[UPDATE – April 12th, 2014: So 2 nights ago, I revisited Chapter One to have a good time, in a good atmosphere, with good friends. What I received was a great time, a fantastic burger, and burger-changing opinion. I have to say, I retract my one qualm with this burger; which was the lack of bacon. On second try, I realized that honestly, the lack of bacon, was quite refreshing. I feel as though so many of the burgers I have include bacon, and sometimes, it can use a vacation; a warm, sweet, buttery vacation.
Therefore, I initially changed The Burger List to suit my changed feelings. Then the next night, I was allotted the time and opportunity to visit my #1 burger, The Crow Burger at The Crow Bar and Kitchen in Corona Del Mar.
Hungry as I was, I excitedly pulled my plate closer, and my mouth dropped. It was… Different. It seemed to have lost a ton of weight. It’s buns even looked like they had gone through surgery. It was tiny, plain and simple.
Obviously, with such a shock, I took the proper 1-minute to gather myself, tell myself that everything would be ok, and then I dove in.
Long story short, The Crow Burger, had clearly been dethroned.
Therefore, I have decided that the Harvest Burger at Chapter One: the modern local, is my latest #1 burger on The Burger List. If you’re in the area, or if you’re not, you have to check this place out.]
Burgering up through the 2000’s was fueled by the “Western” burger. Everywhere I went, and everywhere I looked, that horse-riding burger would seemingly lasso my appetite, and take me for a ride. Didn’t matter if it was the “Double-Western Cheeseburger” at Cheesecake Factory, or the “Western Bacon Cheeseburger” from Carls Jr., everyone was jonesin’ for some of that good-good bacon flavor.
Then something changed. Within’ the past 3 years, there has been a ‘burger-revolution’, if I may. A meeting of the fine-dining experience and the undeniably versatile Burger.
Chapter One in Santa Ana, is a prime example of an establishment who has upgraded their menu to meet the demands of the masses:
Menu Name: Harvest Burger ($12.00)
- Beef – Blend of Sirloin, Short-rib and Top Round
- Havarti Cheese
- Apple Chutney
- Rosemary Aoili
- Brioche Bun
Prior to my first go at the gentle beast, I was worried that the havarti cheese may not compliment the chutney as well as a goat cheese would. I thought, perhaps, I would miss the inviting comfort the goat cheese would provide, contrasting the sweet flavors.
But, then I took the plunge.
‘Wrong, Dominic, all wrong. The cheese is delightful’, I said to myself.
‘Man, oh man, that’s a deliciously sweet burger’, is what I thought as I devoured that first piece of sirloin-short rib blend.
I swear, if you consider yourself an upscale burger dining establishment, and you don’t blend your meat, you’re extremely behind the burger-curve.
The burger itself, was spectacular. The sweetness of the apple chutney rolled around in your mouth, as if a tsunami filled of mini-oompa-loompa’s surfed their way through your welcoming taste buds.
Although the beef-blend was clearly the best part of the burger, the energy and flavor brought by the rosemary aioli made it an integral part of the overall taste — Completing the task at hand while rallying the arugula, havarti, and brioche to the patty’s aid.
Despite the bursts of flavor by the ingredient-brigade, I still had one qualm. I didn’t feel as though the burger was well balanced between it’s sweet/savory flavors, and as we know, I’m a man of burger-diversity. Therefore, I believe the addition of bacon would have made for a welcomed ally.
And if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, one should not discount the merits of the pre-posh burger, as it clearly won over the early hearts of burger lovers. What can I say? We love our bacon.
Aside from that, I honestly can’t complain. The deal was phenomenal! The burger, priced at $12.00, came with duck fat fries. “Yo Dom, did I read that right?”, “Yes, my good friend, duck fat fries!”
Thin-cut and seasoned with salt, pepper, and some basil, these fries made a most-worthy companion in the experience of that, which is thy burger.
The whole experience was great. Katherine Schwingel assisted as the newest Burger Buddy, and we both thought the entire meal was fantastic.
I didn’t even mention, on Thursdays, when you purchase a burger, you have the choice of three beers (Belgian, IPA, Wheat) for 25¢’s more! Can’t say I’ve seen a better deal than that.
And our server, Sean… He was the best. Honestly, the closest to a perfect server that I have encountered. Knowledgeable about product, consistently checking-in, and overall friendly.
Although we have reached our end, I shall leave you with the following comment:
Similarly to pairing wine with cheeses, I’ve noticed the burger-scene transition from using deliciously-fried comfort food, to the pairing of exotic cheeses with exquisite aiolis and jams. This progression clearly displays a shift in the opinions of the majority, as the preferred menu went from a savory, and hearty take on the burger, to a taste centered around the sweet pairing of rich ingredients. I believe that as time continues, the pendulum swing will direct us toward a burger that will take aim at our hearts (Figuratively… Well, maybe literally too). Thus, I think we’ll begin to see an increase in comfort-inspired burgers — Such as items like macaroni-cheeseburgers, similar to “The Mac-Attack” found at Rockit Burger Bar in Chicago, Illinois.
Well everyone, it’s been fun. I hope you enjoyed yourself.