A few weeks ago I was watching "How I met Your Mother" and one of the main characters Marshall was on a quest to find the greatest burger in New York city. He looked far and wide for this one burger he had a LONG time ago. Unfortunately he did not remember where the burger was nor the name of the restaurant. But his fervor and tenacity in searching for that most amazing of burgers got me drooling and craving a burger.
I started up a thread on Chowhound in search for a burger right after I turned off the TV. So after perusing the thread and filtering out what would be good, what I've tried already and wasn't impressed by (BURGER LOUNGE ANYONE... which I'm told has improved.. but since Management/Staff are so immature and childish as to FAKE "anonymous" comments.. I've banned it for life) I decided on 3 burger joints.
I'll be doing a mini countdown from 3 to 1. Just as a disclaimer none of them were bad. I just didn't love #3 as much as #2 and etc. My Hamburger journey was taken with my two friends Jeff and Travis, who insist on being in the post in some way shape or form, so they took pictures at the places went.
So here's Jeff and Travis. Jeff is currently single, 6'1, hails from Malibu-area, CA, drives a BMW 6 series convertible. He loves long walks on the beach,girls playing Rock Band with him, and he used to be a child model. Travis is not single, so he's not getting a description. You might see a random picture here or there from them in the next 3 entries. You have been warned.
So our first stop was Tioli's Crazy Burger.
This restaurant was shown on Guy's Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives last year and has been all over the local news affiliates for their very courageous use of exotic meats for burgers. You're looking at Turkey, Crab, Chicken, Alligator, Venison, Ostrich, Antelope meat being formed into a patty and served with a side of fries. A burger joint with so much press has gotta be astounding right?
The prices here are very reasonable, $5-7 for their standard beef based burgers and $8-12 for their exotic meats. They patties are roughly 1/2lb burgers. They even have combo deals where you get a soda, fries, and a specific speciality burger for under $7. The restaurant has about 7-8 beers on tap and a few wine choices for your liquid refreshment.
Seating is rather limited here, you're looking at about 7 tables of 4 in the "dining room".. so about 3 alligator widths =P. There is a limited bar area.
I ordered the special of the day, which is the Croatia Burger with a side of CRAZY FRIES.
The Croatio Burger is a standard grilled beef patty with a garlic roasted red pepper and garlic pesto sauce on top. *hum* Doesn't look very much like a half lb burger to me. The patty sits on a white roll which I found to be a bit too bready and thick and detracted from the flavor of the burger. It was too much bread for the patty. Maybe if the patty was 1/2lb's then the bun would have been fine. The burger itself wasn't flavorful on it's own, actually a bit dry and it really needed the help of the sauce to have any sort of flavor. Not sure where the moniker of best burger comes from, it's certainly not bad and I'll definitely come back to try one of the more exotic burgers, but I wasn't impressed by the beef-based burger at all.
The fries were thin and crispy, just how I like them. They were covered in parmesean and salt. I enjoy fries and I enjoyed these ones!
Jeff and Travis both got the Aloha Burger.
Pineapple, Teriyaki sauce, and Swiss Cheese. They found it to be juicy from the teriyaki marinade but across the board, this place was the least favorite out of the 3 we went to.
Now I wouldn't say I'm disappointed in the place, cause it seems to be that Guy doesn't know what the hell he is eating half the time (EL INDIO?) so my expectations weren't sky high. It's just I wonder if this place would even be on the rader if they didn't serve the really exotic meat? They say they handform their patties but the burger was pretty standard. The bun was really overwhelming, it just soaked up and took over any juicy/richness the meat could have had.
OUR SEARCH CONTINUES!