The Standing Room (Redondo Beach, CA)

Reviewed by: Kevin

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Some people, like Kate, elect to celebrate the Fourth of July by grilling out.  It’s a great way to get together with friends, and often the burgers you grill are mighty tasty.  But that’s certainly not the only way to do it.  And if you find yourself with a free day in California, and you’re not spending it at the beach, you’re doing it wrong.

So I celebrated America by spending the day in Redondo Beach, with a burger in my hand and a bald eagle on my shoulder.  I got my burger from The Standing Room, a Redondo legend located in a liquor store.  Let me say that again, this is a burger joint inside a liquor store.  If they had showers, I’d never leave.  Among the many options at Standing Room, I went with the Napoleon.  But where Napoleon the man was small in stature, Napoleon the burger was anything but.

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This burger was huge, and even more so, it was ridiculous.  The veritable Sharknado of burgers.  The Napoleon features a half pound patty topped with – get this – bacon, smoked gouda, cheddar, caramelized onions, spring mix, braised short rib, fried egg, and truffle parmesan fries.  So let’s break it down.

The Good:  Braised Short Rib.  Think of topping a burger with slow-cooked, pot-roast-like meat.  It added to the meatiness of a purposefully over-the-top burger, but still managed to bring different flavors and textures than the ones found in the actual patty.  The patty itself wasn’t bad either.

The Not-So-Good:  Fries on a burger is good in theory, and often great in execution.  And these fries wouldn’t have been so bad, if they weren’t drenched in truffle oil and Parmesan cheese.  Usually, I love both truffle and Parmesan, but they completely overpowered every other element of the burger.  Spring mix, it seems, is code for fancy lettuce.  But rather than adding a clean crisp to the burger, the spring mix had more of a yard work effect, in texture and in taste.  Not ideal.  Another issue, albeit one based on personal preference, the fried eggs were way too runny for my taste.  And The Standing Room’s worst crime?  They forgot the bacon.

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Because of the large amount of toppings, and their uneven nature, the Napoleon was difficult to eat.  It fell apart immediately, making it easy to pick around the ghastly spring mix.  I ended up eating the burger with a fork and knife.  The bun was a casualty of this fork and knife method – unfortunately, the bun wasn’t much good to begin with.

All in all, the Sharknado comparisons to this burger are not unfounded.  When you go for bombastic, you’ve got to hit a home run.  In The Standing Room’s case, I hoped for a Cabin in the Woods, but got stuck with a Tara Reid lead.  It overcompensated for its lack of cohesiveness with baseless bravado.  Maybe this giant burger had a Napoleon Complex all along.

As always, leave us comments!  Tell me where I should eat!  Tell me why I’m wrong!  Just kidding, I’m never wrong.

flavor

Burger Flavor:  4/5

bunBun Goodness: 1/5

valueBurger Value: 2/5

toppingsToppings: 2/5

xfactorX Factor: 4/5

3star
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JQ’s Famous Home-grilled Burgers (Nashville, TN)

Reviewed by: Kate

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With the 4th of July right around the corner I thought I would do a slightly different review than normal. As Americans, it just wouldn’t be the 4th of July without a cookout complete with burgers, hotdogs, and if you are from where I am from, Spiedies (that’s a topic for another day). Since most people tend to grill their own burgers in the summer, I thought I would review a homemade burger in honor of the Fourth, and ‘Merica.

To be honest, for some reason I never think home-grilled burgers are as good as going to a burger joint. I don’t know why that is, and it is probably completely psychological, but it’s true. My expectations for a burger grilled at home are just lower than that of a restaurants’. That’s why when my friend, JQ, told me he was making his famous burgers I expected a mediocre burger at best (sorry JQ, this has nothing to do with how I view your cooking skills. He’s a great cook, ladies and gentleman).

These burgers are INCREDIBLE. I told JQ from the start that if I was going to review his burgers, I was going to have to be honest and wasn’t going to say they were great just because he is my friend. So I promise I am being completely unbiased when I tell you these are the best home-grilled burgers I’ve ever had. Burgers should be about the meat. Kevin and I have mentioned in other posts that although toppings can really enhance a burger, the meat should always be the star in any great burger. The flavor of JQ’s burger is off the charts! It’s so well seasoned, that I literally didn’t put anything else on my burger. No ketchup, no mustard, no lettuce or onion or pickles. Just the burger and the bun, and to be completely honest it didn’t even need the bun. The meat was the star in these homemade burgers.

The thing that makes these burgers so unique is the asian-inspired flavor. JQ’s recipe is secret for now, but whatever he puts in his marinade makes a really unique flavor with a slight kick.

If I had to criticize something, it would probably be the Kroger buns, but I dont really feel like I can give him too hard a time about the buns since he was grilling at home. Now if he was opening a burger joint, I would suggest he spend more time considering the bun. And as I previously stated, his burgers were so good they didn’t even really need the bun.

One last comment on the quality of these burgers. I was over at JQ and his wife, Chandler’s, house recently and they offered me a leftover burger. Can we all agree that burgers are not as good leftover? I was hungry though, so I accepted the free meal. The burger was just as good a day old as it was freshly made. Now THAT says something.

Do any of you have special burger recipes of your own you would like to share? I would love to hear what makes your homemade burgers unique.

Thanks for reading, and I hope everyone has a wonderful, burger-filled, Fourth of July with friends and family! God Bless ‘Merica! 🙂