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Where's the beef?

I've been doing a burger tour of the TC for the past 6 months. And I must say, I'm not impressed with what everyone has conventionally been claiming to be good.

Tried the Lion's tap---Really folks??
groveland Tap--Big Dud
Victory 44 perfect burger--not perfect. (although for a $6 special. Very perfect)
Blue Door Pub, juicy lucy---Take matt's any day of the week.
Burger Jones--You gotta be kidding me. Love the "smoked ketchup"--someone mixed liquid smoke + heinz.
Cardinal bar juicy lucy--Not worth the trip.
Rail Station--Meh.
Park Tavern--Nah.
stub and herbs--meh,
Big 10-meh.
Chatterbox bleu burger--so so.

To be fair, I have been impressed with a few.

The library squealer--excellent. This one really caught me off guard.
Matt's bar--classic mainstay. Had it many times before, but my estimation of it always rises.
Vincent's---Smoked Gouda Juicy lucy, very good.
Ike's--Steak burger. Good, but will take up to 24 hours to digest.
Bar Lurcat--fancy, small and pretty good. Nice char.

Am I being too picky? I understand it's just beef between bread.

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  1. Try the Chimay Burger at the Northeast Bulldog. "Chimay beer cheese, Chimay beer mayo, red onion, romaine on a Brioche bun." Yum!! It's one of my favorites.

    http://www.minnesotamonthly.com/media...

    1. I don't like beef burgers, but I'm addicted to the bison burger with cheddar cheese at Trotter's Cafe - it's simple and delicious (and the whole wheat bun is fabulous). However, I need to bring my own sriracha to mix half-and-half with the ketchup - that's what would really send this burger over the top.

      1. Has anyone tried the Bacon Burger at Pats Tap? I agree that finding a good burger in Mpls is nearly impossible.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ibew292

          I have. It was ok, overcooked, overworked The flavor could have been nice but it was just lost to the beef fat not being present, due to the well done nature of the thing, and full of greasy bacon....

          1. re: ibew292

            I just tried this abomination at Pat's Tap. First of all, I didn't like the atmosphere at that bar/restaurant. I didn't understand exactly what motif they were aiming for. The bacon burger had a really funky taste to it. The texture really threw me for a loop. I wasn't sure if I was eating beef or pork or..........

            It was either too much bacon flavor? Or not enough flavor? Or.....I'm not sure what. I really didn't enjoy it. The fries weren't bad though.

          2. I'd second the suggestion of the Bulldog NE. I'm partial to the Junk burger there (mushrooms, bacon & cheese). Buster's on 28th does a pretty solid burger, too, and of course the Nook is one of the classic JL places.

            1 Reply
            1. re: LiaM

              I'll third the votes for both Bulldog NE and the Nook. At Bulldog, I like the Rooster burger -- Sriracha glaze, sweet pickles, spicy mayo. But you can't go wrong with any of their varieties or just the plain burger.

            2. are you intentionally hitting the sysco-tavern circuit? have you tried the grass-fed beef places? i am assuming that since you spent $17.50 plus downtown tax or whatever ridiculous price ike's currently charges for a sysco burger, that price is not an issue in the great burger quest...

              5 Replies
              1. re: soupkitten

                I had the Roadhouse Steak Burger. It's angus sirloin and prime rib. It was pretty good, very meaty and juicy. It's a helluva burger experience. Definitely well worth the money.

                I'll take a Matt's/5-8 Jucy over the grass-fed premium any day. I think victory 44 was grass fed. But I had grass fed at Merlin's rest and corner table. Doesn't make a difference. To me at least.

                1. re: soupkitten

                  Sk,
                  I do retract what I wrote above. I checked out the Craftsman for the first time yesterday. Had the beef burger with harissa, cheddar, and bacon. The beef was premium grass fed and cooked to perfection, mild white cheddar, applewood smoked bacon, and a spread of perfectly flavored harissa--not too hot. The accompanying fries were off the chain--perfectly crisp, thin, and no greasy aftertaste. Only drawback is the homemade chili ketchup--too pungent and hot. All in all, the absolute best burger I've ever had.

                  I had to ask if it was grass fed, and that was one helluva piece of meat.

                  1. re: soupkitten

                    I'm not sure that grass fed beef matters that much for a burger. While beef quality certainly matters, I think proper handling, seasoning, and cooking are at least as important. In general, I'm not convinced grass-fed beef in general is superior over non-grass fed. I've had mediocre grass fed beef, and excellent non-grass fed beef. Well produced grass-fed beef can be excellent, some grass fed beef can be pretty bad. There are a lot of variables at play when it comes to quality beef production, and grass-fed doesn't automatically guarantee great results. When a burger has so many more components than a simple steak, I think it's easy for beef quality differences to take a back seat to seasoning, proper cooking, the bun, etc.

                    In the excellent burger category, I'd throw my favorite to Buster's on 28th, and second favorite to Burger Moe's.

                    1. re: foreverhungry

                      Agree Forever....I do taste the difference in grass-fed for a steak, but for a burger the blend and the cooking are really the key.

                    2. re: soupkitten

                      Had the Merlin's Rest burger. Yes, it's grass-fed premium. It wasn't bad for a bare bones burger. Just bun, meat, tomatoes, lettuce. No cheese. Meat speaks for itself and the home made potato chips were okay. Wasn't bad for a plain burger, and an ale to wash it down.