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If you enjoy your burgers rare (and, when you find a truly sublime burger, you should), please, please don't call it bloody. It's not bloody. Your rare burger is red and juicy because it's made of muscle and fat, and at 120 F muscle is red and fat is juicy. The only bloody burger I've ever had was the result of a stray cow butchered and hand-ground by my dear friend Johannes when we were lost in the mountains of Patagonia ($1635 plus airfare). With this in mind, let's turn our attention to tonight’s review.
My first Lawrence burger was Krause’s Black & Blue ($7.95) at the Burger Stand. There, in one of the wooden booths at the Casbah, I heard a story about their feud and eventual break from Dempsey's pub. The burger demanded my full attention (more on that next time) so I remember very little of the story, but I left with a compelling need to insert myself into this little burger war. Today, after a painstaking series of trials, it is my pleasure to announce Dempsey's Pub the pants-down winner of the most boner-worthy burger in LFK.
My first attempt at a Dempsey's burger was on a weekday afternoon. I asked Kif, the weekday afternoon bartender, how quickly he could get a burger out for me (a good way to ensure a rare burger) and ordered the bleu burger ($8) rare, with a Boulevard tank 7 ($4). It was a slow afternoon and the chef was also behind the bar. He smiled, and left for the grill. 6 minutes later, I was enjoying the most sublime burger I’ve had in many years. It was warm, soft and juicy, pink on the outside, red in the middle, and with a texture that haunts me like a green kid’s first taste of black tar. The burger is served on a white bun and topped with folded strips of bacon and a caramelized onion confit. The Maytag Blue is there, but it sneaks up on you, folding into the melting redness of the meat only to lash out with moments of salt and complex richness.
Bleu Burger ($8), Dempsey’s Pub:
Sadly, after several tries, they were unable to replicate this masterpiece. They come closest on weekday afternoons. Friday nights and game nights come with a surly crowd of 22-year old kids, inattentive bartenders, and a burger that get lost in the shuffle. But, somehow, even a burger that sits on Dempsey’s grill for a few minutes too long can show flashes of brilliance. Whether it’s the deep, earthy char of a medium well Kobe ($9), or the sharp bite dancing across the Au Poivre ($8), even on its worst day, Dempsey’s is sure to please.
Kobe Burger ($9), Dempsey’s Pub:
Readers, this month's Final Friday was originally slated to include a controversial public chicken slaughter and dinner, but that idea was largely stamped out by the City Fathers and an angry mob of outraged foul-lovers (what's left of the project goes down at the Percolator). Therefore, our best bet for Friday is Wonder Fair's "Cat People" opening, a night of cat-art which will also feature "a Milk Bar and YouTube cat video theater."
Is this a bar where scenesters will lap milk (or PBR) from saucers like kitties? Or are we actually invited to bring our feline companions? Or is this "Milk Bar" like the "milk bar" from A Clockwork Orange (picture below)? The latter is probably unlikely, but let's hope Wonder Fair seizes on this idea for a future opening.
Either way, it's sure to be as profound as it is fucking adorable!