Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Last Night's Outing: Tommy Burger

Boys love burgers - it's really a known fact. So I was out to find a good burger place around town. After a little research, I found Tommy Burger. It had decent ratings, better than any other place and it seemed a little more upscale than Peter's Drive-In style burger joints. So, let's go, I said, to which Nick agreed gladly.

When we walked in, it didn't look like a place that should be named "Tommy Burger Bar". Looked a lot like Earls, with the decent clean decor and made-up waiters in black, but with TV screens showing sporting events.

The waiter that greeted us was, as Nick correctly deduced, new. He was perfectly pleasant, told us that all their burgers were made with 100% all natural beef. Alright fine, let's look at the menu.

Dranks. They had lots of floats and shakes. I was driving so I had a cherry coke float. Surprisingly, they didn't even have a beer section on the menu (the drinks were on the back). Their beer selection wasn't impressive. Nick had a Richard's White. Neither of us have had a float before, and it wasn't anything extraordinary. A big scoop of cherry ice cream with a (disproportionately small) glass bottle of Coca Cola. I did like the glass bottle :D Somehow we got our appetizer before we got our drinks although obviously we ordered the drinks first... Whatever, no big deal.

We're big fans of poutine so we ordered it. Home-cut fries with blue cheese sauce.

Looks awesome. Smells delicious. I like how it's in a tin bucket of some kind. There was a good amount for the $8 with lots of sauce. So I don't know about this home-cut business and why it's so great, but if I could take out their fries and put Opa! fries into that dish instead, I'd enjoy it a lot more. The fries weren't up to par for me. The sauce - meh. It was cheesy. Not TOO much blue cheese taste in the sauce which was a little disappointing. Reminded me a bit of that blue cheese pizza dip we got from Papa John's last weekend, and let me tell you, we threw that one out. Okay, it wasn't AS bad at Tommy Burger, but pretty mediocre. I think if I had to pick between their blue cheese and gravy, I'd take more gravy. As you can see there are some green onion slivers on top. It was a nice addition, but would have been better if they just put some chopped green onion on everywhere instead. They also had "four cheese blend" underneath the blue cheese sauce. We scarfed it down since we were starving. You can see lots of the cheesy sauce leftover (for a reason).

For main, they had lots of burgers, but also other choices like salads and pasta and random stuff which was kind of nice. All burgers came with a choice of side, choice of bun, and you could also add random listed ingredients for a little extra. I went for the Kobe Burger with sprouts, provolone, and a side garden salad (they only had one type of dressing... - Italian).

I'm not very picky about my food, but when I think "garden salad", I think spinach, maybe some other sort of greens, chunks of cucumber and tomato, maybe some snap peas or radishes with my choice of dressing on the side (usually oil and balsamic vinegar). I did not consider a pile of tinted green lettuce with a salsa-size chopped pale tomatoes and cucumbers on top with some unidentified long shavings of something-rather (could have been a white radish or raw potato...) a garden salad (or A salad at all). Also, it was already thoroughly drenched in the Italian dressing that I agreed to in hopes that they would leave it on the side.

I don't really enjoy burgers in the first place. I just imagine dry bread, tasteless patty, ketchup, mustard, tasteless wet tomatoes, and it being too big to take comfortable bites of all the flavors together. The reality of this burger wasn't too far from what I was imagining. Except there was no ketchup, none that I could taste anyway. The Kobe burger was the most expensive burger they had at $20 and it was not worth half of that. The patty was tender, I'll admit, but it tasted like ground beef. ONLY ground beef. I think I may have read somewhere that in real burger patties, you're not supposed to season the beef. I'll go ahead and disagree with that. Beef taste is only good in expensive steaks. This patty was nowhere near the taste of an expensive steak to be able to get away with no seasonings. The bun was stale and crumbly with some kind of tasteless mayo, the tomatoes - pale. There was only 1 thin slice of provolone cheese (which added $1.50 to the price). The sprouts were, well, they're sprouts, what do you want from them? This was probably the most mediocre tasteless burger I've had ever since I can remember. And you could probably count the times I've had a burger using the fingers of your left hand. Oh, there might have been some kind of onion on there as well - I didn't taste it.

Nick ordered the Lonestar Burger. It was about the same. He mentioned how when he thinks of a good burger, it would be a burger that, while eaten, will drip with juices and sauces of all kinds. His didn't drip at all. Mine dripped tomato liquids because I was squeezing it so hard to get it to be a regular mouth size. I ended up using a fork and knife to have a few more bites of the patty just so it doesn't seem like too much of a waste. On the side, Nick had fried pickles. He said the best thing about those was the sauce that came with them. I thought the crunchy crust was really good. But why did they have to be such big pieces? Not like smaller pickles aren't available. Anymore, some more disappointment.

So to complete our view of this place, we ordered a dessert, hoping it would be a redeeming finish to our average meal. We got the James Brownie: "white chocolate pistachio brownie, raspberry coulis, vanilla bean gelato & pecan pralines." Sounds awesome, right?

The best thing about this dessert was the vanilla gelato adding some balance to the extremely sweet brownie. There was too little of it. I only just realized that I didn't notice any pistachios in there. The brownie was very dense and way way wayyy too sweet. What a shame.

The best thing about this was good service. Our food was out quick (minus the drinks), the waiter was nice. I asked him for a water with lemon, no ice and that was exactly what I got. Once, I think at Kilkenny, I ordered the same thing, and got a water with ice no lemon. Maybe the waitress was dyslexic, but if you can't remember the request, you should write it down. I want to point out that yes, I did work as a waitress, and I know what that stress feels like. I never blame the waiters for mistakes that come from the kitchen, or mix-ups when it's really busy. And I tip hard-working pleasant servers appropriately.

We decided that Tommy Burger was not worth the 30 minute drive on dangerously icy roads. I'm so disappointed in this experience but I guess now we know. I wouldn't really recommend this place. If you want a good burger, try Moxie's Classic Grill. Nick and I went there with a friend of his in the summer some time, and Nick had a burger. I remember I took a bite and thought, wow that's a delicious burger. And that was the only time I regretted not ordering a burger. I can't promise that your burger will be just as amazing as that particular one, but I'm almost 100% on the fact that you'll get a better side and more sauces.

Take care,

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