Review #24 - Chris Madrid's

Posted by Hamburglar | | Posted On Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 8:35 PM

At 1900 Blanco Road sits a burger joint that has become legendary in San Antonio. The legend, my friends, is Chris Madrid's. I'd wager that if you polled San Antonians and asked which burger joint in town had the best burger, 9 out of 10 would undoubtedly say Chris Madrid's. With great anticipation, we rounded up our largest group of reviewers yet and headed to Chris Madrid's to see if this burger joint really had the best burger in town.

Chris Madrid's sits in a fairly nondescript building right off of Blanco Road. For the Chris Madrid's first timers out there, the entrance may be a little tricky to find (hint - one of the two entrances is through the gate above). If you come at peak lunch time hours, however, the entrance should be easy enough to spot because the line to order will likely be snaking out the door.
As you can tell by the menu above, they keep the choices to a minimum at Chris Madrid's. Diners have their choice of 7 different hamburgers in either a regular or macho size. As if to discourage patrons from choosing anything other than a burger, the menu indicates that a grilled chicken sandwich (the only non-burger entree option) requires a 15 to 20 minute wait. Clearly, Chris Madrid's means burgers. I'd personally be a little scared to order a chicken sandwich at a serious burger joint - it would be like showing up to a biker rally on a Vespa.
At Chris Madrid's you are just a number, but oh what a lucky number. After placing your order at the counter, you are given a number representing your claim to one of Chris Madrid's famous burgers. Grab a table, sit down and watch the digital counters throughout the restaurant (one is shown at the top of the picture above). Your lucky number is about to come up....

The Burger - 9.5 out of 10
Some people insist that the perfect burger must have a big and juicy hamburger patty, others proclaim that only flame-kissed burgers from the grill can be the best and that burgers cooked on the griddle simply play second fiddle. Still others would argue that a griddled burger captures the essence of the classic American hamburger. Our reviewers have these same varying opinions, and that is just one of the many reasons we average our ratings. At the end of the day, however, we here at the San Antonio Burger Blog believe that it is the combination of all of the burger components (bun, toppings, patty, condiments, etc.) blending together that determines whether a burger is great. Would someone purchase a sports car based solely on the engine without considering other factors such as performance, handling, features, styling, etcetera? We think not. When it comes to the whole burger package, Chris Madrid's nails it.

While the hamburger patty was neither the biggest nor the juiciest that we have had, it was perfectly seasoned and perfectly cooked. The lettuce and diced tomatoes were crisp and fresh, and the amount of condiments that had been placed on the burger was simply ideal. The hamburger bun could be described as nothing less than preternatural. The bun appeared to be infused with butter/grease and shined with an aura that literally caused most of our photos to be oversaturated with light from the reflection. Simply put, all the individual components of our Chris Madrid's burgers came together in perfect harmony.There are several different and great burgers to try at Chris Madrid's - the "Chedder Cheezy" is pictured above. Probably the most well known Madrid's specialty burger is their "Tostada Burger," which is a burger topped with, among other things, refried beans and tortilla chips - some claim that it is the undisputed best bean burger around.

Here's what some of our reviewers had to say about their burgers:

Fry Daddy: "Perfectly seasoned burger, massive amounts of cheddar cheese, deliciously greasy bun and the right proportion of fixings - I am almost ready to proclaim this the perfect burger."

Chief Justice Burger: "The bun tasted like a stick of butter lightly dusted with flour. It melted in my mouth while dousing my hands with grease, but it also amazingly had a freshness to it."

Where's the Beef: "I'm reserving my perfect score for when Jesus returns and decides to cook me a burger, but Chris Madrid's is pretty darn close to what I imagine a Jesus burger would taste like."

Sides 6.5 out of 10

In keeping with its no-nonsense menu selection, Chris Madrid's offers only fries as a side. Onion rings and tater-tots are, sadly, nowhere to be found. While the fries we had were quite delicious, the lack of options really drove the score down.
Fry Daddy stated: "I am usually not a fan of Chris Madrid's fries - in the past they have tended to be too greasy and soggy for my taste - so I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted the fries on today's "official" visit. They were freshly cut, not soggy and just of the right crispiness. I'm not quite ready to give them the gold medal, but they were very good."

Ambiance 9 out of 10
Chris Madrid's has quite the festive ambiance and, in our opinion, shines in this category. One reviewer noted that "Chris Madrid's is the quintessential burger joint. Decorations are unpretentious and eclectic and provide a good deal of local flavor. The T-shirts adorning the walls are a nice change from the typical license plate motif, and reading them makes the time pass quickly so that the wait in line never seems too long."

No love for the Lakers in San Antonio (below).Chris Madrid's is an ideal place for large groups. There is plenty of seating inside, and they have a nice outdoor patio that is perfect for a cool summer night.
We had not seen a Ms. Pac-man/Galaga arcade game since our visit to Fuddruckers a couple of months ago, so we were excited to find this little baby tucked away in the restaurant. It is not quite the Ms. Pac-man/Galaga combo that we've seen in several other burger joints (Fuddruckers, Uncle Barneys, Lucky's and Longhorn Cafe), but it sure is close.
Service - Very Good

This is a classic burger joint, so what would you expect for service? I think the Chief Justice sums it up best, "The service is great - they can spit out literally hundreds of burgers an hour." What more could you want?

Price - Very Reasonable

How much would you be willing to pay for the perfect burger? Surprisingly, you can purchase one for about 5 bucks and some change. Apparently, perfection does have its price.

Chris Madrid's takes the top spot on the burger blog for now, but our mission is to find the best burger and burger joint in San Antonio. The best burger may still be out there, and we won't rest until we've searched every burger joint in town for it.

We still have over 50 burger joints in San Antonio left on our list to try, but up to this point Chris Madrid's is El Rey.


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