BTS Kills it With a Patty Melt & BGR Rocks the Guac [BOTM Review]
We’re champions of creativity here at Burger Days– it’s one of the reasons we highlight the area’s special monthly burgers with our BOTM posts. Not content with just reading about them, we also make it our mission to seek out and throw each of these creations into our faces.
And now, we’re hitting you with the reviews while THESE BURGERS ARE STILL AROUND, so you can actually find out which of the BOTMs you should eat…or avoid.
Our review of May’s BOTMs:
Chicago Burger – Bobby’s Burger Palace
The Chicgao Burger reminded me of the burgers I used to get when I was a kid. The old-school, diner-style burgers that didn’t have any of today’s fancy-ass toppings. Back then, you had two options: hamburger or cheeseburger. And if you wanted something else on it, you could add lettuce, tomato or onion. There was no bacon jam. No arugula. No lime-scented aioli with a jicama slaw.
Bobby’s Burger Palace’s May BOTM is like someone went to the condiment station of a hot dog stand and took all the toppings out of those little bins and tossed them onto a burger. There’s a mound of onions, sweet relish, banana peppers, pickles, tomato, American cheese and, for some reason, some celery salt. Despite the potpourri of ingredients, it’s decidedly simple in its makeup, a far cry from Flay’s usual burgers featuring spice-encrusted beef or hot sauce-topped patties.
But simple doesn’t always work. Even with all the toppings, the onions were far-and-away the dominant flavor of the burger. The three supplied slices were one too many as each bite teemed with its pungent taste. As a result, any hope of flavor from the weak tomato was lost in the mix. And the only toppings that stood any chance of battling the onions in the War of Flavor Supremacy –the banana peppers– were in such short supply, I was half-way finished before I bit into them.
The pickles went virtually unnoticed, too, (I was puzzled by the inclusion of both sweet relish AND pickles. Seemed a bit redundant to me) and only added to the already near coma-inducing amount of salt on the burger. Throughout all my visits to BBP, I can never lay claim to eating an under-seasoned patty from the joint and this time was no different. The dusting of celery salt on the Chicago was overkill and completely unnecessary. Bland beef is never a good thing but neither is sudden-onset hypertension.
– Jody (@burgerdays)
BOTM Rating (out of 10):
Taste: 5; Creativity: 4; Overall: 5
In Guac We Rock – BGR The Burger Joint
For years I hated guacamole (I also wouldn’t eat eggs, dark meat chicken and I’d pull the cheese off pizza. I was not a smart child when it came to foodstuffs.) Guac always had the weirdest mouth-feel- I just couldn’t stand it. Like most foods I now relish (relish included), it was a combination of never having tried well-made guac and bothering to do it myself that made me a convert. Which leads us to BGR’s burger of the month, In Guac We Rock (not entirely sure where the name came from or why.)
Damn. Damn, damn, damn. Why hadn’t I thought to put guacamole on a burger before? Somehow, fried mac and cheese seemed more reasonable to me. Hell, even turning a patty melt inside out occurred to me before I thought to put guac on a burger. Mistake noted and corrected because this sucker was delicious. The tortilla chips were sort of an afterthought on this burger, though the mild corn flavor added a bit of sweetness, you could just as easily sub in a masa-based bun. Even a few minutes coated in guac and the heartiest of chips get soggy.
Oh, and my hatred of tomatoes on burgers continues unabated. The thick slab of “farm fresh” tomato tasted like a hydroponically-grown greenhouse beefsteak pulled off the vine too early. There’s a bit of sweetness, but not better flavor than you’d get from a chipotle ketchup. That said, BGR’s burger seasoning and cooking has normalized to the point where they’re now my go-to burger fix when I’m too lazy to make my own. Guac is a solid addition to their properly salted and grilled burgers, and I find myself more excited by the concept than frustrated by the tomato and throw-away tortilla strips.
– Jeb (@jebgavin)
BOTM Rating (out of 10):
Taste: 9; Creativity: 6; Overall: 7.5
Tin Cup – Burger Tap & Shake
I’m not exactly sure how this burger earned its name. I don’t think a patty melt on rye with Swiss, caramelized onions and sweet pickle dijonnaise has anything to do with the Kevin Coster golf movie of the same name, but it’s been a little while since I’ve seen that one so maybe I’m missing an obvious reference. Confusing name aside, this burger is a winner…like sticking-a-3-iron-to-within-a-foot-of-the-hole kind of amazing. Think Bubba Watson from the woods to win the Masters– that’s about the level of awesome we’re talking. The Tin Cup burger packs all the classic flavor of a patty melt in a juicy, cheesy, oniony package.
While I’ve enjoyed the majority of BTS’s BOTM offerings, it’s nice to see beef back on the menu because they really do serve up some of the best in the area. This patty is no different: perfectly seasoned and cooked spot on. The onions and cheese added a gooey sweetness and the dijonnaise complimented the burger nicely (Mayo AND mustard. Yes, I enjoy these things now).
The surprising hero here was the rye bread. While it can be difficult for a hamburger bun to hold together after being saturated with juicy burger goodness, it’s doubly hard for regular bread. Sixty-seven percent of all patty melt failures come down to the bread. Too soft and it falls apart before you can take that first bite. Too tough and it tears apart the roof of your mouth. The BTS offering falls into the successful category which is interesting since the day I went they ran out of their regular rye and had to hit up the nearby Whole Foods for a last-minute substitution. I’m curious to see if the standard bread holds up as well as the stand-in. I may have to make another run at this burger to satisfy that curiosity, as well as my craving for the best patty melt I’ve ever tasted.
– Matt (@yaysaps)
BOTM Rating (out of 10):
Taste: 10; Creativity: 8; Overall: 9
2200 Pennsylvania Ave NW | DC | burgertapandshake.com
Caprese – Dogwood Tavern
I wish I had to more to say about this BOTM but the truth is that the Caprese is a pretty tame offering from Dogwood. When I heard about the May burger, I was hoping it was more than the name let on. Alas, the burger arrived as expected, a boring offering that might have been a poor choice seasonally.
Caprese is a simple dish that is meant to highlight the quality of ingredients: fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil with a touch of olive oil and salt to bring out the tastes. Dogwood’s Caprese burger was simple but maybe too much so. The mozzarella was confined to two slices that didn’t span the diameter of the burger and was paired with a so-so tomato. It may just be too early in the season for a nice slice but I’m no produce expert like Jeb. The basil left even more to be desired. Instead of a nice big fresh leaf, it was chiffonade-style basil that felt more like an afterthought.
If there was a bright spot to the Caprese, it’s that the Dogwood burger patty was front and center. Normally, I’ve got at least one topping on my burger and it’s been a while since I’ve gotten a good taste of the Dogwood beef. As other Crew members have attested, they’re spot-on with their burgs, at least in the meat department. I’m not a vanilla-gelato kind of guy, but if I was, this would be my go-to burger.
– Adam (@addc)
BOTM Rating (out of 10):
Taste: 7.5; Creativity: 3; Overall: 6
132 West Broad Street | Falls Church | dogwoodtavern.com