Tag Archives: hamburgers

The Casual Restaurant Critic at Partners and Brothers Burgerlab

Once upon a time, on a Merida intersection, there was a great property to build a city park. Unfortunately, this being Merida, it became yet another shopping mall, complete with a hotel, a Best Buy, another Walmart (Merida needed another Walmart) a movie theater and the obligatory Telcel store, along with VIP’s, Fridays and some other lesser-known restaurants. Today the Critic will discuss one of these, the interestingly-named Partners and Brothers Burgerlab. Or Burguerlab.

Accompanied by the MiniCritic, the CRC went for a late lunch, around 4 PM which is neither here nor there in terms of dinner or lunch, to try out this burger option in the formerly white city.

Why is it called Partners and Brothers? I had a look at the website to find out more, and found the typical message of FUN! and FRESH! and COOL! with lots of really great English words sprinkled throughout (at the top of the website: HOME / SOMOS / FOOD / DRINKS / CONTACTO – why?) to make it all so much more international. Burger is spelled Burguer and then it isn’t, which shows an impressive eye for detail considering it is in their name. The annoying video on the home page says that at this restaurant, which seems like a clone of the Fridays or Bostons concept, at one point says: enjoy…  partners, with your brothers. Um, OK. I don’t understand, but maybe it’s in English so that’s cool in itself, regardless of any possible meaning. By the way, the video and its ear-worm jingle will continue playing as long as you are on the website, ad nauseum.

The experience was a mix. The food is perfectly acceptable: the MiniCritic had a half kilo of BBQ ribs, which were tasty enough and the Critic had the Louisiana Burger, a monstrously high collection of many ingredients stacked on home-made bread. The bread kind of fell apart quickly, with the juices of the meat and the caramelized onions, but the flavor overall was very good. Home-made chips (as in potato chips) are an option and while they were fine, they seemed to have been sprinkled with either lemon or vinegar and the sour taste was not to the Critics liking. A dessert of apple tart, described in flowery terms as soaked in Jack Daniels blah blah blah, was frankly, inedible. The coffee is of the Nespresso machine variety.

Quibbles?

Service, as is so often the case in Merida, was spotty. The waiter was friendly enough, when he was around. To get the drink order, one must get up to get a waiters attention. Many staff members are lounging about, absorbed in their smartphones and whatever exciting stuff is going on in there.

Considering the place had been open for three hours, you would think that things would be ready for the evening rush. However, sauces in glass bottles on the table were not full and had that look like they had been there since last month, with crusty bits inside and a generally unappealing look to them.

A visit to the bathroom revealed that there was no paper towel in the dispenser to dry ones hands after washing, that in spite of the obligatory cleaning schedule on the door which obviously no one was paying any attention to.

Dirty dishes on the table containing rib bones and burger/burguer carcasses had to be looked at for the longest time until the Critic, on his way to the bathroom, interrupted the waiter who was smartphoning with his compañeros, and mentioned that he might want to clear away the dishes.

That caesar salad! A caesar salad is a caesar salad. If you leave out the dressing with the anchovies, throw in a tomato and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds you no longer have the right to call this a caesar salad. Call it a bloody pumpkin seed salad, or a Mayan salad, or make up another name. It’s NOT a caesar salad for crying out loud.

So overall, this restaurant does not impress. The Critic suspects that it is popular with the drinking crowd in the evenings, especially on the terrace where there is a nice breeze and it is quite pleasant, in spite of the horrific view of traffic and concrete that makes up the area around Altabrisa. Then again, with drinks on the expensive side, including a bottle of scotch you can enjoy with your brothers (or partners) for a paltry $13,000 pesos, the target market might be a bit fuzzy.

Verdict? Don’t bother. Friday’s is directly across the hall from them, on the second floor of the mall, and they have their act together and will provide you with a more predictable American-style food experience. Partners and Brothers is a poor imitation.

 

That habanero sauce really does look disgusting

The room. There are over 30 TV screens all around

Amstel Ultra chelada

The Caesar salad that isn’t

The burger/burguer. You can squish it down so it fits in your mouth. Best part of the experience (the burger, not the squishing part)

Burger accompanied by chips

BBQ ribs, corn on the cob and in the little bowl, mashed potatoes that the MiniCritic said were tasty

This apple tart, in spite of its flowery description on the menu, was pretty much inedible

 

 

 

 

Casual Restaurant Critic Re-Visits Hermana Republica

Imagine if you will, a tiny infant coral snake curled up in the recess of a limestone rock, barely visible to the untrained eye and for all intents and purposes, invisible. This is what the bacon looked like on the hamburger the Casual Restaurant Critic ordered at the Hermana Republica two days ago.

Hungry and in the mood for a burger, the bacon and cheese hamburger sounded like a winner to the Critic. Unfortunately, the anticipation of strips of crispy, thick bacon stacked under dripping, melted cheese was not to be and there was only a sad hint of a bacon strip tucked into the top of the bun along with some sparse white cheese, all covering a rather undersized patty of what was admittedly tasty beef.

The fries were excellent again (see the previous review here)  and the Belgian ale outstanding.

The Critic was rather disappointed with this poor excuse for a hamburger and would not in all good faith recommend you try it.

You will be disappointed. Except for the fries, of course.

If you are in the mood for a burger, for that burger that you can’t get your mouth around, where the bacon is abundant and the melted cheese oceanic, you will be far better served at the Angry Angus location in Las Americas, across the highway. You can read the Critics review of that great burger place here.

Casual Restaurant Critic – Truck Chef

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Here’s a little mini-review from the Casual Restaurant Critic on just one of the many food trucks now sprouting up all over the place; Truck Chef is one of the more popular options.

This food truck features burgers for the most part and they are good; worth hunting down a location which you an do my checking their Facebook page, which also features a lot of really enticing photos that will make your mouth water. Besides burgers there are also some healthier options (pork belly tacos are not only delicious, they are healthy. Aren’t they???) and the whole menu has a rock and roll theme, in case you hadn’t picked up on that.

https://www.facebook.com/TruckChef

Verdict? Good stuff!

 

 

 

Casual Restaurant Critic Burger Slapdown: Elevation vs. Angry Angus

Exciting stuff – a burger slapdown.

In this corner, at a trim 57 kilos, Elevation Burger. A big blue-themed restaurant that smacks of fast foodiness but offers a fresh and organic take on the hamburger, according to all the hype and publicity. The Critic has heard people whine on about how expensive the burgers are and this is probably the case, but have you seen the price of organic meat in Costco vs the regular hormone and steroid kind? You are what you eat, and that is another slogan on the wall of Elevation.

The Critic was underwhelmed by the size of the burger – a plain burger accompanied by large fries – and overwhelmed by the fries, which were huge and so tasty that he couldn’t stop eating them in spite of the fact that his arteries were visibly constricting. The burger, while small was very tasty. The meat (one patty) was meaty, not pasty and the tomato, lettuce and pickle were refreshingly cold. Real Cheddar too. It tasted like a burger you would make at home. Satisfying. Cost? $160 pesos fries and burger, no drink.

And in this corner, weighing in at 104 sloppy, smoky kilos, Angry Angus. Not sure about the name but the burgers are all extremely loaded up with extras and the prices are  much lower than our elevated contender. Of course AA doesn’t need to pay a huge franchise fee in USD and probably pays a fraction of the rent. The burgers are huge, absolutely crammed with extras and accompanied by fries that are fresh and hot. On this occasion the Critic had a burger with chistorra, that tasty fatty Argentinian sausage, plus real Cheddar cheese and god knows what else. It was hard to wrap his lips around this thing. Sloppy, messy, tasty, fatty and ultimately satisfying. The cost? 99 pesos. Yup, that’s it.

Service at Elevation was fast-food style although they did make an (inconsistent) effort to have someone open the door for arriving or departing guests.  Ambience again was fast food-y and instead of orange and white, the colors were blue and white. The kitchen is open and clean.

Service at Angry Angus was amazingly good, considering you are really out on the street. Ambience is, well, out on the street. There is a TV, of course, and you can see the giant grill off to one side where a host of burger people are busily cranking out the wares.

The winner of this smackdown? Based on taste, service and price, the clear winner is Angry Angus. Go tonight, the place opens at 7 PM.

Links and more info:

Elevation Burger: https://www.facebook.com/ElevationBurgerMX

Angry Angus: https://www.facebook.com/angryangus.lasmejoreshamburguesasangus/

 

The Casual Restaurant Critic visits Pilgreen

Pilgreen Menu

A hungry Better Half suggested this oddly-named place for lunch and the Critic found a pleasant locale, friendly service and tasty, fresh and healthy food.

This visit occurred some time ago and so the actual names of the dishes ordered are lost to time (ha ha) but rest assured that if the place is still there, and you are in the neighborhood, it is a stop worthy of your pesos, caloric intake and time.

More info can be found on their Facebook page, here.

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The hamburger was fresh, generously served and the chips were crunchy. Not much else to say except that it was a satisfying burger.

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Fresh fruit drinks of the day include pitahaya, center

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A salad chock full of goodness. Cold and refreshing and filling too.

Giant Burger and Best Service Ever.

The Casual Restaurant Critic has one beef (complaint) and it is this: service at restaurants and almost anywhere in Merida generally sucks. Of course there are individual exceptions; persons that have an innate ability to be welcoming, warm and and genuinely kind and are capable of making one feel welcome and taken care of. But at the institutional level, from the owner on down, where everyone in the organization is on the same page, this is rare to non-existent.

IMG_4324That is why it was such a surprise to find three different people at the same burger joint, called Angus in Las Americas, all acting in unison, one nicer than the other, and probably providing the Critic and BH with the best service had anywhere recently, including all the pretentious gringo franchises whose owners think that their fancy location and name will be enough and the higher end places that are slacking off in general. Not to mention all the others in the middle to lower end of the gastronomic spectrum.

One or more of the loyal readers of this column will ask about the location of this place, so here is a link to their Facebook page complete with photos, menu, phone number and address. Go try it for yourself and see if the service is as good as it was on this visit. In any case, the hamburger was amazingly good.

https://www.facebook.com/angryangus.lasmejoreshamburguesasangus?fref=ts

And too bad for Bella Roma as they open too late for the late afternoon “I’m starving feed me NOW” crowd.IMG_4323

OneBurger

The Critic and the infinitely patient Better Half stopped at OneBurger, a relatively new addition to the Merida culinary scene, although it has been favorably reviewed by the Critics cohort in criticism Beryl, at www.gorbman.com some time ago.

Upon entering you are greeted with a sparkling white interior which an employee was busy cleaning. So busy was he that he didn’t look up for a while, but when he did, and the Critic asked him to explain the concept since it was his first time there, he did so in a friendly, courteous manner. All the hamburgers are of the ‘gourmet’ variety, with all kinds of weird and wonderful toppings that the Critic loves. Things like goat cheese, red onions, real Cheddar cheese (unlike the processed orange plastic crap across the street and down a ways at Carls Jr which is a pretty darn good burger BTW) and actual real ground beef.

The verdict?

The hamburger was very tasty. The meat tasted different, as if it were actual ground beef you make at home, not something overly processed. The buns were not that great in the Better Half’s opinion but the Critic didn’t notice, chomping happily on a Cheddar Cheese Bacon combination that was delicious, if not overly seasoned. Accompanying the burgers were – the Better Half wanted these – fried Yucca (a little bitter for the Critics tastebuds but he is not sure if this is supposed to be how Yucca tastes…?) and Habanero Fries which sound a lot spicier than they are. They were perfect fries; crisp, seasoned to perfection and had just a bit of a bite to them.

The Critics only negative observation was that the lettuce peeking out from between those buns and the chopped sirloin burger, looked a little limp and even brown on the edges, showing some serious signs of age. Attention to the details should keep this burger joint at the top of gourmet lists for a while yet.

Two burgers and fries combos, with the refillable sodas, came to about $300 pesos, which is not exactly Burger King cheap and the Critics paisano dentist buddy would moan in agony at the price.

But it is such a better burger.