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Aug 11, 2009 05:40 AM

Charleston, SC, burger assessments

Here are some cheeseburger assessments for restaurants in the Charleston, SC, area, on a scale of 1-10, 10 being good. Feel free to add:

Rating: 5

Smallish burger that was juicy (or, more likely, fatty?) with decent bun and good amount of toppings. No fries come with it. Quite salty, somewhat small for the price (I'd say somewhere between 1/4 pound and 1/3 pound). Too salty and rather overpriced for the size, IMO, but, perhaps inevitably, tasty.

Rating: 6

I have had two here, the first was quite good, very big, with a large amount of freshly made fries that were very hot and crisp. It was quite flavorful with a big bun that fit it perfectly and the price was fantastic. The second one I had was not as good, it was dense, not as big, or perhaps not as correctly formed, and lacked any strong flavor. Still same large amount of fries. I don't know if it was an off night, but I hope if I have another one there it will be like the initial one. Great price.

39 RUE DE JEAN: $10.99
Rating: 3

Touted as the best hamburger in Charleston, I was not very impressed. First, the bun was of very poor quality, crumbling all over the place and making a big mess. Additionally, it was advertised to be 10 oz. (more than a half pound) and it was not. While it tasted quite fresh, it wasn't flavorful and the fries were extremely slender and rather limp, with some of them so small they were overcooked and crunchy...not my idea of what I prefer: nice, meaty, substantial French fries.

VICKERY'S BAR AND GRILL, downtown: $7.99 (half price on Mondays)
Rating: 5

A very large burger, no doubt a half pound as advertised. Unfortunately, it did not appear to be very high quality of meat, as it was rather dry (due to ordering it medium?) and there was nothing in the way of seasoning. The addition of salt and mayo helped, as it usually does. The fries were of the hand cut variety, quite slender, with some of them very little, and there was not very much of them. Wouldn't get it agan due to the lack of flavor.

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  1. Thanks for the write-up!
    Have you tried Sesame in N. Charleston?

    7 Replies
    1. re: savdoug

      I haven't.

      Edit: looked at the pictures and reviews...looks fantastic!

      1. re: observor

        Sesame is wonderful, great fresh ingredients.

        I've been meaning to try the burger at Hall's Chophouse, I think they have it for half price on Sundays. Anyone try it yet?

          1. re: observor

            Weird. Here's the link where I heard about it:

            Says it's $6, which would imply that they normally have it for 12.

            1. re: General Knowledge

              They say they still have it, they just don't advertise it (?)

              1. re: General Knowledge

                Missed Hall's burger this Sunday, interested to know how it goes.

        1. re: savdoug

          Several replys for Sesame in all of these threads. An OK restaurant, but if your on Montague for a Burger, your missing the best, which is right down the street. Johnny's is one of the original restaurants on that Strip. Dank, old bar/grill atmosphere w/ perfectly charred Chuck Burgers on soft buns w/ breaded potato wedges.

        2. We have two places we like to go for burgers The first is Sesame, and they make everything themselves, even the condiments. The burgers are great, and so are the non burger items on the menu. The second is Poe's Tavern. Again, burgers are great, and we also enjoy the fish tacos and nachos. Both places also have good beer selections.

          On my to try burger list is Moe's Crosstown Tavern. I have also tried the burger at Rue, and I find both Sesame and Poe's superior.

          17 Replies
          1. re: lizzy

            Moe's has great burgers - though I haven't had them in a while, I just love their steak wrap so much I've been getting that every time I go. Their fries are definitely in the top 3 in town.

            1. re: General Knowledge

              I like their blt: fried green tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, greens and local (I think) bacon, yum! Have you tried their brunch? We have attempted to go a few times, but it's always so crowded.

              1. re: lizzy

                I've been to Moe's for brunch a few times, unfortunately my husband doesn't really like brunch food so we don't go much. We've always gotten there at like 2 pm, so it's not crowded, but by that time I'm with him in that I don't really want pancakes or whatever.

            2. re: lizzy

              I totally agree! Sesame and Poe's are better than the others. Poe's is really crowded this time of year, and it's hot to sit outside but it's worth it.

              1. re: Sue in Mt P

                Just got done reading Holly Herrick's Charleston Chow where she extols Five Guys on Savannah Highway, W.Ashley and another on 17 in Mt. Pleasant. I usually agree with Holly -- anyone here try them?

                1. re: birgator

                  Yep, I've tried 5 Guys, and I don't see what the fuss is all about. I know they have their devoted followers, but imo the reality did not live up to the hype. However, I do think they are good for a fast food burger, I like being able to pick my own toppings and I also like their fries......but I also live close to Sesame and since they are almost the same price, I think I will stick with real deal.

                  1. re: lizzy

                    what's the meat-temp situation in Charleston? Can you get a rare burger? We can't here in G'ville unless the rest. grinds their own meat. I assumed this was statewide. Do the places discussed grind their own?

                    1. re: danna

                      Yes that law is statewide. I know Poe's and Rue grind their own, as does Sesame. You can get a rare burger at these places. Now I want me one.

                    2. re: lizzy

                      I like 5 Guys a lot - I lived in DC for awhile, which is where they started, and I'm very excited that they've come down here. They are the best fast food burger you can get, I think, but I'd still put Sesame and Poe's above them.

                      lizzy, you live near Sesame? Me too! Yay Park Circle!

                      1. re: General Knowledge

                        Howdy neighbor!

                        Have you had a chance to try Park Pizza Co yet?


                        1. re: lizzy

                          Yep, we gone there twice - the last time we got the Alfredo pizza, which was delicious. I still like EVO better but they are very different. I like Park Pizza if I just want to be lazy and sit on my couch, and I like EVO for a nice dinner out. Also they're open 7 days a week, which is great.

                        2. re: General Knowledge

                          I also lived and was born in DC I went to the original 5 Guys in Arlington where the peanut shells coated the floor and the burgers were twice the size and the extra fries in the bags were great. But now a lousy chain operation that more of a salad than a burger. Sesame is the real deal every time.

                        3. re: lizzy

                          FIVE GUYS BURGER AND FRIES: $5 (fries $2.50)
                          Rating: 3

                          Had it again just to make sure I wasn't missing something. Being griddled, no char taste and no real flavor of any sort, IMO. Pretty coarse texture and gloppy American cheese make me think that it's OK for a fast food burger, I guess, but for a "real" burger it really doesn't make the cut, and it's nearly as pricey. Seems like a poor man's Wendy's. They gave me about a half pound of fries, but they have a slight texture (seem like they were frozen, even though they aren't) and not very meaty, so they weren't interesting.

                          1. re: lizzy

                            I think the appeal of Five Guys comes in the fact that it is physically well-arranged and has robust cheese. The bun is quite soft, and the toppings in healthy amount, so if you add in some decent amounts of cheese I think people are prone to forget the element that the meat is quite tasteless. With incredibly uninspired French fries, I think, for the price, one can improve upon this offering.

                            1. re: observor

                              I think you also have to remember that Five Guys is a QSR that grades along with McDonalds, Hardees, Burger King, Wendy's, etc.

                              Among those choices, Five Guys wins hands down every time.

                              1. re: JayL

                                It may be of note in the field, but given my druthers I would have Wendy's and In-N-Out over this (and even, perhaps, the Burger King of old, not today's product).

                          2. re: birgator

                            I had them in Myrtle Beach, tasted just like Wendy's.

                      2. CAROLINA'S: $12 ($2 extra to make fries truffle oil and parmesan [which I did]) Half price from 5-7, M-F. [Comes with bacon]
                        Rating: 7

                        A very interesting burger experience. Definitely prepared with ability, it had some issues. The grilled bun, while nice and large, was incredibly wilted and fragile, so that it disintegrated as you were eating. The meat, while flavorful, was quite salty, perhaps a technique to encourage juiciness, of which it had some. Also, the meat, and I don't know if this is a sign of quality, was quite loosely packed so that it actually crumbled as you ate, so the whole burger, with the bun, was falling apart. Definitely tasted quite fresh and was a good size. The three pieces of bacon were freshly, and well, prepared and with a nice smoky flavor. The fries, also a good amount, were of a medium-to-smallish shoestring variety, hot, crisp with slight chew. I have never had truffles, or truffle oil, before, but I didn't really taste anything of note on the fries, though I could tell they had been tossed in some oil, as they had a slightly greasy quality before the good
                        crispiness. I didn't taste any parmesan at all. Came with some fried arugula scattered on top, which I didn't think added much at all in the way of flavor, though there was some color. It was, in fact, a little bothersome, kind of like having salty confetti spread over your food. Overall, the fries were too salty, but nice and freshly made.

                        Given the fact that each weekday from 5-7 you can get a well prepared, if flawed, bacon cheeseburger in good surroundings, for 6 dollars, I can't imagine why someone would go somewhere else when wanting a burger.

                        THE BLIND TIGER PUB: $9.50 ($5.50 on Tuesdays)
                        Rating: 3

                        I was not impressed with the surroundings, the food area, or the chefs here, particularly the man who made my burger. I found it interesting that in such basic, spartan surroundings, they ask nearly as much for a bacon cheeseburger as Carolina's, with serves 20-something dollar entrees in nice surroundings. I had just a hamburger, no cheese (unlike the other burgers here). I requested it be slightly pink inside, which the barkeep said would be medium-rare, yet the burger was exceptionally pink inside, which I don't really like. It was also quite on the small side for the price, and, with the sesame-seed bun (which looked as if came from a supermarket), constituted extremely little heft, almost air-light. I suppose denseness and heft are different things, but this burger was exceptionally lightweight in all aspects. It was decently seasoned, not too salty, and tasted fresh and was juicy. Came with lettuce and tomato, no onion (?). Fries were somewhat hot,
                        yet stale, and were not at all unique (most likely from a bag). Definitely not worth the relatively high price, given its lack in heft, and I'm not really sure why they ask so much.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: observor

                          We LOVED the burgers at The Blind Tiger. Lovely airy buns, perfectly cooked to temp. burgers, etc. IMHO, a good burger should be at least pink inside. I'd rather it be undercooked, rather than overcooked also - at leaset the former can be rectified. Nothing worse than a well-done burger. They have a nice choice of draft beers.

                          For a pub, I thought the atmosphere was spot on. Hardwood floors, wooden tables and chairs. Gorgeous front door and windows. I can't imagine how you found fault with any of it. Hmmm, go figure.

                          I've attached photos of Blind Tigers signage and burger.

                          1. re: lynnlato

                            That bun is not what I got, which indicates a lack of consistency, and, therefore, a potentially suspect service. Atmospherically, I don't really know how hardwood floors, and wooden tables and chairs can be character..I think many Catholic schools have the same thing. Add in a bar and a dingy back patio with uncomfortable seating, and that's all there is. It could be any generic bar anywhere.

                            1. re: observor

                              I think they the atmosphere they are going for is that of an English pub and that is exactly what they deliver. As for their burgers, My picture says it all.

                              Guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

                              1. re: lynnlato

                                OK. well, I think The Griffon seems much more reminiscent of a British pub than just a hardwood floor and some tables. I think for the price and atmosphere one could do much lot better than The Blind Tiger for one's burger needs.

                                1. re: observor

                                  Never been to The Griffon so I can't comment. The BT is more than just "hardwood floors and some tables" - it's in the historic district and the bldg is well-preserved. But if someone is looking for white table cloths, comfy chairs and top notch service, than this is most certainly not the place for them.

                                  From reading your previous posts, I understand that price & value are HUGE concerns for you. I found the burger at Blind Tiger to be a great value and a great burger all round. Sorry you didn't. Again, agree to disagree.

                                  1. re: lynnlato

                                    I don't see how a $9.50 burger could be considered a good value unless it was around a pound, or so, but, yes, we are not on the same vibe.

                        2. Beware the burger at Rue de Jean - we went recently and I ordered a burger cooked medium - it was served to me practically raw, with bloody juice soaking the whole bottom of the bun. I cut it in half as I usually do since it is pretty big, and it was still cold inside. It took forever to get our server's attention and once we did, he gave me quite the attitude. When the burger was reserved to me, they had just thrown it on the grill and recooked it, slapped a new piece of cheese on top and replaced the bun. I could not believe how gross it looked and tasted - I was beyond irritated and probably won't go back for awhile. Not sure what was going on that day. When I brought it to the attention of the "manager" on duty, he didn't care and didn't apologize. It will be a while before I go back.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: atruebluedevil

                            That's weird! They're usually so accomodating. I like Poe's better anyway.

                          2. **************RATINGS**********************
                            1=WORST, 10=BEST

                            AC's: 5
                            Charleston Beer Works: 6
                            Rue de Jean: 3
                            Vickery's: 5
                            Carolina's: 7
                            The Blind Tiger: 3