It's only the third day in and I haven't had the best start to burger month. I was thinking about that on my way into town today. In my pondering, one of the things that I noticed that was lacking in the first three burgers I had, was the lack of visual vibrancy. That's always the first line of attack for food...eating with your eyes...the visual presentation that gets your taste buds salivating with anticipation. When I was thinking about that, I was wondering when I was going to be finally wowed by a visually stunning burger.
Before I left for town I wrote down all the places that were doing the competition, so I could kind of cross them off, and kind of plan the way I was going to go about it all. On my drive in, The Main Street Diner popped into mind, so that was where I was heading first.
I had to wait a bit inside the door because there was no one in the front of house for a noticeable bit of time. When the guy came out, I did my usual thing by ordering the competition burger with a glass of water, and then went to the table he pointed me to. I do that to save the time as I usually leave going to town til the last moment before heading in for work.
It didn't take too long for the burger to come to my table, so that was pretty sweet. As if trying to read my mind, it was quite a vibrant looking burger. The sharp penetrating violet-y purple slaw that was littered with crumbled feta in contrast on the top of the patty really stood out. I was happy to see that for sure. Unfortunately, that got very quickly squashed though when my eyes left the shredded beets to notice the dirty plate.
When I grabbed the plate to pull it in for closer inspection, and to eat my burger, just as with the Uptown, there was grease on the underside of the plate, but more than that, there was also stickiness too. Seriously?! How can that even be a thing?! It's competition time, where people are coming in to vote on food, and this the standard of these places so far? Goodness!
So, immediately, I am put into a bad place with all of this, and I couldn't possibly care less what the slaw looked like anymore. Naturally that made me go in for a much closer look, and I started noticing that the plate itself was in fact not clean, and that's not even all the scattered crumbs and such. There was some kind of food baked onto it. In somewhat disbelief, I scratched some of it off just to make sure it wasn't just a mark on the plate. Sure enough, much to the dismay my mind, and validation of my suspicions, it was baked on food.
So, I have grease and some stickiness on the underside of the plate, baked on food on the top of the plate, coupled with more greasy finger prints and scattered crumbs on the topside. I feel like I am out of my mind expecting food I have to pay for to be served on a clean plate. Is all sense of service falling at the wayside? This is not just disappointing, it's disgraceful! Having food served on dirty dishes makes me call into question everything about the cleanliness and food practices in the kitchen that it came from. How can you, in good conscience, serve food on dirty dishes?! It is absolutely unacceptable...and that is the foundation from which I began my meal.
I promised I wasn't gonna curse in my food writing anymore, like when I was just screwing around with it, but dammit, dirty dishes?! Fuck!
**I tried to take a photo of the underside of the plate to show the grease and stickiness, but didn't turn out too well. That's how pissed off I was.
Enough about that, 'cause I'm gonna get too mad. Onto the burger itself...
It is a little weird to have the presentation the way it was. Typically if it is ever a bit deconstructed, a burger would have both buns on the plate with the ingredients resting on top of them, so you pick up the top side bun with ingredients and put it on top of the bottom one. This was the opposite though. The lettuce was face down on the dirty plate, and the bun sitting on top of that. To put the burger together you have to grab the lettuce and sauce, so essentially you have to hand pick through the ingredients to finish the build yourself. That isn't a huge deal, but it is kind of a strange way to present the burger. I have never seen that before.
At least there was no grease underneath the burger itself, so my cynicism has been slightly alieved again in that department, but can be taken aback when considering the underside of the plate.
The bun didn't seem like anything out of the ordinary, just a regular whole wheat bun from the grocery store shelf that you would get for your own backyard BBQ. It was fresh though, so it was fine by me.
The first bite gave a real shot of the spicing in the patty. It was really good, and launched itself right to the forefront of my senses. I liked that. The deeper into the burger though, it seemed to grow in strength and kind of hold on. It sort of became the dominant flavour.
I have to say that right away, this one was the most enjoyable to eat so far...in the guise of eatability. It ate like a proper burger should. The size wasn't ginormous, so you didn't have to pick at it from different angles. The patty was the perfect size in relation to everything else, and cooked fantastic. A huge plus!
The patty was resting on a layer of chutney. This became kind of a confusing thing for me. It added a real sweet element, but I kind of bounced back and forth between enjoying it, and thinking it might be a little too much. The chutney wasn't the most appealing looking though. It had a brown-y glossy glaze look to it that put the image of a swamp in my mind. You know, thick loose dark mud on the bottom of the murky water, but with these lily pads on top with nice flowers.
(With the chutney being the mud, and the slaw being the flower, I wasn't sure where that left the burger in between. This was genuinely the image it filled me with, and once that image was there, I wrestled with trying to figure out the patty's place in that picture.)
I didn't think it was a good thing to have a piece of food put the image of a stagnant swamp into my mind, and it wasn't on purpose, but it did eat quite nicely...texturally at least.
With the chutney being so sweet and sticky, and then that prevalent spice that wouldn't let go, I was perplexed to myself as to whether those two things worked together or worked against one another. It kind of felt more lopsided to the latter, but was a conversation my mind bounced back and forth from.
The texture, consistency, and cook of the patty was definitely the shining light of everything, but was it enough to punch through the image of a swamp while resting on a dirty plate?! I don't really think so.
I spoke with the two different servers when I was packing up. I mentioned the dirty plate, and that the patty was the best cooked so far of the places I went to, as we talked a bit about the chutney and slaw as well. They asked me where I had been, and I told them quite honestly. They were half shocked by what I had to say.
The one thing I couldn't figure out was within the slaw. It had the most faintest whisper of like a wasabi, horseradish, Dijon mustard-y common taste strung between the three. When I say a faint whisper, I mean just that. It only came through twice. The first time I tasted that I had to really think about it, if I was noticing that or not, but then it happened again, and got me wondering. That was neither here nor there though.
So, considering everything, I ended looking at it one way...
Overall, it was OK, but definitely not a competition winner in my mind though. The main thing I left with was that it wasn't bad, and I would eat it again if given to me (unlike the other three so far), but if it was on their menu as a regular burger option, I would never order it again. Just not the one for me. I'd love to see that patty in a different burger setting though.
When I was walking back to my van, I could still taste that lingering spice in the patty, and it started to annoy me. I'm not sure if that was from the taste itself, or from the debate in my mind as to whether I liked it or not. Regardless, I was ready to move on from it.