I've had myself a bit of a rough go at this burger month tour, which has made me kind of over it. I keep waiting for redemption somehow, at some point, but it has yet to come in completely for the perfect well-rounded burger. Up until now, Sage Tapas & Wine Bar, has asserted itself at the top, but the perfect all-round burger has yet to present itself.
To keep my spirits up, I have been anxiously waiting for the heavyweight restaurants in town, to see what they have to offer. When I say, "the heavyweights," I mean the top five restaurants according to the hundreds and hundreds of guests who I had in depth food conversations with this summer...the restaurants who consistently have delivered the goods to my out of town guests, and who I can confidently send traffic their way to keep my guests satisfied. At the end of the day, my guests happiness is all that matters to me, so I have to send them in directions that I trust will bring them the experience they deserve.
So, today is the day where those heavyweights enter the competition, beginning with Yum Son.
I had somewhat of a unique opportunity as I was the only one in the restaurant. They were closing early for a staff murder-mystery party, so I lucked out, because ten minutes later, and I would have had to have gone somewhere else! I liked that...my own restaurant! It was just the way I like it, nice and mellow, and as a result, my burger came fast!
I was just finishing writing something when my burger arrived, so I only took a quick glance at it while I finished the thing I was doing. I am glad I did that because it gave the scent of the burger time to really sink some hooks into me. It was enticing for sure! Yup...eating with the senses outside of tasting can be quite invigorating, and this was one of those times!
Anticipation = Amped Up!
When I finally gave it a closer look, and I saw that it was stacked pretty high, I figured that it would come down to the nice eatability range when I grabbed my hands around it, but would it be enough? That was the question...or would it be that fatal flaw of stacking a burger to the roof to give the appearance of an awesome burger, but ends up being an eating disaster while the patty gets lost in the process?
The toppings were definitely not in a balanced proportion with the patty, so that left that lingering question mark floating in mind.
It was a nice clean presentation - on a clean plate too - so that was giving me the inclination toward that sense of hope that I have been waiting for in terms of care towards service details. That has been perhaps the biggest misstep in this whole burger month tour...the lack of acknowledgement towards fine details. It is a competition after all, and details count more than ever. (So many people seem to forget that aspect of the burger month...that at the end of the day, it is a competition!)
"Bean sprouts...haven't seen that yet!"
I liked that there were bean sprouts because they spoke of a slight crunch that they would inevitably deliver. That was a nice touch to begin with.
When I pulled my plate toward me to pick up my burger, the words out of my mouth, when my hands wrapped around the bun, were...
That was in regard to the bun itself. It was a nice one. I liked that. There was a problem though, that, when asked about, turned out to be a mistake.
There was a banana leaf stuck to the bottom of the bottom bun. It wasn't supposed to be there. When I asked if that was on purpose, and was told it wasn't, they said that those were typically put on plates to stop bowls (or the like) from sliding around, and that it shouldn't have been there for a burger as there was no need for it, and it wasn't meant to be eaten.
(Just for fun, because it was stuck to the bottom of the burger, and I eat as is delivered, I tore one of the little strips of the banana leaf off to take a nibble. I giggled while I did it. "Yup...not supposed to be there!")
It was an interesting take on a burger for several reasons. The overall combination of the way the flavours worked together definitely told the story of something from overseas. Coming from a Vietnamese-Modern restaurant, that should be expected, so it was a nice surprise that wasn't really surprising.
The sprouts, although good with their little crunchy element, acted as if they wanted to scatter, because they were falling out all over the place. It got messy pretty quickly, and was eating very out of balance.
The patty was fantastic - like, really good - but it felt a little out of proportion to the rest of the bun and toppings as I had imagined it might be. The patty disappeared very quickly, too quickly in contrast to the rest, which left a Pho-y salad with some soggy bun left afterward.
I liked the little kick of the peppers. The full mint leaves were pretty, and infused their little sweet menthol-y flavour into the river of tastes that were moving along as I made my way through this eat.
...and then the cilantro...well, I am never unhappy with cilantro. Yaaay for cilantro!
The burger almost tasted like a bit of a spicy Pad Thai that was put on top of a fantastic patty.
The flavour combinations weren't bad, were quite good, but also somewhat odd for a burger. The biggest downfall would have to have been that my patty was well gone before the rest was finished, which is never a good thing.
(The patty better make it to the very last bite of every burger, or else it just culminates with a weaker finish, and no burger left on the palate when you leave. I don't even care if it has a tiny dot of a bun left, it is mandatory that the last bite has a chunk of patty in it.)
It definitely has a little spiced bite to it, especially in the aftertaste it leaves behind. But, the way the cilantro creeps up in that aftertaste is rather excellent.
I really liked it. It is a unique burger that infuses east and west, and it worked well. I just wish the patty didn't disappear before the rest with so much left over. The way it ended up as a soggy mess, with what was left on the plate after the patty had made its departure, was not the most appealing.
No more patty at this point...patty is gone, and so am I.
It was a good burger, with an awesome patty that was cooked really well, but the way the patty got lost in the storm of toppings, to finish in a soggy mess, on top of being served with the mistake of that banana leaf, definitely sets it back somewhat.
There was too much of a mess at the end, and I bailed on it. Sloppy sogginess just isn't my thing. I prefer a burger to hold a balanced integrity throughout the eat.
Even though it was good, it didn't seem to live up to its own potential. Not the competition winner.