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ulterior epicure

chefBURGER

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A lot of the dog places in Chicago manage fresh cut, twice fried french fries.  McDonald's, before they got lazy, did.  Those places that do them well and, granted it takes some effort, probably get as many customers because of their fries than their burgers.

Well, wait, are we certain that the fries (even though I'd agree with you, they do look like the frozen varietal) at ChefBURGER aren't house-made (I have no idea - if somebody has already confirmed this fact, I apologize for being clueless)?

FWIW, I was just in Chicago and had the duck fries at Hot Doug's. I don't know if he makes them in house, but I have to say, they were kinda soft and not-that-stellar. *sigh* They sure tasted great, however... but that crispness was missing.


Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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A lot of the dog places in Chicago manage fresh cut, twice fried french fries.  McDonald's, before they got lazy, did.  Those places that do them well and, granted it takes some effort, probably get as many customers because of their fries than their burgers.

It's a fair statement, but being equally fair to the establishments that have "gotten lazy" over the years, the vast, *vast* majority of those dining out won't base their destination on what amounts to a glorified side dish. Yes, they're an American institution (though hardly exclusive to America), but when people are deciding on a place to go to eat, their choices are usually defined by entree, and not by sides. Rare's the day when I get a strong enough hankering to drive out of my way for a batch of fries. In fact, it's never happened before. A great burger, though? Yeah, I'll drive for that.

While sides are important, and I *definitely* understand where you're coming from (I often don't get fries anymore from some of the finest burger destinations here in Detroit), I understand the other side of the coin, too. All things being equal, I find that in my own mind, the quality of the entree is more important than that of any side that might come with it, a la carte or otherwise.

Not hankering for ho-hum fries is also probably one of the few things that helps keep my belt buckled where it is. ;)

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Well, the question is really what constitutes a" gourmet" burger experience, and is it worth double the price?

If the patties are premade & frozen(whether made of better cuts of meat or not), and the fries are frozen, why is it better than town topic right down the street? Because of the exotic toppings? Hmmm. A quality burger should be able to be eaten with nothing but burger and bun, don't you think?

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A lot of the dog places in Chicago manage fresh cut, twice fried french fries.  McDonald's, before they got lazy, did.  Those places that do them well and, granted it takes some effort, probably get as many customers because of their fries than their burgers.

It's a fair statement, but being equally fair to the establishments that have "gotten lazy" over the years, the vast, *vast* majority of those dining out won't base their destination on what amounts to a glorified side dish. Yes, they're an American institution (though hardly exclusive to America), but when people are deciding on a place to go to eat, their choices are usually defined by entree, and not by sides. Rare's the day when I get a strong enough hankering to drive out of my way for a batch of fries. In fact, it's never happened before. A great burger, though? Yeah, I'll drive for that.

While sides are important, and I *definitely* understand where you're coming from (I often don't get fries anymore from some of the finest burger destinations here in Detroit), I understand the other side of the coin, too. All things being equal, I find that in my own mind, the quality of the entree is more important than that of any side that might come with it, a la carte or otherwise.

Not hankering for ho-hum fries is also probably one of the few things that helps keep my belt buckled where it is. ;)

Perhaps a bit of hyperbole on my part. But if there are two burger places within a ten minute drive, pretty equal burgers, and one serves fresh cut fries and one serves frozen shoestring fries, I'm guessing more people than not chose the place with the great fries.


Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

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A lot of the dog places in Chicago manage fresh cut, twice fried french fries.  McDonald's, before they got lazy, did.  Those places that do them well and, granted it takes some effort, probably get as many customers because of their fries than their burgers.

Well, wait, are we certain that the fries (even though I'd agree with you, they do look like the frozen varietal) at ChefBURGER aren't house-made (I have no idea - if somebody has already confirmed this fact, I apologize for being clueless)?

FWIW, I was just in Chicago and had the duck fries at Hot Doug's. I don't know if he makes them in house, but I have to say, they were kinda soft and not-that-stellar. *sigh* They sure tasted great, however... but that crispness was missing.

Before posting I tried to check on their site and through Google, but couldn't find anything. Looking at them, though, they sure look frozen.

I'm not sure Hot Doug twice fries his duck fat fries. Fresh cut fries, only fried once, are often limp and greasy - and perfect at 3AM after the bars close. Otherwise, I prefer twice fried.


Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

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Well, the question is really what constitutes a" gourmet" burger experience, and is it worth double the price?

If the patties are premade & frozen(whether made of better cuts of meat or not), and the fries are frozen, why is it better than town topic right down the street? Because of the exotic toppings? Hmmm. A quality burger should be able to be eaten with nothing but burger and bun, don't you think?

To be more correct on this point, I *think* that ChefBURGER was conceived and marketed as a "gourmet burger" establishment. However, clearly in it's infancy, has yet to prove itself as such. From what I've heard and seen, it does not sound like the "gourmet burger" operation that I had heard it might be.

Can anyone (who has been to ChefBURGER) clarify this point?


Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Perhaps a bit of hyperbole on my part.  But if there are two burger places within a ten minute drive, pretty equal burgers, and one serves fresh cut fries and one serves frozen shoestring fries, I'm guessing more people than not chose the place with the great fries.

Right - well, that's just it, I'm not sure there IS another "burger place" within 10 minutes (driving, walking, or flying) of ChefBURGER that has a decent burger AND fresh cut fries that aren't wet or soggy. And, of COURSE it goes without saying that if there were, I'd choose the place with great fries over the one that didn't.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Well, the question is really what constitutes a" gourmet" burger experience, and is it worth double the price?

If the patties are premade & frozen(whether made of better cuts of meat or not), and the fries are frozen, why is it better than town topic right down the street? Because of the exotic toppings? Hmmm. A quality burger should be able to be eaten with nothing but burger and bun, don't you think?

To be more correct on this point, I *think* that ChefBURGER was conceived and marketed as a "gourmet burger" establishment. However, clearly in it's infancy, has yet to prove itself as such. From what I've heard and seen, it does not sound like the "gourmet burger" operation that I had heard it might be.

Can anyone (who has been to ChefBURGER) clarify this point?

define gourmet burger. From the things I have read, I will definitly give it a try the next time I am up. The menu reads far better than most of the offerings in this neck of the woods.


It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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Well, the question is really what constitutes a" gourmet" burger experience, and is it worth double the price?

If the patties are premade & frozen(whether made of better cuts of meat or not), and the fries are frozen, why is it better than town topic right down the street? Because of the exotic toppings? Hmmm. A quality burger should be able to be eaten with nothing but burger and bun, don't you think?

Well, I for one, like more than just meat on a bun. Even at one of my very favorite places, Town Topic, I always get everything on it, except chili. The meat at Chefburger did not seem frozen to me, the fries certainly did. I don't have a problem with that providing the frozen fries are cooked crispy. Thomas Keller doesn't have a problem with that either! :laugh:

It will be interesting to see if Chef Dahzell does something about the fries "problem." Everyone I know who has eaten there feels the same...very good sandwiches, mediocre fries.

I do have to comment on the buns. The buns are good. Hearty, without being tough or too chewy. I don't know if Farm to Market makes them, but they are quite good, they are toasted or grilled, couldn't tell which, because I didn't dissect the burger we had. I didn't detect butter, but that was ok. The meat was succulent enough without it.

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Well, the question is really what constitutes a" gourmet" burger experience, and is it worth double the price?

If the patties are premade & frozen(whether made of better cuts of meat or not), and the fries are frozen, why is it better than town topic right down the street? Because of the exotic toppings? Hmmm. A quality burger should be able to be eaten with nothing but burger and bun, don't you think?

To be more correct on this point, I *think* that ChefBURGER was conceived and marketed as a "gourmet burger" establishment. However, clearly in it's infancy, has yet to prove itself as such. From what I've heard and seen, it does not sound like the "gourmet burger" operation that I had heard it might be.

Can anyone (who has been to ChefBURGER) clarify this point?

define gourmet burger. From the things I have read, I will definitly give it a try the next time I am up. The menu reads far better than most of the offerings in this neck of the woods.

I guess I don't consider it anymore gourmet than burger places I frequented in California when I lived there in the '70s. Many of those places had a wide variety of toppings and accompaniments, but they were definitely the counter service type burger place. Chefburger actually reminds me of some of those places, which is appealing to me.

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define gourmet burger.

Non-traditional ingredients/additions/options/bells + whistles/condiments. The appearance of specialty meats and meat-like patties. The assignment of prices with two (or three) digits before the decimal is also another sign that you're in the presence of a gourmet burger.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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not saying it is not good, (don't know since I'm 2000 miles away :smile:)

But how much of the price is about "being the place to be"?

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I don't remember chefburger being all that expensive.

As an aside, I think it's interesting that some of my favorite burger places don't use the best meat.

The Flea Market uses McGonigle's meat but I doubt Corner Cocktail or Jim's Fatburger are sourcing top-quality beef.

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got the chef burger with blue cheese - great stuff.

love the waffle fries too.. wasn't quite in the mood for the garlic parsley fries. The Vanilla Milkshake hit the spot, creamy and thick but was still able to drink through a straw.

chefBURGER = Fat Kid Heaven :blush:


"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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Confession-- I really didn't want to like this place. After several disappointing meals at Dalzell's previous opening, Pizza Bella, it seemed his arrogance was getting the better of him. Yet, being a big fan of good burgers, it was requisite to at least give it a try.

And... it was good. I had the buffalo burger with bleu cheese and bbq sauce, and my partner had the burger with gruyere and caramelized onions (we split them, so we could each try the other); we also split an order of sweet potato fries. Fries were alright, a little soggy, nothing special. The buffalo burger was delicious; very bold flavors, unfortunately too bold for the poor burger with the gruyere and onions. By itself, it probably would have been delicious, but the buffalo burger dominated it.

A few complaints though:

*Last time we were there, the hours weren't posted and we just barely made it before they closed (at 10 pm) on a Friday night. Now far be it for me to tell someone how to run their business, but being located in a huge party district, one would think they'd stay open long enough to capture as much of the drunk n' hungry crowd as possible. We weren't the only ones to think so, as one group after another turned away after trying to open the doors only to find them locked out and deeply disappointed.

*Also, the place was a complete mess. We had a hard time finding somewhere to eat that wasn't covered with trash from the diners before us. Plus, the flat screen televisions were loud and obnoxious. It was such a lovely space, it's such a shame to see it so unkempt, I felt the televisions took away from it.

*Final complaint, I made the mistake of not reading the fine print where it states all burgers will be cooked medium well unless otherwise requested. Medium well is burnt in my book, and the worst thing about the burger with the gruyere was it tasted like a burnt hockey puck. That actually pissed me off, so in the future I'll make sure to specify how I want it cooked since I was never asked.

But we would definitely go back. Prices are decent (roughly 6.99 for most of the burgers) and the quality was much better than anything at Applebee's or TGIF (although I do suspect the burgers may have been frozen :sad: .) Dalzell did ok this time, but he might want to consider focusing on making his existing restaurants better (I'm looking at you, Pizza Bella) before he rushes off to open up yet another trendy concept restaurant.

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*Last time we were there, the hours weren't posted and we just barely made it before they closed (at 10 pm) on a Friday night. Now far be it for me to tell someone how to run their business, but being located in a huge party district, one would think they'd stay open long enough to capture as much of the drunk n' hungry crowd as possible. We weren't the only ones to think so, as one group after another turned away after trying to open the doors only to find them locked out and deeply disappointed.

I agree, especially for Friday-Saturday night and eventually the weekdays. I'd love to see it open till at least 3:30 AM.


"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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Confession-- I really didn't want to like this place. After several disappointing meals at Dalzell's previous opening, Pizza Bella, it seemed his arrogance was getting the better of him. Yet, being a big fan of good burgers, it was requisite to at least give it a try...

I'm glad you did, corprip. Thanks for reporting.

At this point, I'm not sure certain omissions (like posting hours, or a menu online) are simple post-opening inattention or deliberate avoidance. Regardless, I hope they stabilize enough to start getting the details worked out.

I'll be interested to hear how you would compare chefBURGER with Blanc.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Does anyone know what kind of milk/ice cream they use in their milkshakes? Is it me, or are they awfully thin? I like mine just a bit thicker.

I'm pretty sure they're using soft serve. Not sure what kind of milk - whole? 2%?


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Does anyone know what kind of milk/ice cream they use in their milkshakes?  Is it me, or are they awfully thin?  I like mine just a bit thicker.

I'm pretty sure they're using soft serve.  Not sure what kind of milk - whole?  2%?

Shatto....It's got to be whole also


Edited by ChefCAG (log)

“Nobody can be so amusingly arrogant as a young man who has just discovered an old idea and thinks it is his own." - Sydney J. Harris

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Does anyone know what kind of milk/ice cream they use in their milkshakes?  Is it me, or are they awfully thin?  I like mine just a bit thicker.

I'm pretty sure they're using soft serve.  Not sure what kind of milk - whole?  2%?

Shatto....It's got to be whole also

Yes, but what milkfat?


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Does anyone know what kind of milk/ice cream they use in their milkshakes?  Is it me, or are they awfully thin?  I like mine just a bit thicker.

I'm pretty sure they're using soft serve.  Not sure what kind of milk - whole?  2%?

Dear *heaven*...SOFT SERVE?!?!?!?

I mean, for heaven's sake, why bother making soft serve into a milkshake? Even more, if they're using anything lower-fat than, say 2%, they just don't know how to make a milkshake.

Good grief...soft serve. Were they raised by morons or something? That's not a milkshake, that's an atrocity! Hand-dipped. Otherwise, why bother?

A correctly-made milkshake will collapse the straw it's being attempted to be drawn from when initially served. Spoon is included, and as the temperature rises slightly, the straw becomes part of the process, and the spoon far less significant, if necessary at all.

I am nothing less than offended that there's a high-end hamburger place *anywhere* that would even consider making a milkshake using soft serve.

That's...just wrong.


Edited by boagman (log)

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Does anyone know what kind of milk/ice cream they use in their milkshakes?  Is it me, or are they awfully thin?  I like mine just a bit thicker.

I'm pretty sure they're using soft serve.  Not sure what kind of milk - whole?  2%?

Dear *heaven*...SOFT SERVE?!?!?!?

I mean, for heaven's sake, why bother making soft serve into a milkshake? Even more, if they're using anything lower-fat than, say 2%, they just don't know how to make a milkshake.

Good grief...soft serve. Were they raised by morons or something? That's not a milkshake, that's an atrocity! Hand-dipped. Otherwise, why bother?

A correctly-made milkshake will collapse the straw it's being attempted to be drawn from when initially served. Spoon is included, and as the temperature rises slightly, the straw becomes part of the process, and the spoon far less significant, if necessary at all.

I am nothing less than offended that there's a high-end hamburger place *anywhere* that would even consider making a milkshake using soft serve.

That's...just wrong.

Right, well, I didn't *actually* see them dropping the stream of soft serve into the cup, but that's what the guy behind the counter said they use.

So, I finally made it to chefBURGER recently. Their menu of "Signature Burgers" has expanded significantly.

Interestingly, I was eating with pescatarians, and so I played along. Two of us go the two vegetarian burgers - the Black Bean Burger and the Crispy Falafel Burger. One of us got the Ahi Tuna Burger. And, yet another, who was less forgiving of our friends' dietary restrictions got the Turkey Burger, which I believe is new to the menu. So, no beef patty at our party.

General observations: TOO MUCH CONDIMENT!!! Why is it that when you ask for them to "go easy" on something, they end up slopping on more than they normally would?

So, we had Srirachi aioli, Srirachi coleslaw, mayonnaise, cranberry chutney, and pickled ginger coleslaw oozing out of, off of, onto, and all over everything. I think that chefBURGER might be an environmental hazard alone, what with the amount of napkins sacrificed to the cause of burger eating. I mean, had I been at home, naked, maybe I wouldn't mind what dropped where. But, seeing how I was in public, I was trying to keep myself from devolving into a complete slob.

This was especially unfortunate, because otherwise, the "burgers" were perfectly delightful. The buns (where there were buns) were slightly sweet - I liked that, actually.

The Crispy Falafel was indeed crispy. It was also flavorful, with a hit of appreciable and appreciated heat. It was sandwiched with fresh spinach, cucumber, tomato, and Srirachi coleslaw. Srirachi coleslaw is basically a Srirachi-tinged mayonnaise-laden coleslaw. The emphasis being on the mayonnaise. I tasted no Srirachi. I mean, if you've already got the falafel, tomato, lettuce and cucumber, why not go the whole way and just do some yogurt or sour cream? I guess that's why it's chefBURGER, and I'm not the chef.

Then there was the Grilled Ahi Tuna Burger, which was completely coated in aioli. The inside, however, was perfectly cooked to order; my friend got it rare. It came with a pickled ginger coleslaw, which was really flavorful, the small bit that managed to not be glopped with Srirachi aioli, which tasted nothing like Srirachi. This "burger" surprised me - I had expected a chopped/ground tuna patty, instead, it was generous six-ounce steak cut of fish. Did I mention there was a lot of aioli?

The Turkey Burger ($7.99) was not really a burger. I think it's supposed to be some kind of witty riff on Thanksgiving. The turkey patty, which was flavorful and moist, was tucked between grilled bread, topped with Swiss, cranberry chutney (which soaked through the bread), tomato, lettuce, mayonnaise, more mayonnaise, and then some mayonnaise.

I didn't get to taste the Black Bean burger. It came with tomato, lettuce, pickle, and red onion. Oh, and it also was generously treated with "Chef Sauce," which was - you guessed it, some mayonnaise-based condiment. I guess my friend liked it; she wouldn't share.

Sweet potato fries were good, but not the best I've had. The garlic-parsley waffle fries were also good, though way too greasy. I'd be fooling myself to think that fries are health food, but there's no need for a pooling grease. Again, the napkin crew came to the rescue.

The milkshakes, as I alluded to upthread, were watery and thin. I prefer mine thicker. They weren't so thin that one could (easily) slurp it through a straw. Yet, eating it with a spoon was equally awkward - it was just too thin to hold on a spoon. I'm pretty sure they use soft serve as a base. I don't know what milkfat their milk is (ChefCAG's guessing it's whole, and I wouldn't be surprised). The flavors we tried were all very good. Next time, I'm going to try one of their "spiked" milkshakes - the "B52," "Alabama Slama'" and the "Buttery Nipple" all sound great. I might have to have a wheelchair waiting for me.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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