Taste is subjective, but that doesn’t keep us from talking about what food is best. We do it with desserts, bread, pizza, and here in Texas we are always comparing barbecue.
What about burgers?
I read not too long ago (okay, it was three years ago in Texas Monthly) that the second best burger in the state, and the best burger in Austin was at Second Bar + Kitchen downtown. It is called the Congress Burger. Mrs. Greenbean and I met some friends from our college days and enjoyed a warm June day and tasted for ourselves.
The meat was very juicy and tender in the extreme. The flavor was dazzling–combing the subtlety of hamburger with the complex sharpness of brisket. The tenderness caused the hamburger to break apart easily, which is fine by me because I like to dip the burger bits into kitchen and mustard, alternately. The ketchup wasn’t as spicy as I’d have liked. I found myself wishing I had some of that nice Whataburger spicy ketchup to dip the burger in. The mustard was fantastic. I think they make it homemade and I wish I could have bought a bottle to take home.
I added pork belly–because fancy bacon is always a good idea.
The bread was disappointing. First, it was insufficient to hold the juiciness of the burger, which toward the end made the experience soggy. Second, the bread was too small and didn’t really cover the bottom or the top well. I know it is nice to have some stuff hanging out and falling all over the place, but halfway through the burger was left with mostly meat, lettuce, and tomato. Third, the bread was bland, bringing no noticeable flavor to the party.
The other disappointment were the potato chips. These were homemade on site, but way too salty to enjoy. How salty were they? Lot’s wife is probably missing an arm.
A delightful treat were the fried pickles we ordered as an appetizer. These were not chips, but spears served with a nice gorgonzola dip. Delish.
I paired my burger with a cherry Coke because cherry Coke is the best beverage to have with a burger of any kind. It was served in a fancy glass with tiny crushed ice.
The service was excellent. The ambiance was okay but the music was too loud for me. The playlist was fine, but the loudness made pleasant conversation just a little difficult. The bathroom was clean, or as clean as I could tell because it was very dark.
The location was nice, but we paid to park in a lot right behind the building so factor that into the cost of eating there. After the meal we walked across the Congress Avenue bridge and did a little shopping, all the while trying not to get run over by people on Segways and scooters.
It made for a pleasant day, but I’m not certain our favorite little burger joint here in town isn’t comparable, and a lot more accessible.