... I'm only stating how my paranoid mind was working as I was watching my wife and friends digging into their meals and offering me tastes to tide me over like the fat kid in school who had his lunch taken away from him by some schoolyard bad-asses. I politely declined the offers and explained that a few minutes of waiting would not cause me to perish of malnutrition. The burger arrived quickly after that and it looked great, better than great, it looked awesome. I took a few shots with the camera and although it pains me every time to cut my burgers in half for an autopsy shot, but I had to do it. And,,, no Juice! - Med/Well. Damn. Everything was hitting the high notes and then this. Really? A "steakhouse" not getting the temperature of a burger correct? Major bummer. This would've been a great one too.

I will def be back to The Franklin Steakhouse, as all the other orders at the table looked fantastic, and everyone was raving about the food, but I just can't give this burger any higher than a "good" rating. 8/10. BTW, this place is huge and very inviting... it looks like a great place to have fun on the weekend or to watch a game... I will def, be back!





































  

Monday, January 14, 2013

Versailles Diner, Fairfield, NJ

Versailles Restaurant Diner on Urbanspoon
Where: Versailles Diner, Fairfield, NJ
What: Traffic Jam Burger
Build: 1/2 lb. Angus Burger, 2 thick slices Taylor ham (pork roll for you out-of-staters), 2 slices cheddar cheese, grilled rye bread.
Comment: I did it again... I went to a New Jersey diner with high hopes of finding a fresh ground burger. I just can't help myself, it was between breakfast and lunch and I promised myself I'd get an omelet or some other breakfast meal, but it just never works out that way - I also promised myself  I'd just glance at the burger section - yeah, right - that was all it took. What can I say? When it comes to burgers, I'm easy, I admit it. I saw "The Traffic Jam Burger" and promptly ordered it on butter-grilled rye bread. I was fantasizing about the mushrooms being sauteed in beef drippings and steak spices topped with the cheddar and Taylor ham - that's not what I got - in fact, I was dealt a totally different hand. The mushrooms were the other side of the flavor spectrum from savory steak flavored goodness. I'm not saying it was a bad thing - just different. Like when you're about to take a big gulp of cold water cause you're thirsty as hell and you realize someone poured you a 7UP. Your brain momentarily crashes from trying to deal with the spontaneous shift in flavors. But I'm proud to say my rebound was quick and I didn't let anyone know I was reeling from the change. The mushrooms were pickled - yes, pickled, like from a can or a jar and white, like one of those ocean creatures that never sees daylight and is completely devoid of color (thinking of that began to nauseate me but once again, I recovered quickly).  Now had the menu said the mushrooms were marinated I would've been fine with it; hell I would've been ecstatic with anticipation but something about this culinary curveball jilted me. In any event, the flavors worked pretty well together, better than I ever expected in fact, and even though I'm not a big French fry guy, they were also very good - so was the coleslaw which contained celery seed and a touch of mustard. The burger itself was okay, ample size and juicy with a light char and the cheddar cheese was top and bottom, (cheese fore and aft goes a long way with me). As with many good burgers I have no idea where this one gets it's interesting name, but it was a decent burger for a cold January day and gets a "good" rating 8/10.