Ah, the Burger Barons--those places selling mostly burgers in higher-end joints at higher-end prices. With that price comes better quality ingredients, only, unlike the entrants in our Gastropub Gentry, many of these burgers are customizable with an array of toppings, rather than customized for you by a chef.
I compared bacon cheeseburgers at each stop because I'm a fatty. Some of my fellow bloggers needed French fries to tie break. With the bloody battles in this round, that wasn't necessary.
DG Burger vs. Umami Burger
Dave said it last week and I'll repeat: DG would win if this was a competition on bun alone. Your fingers will leave imprints long after you cradle it. The Easter Bunny wishes he was this soft and cuddly. In the first round, the patty was "wonderfully seasoned meat cooked absolutely perfectly." In the second round, not so much.
Unfortunately, the beef on this visit was terribly underseasoned, lacking both salt and pepper. Just to make sure my taste buds weren't failing me, I asked the waiter for some and added a sprinkle of each. Only after doing so did the flavor of the meat stand out above the gooey mass of white cheddar and chewy bacon. Had the burger been seasoned better before it hit the grill, this would have been a competition.
Because of DG's poor showing, it was easy for Umami's Manly Burger to pour a can of whoop ass on the competition. Housemade beer cheddar, chunky bacon lardons and fried onion add texture and layers of savory flavor to the juicy, seared beef patty. The buttery bun is thick, but yields to the toppings without loosing too much integrity.
Extra "Man Points" for the gory scene left on my plate by the burger juices.
Winner: Umami Burger
G Burger vs. 25 Degrees
Of the two burgers, G Burger was better seasoned, like they just dusted it in Montreal Steak Seasoning. If it's some secret blend, pardon me, but it tastes just like most everyone's go-to flavor enhancer. It works here, as the flavor is only improved by the flames of the grill. Toppings come on the burger, so I ate it that way.
The patty is huge, only overshadowed by the puffy top bun that is more like white bread than brioche. The bacon was thick and leathery; fatty in some parts, and burned to a crisp at the ends. Where it was cooked right, there was a sweet touch of maple. "G Sauce," the restaurant's upgrade to Thousand Island, successfully takes the place of an acidic condiment such as ketchup. The cheese wasn't melted here--a slight knock--but the ratio of bread to meat, and the softness of G Burger's bun, scored some major points.
25 Degrees in Downtown Huntington--a place you should never visit without first checking if the US Open is in town--turns out to be the kind of burger you'd expect from a Burger Baron (over $10, quality ingredients).
I wanted to like this burger, with it's Mezzo Secco jack cheese and thick cut bacon, but it arrived so sad. The bacon needed more crunch to differentiate itself from the hunk of beef it was served on. The patty was as beefy at it's opponent, but one of three things--too-fine a grind, not enough fat, or overworking the raw meat before cooking; I'm not sure which here--resulted in a tight, more meatball-like texture. Both sides of the bun were shaped like domes, which provided too much bread, even for this big piece of meat. If some of these things were tinkered with, this could be a great burger.
And a side note: Nobody on the planet with a mobile phone can access a menu that needs a Microsoft Silverlight plugin to view. FERREALZ.
Winner: G Burger
I already know who I'm rooting for in the next round, but the decision will not be up to me. Stay tuned for Dave to decide the ultimate victor of the Burger Barons!