Burger Hunt – Chop House Burgers: Arlington, TX

They say, “Never judge a book by its cover,” and in our continuous hunt for the best burgers around, this statement certainly comes to mind.  Don’t let the strip center location and somewhat of an office break room motif spoil your appetite.  Here, it’s all about the food, and Chef Kenny Mills aims to make you all believers. Located in the heart of Arlington, right across the corner from the University of Texas at Arlington Baseball Complex is where it all happens.  This is Chop House Burgers.

When I first heard about Chop House Burgers I was intrigued to know its owners history, and how he came about opening up a burger joint.  Chef Kenny Mills has done it all.  Working his way up from the bottom as a busboy when he was a teenager, to eventually being named in the 2004 a “Who’s Who of International Chefs” for his work at The Capital Grille in Dallas, TX.  Another local burger joint in Arlington boasts three chefs trying to make a better burger, and I have to say it’s one of my favorites; so coming here was definitely a must.

I had heard that if you go during the lunch rush, depending on the number of customers, it could be a bit of a wait, but we risked it anyway and was pleasantly surprised to see it not too busy for a Monday around Noon.  Walking in the restaurant, it is split into two sections.  The one on the right is basically just tables and chairs with white walls and a few pictures on the walls.  The left side is where you order and has a different feel like this where it all started, and then rented the space next door to accommodate the extra customers when needed.  Make no mistake, there’s nothing fancy about the décor, but the question remains does that really matter?

The signature burger is the “Chop House” burger.  It’s a mix of char grilled beef and brisket with homemade steak sauce, topped with bacon and cheddar cheese.  While this particular burger sounded pretty good, I usually keep to the same kind of burger I get at all the places I try in order to have a baseline of comparison, so I ended up with a regular cheeseburger with bacon of course!  My wife and I heard the onion rings were fantastic so we got a basket and they split it for us with fries and onion rings so we could have both.

After only about a 10-minute wait and calling to the name “Cheech” (not a new concept but still kind of fun), we received our food in a traditional basket lined with paper.  The smell was amazing and I could tell that the char grilled flavor we were about to enjoy had a hint of smoke to it as well.  After dressing the burgers to our liking, we tried the sides first.  First off, the onion rings were as great as we had heard and they were cut thick with a crispy seasoned batter that flaked off with perfection.  The fries on the other hand were a little greasy and slightly soggy.  Now we all know this isn’t why you come to a burger joint, but it is an important side dish.  They were hand cut and seasoned well, I just would have preferred them a little crisper.

After working on the sides for a minute, we both hunched over and got into the burgers.  There was good meat to bun ratio with the bun being toasted and buttered with that slightly crisp edge everyone loves.  The toppings were all fresh and crisp.  After ordering, I saw a sign that stated all burgers will be cooked medium well, “unless otherwise stated,” per the Arlington health code, so I knew we were probably going to get something overcooked to our liking, but surprisingly enough even medium well, the patty itself was still pretty juicy and had a great char grilled taste.

Overall if I was to rate the total experience, and this was just an average burger, I’d probably give this burger joint 2 ½ to 3 out of 5 (stars, patties, widgets, etc.), but I have to say this might be the best “flame grilled” burger I’ve had in Dallas/Fort Worth.  As soon as I bit into the burger, it reminded me of grilling outside with my friends on the patio, and having a good ol’ fashioned backyard BBQ.  For that memory and taste, Chop House Burgers is worth every bit of 4 out 5 whatever you want to call them.  Work on crisping up the fries a bit and I’ll rewrite the review, and that’s a promise, because fries or not I’ll be back.

Be on the look out as well for Chop House Burgers on a future episode of Diners, Drive-In’s & Dives with Guy Fieri in 2012.  Guy was recently in town to check the place out, and it will be great to see and hear what he has to say!  For more information, check your local listings or go to http://www.foodnetwork.com/diners-drive-ins-and-dives/index.html to see all the upcoming show listings.

You can also check out Chop House Burgers on the web at http://www.chophouseburgers.com/

And as always, if you have a place in your crosshairs for great burgers and more, add them to the list and we’ll see you on the hunt!

~ Chance

http://www.burgerhunt.com

Twitter @burgerhunt

Burger Hunt - 5 Guys Burgers and Fries: Hurst, TX

I’m not sure why I feel the need to preface this review about 5 Guys, but here’s my best attempt.  When my wife and I started on this adventure to have fun trying new burger places all over North Texas, I made a decision early on not to be one of those “food snobs,” that knows it all, and the only opinion that counts is their own. With that said and having tried a lot of different burgers, I definitely have an opinion on what I like, and I understand that what I enjoy may not necessarily reflect the opinions of others. I simply want to have fun by sharing some burger reviews, fun facts and even have a community of friends that may share in a passion for finding the perfect burger.  Truly it’s like searching for The Fountain of Youth, but what the hell right?

So now that we have that out of the way, let me setup our story.  I had already heard from a lot of people about what 5 Guys was all about.  Not just a few, but many have told me two distinct things; the burgers are just okay and their pretty damn pricey for what you get.  With that said I had low expectations and was hoping for something different.  I figured if I was going to attempt to make Burger Hunt a place where people can go for a review of local burger joints, I couldn’t exclude a place simply on a preconceived notion.  I don’t think I was setup for failure as I wasn’t expecting to have a bad burger, and 5 Guys can’t continue to open up stores and garner rave reviews on a product that is ultimately not good, right?

So, I got a bacon cheeseburger and my wife got a little cheeseburger (single patty), order of regular Cajun fries and two drinks.  Surprise number one, didn’t hit me till I heard the total price, which was $20 for all this.  The toppings were free though, so I got that going me.

Surprise number two was when our order came out, even though we were eating in, the food was served in a paper bag.  The burgers were wrapped in foil and the regular fries were filled in a cup, and then two handfuls were dumped at the bottom of the bag.  What exactly is going on with this gimmick? I didn’t get the order to go, and now I have to pull out two greasy foil wrapped burgers from the bottom of a bag full of overly seasoned fries? Fail.  This is something I would have loved to known first before ordering, and honestly it was annoying.  A tray would have been much more manageable for not only the amount of fries but for the mess that ensued.

  

The fries themselves were fine, although overly seasoned.  The spice wasn’t a problem, there was just too much of it.  Lightly salted would have been a better choice in hindsight, but they were not soggy, so I guess that’s a plus.

As far as the burger is concerned, mine was a flat top grilled, medium, slightly seasoned, two-patty burger with cheese.  You can tell that the meat is fresh and it’s not a bad double burger with cheese, it was just average though.  The cheese itself reminded me of Kraft slices on a ham sandwich, and not all that great especially after congealing in the foil, as it didn’t look like cheese that was meant to melt.  The sesame seed bun and veggies were okay but slightly soggy, due to the grease and moisture bath the burger had from the foil wrap.  The bacon was the best thing about the burger.  It was crispy and tasted good, but I know that I would have not enjoyed the burger as much without it.


My wife’s experience was similar to mine, and while she is not usually critical, her first reaction was that, “it tasted like a Whopper.”  Somehow I get what she’s saying here, although the two really can’t be compared since one is flame grilled, but what made more sense was the fact she said, “In N Out is 10 times better than this and half the price.” This I agree with.

Last but not least, it’s hard not to notice the number of signs that reflect the recognition and accolade that 5 Guys has had over the years from various publications. Excluding the bathrooms, which my wife said had them too; there were roughly 70 different reviews and or signs talking up how great it is.  I think that an establishment should be proud of it’s awards and recognition, but this was a bit much and my best analogy in regards to this is, if you have to tell someone how “cool” you are, then you’re not “cool”.

One of the signs said, “Best Burger 2007 ~ The Daily Citizen of Dalton Georgia.”  I’m sure it is, you know why?  Because it’s in Dalton, Georgia!  This isn’t a popularity contest.  Serve a great burger, be humble with a few writings on the wall and let the food speak for itself, otherwise it looks like your hiding behind something.

I’ll give 5 Guys Burgers and Fries 2 out of 5 patties based on price and taste.  I won’t be back simply for the price alone as there are literally 10 burger joints that are better in quality and in price within 10 miles of this location.  The burger itself wasn’t bad, it was average at best, and you as a consumer can definitely do better.  Sorry 5 Guys, at least your still number one in Georgia.


Burger Hunt - Mooyah Burgers and Fries: Euless, TX

Today’s Burger Hunt found me walking across the parking lot again for lunch to another established burger joint here in DFW called Mooyah Burgers and Fries.  The last hunt across the parking lot was to Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburger, which proved to be a good adventure and my hopes were high for this one as well.

Custom built burgers is the schtick at Mooyah along with the “everything” is fresh approach (from the meat and veg to the buns) as well as hand cut Idaho potatoes for fries.  The standard burger comes with 2 1/4 llb. patties and you have your choice of either bacon or cheese, as the only add on price options, with the rest of your choices listed as “free” toppings.  Turkey, veggie and iceburgers (lettuce wraps) are also available.  I kind of expect that their listed ingredients should be free no matter what burger joint your at, and I’m not sure they are at all places, but needless to say you can have your Mooyah any way you like it.

Today I just got a burger. $5.58 for a Mooyah with cheese.

The burgers are made to order, fresh patties go down on a flat top and they are seasoned right on the grill.  If you go with Mooyah style it is lettuce, tomato, pickles, grilled onions and special sauce… Or 1000 Island like everyone else.  I had mayo, lettuce and cheddar on my Mooyah.  Cheddar cheese made this burger.  It was very sharp and sweet tasting that melted beautifully on the patties which were cooked medium.  I like seasoned patties but it may have been a little too much in this case. It didn’t make it terrible but it was slightly salty to taste. Whether or not salt was actually in the seasoning (pretty sure there was) that’s what it tasted like to me.  That seasoning with something other than cheddar may have been better but the two together left a bit of an after taste.  The bun was toasty and hot with sesame seeds, and also looked to be freshly made.

Not much to say other than that, I’d give it 3 out of 5 patties with no special Burger Hunt designation either.  If I was to go again I’d try a different combo of toppings, but since I live in a large market for burger joints, with several other top choices in the area, I can’t say that I wouldn’t pick another place to go.  I really hate to say that, as I don’t want anyone to think that this burger is a stinker, I’ve just had better that’s all.

As a side note, the atmosphere was pleasant, restaurant was clean and the staff was super nice. That certainly added to a better experience.  Try it for yourself of course, and you just might say, “Mooyah.”