Bunsen Burgers is a relatively new burger joint (opened a mere 8 months ago) located near the Rackspace "castle" on I-35. I was eagerly anticipating our trip to Bunsen, as they have, by far, the best website (www.bunsenburgers.com) of any burger place we've been to so far. My giddiness, however, quickly transformed into shattered dreams...
The first thing everyone noticed was how hard it was to find this darn place. It is situated in a fairly run down strip center. In case you get lost, like we did, just look for Sally Beauty Supply and "Gengls Kahn Chinese Mongolian" Grill:
Perhaps Gengls Kahn was Genghis' lesser known brother or cousin. If you couldn't tell from the name and the website, Bunsen has a signature "retro-atomic" vibe going for itself. Have to give Bunsen points for the creative theme, and it definitely sets them apart from the tried and worn road sign decor of most San Antonio Burger Joints. Unfortunately for Bunsen, the idea is there, but the execution seems to be lacking.
Bunsen's interior is fairly sparse, save for the tricked out ordering counter. Bunsen, in line with its retro image, had three turntables behind the counter spinning the old vinyl. Vintage is in, and I always liked the sound of vinyl compared to CDs and MP3s - so points to Bunsen for this little perk. The menu was prominently displayed above the counter, as well as on smaller tablets on the counter (a nice touch for our more senior bloggers, like Burgermeister Meisterburger, who can't see that well anymore). Bunsen was very creative with its burger names, all of which conjure up images of the good ol' "duck and cover" days.
Still trying to figure out what the heck this is supposed to be...
The Burger - 3 out of 10
On to what matters most- the burgers. As you can see from the menu, Bunsen offers an array of non-traditional burger options. One of our bloggers tried Bunsen's version of the increasingly popular burger "shots" (or, as the White Castle fans among us call them, "sliders"). BurgerGal, who rolled the dice on the pint size burgers, commented, "I ordered the mini burgers and they were cute, but blah." I'm sure "cute" is what Bunsen was going for.
Unfortunately, Bunsen's full-size burgers did not equate to full-size taste. First, everyone was universally disappointed with the portion size. The burger was also served in some sort of taste-lacking ciabatta bun, complete with (burnt?) sesame seeds. Things only got worse from there, where the burger itself seemed to be grossly overcooked. I personally found my burger to have the texture and taste of a hockey puck.
The above is a picture of the Bikini Atoll Burger - served with a grilled pineapple, bacon and Swiss Cheese, with some teriyaki flavor thrown in. Again, creative and different idea, but much like the rest of the offerings, lacking in execution. Overall, our bloggers gave the Bunsen burger an average score of 3 out of 10.
Sides - 5 out of 10
The sides were almost as disappointing as the burger. The onion rings were actually quite tasty, and, along with the milkshakes, were one of the few bright spots. The fries (both regular and sweet potato) were tempura-battered. Great idea, in theory, but both variants were severely lacking in flavor. We gave the sides a combined score of 5 out of 10.
Ambience - 6 out of 10
The decor was definitely...different, and while we enjoyed the 1950's retro theme, we could not escape the fact that we were eating in a run down strip mall. Burger Boy put it best when he commented, "The place felt sterile and antiseptic." We gave Bunsen's ambiance a score of 6 out of 10.
Bunsen clearly has the brains to succeed, but, like most pocket-protector wielding, pimple-faced adolescents, simply lacks the brawn needed to stand up to the big burger-boys in town.