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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

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

White Rose System, Highland Park, NJ

White Rose System on Urbanspoon
Where: White Rose System - Highland Park, NJ
What: Double Cali w/ Cheese
Build: 2 Onion infused burgers w/ Let, Tom, Fried Onion, Pickle 
(I ordered mine minus tomato)
Comments: Having previously scored the WRS trifecta by visiting each individually owned White Rose System in NJ (Highland Park, Linden, Roselle), I'm here to say, they all produce very unique flavors with their burgers and each burger joint is very different from one another. The WRS of Highland Park is particularly unique for 2 reasons - first, their burgers are infused with so many diced onions, I'd estimate 30% or more of the burger is actually onions!  This is not a bad thing, in fact, it's so damn unique I find myself craving these burgers the way I would a White Castle burger. The second unique thing they do is get your burger order to you at lightning speed and piping hot.  I ordered my burger, stepped outside, grabbed the camera out of my truck and when I went back inside (30 seconds later) the burger was waiting for me on the counter! I still need to do some recon to figure out how they accomplish this. Long story short, if you love onions as I do, you'll love this burger, which is essentially an onion burger infused with some burger meat. The fresh roll, crisp lettuce and crunchy pickles were all perfect. I'm giving this a 9.5/10 for freshness, flavor & uniqueness. 

And yes... I have a favorite White Rose System, but I'm not telling - you can judge for yourself.


























































Saturday, July 20, 2013

Johnny Fries, Ortley Beach, NJ

Johnny Fries on Urbanspoon
Where: Johnny Fries, Ortley Beach, NJ
What: 8oz Angus Cheeseburger, Fried Bologna Sandwich.
Burger Build: 1/2 lb. burger with lettuce, onion, mayo, American cheese, Ciabatta roll.
Sandwich Build: Bologna, American cheese, mustard, Ciabatta roll.
Comment: I found this place through a colleague at work and just happened to be passing through the area on business with my father-in-law for the second time this month. Let me just say, I LOVE this place. It's a nice, clean, family run Ma & Pa joint built in what was once a gas station. It's the kind of place you'll love to patronize - often. I ordered the burger, my father-in-law ordered the fried bologna sandwich. After I ordered the burger, I was very pleasantly surprised to hear the counter girl ask: "how would you like that cooked"? In today's world of: "here's your well done burger because we don't want a law suit but we swear it's juicy" that was music to my ears. This is the second time I've reviewed a place where for some reason I ordered my burger medium. No idea how or why I stepped away from my usual medium/rare, but I did. (my bad). Johnny's has two very impressive grills, one charcoal style, and one 6ft flat grill. I have to say, I was quite disappointed to see my burger placed on the charcoal grill while that gorgeous flat grill lay empty. Especially in our new "fast casual" burger world of 5 Guys and Smashburger who are producing killer sales with old fashioned flat-grilled burger flavors. Maybe giving the customer their choice of flat or charcoal grill would be the best option? I'm just sayin...
In any event, the burger was fresh and great tasting despite my stupid choice of temperature. It was delivered to our table a perfect medium, but by the time I was done taking photos it sat and cooked itself into a medium/well burger. This happens to me all the time - damn photos - so when you see the pics, remember, it's my fault, not Johnny's. Not sure if the roll was actually a Ciabatta roll, it could have been a small Portuguese roll, but again, it was fresh and great tasting. And the fried bologna was stupid good. (Just the fact that it was on the menu was very exciting - to hell with all you bologna haters).  Johnny Fries is cooking up some great food at the Jersey shore so get over there, it's on Rt 35 N in Ortley Beach and if you see the giant Paul Bunyan, you've past it....  I'm giving Johnny Fries Burger a solid 9/10. I'll be back soon, thanks for the great food and service!

UPDATE: 7-21-2013
In my excitement to write up this review, I forgot to mention the awesome hand-cut Freedom fries (you know how we feel about the French) and you also know how I don't get excited over fries, well, these are amazingly fresh and flavorful - and YES, they are waaaay better than 5 Guys fries.....











































































Thursday, July 11, 2013

Klee's Bar and Grill, Seaside Heights, NJ

Klee's Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon
Where: Klee's Bar and Grill, Seaside Heights, NJ
What: The Jersey Burger (with added fried egg)
Build: 1/2 lb. burger with Taylor ham, cheese and fried egg on Kaiser roll.
Comment: I was passing through Seaside Heights yesterday on business and called my son from the car to scout out a good burger joint in the area. He told me Klee's had almost a 5 star rating on TripAdvisor.com so I made a beeline for the joint. From the outside, the place looked like the kind of joint that would be harboring a great burger... not overstating or over-advertising their success with the ground meat sandwich,  just very chill and all around a cool place to be. I ordered the Jersey Burger my usual temperature of medium-rare and added a fried egg on top for good measure. Long story short, the burger came out very well done. Who the hell does that? I mean, you are cooking for a living, no? And it's a burger for God's sake, how can you possibly mess that up with less than 5 tables of couples in a place that sits dozens more? Is there no pride in cookmanship anymore? And the thing that really gets under my skin was how our waitress handled the situation.  She didn't.  She saw my camera on the table (after we were served) and began asking questions which eventually got around to "how is everything"? 
Now believe me, I'm never, and I mean NEVER one to send food back to the kitchen for fear of sampling the Chef's "special sauce".  However, I was so damn disappointed with the burger that I surprised myself and spoke up. I said: "actually, this is very well done and I ordered it medium/rare".  
Now, I realize I'm at a bar & grill in Seaside Heights, NJ, and it's no Ritz Carlton, but I always thought there was this unwritten law for restaurants where if the waitress hears that you don't like your food, she offers to replace it with what you ordered or something else.... but here at Klee's, there's no such thing.... oh no, in fact her reply to me was: " oh yeah, it looked pretty well done to me too, but I put the ticket in to cook it medium rare just like you ordered!" and promptly walked away.  Really?!  She's just told me that she knew it was not what I ordered but brought it out to me anyway! What else could I do at that point? As I said before, there's no way I was going to send the burger back, I just wanted to hear her offer to, but it never came. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not belly-aching because I had to pay for a crappy burger and the waitress didn't give a damn, I've been to quite a few burger joints and greasy spoons over the years, but the overall feel of this place is just icky. I don't enjoy slamming local Ma & Pa joints either, because I know how hard it is to make a living cooking these days, but if you can't get a simple burger order correct when the house is very slow, should you really be cooking for the public at all? And you might want to teach your staff basic "patronage etiquette".  Klee's gets an EPIC-CRAP-FAIL rating as the waitresses lack of action with a dissatisfied customer was absolutely unacceptable.
I think the reviewers on TripAdvisor.com must be writing their reviews while they are still bombed, or perhaps they are all "Klee's family members.... nothing 5 star about the joint at all.  I'll give it a 1/10 only because being at Klee's would keep me dry if it were raining. 




IT LOOKED SO PROMISING...




WAY TOO WELL DONE...... (ASKED FOR MED/RARE)








MELF JR...





















ALWAYS A SHAME TO SEE GROUND BEEF COOKED TO OBLIVION.....



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Beach Haven Fishery, Long Beach Island, NJ

Beach Haven Fishery on Urbanspoon
Where: The Beach Haven Fishery, Long Beach Island, NJ
What: The California Style Lobster Bacon Cheeseburger
Build: 1/2 lb. Black Angus beef, 3 slices thick sliced hickory smoked bacon, 3 slices American cheese, tomato, mixed greens, lobster claw meat, Ciabatta roll.
Comment: Up yours Sandy...... The best way to start the summer is with a Beach Haven Fishery burger. I went for one this past July 4th weekend and was not disappointed. The flavor of their Black Angus meat is awesome and instantly brought back memories of all the great juicy burgers I had last summer. Just the name of this burger special had me at hello so I ordered it med/rare and loved every bite of it. The sweetness of the buttery lobster meat against that savory bacon and creamy melted cheese was to die for. This was an awesome kick-start for my summer burger season... 
See you next weekend at the BHF.    10/10 (as usual)