Monday, August 18, 2008

square 1 burgers, tampa, aug. 18

the best burger i have ever had was at taylor's refresher in st. helena, calif. it was fairly spectacular. alan, ronnie and i stopped there while we were touring wineries in napa. it was the most expensive burger i've ever had, but it was awesome. and the garlic fries. and the caramel-ginger shake. mmmmmm.

anyway, the burger, fries and shake were almost $20. each of us spent that. none of us complained about it.

fast forward about a year, and alan and i were listening to lawrence talk about going to square 1 burger in tampa, telling us it was really good, but it was pretty expensive. he told us that a burger, fries and tea could run you $17. almost in unison, alan and i were like, "that's almost as much as taylor's." we were skeptical whether it could be as good.

i finally went today. it was ok. it was no taylor's.

pam got the chili cheese burger, and i got the decadent burger. pam's was pretty straight forward. chili, cheese, burger. mine was a bit more complicated. it was kobe beef, allegedly, with caramelized onions and brie. i asked for gruyere instead of brie. we asked for them to be cooked medium. i was glad they asked, because some places won't even serve below well done. well, they asked, we said medium, and it came well done. actually, what's the next thing after well done?

right after the waitress left, pam asked if i should get it under medium, since it was kobe. a) i doubt it was kobe, and b) once it was well done, there was no way to possibly appreciate it if it was. shrug.

i didn't send it back because i can enjoy a well done burger. and it was fine. it was just really, really cooked. ultimately, to its detriment. shrug.

the burger itself was remarkably messy. when i picked it up, the onions just started leaking out all over the place. when i went to put it down, i needed to get a side plate, because i couldn't put it down on the plate again after all the juice was down there. also, it took like three bites before i was getting burger, because it was smaller than the bun and it kept sliding.

it wasn't bad, but for the price, it was a little disappointing. i think i would've been fine with it if i hadn't gotten the kobe, with the kobe price tag. oh well.

anyway, we also got an order of the 50-50, which was two cones of fries, one normal fries and the other sweet potato with cinnamon-sugar. for the regular fries, there was a chipotle ketchup which was the best thing we had. it was amazing. i think i could be talked into going back just to get fries with this ketchup.

it was a nice room. it looks tiny from the street, but it is a pretty big room inside. and it is table service. with china. and its very south tampa chic. to be fair, taylor's is a walk-up roadside stand with picnic tables. of course, those picnic tables are in napa. so, taylor's wins this round, too.

i'd go back, but i'll probably take the build-your-own option. and i would like to try the beer cheese soup. and maybe the orange dreamsicle shake. of course, those two things, without the benefit of a burger and fries, will run $9. (head shaking incredulously.)

and i would ask for medium rare. and stress it.

(postscript: i just went to taylor's web site, and the burger i got there cost less than the burger i got at square 1 ... by $5. the taylor's bill was higher because of the shake i got there -- worth every penny for that. and the fact that pam and i split fries at square 1.)

1 comment:

Philip said...

Along this burger line, try downloading an episode of the series DOCDAY on iTunes under the Sundance channel (I am pretty sure) called "Hamburger America." It is an hour long documentary visit to some of the most amazing burger joints in the US. It starts with a visit to a place on Beale street in Memphis that has been deep frying burgers in the same grease and cast iron skillet for over 90 years (of course filtered daily, then on to Connecticut for Steamed Cheeseburgers, etc... I can't believe it, but I have now watched it 3 times and have enjoyed it more each time. Well worth the $1.99 download charge on iTunes. Let me know if you dare :)