I haven't revisited Latitude 41 since my initial lunch visit, although I have thought often of their chorizo corn dogs. When someone suggested in my Call for Suggestions to try the Latitude 41 burger, it seemed like the perfect time to give it another try.
The first time I visited Lat 41, I think I commented on how it feels really "hotely," as though this were a bad thing, but I'd like to retract that. It does have a hotely feel, don't get me wrong. It might have something to do with the stunningly beautiful day we were having, but walking into the hotel made me feel as though I were on vacation. It was a good feeling, even if it was fleeting.
I would like to mention a few things consumed other than the burger, namely the two soups we had as an appetizer; my sweet corn soup with coconut green curry, which was rich, smooth, and delicious. Too rich to consume the entire bowl, alas, but still quality: the top was dashed with a chiffonade of Thai basil:
Husband opted for the spicy vegetarian gazpacho, which was also a winner. My only complaint about the soups is that they are both a little ahead of their time, seasonally speaking. It's not hot enough out yet for gazpacho, not to mention we are months away from peak tomato season, ditto sweet corn season. This is the season for asparagus and sweet pea soups, chefs of Columbus!
This is a big burger; the menu touts it as being one pound, and while I left my scale at home today, I wouldn't doubt it starts its life as a pound or so. The hefty patty, blanketed by a layer of Ohio Cheddar, is served on a large, delightfully toasted bun - in truth, the first thing I noticed was the buttery, savory, toasted bun surface. It is served with lettuce, tomato, white onions, and the all-important "special sauce." At first, I thought there was a lack of pickle - sure to cause a few dings in Husband's book - but upon closer inspection, I noticed the pickles where there, in the form of sliced gherkins in the special sauce, which was wonderfully reminiscent of a fast food special sauce, a savory blend similar to tartar sauce with a dash of ketchup thrown in. No other condiments needed. The server didn't ask for a temperature, which concerned me; I was unnecessarily concerned the burger would arrive well done, but it was cooked to a juicy medium. The burger was clearly cooked on a grill, maybe even a wood grill; I couldn't see anywhere wood might be hiding, but usually I can taste the telltale chemicallyness (of course that's a word, look it up) of gas-powered grills (I'm sure it's psychosomatic, and I'm willing to accept that). The grill flavor was good, but the outside of the burger had such a grill (or char) flavor, that it kind of overwhelmed everything else. If the meat had just a touch more "meatiness" to it, or was spiked with a dash or ground lamb or something, it might have been able to compete for my taste buds' attention. As it was, the char obscured the other good flavors of the cheese and sauce. This might be a boon to Husband, who loves grilled burgers; I'm willing to admit this might be a personal thing, because it did really taste like a burger which just came off your backyard grill. It's my only complaint about this burger, and kept it from being a 4 fry burger in my book, but just by a hair. Lat 41 gets bonus points for really great, probably double fried frites. 3 1/2 fries.
Latitude 41. Despite two good lunches, I’m still inexplicably leery of Latitude 41. Maybe it’s the fact that use of the first, middle and last name (the restaurant is billed as a "Dean James Max Destination Restaurant") is usually limited to serial killers, Confederate Generals and the pretentious, maybe it’s the stunningly poor wine list or maybe it’s location in a hotel. Reasons aside, the place doesn’t set well with me. However, it does offer a fairly tasty burger. The tall and toasty bun is served with crisp edges; a big plus in my book. The accompaniments, thinly shaved white onion, tomato, cheese and horseradish mayo, played together very well. The juicy patty would have rounded out an exceptional burger if it hadn’t been overly charred. The accompanying fries are light on their feet and well-flavored. A little pricey at $11 but, with the exception of the chalky char, a solid burger. 3.5 Fries.
Consensus? The overly charred exterior of the burger patty marred an otherwise excellent burger. 3.5 fries (somewhere between 3 fries = good burger, would eat again without reservations, sticks in memory, and 4 fries = excellent burger, will definitely eat again)