Sunday, February 14, 2010

Uptown Diner

Welcome to the first post of the Twin Cities Cheeseburger blog. Besides being a cheeseburger review, this post will also lay out the structure of the posts and what will or will not be included in reviews so as to give a taste (hah!) of posts to come (yes, as a general rule, bad puns are included in 'things to come').

To wit: I will only be reviewing cheeseburgers. Patty melts are included, and hamburgers without cheese will be grudgingly included if at the particular establishment no burger-with-cheese variety is available. I will not review steak sandwiches, nor will I review any other sort of sandwich. I will not review side dishes such as french fries or tater tots or chips (those would be different blogs, naturally). I will not review beverages. I will not make a note of service unless it's somehow notable, either exceptionally good or excruciatingly bad. Also, I hate pickles. This blog is about cheeseburgers: Let's stay focused, people!

My first cheeseburger review is from an old standby: the Uptown Diner, on Hennepin Ave. and 26th St. Now, I typically go to the Uptown Diner for breakfast-type things (in particular, their crab cakes benedict is my kryptonite), but I decided to use their cheeseburger as my reference point -- not because it's a standout but because it's fairly average.

First, the stats: It starts with a half pound patty. I ordered mine as a "California burger", meaning it comes with lettuce, tomato, (red) onion, and mayo as well as a heaping pile of waffle fries or hash browns (I opted for fries), cole slaw, and a pickle spear (shudder). Adding cheddar cheese put the total at $8.95.

When the burger was set down in front of me, the first thing I noticed was the cheese: They had thrown a pile of shredded cheddar on top instead of a slice. This wasn't particularly a bad thing, but it did mean the cheese layer wasn't evenly distributed. After I cut into it, I noticed that the cheese wasn't fully melted either. The section cut also revealed that the burger was, as expected, cooked well-done (they say "grilled to perfection" in the menu, and in this case I'd imagine "to perfection" means "to kill any trace of e. coli that might exist").

Taste-wise, the burger was as I had remembered it: underseasoned but overall a solid burger. I'm not sure if they make their patties on site or have them delivered frozen by some giant food services conglomerate like Aramark or Sysco (I'd bet its the latter). The burger itself tasted like...well, ground beef. I like to see the meat seasoned with some salt and pepper before the patty is formed, because putting salt and pepper on the patty after the fact doesn't have the same effect. Because it was cooked well-done and I think the meat started out fairly lean, there wasn't much juice dripping out (though it wasn't noticeably dry either), meaning the structural integrity of the bun wasn't compromised by dripping blood and molten fat. Speaking of the bun, it's a decent sesame affair that is hearty enough to withstand handling but not so dense that it gets in the way of biting into the burger. It had been grilled lightly on the flattop as well.

Overall, this is a solid burger. It's not going to make you redefine what a burger should be; it's just pretty much what you'd expect from a diner burger.

Uptown Diner
2548 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55405

Until the next post...happy cheeseburger.


Asad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joel said...

The bun keeps its integrity.

Asad said...

Oh crap, next time I'm taking a hammer and a high-speed video camera.

Joel said...

That would indeed be a worthy review.

Z said...

Unmelted cheese is the terriblest.