Sunday, May 24, 2015

Ketchup 9.5 out of 10

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Let me start his blog with this....holy moly, what a freaking huge burger. Now that I got this out, lets review our next Burgergeeks burger challenge. We'd been contacted by the owner to see if he is right that he has the best burger in Jacksonville. Well, lets see if he does. First impression was that we loved the menu, many choices when it comes to the burger and also as I call the 'wow' factor. Burgers that you normally don't see as a combo like a burger with shrimp, whhhattttt?? OK, this will be interesting. So, for myself I thought I'll go for the the big one, the "Andy Altee" which is two 8oz patties, 3 slices of cheese, and 6 slices of bacon. Bring it on. As you can see from the picture, they brought it on. As always, I ordered mine cooked medium and with fries.  I saw that they also had chili and with me spending a lot of time in TEXAS and loving chili (and I happen to make one kick ass chili myself) I had to order that too.  More on that later.  So, first thing I check was if the burger was cooked correctly and it was.  
Right on the money as you can see from the picture when I cut it open.  The size of this thing is amazing, just mind blowing.  Now the next thing I do is taste the meat by itself to see how the seasoning is and man is it good. Yeah, someone took some time with this meat.  It had a great taste to it. Well seasoned and very juicy when I tasted it.  I have to give them so much credit for their bacon as well.  Those were not some little strings of bacon that you get in so many restaurants in town.  Oh no, these were some real thick slices of bacon and perfectly cooked.  Not greasy and very crispy.  I'm getting more and more the feeling those cooks in there know what they were doing.  I'm still amazed how big this burger was.  Let me go on with the cheese and the entire thing.  It all fitted perfectly together.  Even the bun was a great tasting bread and what not to frufru as so many other places try to make.  Was simple and right to the point being a hamburger bun and not to forget, to cover this massive amount of food and keeping it together.  Now for the lettuce I wasn't to impressed about it, but to me that was just minor and didn't effect the score in my mind.  I was after the cow sorte say and man oh man did they put a good part of this cow on there.
Yeah Chic-fil-A you lost with this competition on eating more chicken. I had to add another picture when I cut it open so you all can see what this burger looks like cut open.  I mean look at that thing.  I don't think the picture does it even justice. Let me also add this, I'm not a tiny guy and I love food and I know how to eat, but I could not finish this monster.  I pretty much took another meal with me home which I loved.  Let me say this that you better bring some hunger when you order that one from the menu.  I was very pleased with this hamburger and after the last two burger attempts we reviewed I'm glad we went to taste this one.  
Now on a side note let me give a quick review on the fries and chili.  I can't stand it when you get rubbery fries drenched in greasy like we have been served in a few restaurants.  Again, what a great job on the fries, well cooked, no rubbery feel, not greasy and very crispy.  Now the chili, my hats off, finally some restaurant in Jax that knows how to make chili.  You can get it with beans or without, of course I had to get it without.  It was fantastic.  Whoever came up with that recipe knows how to make chili and how to cook it.  So again my hat is off.  
So in my humble opinion, this burger from Ketchup gets a 10 out of 10 from me.  Would I drive to Mayport to get this burger? I would have to say not only yes, but Hell Yes!  Well worth it.  Also great atmosphere and the staff was friendly and very attentive.  Not to forget you can bring your dog to sit outside and they feed them too, which I got a kick out off and love that.
After we completed our review and paid our bill, we notified the owner and Chef Ace French that we were there. I was very impressed how concerned he was what we felt about the burger. It really came through that he is really proud of the food he serves there and told us how he gets up at 6 in the morning just to get the meat ready and mixed.  Now this shows me how restaurants should care what they give to their customers.  For sure he does.  In this place they just don't mass produce their food and care what they give you.  That was my impression.  So happy to see that after some other reviews we had and just being treated like the next number.  I can't wait to go back and taste some of the other burgers or even other items on their menu.  If they are as good as this, then man oh man I have to drive to Mayport often.  I highly recommend this restaurant if you want a burger that is out of the norm in our town.  Now the question is, who can out do them.  We have some more restaurants to review in the coming months......the challenge continues........
The BurgerMeister

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Do you like really good burgers? Then I think we found a place for you. Our latest burger review brought us to Ketchup, located at 2434 Mayport Road. This was a lunchtime visit and I brought my appetite (I was starving). The first thing I noticed was that the burger menu was impressive. I had to step back and ponder which burger I wanted to try. There were more creative combinations here than any other place we've visited so far: 14 different 8 oz. burgers and one 16 oz. behemoth called the Andy Altee. Styles ranged from the Classic burger with lettuce, tomato and onion, to the Harley burger topped with pulled pork and melted Jack cheese, to the Wooten burger with fried oysters, wasabi cream sauce and pepper jack cheese. And if you prefer, each combination can be ordered on chicken instead of beef. I settled on the Avery, which is a half pound burger topped with fried onion straws, sautéed Vidalia onions and melted smoked Gouda. I ordered fries as my included side, and added a bowl of their homemade chili with beans. When my burger arrived, my jaw dropped. This thing was HUGE. The burger was cooked to medium as ordered. The burger patty was flavorful and juicy with a hint of the applewood smoked bacon. The bun was fresh and the onion toppings were in ample supply. I love onions but I did remove some of the topping to suite my taste and to not drown out the flavor of the rest of the ingredients. I truly enjoyed this burger. The fries were perfectly cooked and served hot. The chili was very good as well. I ordered mine with beans, while my counterpart prefers his without. Ketchup makes a batch of each so take your pick. The chili comes topped with shredded cheddar cheese and sliced onions (I think diced would be better so they mix in easier). Between the huge burger, mound of French fries, and the chili I couldn't finish everything, so I took my chili home to enjoy the next day. I don't think anyone goes home hungry after eating at Ketchup.

I rated my Avery burger as follows: 3 points for the fresh-ground black angus and bacon patty, 2 points for the bun, 3 points for the generous toppings, plus a well-deserved "wow factor" point for such a massive, tasty burger. My overall individual rating: 9. I will definately go back to try some of the other creative burger combinations. I also want to try the housemade hotdogs and deserts. Ketchup is the real deal.

The Burgernator

Ketchup on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 13, 2015

BurgerFi 3.5 out of 10

Our latest burger review brings us to BurgerFi at the St. John's Town Center. According to their website these are gourmet burgers. The pictures looked impressive. Needless to say our expectations were high. Afterwards, my thoughts are..Fee Fi, Ho Hum.

I ordered the BurgerFi cheeseburger, a double natural Angus patty double american cheese with lettuce, tomato and BurgerFi sauce. On the side I got the double fry; half French fries, half onion rings. I thought the onion rings were good but the fries were soggy. As you can see in the picture the fries and onion rings dwarfed my burger. I was expecting something that looked like the photos. Flavor of the patty was OK, kind of plain. The bun had the BurgerFi logo branded into it (nice touch) but more effort should have been out into using a better bun, this one was ordinary. Overall the burger was not "bad", just mediocre. I didn't even detect the BurgerFi sauce. Size wise I would say it was between a Five Guys double cheeseburger and a Steak & Shake double cheese burger. If I had ordered a burger with a single patty I would have been left hungry. I feel I'm being generous giving this one 5 stars.
The Burgernator
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Here we are at the new place in town.  
Well I wish I would have not found it.  You can imagine where this is going.  I was not impressed at all with the burger. First the size of the burger was pretty small compared to the title of it.  I ordered the Supreme burger and doubled it.  As my partner in crime mentioned, we had high hopes for this, but personally I was very disappointed.  All over the restaurant and on the main menu screen you see those great pictures of those huge burgers.  Well, as you can see from the Burgernator picture and mine, this was far from what we saw on the pictures. 
The first impression I had was that the burger wasn't really hot, kinda warm but far from hot and I picked it up the sec I was called to do so.
For this to be a Supreme Burger and me putting a double everything on it, it was pretty small.  Now we were not asked how they should be cooked, so I thought, sure, they are trying to cook them all the way.  For sure they did.  They weren't burned, but for sure all the way cooked through.  I added a picture so you can see what I'm talking about.  Sorry to say I was not impressed about the taste at all. For them going on about being all Angus and stuff and this will change your view on Burgers, well it did.  I thought that the taste was below average.  Nothing special about it.  The cheese was alright, the bacon was alright, the bun was alright but I personally thought for a fresh made bun it looked like someone pushed it.  Hmm really, why?  They claim everything is freshly made and never frozen.  
Well sorry, if I take some frozen Angus patties and throw them in the pan, I will have this and probably better because my burgers rock or I wouldn't be so picky on my reviews.  I'm a bit more harsh then my partner but in my humble opinion this burger was nothing special and now to add to this experience were the onion rings and fries.  Man oh man, talk about adding to the entire picture.  To me the onions rings looked good, but that was about it.  I thought they were way to greasy and the fries.  Well the pictures showed some of them  I thought they were way to soggy and they felt like rubber and some were way overcooked almost to a burn as you can see looking at the really brown one. Really?  How difficult is it to make fries that are good and properly cooked.  I love my fries well cooked and crispy, man were they far from it. As with all my reviews they are my opinion on the food and might be different from everybody's experience, but I try to say how I see it.  To me the burger was ok but the fries and onion rings were way shyte in my views.  So on we go to more burger reviews to come. My rating is a 2 out of 10.
The BurgerMeister
BurgerFi on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Johnny Angel's 6.5 out of 10

For our next review it brought us to Johnny Angel's.  We received a few suggestions from people to check this place and their burger.  Before we go into the burger just let me tell you that this is a place to see.  I felt like going back into a time warp into the 'Back to the Future' and showing up into the 50's.  I love that.  The entire atmosphere in there was very entertaining.  But enough of the hype going into the real reason why we were there.  They have a nice selection of burgers, from your James Dean to your Atomic burger.  I picked the Heavy Chevy which comes with chili which is also a challenge by itself for restaurants to make enjoyable to eat.  Anyway, here is what was served as the Heavy Chevy as the presentation.  Before I get into the specifics let me just mention that we also ordered the onion rings which I'm a huge fan off, if they are done correctly. Believe me, there are many restaurants that can't make onion rings or even french fries correctly and in other words are shyte.  I have to say, they probably made the best onion rings I have had so far.
They were awesome, huge, perfectly cooked, tasty, so worth getting.  But enough of that, lets look at the burger.  The burger was perfectly cooked how I ordered it.  The chili on top was by the best alright. I spent many years in Texas and got spoiled for having awesome chili.  So in this case,  wish it would have been better. Actually I have to say that the burger was good, but not where I would go, out of the ordinary.  I felt that it lacked a lot of seasonings in the meat.  Even the chili was kinda of blahhh.  Was OK, not bad, but was missing something, if you know what I mean.  Same for the burger, it was OK.  Now, if you take this burger with the combination of the atmosphere, the fries and the onion rings.  Sure, I would order it again.  Great place to hang out and enjoy the surroundings.  But because we are doing a burger review here.  Would I come here just for this burger, sadly I would have to say no.  I know my partner in crime has a bit of a different view on his burger that he received and his review is coming next.
BurgerMeister

Johnny Angel's Diner on Urbanspoon *****************************************************************************

Monday, August 18, 2014

Poe's Tavern review 8 out of 10

Today it took us to Poe's Tavern in the. Jacksonville beach area.  Thank you Nicole for giving us the recommendation.  When we ordered the hamburger of course the first question was how do you want it cooked. Of course right away I thought to myself I wonder if they actually going to cook it this way.  I ordered mine medium rare.  Here goes there first plus point because, guess what,  I got my hamburger medium rare.  As you can see from the picture the burger looked already awesome. It was a good sized hamburger everything looked delicious . Let's see if looks can be deceiving. I took a cut through the hamburgers to see if it was cooked just as I ordered it and it looked perfect .
Now I took my first bite . The juices were flowing from the meat and it tasted oh so good . While I am continuing to eat the hamburger I'm starting to taste some spices, the lettuce, the pickles and the chili that I ordered to be on top of it and not to forget the cheese  to finish it all off.  After I took a few more bites I started to compare in my mind the burger to other reviews that we've done.  The hamburger tasted great but it didn't taste as good as it looked.  To me the  lettuce and pickles just had an ordinary taste nothing special like the place we reviewed before where you thought everything was just picked out of a garden just for your burger.  Don't get me wrong this was a very good burger and that is why I gave it a score of 8.  What was missing here was the extra touch the wow factor.  Would I come here just for a hamburger, I think I would just for the atmosphere and how great Poe's looks, it is an experience.  The waiter staff was attentive and we didn't have to wait long to get the service. Because I'm looking also at the rest of the meal like the french fries and the onion rings, I do have to mention that I was not impressed with those items . They were very greasy and did not compliment the burger . In my opinion this is one of the good hamburgers in Jacksonville but is it the best?  No it's not, so the hunt continues..........
BurgerMeister
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Poe's Tavern on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 27, 2014

MShack at 10281 Midtown Parkway, Towncenter 1 out of 10

Our next review brought us to Mshack in the Town center . The first impression I had was, a lot of people here . Those burgers must be awesome.
Lets get right to it . After a long wait the burger arrived.  Let me give you my opinion about this burger.
When the burger arrived I was thinking hmmm not so sure if I Like the presentation of this.  But as we know looks can be wrong.  So we attacked the challenge.  Right from the going, the burger was not cooked how I wanted it.  It wasn't medium at all.  So the first little ding, but well maybe the taste was good.  Nope, not at all.  It tasted burned.  Everything just tasted like, how should I put this.  Fast food on its worst day.  The bacon was kinda bacon, but really had no taste to it.  The letters looked and tasted like someone cut them the day before and they were just laying around so they threw it on the burger.  The meat was tough, no seasoning in it from what I could taste.  So, I was not impressed at all.  I kept on looking around and thinking, what the heck are all those people doing here.  Well yes, they are shopping and anything to eat would do I guess.  Maybe we expect more because we review burgers and we already had great burgers so the expectation is high.  I don't know, but to me, this was a poor example of a burger.  Now because we look at the entire thing at a restaurant I do have to mention the onion rings.  They were huge.  They looked great.  Ok, lets stop right there.  Perfect example how it is not all about looks.  The sec I picked them up, the grease was just dripping down.  I never had onion rings that looked so good and tasted so bad.  When you touched them, the grease was just dripping of them.  It was so bad, we all didn't even eat them.  So the entire experience of this place was not very good, I'm sorry to say.  Let me mention again, this review is my opinion and if we ever go back and have a better experience, I will edit this review.  For now though, I don't think I will try this Mshack again.  For sure, not worth the drive there.  BurgerMeister
Mshack on Urbanspoon

Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails 10 out of 10

Our hunt for the best burger in Jacksonville is bringing us to the Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails.  Thanks to Greg for this recommendation, not only for that, but he also joined us to review this burger.  Enough of the intro, lets get right into the guts of things.  As you can see from the title, we were impressed with this burger. We actually got a little frustrated with the burger tasting we done lately.  Nothing really that exciting.  There were some we did, we didn't even post because it wasn't worth it.  It would have been a one liner saying, yup, burger is ok.  Nothing special.  Well, our frustration was answered with this burger.  I can only say wow.  As you can see from the pictures it was something to see.  Our first impression was that we all got our burger exactly cooked how we wanted them.  I ordered a medium rare and man it was perfectly cooked that way.  Another burgergeek ordered it medium well and bingo it was that way.  We all said that this is the first time we actually all got exactly what we wanted.  So first impressions were good so far.  But we have learned, it is not about looks.  So into the battle we went, the taste test.
Right away it tasted like everything was freshly made or picked. What I mean by that is the onions, the lettuce, the pickles, just everything tasted so fresh like it just came from a garden.  The onions tasted like they were just cut for this burger.  I hope you all know what I mean.  Sometimes you can taste if ingredients were laying around for a while or were cut the day before.  Not this time.  The burger was just so juicy and the taste itself was just awesome.  Per their description they put bacon into the meat.  Oh yes, you can taste it.  The spices were done perfectly.  Now to my wow factor.  It was the egg.  Not just the egg, because if you read some other reviews you know I love egg on my burger.  We'll talk about prices here in a few but they were saying that their eggs are open range farm grown and it cost me an extra 2 bucks to put that on there. Was it worth it.  Short answer, yes.  Long answer, oh my lord what a difference.  Just looking at the egg, it was so....how should I put it....eggie.  lol.  Just perfectly looking, it looked great, strong white, strong colors in the egg jog.  Let me include a picture here so you can see what I mean.
Do zoom into the picture to see how good it looked.  So did it taste good, oh yes, what a egg taste, it fitted perfectly with the burger and it was perfectly cooked.  There was nothing running other then what should be running once cut.  I do have to mention the fries, I know we are reviewing the burgers but we do look at the total package.   The fries were awesome.  I couldn't stop eating them.  Perfectly cooked, no greasy mess, perfectly season on them.  It was just perfect.
We are always the opinion that when it comes to the burger, a lot depends on the cooks.  I tell you one thing, this place has a chef who knows how to make good food.  Wow, we all were very impressed.  Now a little bit to the part we didn't like.  The price, now of course this is the kind of place that I call fru fru.  Some new yappie place sorte say.  So the burger was 14 dollars and you had to pay extra for the bacon and for the egg,so this burger ended up around 16 dollars or so.  So the question is, was it worth it.  Well, not only yes, but hell yes.  I have no problem paying extra if it is worth it and in this case.  Oh yes, big time.  I do also want to mention that the service was outstanding, very attentive wait staff, even the manager come by to check on our water.  We tasted some other items on the menu and deserts. Yes very fru fru, but worth the try.  I mention pig ears, lol.  An experience for sure.  The desert, chocolate covered peanut thingy, oh yes, out of this world.
So without writing a book here, is it worth going there for the burger.  OH yes.  I would take the drive and I would pay the extra money to have this experience.
My hope is back to taste awesome burgers in Jacksonville, but we will keep on searching because thanks to all you guys sending us emails with recommendation, we will keep this going until we find the best ever burger in Jacksonville.  Well this one is on top for sure. BurgerMeister

The latest stop in our quest brings us to the Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails. Moxie is located at the St. Johns Town Center, and is a very nice, upscale establishment. One look at the menu and you'll notice that they serve many chef-inspired dishes and that it's not the least expensive place to dine, but it is not your typical fare. They feature one burger, appropriately named the Moxie Burger. Someone with some culinary know-how put some thought into this and kicked this burger up a few notches. For starters, the burger is a 1/2 lb. beef-pork-bacon blend. Mmmm, bacon. It is served on a brioche bun with your choice of add-ons, a generous portion of crispy fries and a side of Ms. Mary's pickles. I ordered my burger cooked medium, topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion. For the first time ever, all the burgers we ordered arrived cooked as requested. Kudos to the kitchen! In our experience, it has been more a rare occasion (no pun intended) to receive a burger that was cooked as requested. The first thing I do with my burger is to taste a piece of the patty before anything else is added to judge the flavor. This burger was outstanding! Really juicy with tons of flavor and just the right amount of bacon smokiness. Mmmm, bacon. The toppings were cool and crispy, and the brioche bun was fresh. Since the burger tasted  so good, I decided to eat the burger without adding any condiments (a first). I have got to say, this was probably one of, if not THE best tasting burger I have had in all our burger reviews. Delicious to the very last bite, and the fries were also a golden, crispy delight. I honestly couldn't eat them all. Using my rating scale, I give the brioche bun a 3 out of 3, the toppings a 3 out of 3, and the burger gets a 3 out of 3 plus 1 point extra for the wow factor. Absolutely delicious, and well deserving of my highest rating - a perfect 10. Thank you Moxie for a great burger. I am already planning on another trip to have another. To any of you burger lovers out there, I highly recommend the Moxie burger.

Burgernator


***************update*************
We went back in March'2015 to see if they are still making the 10 out of 10 burger we reviewed the first time.  We were happily surprised to experience the same as we did the first time.  The burger was just like the first time, great burger, tasty, perfectly done.  So a well deserved 10 in our eyes.
Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 11, 2013

We are back! Bonefish restaurant 8.5 out of 10

We're back. After a break the BurgerGeeks are back in business. Our first challenge after our break is the Bonefish Grill. They offer an American Kobe Burger. As you can see below, this was a picture perfect burger. Just looking at it made my mouth water.
As we all know, even though a burger looks good, that doesn't make it delicious. Time for the taste test. First inspection of my burger and I wished it was more medium like I had ordered it, rather than well done. Fortunately it still looked very juicy. Now to the first bite. Yup it was very good. The meat was very juicy, all the ingredients tasted fresh and well-balanced on the burger. So the bottom line is, would I come back here just for the burger? Yes, I think I would, not to mention their service was also excellent and their Bang Bang shrimp appetizer is to die for. So my rating is a 7 out of 10, as I felt it like many burgers it was still missing the wow factor, that one thing that makes a burger stand out above all others.
BurgerMeister
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After several months on hiatus, we are back on the hunt for great burgers. Our latest stop is Bonefish Grill on San Jose Blvd. What, you say? We'll, we've been hearing that the burger is really good, so we're here to see if the rumors are true. Besides, they have Bang Bang shrimp for appetizer. I ordered the "American Style" Kobe beef burger, with cheese, cooked medium.
My burger arrived fresh and hot and nicely presented with fries (it's usually served with housemade chips, but I'm about traditional, and this is the American Style burger after all). I tried a piece of the burger and it was cooked perfectly, still juicy and had a nice charbroiled flavor. The brioche bun was toasted, the tomato, lettuce and onion were fresh and cool, not warm and wilted. I really enjoyed the combination of flavors, and liked the burger very much. Using my 10 point rating system, I give the burger 3 out of 3, the bun 2 out of 3, and the toppings 3 out of 3, no extra point for the "Wow" factor. The total score is an 8. A solid score for a well executed tasty burger. Nice job Bonefish Grill!
Burgernator.
Bonefish Grill on Urbanspoon