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Fat Smittys 2010-08-24

by foodbitch 24. August 2010 18:19

The dudes juicing at the health club rarely remember that the roids will only make them look big. To get strong they actually have to lift big and suffer like the rest of us. Fat Smitty’s burger is the roid-head who does 12 sets of forearm curls.

No other time in dining memory has there been so great a chasm between the way a burger looks and the satisfaction it bestows. Or takes away. The Fat Smitty builds us up so high with something looking so delicious and then drowns the tasting center of our brains with large portions of horrendous mediocrity.

The restaurant itself is a novelty – that wore off after one visit. The 5-foot burger in the driveway, the menacing “keep off” signs, the thousands of dollar bills stapled to every surface everywhere all scream: “Look at ME! I’m the most uniquest (sp?) dive-bar ever!” And in that, they have a point. Never before has a burger looked so good and tasted so average. It did not help that the patties were grotesquely overcooked and drowned in not-so-secret ranch dressing. The “Freedom Fries” (yes, there are still people who think this play is cute) are ok but honestly, when they’re cut as large they just don’t cook through as well without making the outside overcooked. The service is downright rude and the fizzy sugar sodas don’t come with refills.

How many strikes is that? Cuz here’s another: you know all those dollar bills stapled to the walls and ceilings and every other damn place? Well, they’ve been there for a while. This means that whereas the average restaurant that has, oh, I don’t know, 4 walls to clean, Fatty’s has 10,000 times the surface area all sitting there catching dust. And releasing it into your food every time someone opens the door or walks quickly to the bathroom. 5-minute rule does not apply to that collection of filth. Is there a 5-year rule?  I don’t imagine the rude relics working there bust out the feather-duster all that often.

Anyway, if you really want to come here, have the clam chowder and watch your friends be disappointed by themselves. Sneak a bite of their patty and you’ll thank me for saving you the blow.


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M Burger 2010-03-18

by foodbitch 18. March 2010 16:01

Into the breach of burger joints comes Tru with their take on gourmet ground beef patties. It was good cheap and fast. I’ll be back just so I don’t have to elbow through Portillo’s blue-collar cluster. At least if a doc or nurse starts crowding me, I’m pretty sure I can take them.

Carved into an iconic kitchen, M Burger serves a model of simplicity. 3 burger choices, single or double, a veggie and a chicken sandwich, fries shakes and fountain drinks. Inexpensive too. Amazingly, the eponymous M Burger (double) is only 4.49 – a 20 cent premium over the more pedestrian cheeseburger (sans secret sauce and bacon). Fries are 1.99 as is a fountain drink but shakes are a buck more. Not too bad considering Corner Bakery’s pricing for food that is barely edible.

We came for an early dinner around 6 PM and were the first in line. Service was extremely quick and polite and seating intimate. Fat people will find their bodily navigation as comfortable as bulkhead seating on a Southwest flight. As we looked up halfway through the meal we saw a line stretching out the door. These people had a very different experience from ours but I’m sure the food was just as good.

M Burger fills a void in the busy avenues of Hospitalville previously crowded only by Corner Bakery’s ineptitude. Same with the void left by the kitchen table of Tru after people realized that eating in the kitchen of a restaurant was really pretty stupid. But how cool is it to be able to eat for under 10 bucks while peering through the looking-glass into a world of 4-star magic? I’m not sure how many more tasting menus Tru will sell from this other side of haute cuisine, but for many of us there is an intrinsic warmth in having the spotlight’s glow reflected off a star and onto us. No matter how little of it we ourselves deserve. This is why Hollywood is full of personal assistants and hair-stylists – anything to get close. But there is something quaint about having secret sauce drip over you as you watch black-suited waiters conferring with white-suited chefs in the flurry of activity that is four-star dining. We feel like we share the spotlight without paying its dues. Or picking up dry-cleaning.


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DMK Burger Bar 2009-11-27

by foodbitch 28. November 2009 13:19

DMK is a case of 3-star service helping out a 1-star kitchen. It takes a lot to make me drive north of North. And for DMK I floored it the whole way. The greater the excitement the louder the disappointment and DMK’s rang in with an air-horn.

Hoping to avoid the wait, we hit lunch at 2PM. Since I usually eat lunch at 11, such delays are a form of medieval torture which I inflict upon myself with the utmost infrequency. But when going to eat a burger by the man who gave us MK River North I would have waited until even 2:30. I am a simple diner and all I wanted for Christmas was the best burger in the whole universe but got instead 2 lumps of coal for that’s what my two thin, horrifically overcooked patties tasted like.

 Now there is a time and a place for thin, well-done burgers. Portillo’s is exhibit A. White Castle exhibit B and so on. And they do a good job. Indeed, if I ordered a Double Cheese at Portillo’s and had someone ask me how I wanted it I’d high-tail it right out the door. It’s just not what one expects. But that is precisely what I expected at DMK for I expected gourmet. What I got instead was a couple of thin, extremely well-done lumps of beef that may as well have been cat food since no flavor (to say nothing of juices) can survive such burning. Do they even bother with Grade-A beef? Why? Save some cash and use grade-C-edible instead. If they’re going to assume we all want our burgers cooked at white phosphorous temperatures who cares what's on the plate? It’ll all taste the same. When someone orders a double a huge improvement would be as simple as making it one patty and cooking it a little less.

The service was much better. The waiters were very nice. All 4 of them, one of whom was none other than Michael Kornick himself.  They all took turns asking us how things were 30 minutes after being seated but not yet having received our food. We would have loved to tell them had it not been premature to render opinion pre-first-bite. After it, everyone vanished as if we had requested more water which (BTW) took 20 minutes, 2 requests and 1 heartfelt plea to be delivered. When it was, it had no ice but was clearly unfiltered. However, I must say that the cheese fries were the most pleasurable things to pass my lips for several weeks. Real cheddar, seasoning and the best potatoes made it so. The Mac and Cheese, however, was OK at best. OK because it’s easy to hide behind bacon bits. Strike number last. I don’t know much about football but am pretty sure that strikes are a bad thing.


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About the author

FB is the CTO of an entertainment company and, these days, writes much more in prose than he ever wrote in code. Which is a good thing. Because people expect quality from code. Meal me:

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