Mike's at The Crossroads (Cotati) - Report
The wife & I were in the neighborhood, starved and with little time so we couldn't waits no more... and gave the highly lauded Mike's a try. We split the following items:
> Mike Burger -$8- (basically an oversized cheeseburger)
An okay burger but nothing special. Its a very thick patty cooked Medium (by default) with American cheese, mayo, tomato, red onion & pickle. The whole burger is so tall it takes quite some effort to get a good bite (and I pride myself on being able to eat a Big Mac in three bites). My second impression was the extremely thick cut of the bitterly pungent red onion was all I could really taste, towards the end I had bite that was just bread, meat & cheese so I could finally taste it without distractions and it wasn't pleasant... there was actually a mild annoying flavor to the otherwise, bland, barely browned beef.
> Western Hickory Burger -$9- (cheeseburger + bacon & bbq sauce)
Everything I mentioned about the Mike Burger + extreme slop & glop from the copious amounts of run-of-the-mill cloyingly sweet bbq sauce. The bacon was decent - with hickory smoke - in the few bites that it wasn't completely enveloped by the overpowering sauce.
> Green Salad
Completely, toxically overdressed in an annoying cheap, red wine vinaigrette
> Macaroni Salad
Absolutely disgustingly bland... slopped in mayo with no other flavor
Overall the burgers don't have a delicious balance and the sides are worst (well at least stick to the bags of Ruffles). Despite all the crap ingredients... the Famous Star, Whopper & Double Double far surpass today's rendition of the Mike's burger on flavor... and that is the minimal expectation for a burger.
I picked up a Belle Burger to go at Mike's on Saturday. My experience was nothing like yours. They asked if medium (which, yes, is the default) was okay and I asked for my burger to be cooked Medium rare if possible. I also assked if they could cut it in half, since I would be driving and that was no problem. The burger was perfect, the topping which is rosmary and grilled red onions was tasty. The red potatoe salad is the side to eat here, with the dijon mustard in the dressing. I look forward to passing through in January and stopping again.
Wow, sorry to hear about your experience! I don't know how many times I've eaten at Mike's, and have never been disappointed! I do request my burgers medium rare and they have always been cooked perfectly. To me, it's the best place when I'm craving a burger because the beef is always high-quality and full of flavor. I've tried several of the different toppings, and loved them all (I especially like the one with the roasted garlic). The only side I've ever ordered is the salad, and I have even asked them if they would consider selling the dressing at the restaurant - it's always been a raspberry vinaigrette when I've eaten there. I don't remember just when my last visit was, so perhaps I need to go back to see if it's gone downhill, but it sounds like you might have hit a bad day.
re: Kathleen M
I am willing to give it another try.. in fact some local hounds were talking about a mini chowdown.
To clarify... it was Raspberry Vinaigrette (using Red Wine vinegar)... it was both cloyingly sweet & so overdressed it was "chokey"... I hope the potatoe salad is better than the macaroni salad. Also, I am not sure Medium Rare would necessarily fix it for me... because it probably wouldn't have any more browning.
I agree with your assessment of the place. I used to go just because I would get dragged there by friends. It seems like everything is done to excess. Too much of a topping on a burger (ie. too much BBQ sauce), too much mayo in the macaroni salad, too much dressing. After eating there the burger would just sit like a brick in my stomach. I think I ended up just ordering the Mike's Burger without the "special" 1000 island dressing, in an effort to minimize the topping overkill.
The lack of fries was also a negative in my book. I haven't been back since 2004. Also, I am not a Jets fan :-)
I've had a couple of burgers there and, while I don't have big negatives to report, I didn't think they were up to the Phyllis' San Rafael standard. Mike's burger was well cooked and thick, etc, but just didn't have any very interesting quality. Sorry to be so non-specific, but it wasn't worth the calories and fat while the experience of the burger at Phyllis' is definitely worth it.