Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Burger Diaries - Part 2: Gourmet Burger, Ranelagh

Tasting a good burger is like tasting a good wine. Is that devolution or evolution of culture? Nevertheless it makes a compelling strategy. Attack, middle, finish. I used these tools at my second burger meet last Tuesday in Gourmet Burger, Ranelagh.

A short, tan diner with dark wood, open lighting and a narrow isle of pushed out chairs between which waiters darted. I sat near the kitchen and ordered a Côtes du Rhône, a round, chewy beauty with a slightly brash attack but a firm body and remarkable length. The service was limited and brusque. I call that 'economic' and tip it well. According to the edicts of New Burgocracy, I ordered the Classic option, medium rare.

'We cannot cook it less than medium.'
'Is it beef?'
'Yes, but it could make you sick.'
'Are you sure it's beef?'
'Yes. Yes of course.'
'Good beef? Not pork? Or chicken?'
'It is 100% Irish beef.'
'But is it good?'
'Then tell the chef to make it medium rare.'
'There are fatty bits that can make you sick.'
'Good beef will not make me sick. I'm a chef. You say it's good meat. So tell the kitchen. Medium rare.'

I wasn't as rude as it reads, but have you ever eaten steak tartar? These boys are hiding something.

Just as in wine, one must adhere to a few safe, evaluative parameters. Gourmet Burger's classic had an open nose, casually offering its components. I could see a grilled patty, cos lettuce and a thick slice of beef tomato. The attack was soft, indeterminate, though pleasantly juicy which filled out in the middle and gave for a long beefy finish. It was medium to full bodied – the bite challenged without dough. It was a subtle burger, flawed in its intensity but supported by its texture and length. The meat, predictably, was second rate. It contained gristle and lacked the barbecue stench of animal blood. At a guess, I think they're cooked too cool, not too short.

Attack: Elusive, Juicy -> 2.0
Middle: Saturated, Medium to Full Body -> 2.9
Finish: Long, Meaty, Gradual -> 2.8

DIARIT: 7.7/10

1 comment:

  1. Was just sent this and would just like to point out why this happened. We would love to give you a rare burger but the EHO and the powers that be insist on a 72 degree core temperature which is medium.The waitress could have been better, agreed. If we can change the law in regard to ground beef it would be rare all the way.Even with our Irish Organic beef we have to keep to the rules.Without being too technical its all about air contact with the beef.With steak tartar the core is not exposed until it is cut and served.With minced beef it is ground ahead of time so it can form a firm burger and therefore the core has had contact with air and must reach (according to EHO) 72 degrees. Hope that makes sence.