Thursday, July 26, 2012
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As many of my readers will already know I have a certain calm obsession with burgers that borders on lunacy. I have literally driven hundreds of miles in my quest for the perfect burger. In England, this is not an easy chore. Couple that with my hatred of chain restaurants, save In-n-Out Burger in the U.S. and I don't find it easy to feed my addiction. That is, until now.
London has been going through a growth spurt. Not in economic terms, or even housing, but in two of my favorite foods, Mexican and burgers. And it couldn't of come too soon. After being in the UK for almost two years I have not had nearly enough of either of these foods. As a boy growing up in California my taste buds are supremely adapted to both burgers and Mexican. And just like a bodybuilder has something called muscle memory, where if he's taking time off and then gets back to the gym his muscles will remember what it's like to grow, and do so much easier than someone just getting into the sport, it is the same with my taste buds. I can spot perfectly cooked and prepared burgers and Mexican easier than almost any other food. And, before the naysayers and negative nellies tell me I have no taste and that burgers and Mexican are for morons, believe me, that's not the case, you simply have not had enough of either food. Done well, there's almost nothing better than a burger on a brioche bun, or a slow cooked pork burrito.
Feeling the craving wash over me one evening in London I decided to abandon my dislike for chain restaurants and give Byron Burger a try. And I'm happy to say that I can now add this flouroshing restaurant to my list of burger dealers in London. Bryon still does not come close to equaling the Holy Grail of burger chains, In-n-Out, but they do a very, very good job.
Both the classic cheeseburger and regular burger are exemplary examples of this, my favorite foods. The burger meat is juicy and flavorful. The buns are soft and not stodgy. The fries were delicious! However, I was a little disappointed in the onion rings. The first batch were cold and were sent back only to be replaced with oily, stringy ones that lacked crunch. I realize it's hard to make onion rings that have a perfectly hard, crunchy exterior and soft interior, while still preserving the texture of the onion itself. Most restaurant onion rings are made so that the onion itself almost always comes out when you bite it, leaving you with just the crunchy batter. And at Bryon it was the same.
The service also left something to be desired. It was sloooow! I mean, sloth slow. But it was made up to us when our server told us that the whole meal was comped due to the bad service and cold onion rings.
Byron stacks up very well against my favorite burger joint in the UK, Gourmet Burger Kitchen. This growing chain is the closest I have found to burger Nirvana. Byron is slightly cheaper and I like the interiors better. However, when it comes to taste GBK knocks it out of the park. Byron still has a lot to learn from GBK. Their burgers, fries and onion rings are perfect, classic examples of how to prepare all of these dishes. Marry that with their stellar rewards program and sheer volume of burgers on their menu and I'm afraid I just can't justify giving Byron a higher rating than GBK. In a pinch, and if there's no GBK around, try Byron, you won't be disappointed.