Updated: Nov 8, 2020
I ordered the competition burger when I got to my table. Unlike all the rest of the venues in town, The Outer Clove serves theirs with a side (salad/fries). I said...
"I thought they didn't come with any sides, just the burger."
With a smile through her mask (I can still tell through the eyes when someone is smiling), my server said to me...
OK. Fries it is! That's a plus The Outer Clove has on the other places...free side with competition burger.
(**I was contacted by the owner to inform me that their competition burger - as I call them - do not come with free sides, just the same as the rest of the competition venues. That was a mistake made that day.)
I actually saw the competition poster at the door this time, and they are the first ones I saw who had their burger readily displayed inside (On their big chalkboard above their bar.) I read a bit of it and saw that their patty is a mix of pork and lamb.
"OK...let's see how this one goes."
It looked pretty good when she brought it to my table. Nice and clean presentation, and a nice and clean looking burger too. Sigh of relief!
Even though I haven't been here in like a decade, that familiar scent of garlic that permeates the air, and then intensifies when your food comes to your table is instantly recognizable. Kind of amazing to be able to remember a scent like that so clearly after so long. Such is their trademark though.
No grease underneath the burger and a clean plate. Holy smokes...could it possibly be that someone can do things right?! I was starting to forget that was even a thing.
I loved the little insy-weensy bite and flavouring from the bed of banana peppers that the patty rest upon on top of the bottom bun. Fantastic!
The burger was the perfect size too. Just on the bottom side of too big, so it was bang-on awesome!
Sadly, the bacon was there, but only in a minute amount. I didn't notice it at all til I pulled the burger apart a bit about half way through, so that was a bummer. I only got one distinct real taste of bacon on my palate, and that wasn't til all the burger patty was gone and only the latke was left. So, it did eat somewhat out of balance. It's too bad too, because isn't that what so many of the top chefs around the world say, or at least the many I have studied...
"Bacon is nature's perfect food!"
The bun did split and start rapidly falling apart less than halfway through the eat, so it became a bit of a shuffle to try to keep it all together.
The leek latke, although pretty good, it was just as big, if not bigger than the patty, so that gave the burger a bit of a knock-back for me. It kinda seemed like they were adding that as filler so they could cut back on the portion size of the pork/lamb patty required to fill out the overall dynamic of the burger. It would have been nice to see a little less emphasis on the latke and that little bit more emphasis on the patty...enter my cliche burger saying of...
"The star of the show!"
A burger is always about the patty first, laying the foundation for everything else to build upon. There is no getting around that.
It was almost like a double burger because of the size of the leek latke. They inevitably slid apart, especially with the crumbling of the bun. It didn't eat as well because of that, but it was yummy, so I just filed that under semantics.
The creamy Macedonian feta was a nice little balancing touch with that modest sharpness that its flavouring offers. I like how it mixed with the banana peppers too. It was a bit of a different combination than what I have ever come across with a burger, but I liked it a lot. It worked just fine for me.
The only real overall downfall is the size of the leek latke compared to the patty, and then the way the bun fell apart early on, causing the shuffle required to try to keep it together to eat. Taste-wise, I really liked it though, and it has surely set itself far above the first five places I have gone to:
A different class!
If they kept this on their menu, I would come back for it from time to time, and I could easily recommend this to my guests as a kind, but somewhat unique take on a burger.
It's good. It has set the new standard moving forward, but it is that patty/latke proportion size that would hold it back for any running to place on the podium for the competition if I was going to judge.
(I know I can vote, but I'm staying out of that, and just doing my thing here instead. I actually think I voted for Jackson's Hole by accident when I was surfing around the burger month competition online. Oops...'cause that sure ain't the case!)
It feels nice to have some redemption delivered and start feeling that there is some integrity and hope in this competition after all. I was glad to have had that burger at The Outer Clove today.
The only place offering a free side of fries or salad with their competition burger. Nice touch Outer Clove!