Sunday, August 10, 2014

Chef's Burger Bistro

As I have said before, if you want a burger in Chicago, you have a lot of choices without having to resort to a chain fast food place.  You can get one at a diner like Eleven City Diner or a local fast food place like M Burger or Epic Burger, but many bars that serve food have a really good burger.  In fact, I would say that some of these, Kuma's Corner, The Bad Apple, and Burger Bar are among the best burgers in the city.  In addition to these examples, many fine dining restaurants like Naha or Vie also make some really good burgers.  To this list, I will add Chef's Burger Bistro, where I dined recently.  Located off of the Magnificent Mile, Chef's Burger Bistro is located at the same location as a former local burger chain location.  The space is long and narrow with a long bar at the front, between the restaurant and the patio and the kitchen in the back.  In addition to bar seating, there are large booths opposite the bar and some small tables dividing the two.  The space has a hardwood floor and a lot of black trim.  The unfinished ceiling was also painted black.  The space was loud and there were a couple of large flat screens on the walls, so the space almost had a sports bar feel to it (There were no team banners or flags, so the similarity ended with the TVs and the loudness of the space).  The chef at Chef's Burger Bistro has an impressive CV with experience at restaurants all over the world and author of 6 cookbooks.  He is one of 72 Certified Master Chef's in the United States and believes that cooking is an art.  Everything should be prepared with care and with quality ingredients.  In regard to the restaurant, this means that the meat is ground in-house every day and the bistro buns are made several times a day.  Everything on the menu is served a la carte, and while the burgers are the feature here, there are also finger foods, salads, and sandwiches on the menu.  As the only thing that I ate other than the burger was the fries, the only thing that I can say about these things are that they look good.  While I didn't eat anything other than the burger and fries, I did notice that they had a very nice looking milkshake list, so I decided I would also have a milkshake.  I ordered a Chocolate & Chocolate Shake.  It was served in a square Mason Jar mug (with a mug handle) and a straw.  I am not sure why it was called a Chocolate & Chocolate shake as it seemed to have a fairly uniform texture, but it was very thick, very chocolaty, and very good.  The shake arrived before my burger did so it was almost like having dessert before supper.
When my burger arrived, it was served on a large square plate alongside my Bistro Fries which were served in a modern looking serving glass.  It was red with a black rim which was wider at the top than the bottom and had an angled top.  The fries in it were very good.  They were well salted and could very well have been double fried as frites are.  They were crisp on the outside with a fluffy interior and I really enjoyed them.  The burger was fairly large (1/2 pound) and nice looking and pierced by a steak knife.  The burger that I ordered was called The Iberico because it was dressed in a Spanish style.  It was topped with Manchego Cheese, Serrano Ham, an Egg, and Garlic Aioli.  The bun was very fresh but it was very much like a fast food bun and not that exciting to me.  The burger and its accoutrements were very good.  I would say that their burgers fall between a bar burger and a burger at a fine dining restaurant.  The ingredients were high quality and tasted good.  The pairing and the presentation seemed like something that you might see at a fine dining restaurant.  While the burger was good and high quality, it doesn't beat my favorite bar burgers.  The place is definitely an option if I am in the area, but does not warrant a special trip.

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