Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Grab Burger, the Diner Soho

When it comes to food, I think that I can be easily satisfied but not easily impressed.  I'm not averse to trying, well, just about anything; as long as it lives up to expectations, then I'm happy.  Pizza almost always falls into this category - I've been experimenting with different dough formulations for quite a number of years now, but even so, I love a dirty street slice at the proper time.  There's only one place near Leicester Square (shock) where I couldn't actually finish my slice, and this was post-many-a-tipple.  Shame on them, putting melted plastic on top of a sponge -- that's what it tasted like.

Can you digress before even starting?  Well it appears as though I have.  I was very lucky to be invited, along with other much more established burger enthusiasts, bloggers, etc. to sample a new limited run burger from The Diner, the grab burger.  In the invite, the burger was described as:
  • 2 x 3oz USDA short rib patties heartily seasoned and cooked medium rare 
  • Each topped with a melted slice of US cheese
  • Served in a Harvey Rinkoff “big slider” bun 
  • With shredded lettuce, dill pickles and USA sauce
  • Presented in your grab bag with fries and topper
  • A no frills celebration of the good old American cheeseburger

Sounds good to me.  We tasters were ushered to a cluster of booths in the corner, and a bourbon sour was promptly placed in front of me.  Now, there is a fast lane to my heart (and liver), and it is via aged-in-charred-oak-barrels-American-corn-whiskey.  The night was already a success.  Not long after that, the very attentive staff started bringing out fistfuls of grab bags.

Inside was a massive cup of chips sitting alongside the main event.  First impressions were good: I saw meat and lots of oozing cheese.  So how did it taste?

Well, I was definitely satisfied.  Not blown out of the water, and there were obvious bits that could've been improved straight away, but it wasn't bad.  Immediate negative impressions: patties weren't heartily seasoned enough for my taste, resulting in no real crust on the meat, and they had hurtled passed medium rare a while ago.  As a result, there was a decided lack of juice to the patties, and I imagine that some of the short rib flavour was left on the flattop as well.

That said, I thought that the cut of beef still retained a good amount of meaty flavour, and the cheese, lettuce, pickles and sauce complemented each other quite well.  There was a good bit of sauciness from the ketchup and sauce, which was a clear Thousand Island derivative.  The bun was soft, yielded easily to my mastication efforts and had a light, open crumb.  It remains to be seen how it would stand up to a seriously juicy burger, but it fit the bill here very well indeed.

I lived in California for over 8 years, and as such was fortunate enough to eat a Mini Cooper's worth of In-N-Out (both in weight and cost, I imagine).  And this burger definitely was reminiscent of that -- not the same, and it certainly didn't reach that level, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.  Fries were crisp and plentiful - again, not mind-blowing, but I'm much more easily satisfied by most types of hot potato sides.

And so I had a few more drinks (also on the house!), chatted with the burger crème de la crème, and made my way home.  Great bourbon, great company, and a tasty burger.  That's me happy.  They're on the menu from 31/1 for 10 days; so a very limited run indeed.

The Diner
5 Locations

Grab burger available from 31/01 - 09/02

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