Friday, November 7, 2008

The Perfect Burger

I love a big, juicy burger. And I like it rare.

There was a time when I was afraid to eat rare burger, but that time is gone now, thanks to this article by David Shaw that I read, about 3 years ago. After reading it, I challenge you to find a good reason why you wouldn't get a rare or medium rare burger from the right place. (Unless, of course, you're one of those people who likes their meat well done, in which case, I can't remotely relate.)

One of the great tips Shaw imparts is that burgers are always best at steakhouses, because "they get good-quality meat, they don’t put so much lettuce and sauce on the burger that you can’t taste the meat and they know how to cook it." He's not wrong. The biggest challenge for me is going to a steakhouse and ordering a burger instead of a steak.

My go-to place to get a perfect burger is Outback Steakhouse. Sure, it's a chain, but it has consistently decent food and my wallet doesn't cry about their prices. Plus, they do make an excellent burger, and their steaks aren't so fabulous that I can't resist getting one of those instead.

I went the other day, and started with cream of broccoli soup. It was hot, which means it met my #1 requirement for soups (that are meant to be hot, at least). I've found that Seattle restaurants in general are very good about serving their soups very hot, maybe because it's so cold here. Flavor wise, however, I've had better.

Next came the burger. I always get the No Rules Burger. It's no longer on Outback's official menu, but if you order it they'll make it for you. Basically, this burger has everything and anything you want and don't want, for $9.95. My usual burger includes sauteed mushrooms, grilled onions, bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, pickles, tomato, and no sauce but for mustard.

The fries that night were sub-par, sadly. But I'm not sure if it's really the fault of the fries, or because after having the ones at Bis on Main, no others can compare. Sometimes I get the steamed broccoli, because it's surprisingly delicious at Outback.

In any case, it's the burger that's the star, and the meat was everything it should be: juicy, full, flavorful. And of course, cooked perfectly. I got it medium rare that night, but sometimes when I'm feeling particularly rebellious, I get it rare. ;)

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