Review #30 - Gourmet Burger Grill

Posted by Where's the Beef? | | Posted On Sunday, July 26, 2009 at 5:00 PM

The popularity of the Burger Blog is at an all time high. We've surpassed 12,000 web hits and have been featured in a KENS 5 blog and on the radio (99.5 Lisle and Hahn show). We're not letting the success go to our heads (yet), and we thank everyone who has been following the blog. With that, we bring you our 30th review - Gourmet Burger Grill (we'll call it GBG for short).

GBG is located in the relatively new Legacy retail extravaganza situated on the Northeast corner of the 281-1604 interchange. They have an informative website (, which only added to our anticipation. GBG brings a novel and innovative approach to burger making - presenting options such as the Bison Burger, Ahi Tuna Burger and Lamb Burger. Our bloggers, however, were only interested in the burgers made with good 'ol, mad cow-free beef.

We were greeted at the counter by a helpful and informative individual, whom we assumed is the owner of the place. For those Northwest-siders out there, I was told that GBG is opening a second location in the City View Village retail center near I-10 and Huebner. This location will be in the old Fatburger space and is slated to open September 15th. It seems that GBG is doing well in the "high end" burger niche, and is pursuing an aggressive expansion strategy. I welcome the second location, as it is a lot closer to my house than the Legacy location, and thus appeals to my inherent laziness.

GBG's menu is prominently displayed behind the counter. One quickly notices that this isn't your grandfather's burger joint. GBG offers many non-traditional toppings for their burgers, such as horseradish cream, basil pesto aioli and lemon remoulade. A creative list of beef and non-beef burgers are also offered.

One burger in particular caught my eye - the Caprese burger. This is the burger that I have been waiting for since I was a youngster and better known as "Where's the Veal?" I had high hopes going in, as I usually have to check my Italian heritage at the door of most burger places.

The Burger - 8.5

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Caprese Burger. I'll admit my bias to all things Italian (except for Mussolini), but this might just be the greatest innovation to a burger since someone accidentally dropped a slice of cheese on a burger patty and invented the cheeseburger. The Caprese burger is somewhat self explanatory, as long as you know what a Caprese salad is. The ingredients of the salad are basic (mozzarella, tomato, basil, oil and balsamic vinegar) but come together in harmoneous fashion. GBG has taken this Italian gift to the world and placed it atop their high quality burger patty (1/2 pound, fire grilled, certified angus beef). Flanking this ingenious pairing is GBG's baked-daily sourdough bun.

In case you can't already tell, I was blown away by this burger. The burger was seasoned and grilled to perfection, the bun was incredibly fresh and tasty and the caprese topper added a whole other dimension of deliciousness. One might call it a burger renaissance, the David of hamburgers.

Our bloggers sampled an array of GBG's burgers, and here's what they had to say:

Burgermeister Meisterburger: "I shared half of my Bacon Cheeseburger with Prefers His Tots Tatered. Taken alone, the burger was decent but not fantastic. What set GBG apart was its variety of options for how the burger was done."

Likes His Tots Tatered: "Went ahead and split the Bacon Burger and the Caprese Burger with Burgermeister Meisterburger (that commie SOB is always wanting to share). Anyways, I am glad I did because the Caprese Burger was excellent. As you can imagine, the burger consisted of the patty, then a thick slice of mozzarella and tomato, with basil and vinaigrette on top. The Bacon Burger was good too, but not on the same level as the Caprese Burger."

Fry Daddy: "I ordered the tropical burger, which came with mango avocado salsa and pepper jack cheese, in addition to the standard toppings of lettuce, tomato and onion. I added some grilled pineapple for $1.50 extra, which turned out to be a good move. The patty was well seasoned and cooked medium well as I ordered it, although I think in retrospect medium would have been a better approach. I think the sourdough bun, not so popular with others in the group, was a nice complement to the meat and didn't overpower its flavor."

Some of our bloggers however, had lukewarm feelings:

#1 with Cheese: "The bun was fantastic, but I would have preferred American Cheese as an option. Also if you purport to cook a burger to a desired 'doneness' then you should achieve said doneness. I ordered Medium and received Medium Well to Well Done."

Justice Warren E. Burger: "I ordered the Kobe Beef burger, and the burger patty was delicious. But the bun came close to ruining the burger for me. The sourdough roll was too big and not enough flavor. They need to flatten it, and add 3 pounds of butter before I'd order another one."

Despite some gripes, the overall score for GBG's burger pushed it into our top 5 for now (well-deserved, in my opinion).

Sides - 8

GBG's side offerings were equally creative, the keystone of which is their Battered Mac & Cheese Wedges:

You have to taste these delectible bites of fried mac & cheese to fully understand their goodness. Other quality choices include sweet potato fries and beer battered onion rings:

And crinkle cut french fries:

All of the sides were top notch. Here's what our pundits had to say:

Hamburgler: "The rings, regular fries and sweet potato fries were great, but the Battered Mac and Cheese Wedges stole the show. I was initially disappointed that GBG didn't serve tots, but after having the Mac and Cheese Wedges I realized they were way better than tots, they were like tater-tots on crack - phenomenal."

Burger Boy: "The fries were good, but the fried macaroni was insanely good."

Prefers His Tots Tatered: "If only I had known there was such a thing as fried mac and cheese...those little fried morsels of cheesy goodness were unbelievable. In fact, I am thinking of changing my legal name to Prefers His Mac and Cheese Fried. The other sides were pretty good too (including the sweet potato fries), but I didn't get the impression that the fries or onion rings were handmade."

Ambiance - 6

The fact that GBG was clean and modern was a negative selling point for some of our contributors. These burger joint traditionalists felt that the strip mall location and germ free environment is only contributing to the soul crushing nature of modern suburban living. Others felt that GBG was befitting its upscale burger joint concept. One thing that we could all agree on, however, were the uncomfortableness of the "European" chairs:

The picture doesn't really show just how small this chair was. I'll admit that I'm never the smallest guy in the room, but anyone over the age of 5 would have been uncomfortable in this chair. The back was also slanted forward, forcing you to lean over the table and your food. While we would have been hovering over these delicious burgers anyway, it would be nice to to have the option to lean back and let some of that 1/2 pound of angus settle in your belly.

One last word on ambiance. A few of our contributors wanted me to point out the high percentage of hot moms trolling the GBG scene. One of our contributors, who will remain nameless so he doesn't have to sleep in the dog house, commented "Must have been free burger day for hot moms. The place was crawling with Stone Oak beauties." If you're in the market for married 40 year olds with kids in tow, then GBG is the place for you.

Price: GBG provides a gourmet burger but definitely had a gourmet price. As Burgermeister Meisterburger so eloquently put it, "I think I had the cheapest bill of the group at $13.46. That price did not even include refills on my tap water! I don't know how my communist bloggers can handle it. At least I can oppress the poor of my home country to pay for this extravagance."

Others, including me, believe that you get what you pay for. Regardless, don't go to GBG if you expect a cheap meal.

Overall, GBG impressed us with their high quality ingredients and innovative menu offerings. This place is definitely worth checking out, even though it may not fit the typical "burger joint" mold. We're happy to welcome a new member to our elite top 5.


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