Aside from using quality beef, here’s what a burger joint needs to do to completely satisfy me:
* Cook burgers to order
* Use good hamburger buns
* Have good, hand-cut French fries
* Serve good shakes
Bobby’s Burger Palace is, currently, the only major chain that’s batting 1000. Despite the fine fries, Five Guys won’t serve a rare burger and has no shakes (though it is testing them at a handful of locations). After a brief period of fresh, hand cut fries, Shake Shack is reverting to previously frozen crinkle-cuts. BurgerFi, pretty good on the first three criteria, makes all their shakes with vanilla ice cream. Smashburger won’t cook a burger to rare or medium-rare. You get my drift.
Cheeburger Cheeburger has never cooked burgers to order, but the chain’s fries and shakes, made with Edy’s ice cream, are so good, I’ve given them a pass. (The Farmingdale location’s proximity to Newsday may have something to do with this.) My biggest beef with Cheeburger Cheeburger has always been the kaiser roll that sandwiches the patty. It's dry, too crusty, and strikes a discordant, deli note. So last night I was happy to see a new option, a honey-wheat bun, on the menu.
I should have ordered the kaiser roll.
This dented, brownish bun, sprinkled with some indeterminate wheaten matter, reminded me of nothing so much as the kind of dispiriting roll you get with an airline meal. In coach.
I’m not looking for some artisanal hamburger bun. Fancy brioches do nothing for me. Give me a supermarket-brand bun, with or without sesame seeds, and I’m a happy camper.
I understand why a burger chain might use frozen fries (they are cheaper). I understand why it won’t serve a rare burger (lawyers). I even understand why some of them fall down on the shake issue (inventory and training). But I cannot understand a bad bun.