Review # 39 - MoMak's Backyard Malts & Burgers

Posted by Burger Boy | | Posted On Saturday, October 31, 2009 at 7:42 PM

It seems entirely appropriate that I write this review of MoMak’s as I sit on my front porch handing out candy to the hoards of kids who come by this Halloween night. Halloween is all about the kids, and so is MoMak’s… As you read the portions of this review relating to Burgers and Sides you may get the impression that we didn’t much care for MoMak’s. Nothing could be further from the truth (at least for those of us with children). Any deficiencies in MoMak’s prandial offerings were more than overcome by the totally kid/parent friendly atmosphere.

Burgers - 6 out of 10

We were initially quite excited to be heading to MoMak’s because the restaurant was rated the nineteenth best burger in all of Texas. Naturally, this created some fairly high expectations for the burger. After all, we’ve been to some pretty amazing burger places just in San Antonio, so it seems like the nineteenth best burger in Texas ought to be pretty phenomenal.

Our expectations exceeded the reality of a MoMak’s burger. The burgers were good, but not great. Certainly not the nineteenth best in Texas (or else Texas burgers have seriously declined in quality).

Everything about the burger seemed quite average. This was definitely a consensus opinion.

Fry Daddy - After all the anticipation created by Texas Monthly ranking the MoMak Classic Burger #19 in the whole state of Texas, the burger was spectacularly unspectacular. The meat was underseasoned and overcooked (not medium, as advertised), and MoMak’s was pretty chintzy on the fixings (only one small tomato slice, two pickle slices and a bit of lettuce adorned my 7 oz. burger). To be fair, the burger was not terrible, but I think I could have made a better burger in my own backyard.

Where’s the Beef - Don’t believe the hype. I don’t know who they paid at Texas Monthly, but their rating did not match the burger. The meat was ok but it was not well seasoned. The bun wasn’t as toasty and delicious as MoMak’s better competitors in town.

Burgermeister Meisterburger - I read the Texas Monthly article and tried to duplicate their #19 burger. Much to my disappointment, it just doesn’t live up to the hype. It was a fine burger, but in my opinion it was a bit bland and had no real outstanding feature. Frau Meisterburger had the Tres Caliente, which is MoMak’s spicy burger option (she has, after all, a spicy personality, even for a Hessian – I sometimes call her my little “Britney Picklespears”). She thought it was tasty and would have rated it much higher, but I, being Burgermeister (i.e. totalitarian, fascist, and all other appropriate qualities for a despot rolled into one, big, cranky package) told her that her opinion is unimpressive, unofficial and uninformed and will not be allowed to despoil our hallowed halls of burgerblogdom!

Sides - 6 out of 10

The MoMak’s sides were fine, but like the burger, not phenomenal.

I, for one, usually enjoy eating my food out of buckets, but somehow even the excellent presentation didn’t overcome the overall mediocrity of the sides.

They also had something they referred to as a “salad.” I’m pretty sure MoMak’s loses points for offering up what should be merely a garnish to a burger as if it were an entrée in and of itself. I know some of the women in our group ordered these “salads” instead of burgers, but I can’t bring myself to rate a “salad” as anything other than a side. After all, the primary ingredient of a “salad” appeared to be, to my unstudied eye, lettuce. And as we all know, lettuce is merely a garnish to be placed on top of a patty of meat just between the meat and a bun. If I ever ordered a “salad” I’m pretty sure I’d order it garnished with a side of prime rib. In any event, if you’re into such things, here’s a picture. Meh.

Returning to the true sides, I’d usually go off on a rant about how I like my fries golden and crispy, but the Halloween festivities all around me must be mellowing me out. Instead, I’ll let Meisterburger go on his usual crotchety rant.

Burgermeister Meisterburger - Fries and rings were just ordinary, but they have many different options which cannot be ignored. The milkshakes are awesome. Also, the bottlecaps (fried jalapeno slices) and fried okra should not be missed.

Oh wait… he really liked the sides, so I’ll temper his enthusiasm with some other opinions.

Fry Daddy - The fries were overdone. However, the onion rings were thick, crunchy and pretty tasty, and my strawberry shake was dee-licious.

Where’s the Beef - Fries and onion rings were pretty good, not great. My milkshake was disappointingly watery.

Ambiance - 9 out of 10

Before you get the wrong impression of MoMak’s from the foregoing comments, know that I’ve saved the best for last. It is in ambiance that MoMak’s really shines--if you have kids. If you don’t have kids, I imagine that MoMak’s might be a bit of a downer. Gentle reader, you may be the kind of person who hates when kids run around and have a good time while you are eating. If such is your temperament, then by all means, go eat at some fancy restaurant that serves portions so small that if you fart, you’re hungry again. But if you’re a real American and want your kids to have a good time while you enjoy an adult beverage on a patio with your friends, then MoMak’s is definitely for you.

MoMak’s has an excellent porch.

From which the responsible parent can enjoy an adult beverage whilst keeping an ever-watchful eye on his/her progeny.

As they play soccer…

Or climb on the Rainbow playscape…

All while safely ensconced inside the fully enclosed play area.

MoMak’s even had the staple of every little kid’s diet…

Burgermeister Meisterburger - You cannot overstate the great atmosphere of this place. It doesn’t fit a typical burger joint mold, but it is a place you can come and hang out for hours. The monstrous playfield is awesome for active kids. The playscape absolutely decimates that pathetic splinter slide at Longhorn Café. The multi-level deck has ample, shaded seating where you can watch the Meisterburger children terrorizing the other children (including the Fry Babies and the Burger Boy’s Boys). Inside they have multiple wide screen TVs and several seating areas appropriate for private parties. I believe that they even have bands play sometimes, though this all occurs after my bedtime.

Fry Daddy - When it comes to ambience, MoMak’s is a family burger paradise. The big playset and enormous sports field kept the kids occupied all evening. The covered patio dining area was fantastic and afforded a great view of the fenced-off kids area, although it seemed even parents dining inside could keep an eye on their kids through the enormous windows facing the playground and field. All in all, quite perfect for mom and dad burger lovers and their kids. If only the burgers had been better . . .

In short, if you’re looking for a restaurant where both you AND the kids can have a good time with friends, then MoMak’s is for you. I know that my boys took off at full speed when they saw the play area. And I had the peace of mind knowing that they were safely fenced into the play area.


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