Thursday, December 8, 2011

H Burger Co (or, A Treatise on Burger Philosophy)

Alright.  This is a review of H Burger.  They've got two location in Denver, one at 16th and Blake and one at 7th and Colorado (called Little H Burger, same menu).  I went with my wife and another couple, none other than my buddy Brent and his wife.  Brent is one of the original founders of this blog...and he KNOWS burgers.  So we were excited to try H Burger.

Here's what we ordered.  First: the original H Burger itself, which is an angus patty that comes with a hatch chile, smoked cheddar, bacon, and a red-pepper tomato jam (like a fancy ketchup I guess).  Second: a standard burger with American cheese and grilled onions.  Thirdly: a lamb burger with feta and and a spicy aioli.  We also tried 4 of their french fry varieties: standard (with a tasty sauce of mayo/garlic/thyme), sweet potato (with a stellar ginger sour cream), truffle parmesan (H sauce again), and "everything" fries topped with cheese/bacon/scallions/jalepenos (with a wonderful Sriracha ranch).

First let me outline the good, then I'm going to go on a tangent.  H Burger's sauces were all great, the fries ware tasty, and the lamb burger was the most flavorful meat I tried that night.  The service was good, and the atmosphere is modern and hip.  The smoked cheddar and bacon on my H Burger were tasty, and the patties themselves were a decent size.  That's where our praise for H Burger ends.

Brent and I discussed at length the basic philosophy that SHOULD (but didn't) govern a burger place like H Burger.  Quite simply, as Brent said, you'd better get burgers right if you have "burger" in the name of your restaurant.  The greatest downfall of H Burger is the simplest and most absurd thing that a burger place can get wrong.  THE PATTIES THEMSELVES!  The very foundation of a burger...the basis upon which the burger stands or falls...the heart and soul of the American cheeseburger...

H Burger gets it wrong.  Sure, they are ground in-house...but no one there could tell us about the blend of beef (the menu just says Angus.  What?  Big deal!  McDonalds advertised Angus...),  and the patties were WOEFULLY overcooked.  You could barely taste the beef on my H Burger (WAY too much going on, keep it simple!), and as I said earlier, the lamb was the tastiest meat I tried.  How could a burger place get BEEF wrong?!?

Underlying this tragedy is another flaw in their design.  They quite simply have not indoctrinated their waitstaff or employees with what a great burger truly is.  No one at the restaurant could even answer what kind of buns they use!

All in all, H Burger is hoping that their average customer will be wowed with toppings, sauces, and a varied menu.  But for the true burger lover in Denver, H Burger just doesn't cut the mustard.  It's a farce...a restaurant that slapped "burger" in their name to join the ranks of hip burger joints but has no serious commitment to beef or an overarching philosophy of what a truly stellar burger is...

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