Flay’s Basil Ketchup & Mozzarella Burgers Win July [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 July’s BOTMs:
Pesto Burger – Dogwood Tavern
One thing that’s always bugged me about Dogwood’s burgers are the patties. It’s not the taste, rather, it’s the look. It’s obvious they aren’t hand-formed, but that’s OK, that’s not the part I’m hung up on. They just look…off. They’re quite flat, a bit too wide in diameter, a bit too perfectly round and the composition is uniform from edge to edge. It’s like they were sliced from one giant log of ground beef or squeezed out of a meat version of a Play-Doh Fun Factory set. It’s disconcerting.
This month, however, Dogwood goes the hand-formed route and mixes pesto in with the beef so the resulting patty looks less like a pancake and more like a proper burger. This made me happy. At least, temporarily.
I was digging the makeup of the burger. While this was Dogwood’s second Italian-flavored BOTM in the past few months, I liked the selection and implementation of ingredients –pesto, roasted red peppers, goat cheese– and the toasted Ciabatta was a nice touch. But, unfortunately, my past Dogwood experience was flip-flopped this time with the burger looking pretty but flunking the taste test.
It was all the meat’s fault. I don’t know if it’s because they mixed the pesto in with the beef or if it was because they weren’t used to cooking hand-formed patties or what, but my burger was overcooked to hell. That’s the kiss of death right there. Despite the fact that I loved the roasted red peppers, the dry, medium-well patty just sapped all the tastiness as soon as I began to chew. It was a mouthful of blah plus goat cheese. Because not even an overcooked burger can hide goat cheese. That shit comes through everything.
Would a properly cooked burger have been better? Maybe. But while I liked the idea of pesto-mixed beef, I really didn’t like the taste of it. And I LOVE pesto.
So what did I learn this month?
Screw a pretty burger, just give me something that tastes good.
– Jody (@burgerdays)
BOTM Rating (out of 10):
Taste: 3; Creativity: 4; Overall: 3
132 West Broad Street | Falls Church | dogwoodtavern.com
Pulled Pork Burger – BGR The Burger Joint
There are reruns, and then there are reruns.
I accept we won’t be seeing any new episodes of “Saved by the Bell” (despite my letters and subsequent restraining order from Mr. Mark-Paul), so syndicated reruns occupy a large portion of my morning TV viewing. Reruns, in this case, are good; a familiar taste I enjoyed in the past, and still find palatable today. Yet, every time I find an episode of “Saved by the Bell” on TV, it’s always the same crappy Season 4 episode (no one is buying the “tough girl” routine, Tori…just cut it out). How many terrible love triangle episodes did they jam into that season? Zack and Slater like Tori, Zack and Screech like Lisa, Zack and Slater like some chick from Slater’s past, chick from “Albert Clifford’s” past and Jessie like Slater, Zack likes Slater’s sister but Slater objects (technically not a love triangle so maybe they brought in a guest writer for that episode).
Where is the “Buddy Band” episode, or Screech’s house party or Hot Sundae (“I’m so excited….I’m so….scared!“)? It’s like TBS lost the DVDs for seasons 1-3 and forgot the login information to their Amazon account (here you go, TBS….it’s on me). Of course, the absolute worst is when you sit through a rerun on one channel, only to flip to a second channel to find the exact same episode you just watched (Rerun, inside of a rerun, inside of a rerun?).
In this case, the rerun we’re getting is from BGR, as they are serving up the same pulled pork BBQ featured as last month’s BOTM…which also happens to be the same concept as the BOTM I had from Dogwood last month. Oh, and I also reviewed the same burger from BGR just 13 short months ago.
As reruns go, this burger is far more “Kelly” than “Tori.” For those not fluent in SBTB, this puts BGR’s offering in the category of good reruns. The pulled pork was every bit as flavorful as the burger I sampled last year, but they did a much better job with the proportioning. As a result, the burger had more of a harmonious balance and less flavor confusion. The slaw was creamy, with just the right amount of crunch and the pickles…well…they were good if you like that sort of thing. All in all, this was a good burger worthy of syndication.
If just would have been nice if we didn’t see it back to back.
– Matt (@yaysaps)
BOTM Rating (out of 10):
Taste: 8; Creativity: 0; Overall: 3 (docked 5 for being a rerun)
(But only if there’s nothing else on TV…otherwise keep scanning to see if there’s a rerun of Fresh Prince somewhere)
Rocky Mountain High – Burger Tap & Shake
Ugh. Is it really all that difficult to edit yourself?
We’re not talking about a novel, or producing your own multi platinum pop album, we’re just talking about editing a single dish. Burgers shouldn’t be a confusing mess, any more than it should be a pile of meat such that you can’t taste the burger underneath. The so-called “Rocky Mountain High” burger feels like someone came up with the name, then worked backwards, but not very hard.
Shockingly, the jalapeno cream cheese wasn’t all that bad, though I wasn’t expecting cream cheese on a burger to be anything notable (I’m not a big fan of cream cheese to begin with, and never on anything other than a bagel.) The crispy onions, like all crispy onions, taste more of grease than of onions, however much I want them to be delicious and onion-y. And the hemp seed pickle relish makes zero sense. I mean, great flavor, but someone explain how a “tumbleweed” of fried shoestring onions, hemp seed relish, and jalapeno cream cheese equal anything having to do with Colorado and the Rockies and that state’s current policy of legalized recreational marijuana?
If you really wanted to do a burger with a stoned state theme, why not make it a burger on a bagel with Washington state lox and cream cheese, and hemp seed pickled red onions? At least then it’s a cohesive dish and sort of almost makes sense. I could’ve tolerated this if it had relish, more jalapenos, and some form of non-fried onion, but this was just bad. As usual, BTS’s patty tends to be middling at best, but the bun is still good.
Hooray for the best part of the burger being the bun?
– Jeb (@jebgavin)
BOTM Rating (out of 10):
Taste: 3; Creativity: 0.5; Overall: 2
2200 Pennsylvania Ave NW | DC | burgertapandshake.com
Mulberry Street Burger – Bobby’s Burger Palace
In the past few months, I’ve had Dogwood’s pizza and Caprese burgers and this time it was Bobby’s Burger Palace’s Mulberry Street. These burgers have a common theme: a mozzarella, tomato and basil combination.
With the Caprese, a cold slab of mozzarella with a large tomato is too much of a contrast to the hot beef to be a great on a burger. On the Mulberry Street, however, BBP’s slight melting of the cheese solved the contrast problem and the basil ketchup fixes the produce issue by providing a sauce that tastes of fresh tomatoes and basil, but doesn’t get in the way.
Also, it shouldn’t go without saying that the beef and bun were excellently executed. This is one area where BBP doesn’t disappoint– medium is always exactly medium (unlike my experience at some other burger joints in the area). There was just one thing holding back the beef from being perfect though. The patty was about an inch smaller than the bun, so at least two bites were all bread.
Don’t hold back on us, Bobby. We want more beef.
– Adam (@addc)
BOTM Rating (out of 10):
Taste: 8; Creativity: 3; Overall: 7