Burger Archive

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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...

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Belmont Grill, North Haledon, NJ

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"Congratulations Belmont Grill, you are my 100th Burger reviewed"

Where: The Belmont Grill, North Haledon, NJ
What: Double burger, all the way.
Build: 2 Burger patties (5oz ?), 2 slices American cheese, raw onion, chili sauce, mustard, hamburger bun.
Comment: I've been wanting to try this place ever since I've seen it on my new short cut to work. I stopped in with my son while Christmas shopping to try the "famous" Texas Wiener and I have to say: "holy sh*t" -  hey Hot Grill in Clifton - move over. The dogs were fried to a wonderful "snap" and were fat and juicy.  The toppings were simple and fresh, raw white onion, spicy mustard and a GREAT Texas Wiener sauce, reminiscent of the that other place, only a bit better actually. They were served on super fresh rolls which is oh-so important when attempting to create a memorable hot dog. The dogs get a 10/10 hands down. Now - I don't give a damn weather the person serving me is a fat old stinky guy with dirt under his fingernails or a gorgeous blond, but I thought I'd mention the staff were very nice and helpful. 
Next up, the fries with cheese and brown gravy - very good. Not a "10" but they definitely hovered around a 9/10 due to the excellent crispness of the fries and the fresh beef flavor busting out all over the gravy - it was just great. It was the cheese that left things a bit to be desired though. Let's face it, American cheese is processed, and pretty much classifies as "fake" cheese, so if you are using it, you'd better be using the best quality you can get, if, in fact, there is such a thing as "better" imitation food. (Ever try Parmesan cheese on fries w/ brown gravy? Don't turn your nose up - you'll be hooked instantly like I was).
Next up, the burger. I am embarrassed to say I ordered wrong. I scanned the menu which read: "double burger all the way or, lettuce, tomato and mayo".  I didn't notice the word "or" on the chalk board so I ordered it all the way thinking I was getting it with the let and tom. What my order did in fact mean was that I had just ordered my double burger with chili sauce, onion and mustard. Now let me be clear friends, those toppings are "hot dog" toppings only and should never see the topside of a 4-inch diameter piece of ground cow. There is a reason those toppings are reserved for hot dogs... they taste good together. Like the way a burger tastes good fried on a flat grill, crisp and brown and served on a buttered roll with things like, onion, cheese and pickle. With that said, the burger was staggeringly good. It worked! - I don't know how, but all the flavors along with the quantity of each just worked. I was very pleasantly surprised, proving that it sometimes pays to take the road less traveled. Due to the slight over-doneness of the burger I'm rating it a 9/10, but I will be back to the Belmont - and soon. Well done.

The Monarch Diner, Wayne, NJ

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Where: The Monarch Diner, Wayne, NJ
What: Daddy's Caddy
Build: 5oz burger, American cheese, 2 deep fried batter-dipped onion rings, bacon, red onion, buttered bagel.
Comment: Good news and bad news on the photos - The good news is, the photos were taken with a new iPhone 5. The bad news is, the photos were taken with a new iPhone 5. I've heard mixed reviews on the Monarch ever since it opened so I was very curious about the place to say the least. Not sure why, but I admit, sometimes a bad review makes me want to check out a place even more than a good one. But as I said, this place got mixed reviews and even though reviews are like opinions, which are like...  yeah, you know the rest.  Anyhow, I had to try the place, so I attended breakfast one morning with my wife and daughter and her boyfriend and it was good, very good. Not just the "oh, that place was okay" or the "yeah it was good", it was more like a "yeah, I'll be back" good.  I ordered the Daddy's Caddy burger (yes, I know, I ordered a burger for breakfast, so what?).  The speciality burgers are named after classic cars as they have a bit of a car theme going on with the decor. I wouldn't care if they called it "The Daddy's Outhouse Burger" I just wanted to try it. I asked for the temperature to be the usual medium/rare and it was cooked perfectly. This was my first burger ever on a bagel which got some getting used to, but in some strange way, I guess it made my meal a "legit" breakfast. Did I mention the bagel was buttered after it was toasted? it was, and toasted a perfect golden brown too. This beauty was topped with two batter-dipped onion rings fried to a golden brown atop what I can only describe as a full handful of bacon. There were red onion slices along with American cheese somewhere amid this train wreck of goodies as well. Take a look at the photos, this thing was juicy, and despite the crappy photos, you can still get a sense of what was going on there. All ingredients were great, however this one missed the mark due to a difficult eat-ability. It was just to awkward to eat like a burger so I ended up cutting it in hopes of getting my mouth around it. I really hate cutting burgers and losing all that cow juice. It was also char-broiled which loses points with me... that meat was great and a flat grill would have only made it better. 9/10.  
Yes, I'll be back. Their "traditional" breakfast is very good also. Tip: Get the pancakes and load 'em up with butter, no syrup needed. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Dockside Cafe, Tuckerton, NJ

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Where: The Dockside Cafe, Tuckerton, NJ
What: Patty Melt
Build: Hamburger (I'm guessing 6 or 7 ounce), American cheese, fried onion, thick cut rye bread.
Comment: I haven't been to the Dockside since July, when for some odd reason I had a mystery meat burger. It was as if they were so busy they ran out of burgers and grabbed some old frozen stuff from the freezer. I don't know how else to explain it unless they tried a super-cheap brand of meat. In any event, I'm happy to say, they are back to the good juicy quality I remember. The Dockside's Patty Melt is basically a grilled cheese on fresh bakery rye bread with a burger tucked inside it along with some fried onions. Take that and pan fry it in butter and it's really kinda hard to fail. Cooking with butter is like cheating on a test, it's really never going to taste "bad".  Anyhow, the burger came out a perfect medium rare with juices leaking everywhere. I was a very happy camper. One bite and I realized it was everything I was hoping for. Fresh meat cooked perfectly, fresh bread, just the right amount of onion, and a good quality cheese. If not for being a bit too salty this would have been a 10/10.  This one gets a 9.5/10.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Boom Burger, Mahwah, NJ

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Where: Boom Burger, Mahwah, NJ
What: Boom Burger
Build: 2 Fresh ground burgers, American cheese, tomato, lettuce, pickles, "Boom sauce".
Comment: This was my second trip to Boom Burger, 1st time at the Mahwah location. I went with a colleague from work and ordered the namesake Boom Burger. My colleague ordered the All American Cheeseburger (minus onion) which is pretty much their standard or should I say, "non-stuffed" CB. We also ordered zucchini sticks which come with a "just right" portion of Parmesan cheese sprinkled over them and a side of "Boom sauce". After expecting a garden variety out-of-the-freezer and into-the-fryer appy, we were pleasantly surprised to be served what appeared to be homemade zucchini sticks. They were cut into  full 1/2 inch squares, approximately 4 to 5 inches long. They were fresh and hot, not greasy and perfectly seasoned - we were off to a great start. One strange twist: I, for the life of me could not understand our waitress when she spoke. She was very young and had such a subtle voice we had to crane our necks to hear her - and she's the first person I've met in about 30 + years that actually mumbled. I glanced at my colleague to see if she was understanding anything and she was politely giving the obligatory head nods that one would have to perform when patronizing someone in a foreign country. After the waitress left the table we had a good laugh over wondering what it was we had just agreed to order. Anyhow, she was very nice and our order did come out correct - except for one thing - we were never asked what temperature we'd like our burgers cooked and I was so excited to get my second cheese-stuffed burger I forgot to ask. Soooo, our burgers were both cooked well. This was a major bummer  : (   as we both enjoy a medium/rare temp. Should we have made it known what temp we wanted? absolutely, but hey, we're the customer here and I can't help but think we should have been asked. Either way, the Boom folks are onto something here, they just need to stay on top of these subtle little ordering points that mean so much to burger loving New Jerseyans. (New Jerseyites?) This would have been a 10/10 if not for the doneness of the burgers so I'm giving it a 9/10. 
Also, I have to mention how key the pickles are on this particular burger... they add just the right amount of tartness which cuts all the creaminess that is oozing everywhere - they really create a great contrast in flavors. And did I mention the cheese is to die for? It is. And last but not least, check out that heavily seeded bun... freakin' love it. 

ps, I apologize for taking nothing but close-ups shots of the burger... if you could've smelled it, you would've been in a hurry to eat it too...