Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Great Burger Challenge!

So as you may have noticed if you are not a new reader, Jim and I like to eat! Usually it's all in moderation, however, this last Saturday we went all out! (For a good cause though). Jim got a wild hair Saturday morning and said, "we're gonna have fun today...wanna do a Phoenix burger challenge?" Well how could I say no?!?! So we called up our friend Matt and brought him along for the ride...
As you can see, Matt has a lot of chest hair, therefore he is very manly and would be the best candidate to help us with burger judging. 
So the basis of the Phoenix Burger Challenge was to try three of our favorite burgers in the area, rate them, and give them a final score, thus deciding which burger in the Phoenix area is the best. We went to Arcadia to do so because it has quite a few of our favorite burger joints in close proximity, and we didn't want too much time in between each one (because then we would get full and not want to finish). We bought one burger at each place that we went, split it, and got a recommended side. All of the burgers came ala carte, and were about the same cost. Here was the line up:

Zinburger vs Delux vs The Grind

Our ranking system was based off of five categories: Flavor, Service, Atmosphere, Value, and Originality. We chose these because they were all qualities that we look for when selecting a burger and restaurant that we feel like are worth returning to. So here we go!

1st up...


Zinburger is another Fox Restaurant concept and I must say, still impressed thus far. The first burger on the menu for us was the Zinburger($10):  Manchego cheese, Zinfandel braised onions, and Mayo, (made with certified Angus beef).

Flavor: (J)8, (K)8, (M)7
Service: (J)10, (K)9, (M)9
Atmosphere: (J)7, (K)7, (M)8
Value: (J)7, (K)7, (M)7
Originality: (J)7, (K)7, (M)7
Final Overall Score: 7.64

To break this down for you, I put the initial of the person in front of what they ranked it, 1 is the worst, 10 is the best.

"This burger is juicier than money, it's prime time." -Matt

I've never seen, a quarter, dollar bill, or credit card that was juicy, but I get what you mean Matt, it is prime time. 
This handsome fella was hanging out on the wall across from where we were sitting, and I didn't snag a picture of it, but there were some cleaver uses of mirrors to make this smaller space feel bigger than it was. Overall it had a great atmosphere and very clean, crisp feel to it. Our service was great! The hostesses were friendly, our server Edie was very attentive, but not annoying, and we even got a table touch from the manager. The burger was juicy, in fact it was one of the more tasty burgers I've had in a long time-very recommendable. The sweet potato fries were good, but didn't stand out compared to others that I've had. If we weren't leaving to go to another burger destination, I would have gotten their Butterfinger milk shake; their shakes looked DELISH but sadly I knew I would not make it the whole day if I tried it...Zinburger was a great experience with a great burger and a short wait time.

Delux Burger($9.90): Fresh ground, all natural, grain fed, certified premium beef, topped with a Maytag Bleu and Gruyere cheese blend, caramelized onions and applewood smoked bacon mixture, baby arugula served on a toasted, hand crafted demi-baguette, (and they served it with fruit!)

I will say that we did not order this burger medium rare as suggested, which might have been our problem, because this burger did not seem juicy compared to the last one. 

Flavor: (J)6, (K)7, (M)6
Service: (J)7, (K)7, (M)7
Atmosphere: (J)5, (K)6, (M)5
Value: (J)7.5, (K)7, (M)7
Originality: (J)7, (K)7, (M)6
Final Overall Score: 6.5

"Mine tastes Hawaiian, and it feels like a sushi bar serving hamburgers..." -Matt
It might have tasted Hawaiian because the onions on it were very sweet, but this burger bar does have a more "posh" feel to it. I love what they do when you order a full basket of fries though, it comes in a cute little grocery cart!
If you want to forgo the cart, you can always order a half order of fries, and it can be regular, sweet potato, or mixed...and it is a better value for that reason. 
Something I did also like about Delux was its larger beer and wine selection. They have quite a few selections for beer and wine flights, and it's a great way to get out and try a little variety in terms of drinks. The seating is very close together and somewhat inconvenient if you like to spread out because the stools are bolted into the ground, but if you like the burgers it's worth it (you just can't go often or you won't fit into the seats anymore!) I would say that this is a great date or late night spot, because they are open till 2:00am, it's hip and it is something new and fun to try!

No joke, this is the menu at The Grind. It folds neatly into a small package, but it has great treasures inside! 
Sweet and Spicy Burger($10):Candied jalapenos, Fried Ratatouille, Watercress. 

Flavor: (J)9, (K)8, (M)7
Service: (J)9, (K)9, (M)9
Value: (J)8, (K)8, (M)7
Originality: (J)9, (K)9, (M)8
Final Overall Score: 8.4

"This is a fancy dive bar" -Matt
Well, I wouldn't say it was a fancy dive bar, but it did have a very casual feel to it, without feeling cheap or unsophisticated. 
 I will say that the medieval flatware, mason jar mugs, and meat grinder light fixtures, makes The Grind a much more unique hangout. 

Lyda our server (the bartender) was super casual and cool, and the atmosphere was very relaxed (I'm not sure if it was her attitude or the restaurant itself). I really enjoyed this burger, but it was very spicy...but sweet too, ha ha. The drinks were somewhat pricey here, however, they did give us our money's worth for them. We didn't get fries here though, because we saved our appetites for the best part, FRESH DOUGHNUTS WITH SALTED CARAMEL! OH EM GEE this things were good...actually they were so good we ordered TWO! I would go back for these alone, and in all honesty I don't even like doughnuts that much to begin with. 
Soooo Goooood!
I think that I liked this the most out of all of the $10 burger, not the "wine by the glass," but the "hormone free beef & chicken, locally grown organic vegetables." It's rare that you find restaurants that believe in quality products enough to be able to advertise it on their menu. Thumbs up!

Alright, so I have to tell you, we had a couple more stops on our list, but Jim Bob and I were a little too chicken to continue on with the challenge. I was starting to get a tummy ache and our lunch bill was starting to sky rocket! We called it quits and tallied up the scores. Obviously The Grind won in our overall number-scoring system, but there are perks to going to all three of these great establishments. I loved the burger patty itself at Zinburger and I'll probably be going back to try a milkshake, Delux had a great "date-night" feel and drink selection, and The Grind, well it was tasty, unique and had doughnuts..I don't know what else to say. 

Additional thumbs up went to Delux and The Grind for not putting shredded lettuce on their burgers. One of my biggest pet peeves is shredded lettuce; it's like little pieces of paper in your mouth. Gross. 

Well do you have a favorite burger joint?  Is it because of the location, the burger, the service or something else special? Do share! Maybe once Jim and I recover from this challenge we can give it a try!

Keep it real,


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Blogger Elaine said...  

Amazing review, makes me drool just reading it!

Anonymous Anonymous said...  

Wish I would have been the one invited! Guess I don't have enough chest hair... Gary

Anonymous andrew said...  

I enjoyed your post! There's a place in Gilbert called Liberty Market that has a pretty memorable burger and seems like it'd be right up your alley.

Blogger RooFresh said...  

Andrew, we LOVE Liberty Market! We'll have to include it on another food challenge! (Maybe best breakfast!)

Blogger danielle @ take heart said...  

i NEED a burger.

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