Sunday, September 4, 2011
Duke's Bar and Grill
The first thing that you notice when you walk into Duke's is that it looks like a cross between a hunting lodge and a lounge. The floors, wall, are all plank wood. The furniture is all wood as well although the booths are covered in white leather. The walls are decorated with plexiglass trophy head sculptures (one moose and two deer) that look like they would be assembled by the buyer. They look kind of tacky but I think that was the point, there was also a plastic palm tree sitting in the corner of a lounge area in the back. I think the idea was to go for a slightly tacky basement lounge feel on a main floor. They have a nice beer list as well as some choice top shelf liquors including the entire run of Johnny Walker's (Johnny Walker Blue $37/shot). While it has a good bar, what Duke's is known for is their burgers. They list 30 burgers on their menu to be built with one of a choice of 9 different patties. The meats include angus, American Kobe, bison, chicken breast, ostrich, turkey, wahoo, veggie, or portabella. Some of the meats sound pretty interesting but I decided that if I wanted to try to compare burgers between places, I would have to look at similar meats so I went with the angus. Most of the burgers are variations on your basic bar burger but there are three exceptions: the truffle burger which had the patty of choice, lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, Parmesan cheese, and black truffle paste, served on a pretzel roll, the surf and turf which is a 1/2 pound angus burger topped with 6 oz. of diced lobster tail on a pretzel roll and served with a side of garlic butter, and The Duke which is a $100 burger that starts with 1 pound of kobe beef, and adds black truffle paste, 6 oz. of diced lobster tail, and edible gold leaf on a pretzel roll. I did ask the waitress how often The Duke is ordered and she told me that someone orders it about once a month. I didn't go so extravagant. I just stuck with the Breakfast Burger which is exactly what it sounds like; breakfast on a burger. It starts with the burger of choice (I went with the angus) and adds lettuce, tomato, applewood smoked bacon, American cheese, and a fried egg on a regular hamburger bun. I had a choice of several fried potatoes (fries, waffle fries, chippers, or tots), onion rings, or a salad on the side. I went with the waffle fries. The burger came out quickly and it was a thing of beauty. Eating it was as pleasurable as gazing upon it. The meat was very juicy, the bacon was crisp, and the egg was fried just right. It was probably the best bar burger that I have ever had (I do not consider burgers from Kuma's or the Burger Bar to be bar burgers). My only complaint is that it was served on a regular hamburger bun as opposed to a pretzel roll, an onion roll, a challah roll, or some other specialty roll that I have had burgers on.
I come to that part of town relatively frequently and while I had seen Duke's, I was not aware of their burger prowess. I will have to revisit them when I am in the area some evening.