Based on a friend's recommendation, our quest begins with The Biltmore, an-upscale pub of sorts that prides itself on using mostly local ingredients, which I love and value very much as a local chef. Why local? To avoid any prolonged rant, I'll simply say food tastes better when it travels a shorter distance, not to mention the environmental benefits and support for local farms and purveyors. Back to the burgers. In consideration of starting this blog, we didn't want to make this a full on restaurant review, sure certain aspects would affect the rating (service, atmosphere, value, etc.) but this search is all about the burger, and ultimately the best tasting burger will prevail. The intangibles for The Biltmore were solid, great setting, clean, and quiet, a place you'd want to eat. The service was adequate, we'll leave it at that. Since there were three of us, we decided to sample the three burger options on the menu. (sorry, but veggie and turkey don't cut it, this site is all about the beef) We equally divided the Biltmore Burger, (with crispy onion strings, gruyere and a house-made Bistro sauce) The Au Poive Burger (peppercorn crust, portobello demi, and boursin cheese) and the Royale with cheese. (fried egg, cheddar, applewood bacon)
Let's start with the Biltmore Burger: Great beef flavor, enjoyed the Bistro sauce, very juicy. On the downside, the crispy onions were anything but, as they became soggy from too much sauce. The bread to burger ratio was okay, in my mind the perfect burger becomes one with the bun, the brioche bun on all the burgers was a bit too much, possibly a little on the stale side as well.
On to the Au Poive, and I realize that pepper is the main ingredient here, but it probably could have benefited from a little pre-toasting, as the pepper completely overpowered the rest of the burger, too much raw pepper here. There was supposedly a mushroom demi here, but there was no such mushroom flavor whatsoever. Again, very juicy, like a burger should be, but not perfectly executed by any means.
Finally the Royale with cheese, which I was most excited about. This was the only burger where I could actually taste the cheese, which isn't a knock on the others because I didn't totally miss it, but still. I love the idea of a fried egg, but if you're not going to serve to yolk runny, why bother, and no, that's not just a personal preference, the whole point of serving a fried egg on a burger is to have to runny, yolky goodness and add another level of fat and flavor to the beef. Once again, great idea, poor execution.
I also have to mention the perfection that were the french fries. Perfectly cooked, crispy and salty, the way they should be. Overall, the burgers were solid, great beef flavor (from John Dewar) and very very tasty. But they missed the mark with the add-ons. While they sounded great on paper, most of the toppings failed to deliver, notably the portobello demi, fried egg and soggy onions and bacon. They could have been seasoned a bit better and all three were slightly over-cooked. The Biltmore may be more successful by simplifying, we may be hard pressed to find better tasting beef and juicier burgers, and at $20 per person it's more on the expensive side. The search will continue.