Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Burger Quest Continues; BGR The Burger Joint

I know it’s hard to believe, but I haven’t had a good burger in a while.  A colleague of mine told me about a burger place that recently opened in West Hartford Center; BGR The Burger Joint.  I was immediately intrigued because there is some stiff burger competition in that area.  So my wife and I decided to check it out.

BGR The Burger Joint is a franchise burger restaurant.  The beef is hormone and antibiotic free, grain-fed beef.  In addition to hamburgers, they also offer turkey, lamb, ahi tuna and of course a veggie burger.  The veggie burger was interesting in that you can actually order it with applewood smoked bacon.  Must be for the porcine-vegetarians.  Yum!  The lamb burger (The Greek) won a Bobby Flay “throwdown.” 

We walked into the place at around seven in the evening and it was fairly crowded.  The walls were dark blue with maple wood trim.  The ceilings were painted black giving the place an industrial look. Classic album covers festooned the walls.  Aja, by Steely Dan, Born In The USA, by Springsteen and my current workout jam, Some Girls by the Rolling Stones.  We found a table and sat down.  Immediately, I wasn’t happy, as there was some food left on the table, from the previous customer.  Looking at the floor also revealed more food and paper goods.  On top of the filth, it was freezing cold at our table—cold enough for patrons to be wearing their coats. This did not bode well.  It was pretty much downhill from there. 

I walked up to the counter and was told to “hang on for a sec” by one of the clerks.  Apparently talking on his cell phone was more important than talking to a customer.  After more than a few “secs” a young lady with an inordinate number of facial piercings took my order.  I was beginning to lose my appetite.   I ordered the “The Wellington; Roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions, garlic with a touch of mustard seed and blue cheese. Served on a fresh, buttery toasted brioche bun with mojo sauce.”  My wife ordered “The Burger.  This is the one that ‘put them on the map.’ Served on a fresh, buttery toasted brioche bun with applewood smoked  bacon and cheese.”   Your basic bacon cheeseburger.  We ordered Yukon Gold Fries, onion rings and, get this, grilled asparagus spears served with Parmesan cheese. Gotta have some fiber in this sea of protein and fat.  

The pierced one took my order and gave me a pager.  A few minutes later our order was ready.  Visually it looked stunning.  One bite from my burger told me otherwise.  The blue (bleu) cheese was way too salty. This cancelled out any other flavor from the burger. The burger itself was, well, McDonald’s-ish.  Dry, bland, and chewy meat.  The only juice was the mojo (mo-ho? mo-fo?) sauce, which was dripping off the burger in buckets.  The onions and mushrooms were lost.  Maybe they drowned in the mojo sauce. My wife was equally un-impressed.  Her burger was dry and overcooked.  Mojo sauce was not going to help hers either.  The only saving grace was the brioche buns. They were phenomenal.  Fresh, soft as a cloud, and very flavorful. 

The onion rings were very good.  Huge rings of sweet onion, lightly battered and absolutely grease free.  A dipping sauce would have been nice.  The Yukon Gold fries were supposed to have been cooked with some special overnight secret process.  They tasted like every other order of French Fries I’ve ever had in some less than average diner.  The grilled asparagus were good. The Parmesan cheese was freshly grated and very tasty. 

All that with two Cokes set me back $35 and some change.  To say we were disappointed was an understatement.  We were within walking distance of The Counter and Max Burger.  Both stellar burger joints.  If they want to compete against these two places, they are going to have to step up their game.  BGR The Burger Joint will not be seeing the likes of us again. 

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