I received a comment from a reader, "ed" - who I've decided is probably this Ed, ahem (it isn't that Ed, just for the record, but I'm leaving the link in anyway, because I like his blog) - who complained about my lack of burger hunts lately. Touché, snarky reader, touché. This post is dedicated to you. There are various reasons for my lack of burger posts (the number one being calories), but you are correct, I have been slacking in the burger hunt department, and I still have so many places to visit - Swenson's, Johnny's, Kewpie - not to mention the places still in Columbus.
Husband and I visited the Press Grill a few weeks ago to test how the new owners were transitioning. Of course, we've eaten at the Press lots of times - especially when we lived in the Short North, when we made frequent use of their daily specials ($1 tacos on Wednesdays, $1 Nathan's chili dogs on Mondays, and the $10 Strip Steak on Sundays). Now we don't make it as often as we used to, but it's nice they serve late so we can visit from time to time after work.
When Husband and I began our burger hunt, I suggested we divide the hunt into two categories - greasy, "fast food" style burgers vs. "gourmet" burgers. For example, I would classify the burger at the Rossi (which we just revisted this week, and it was still a 4 fry burger - maybe even a 4.5 fry burger) as a gourmet burger. It's big, thick, grilled and meaty, you can have it cooked to your preference, it's a hand formed patty, etc. Then there's something like the Press burger, which is probably frozen, cooked on a griddle, and soul-satisfyingly greasy. About a month ago, Husband ordered a triple Press burger after work one night, and complained that the bun couldn't stand up to the burgers within. "Husband," I said, "What do you expect? Three greasy patties?" He conceded he had probably demanded a little more of the bun than it could have possibly delivered.
All of this to say, we decided not to have separate categories, but within each review, we could just specify the sort of burger and not try to compare it to other burgers. Each has its own place.
The Press serves my favorite variety of burger: burger topped with fried egg and cheese. Oh, how I love thee, burger topped with fried egg and cheese, may you never be removed from my favorite menus. I have also discovered that this is a burger best consumed late at night, preferably with a beer. I had it for lunch, and, although delicious, I did suffer a weighed down feeling that I'd rather sleep off than work through.
At any rate, I think you can see from the picture (top of post) that the egg is a large part of this equation. The properly cooked burger-topping egg should be cooked on a griddle with lots of butter, and should have brown, lacy edges. Check, check and check. The yolk should be soft but not liquidy - you really don't want yolk going all over you (at least I don't), but you still want it to ooze very slightly and flavor the rest of the burger. Cheese glues the egg to the burger, crisp lettuce and pickles make a nice foil for the richness, and mayo makes the burger completely over-the-top rich. The bun is nicely toasted on aforementioned buttered grill (which is probably really coated with something "butteresque" with loads of artery-clogging transfats). And guilt-inducing, quite frankly. It is for this reason that I can really only justify eating this burger again without a little "liquid guilt-remover," (ie, Basil Hayden).
So, how did I feel about this burger? Pretty good, actually. I give this burger 3 fries. It's a greasy, heart-stopping guilty pleasure. Husband's burger - the regular Press Burger with cheese - gets 2.5 fries, simply because it didn't contain an egg. And it comes with the Press' blah fries; pre-frozen steak fries (not to be confused with steak frites, mind you) which are not well seasoned. Or even seasoned, so it would seem. Fortunately, the fried egg burger (the 740 burger, if you want to get technical), comes solo. Skip the fries and go for the mac and cheese. I mean, clearly you aren't eating this on a diet, right?
Oh - I would be remiss if I didn't mention the yummy wedge salad at the Press. It's one of the few things in any after-work dining establishment which I can eat with only a modicum of guilt (never mind the cups of bleu cheese dressing, the bacon, the egg, and the crumbled bleu):
info: Press Grill, 741 N. High St (in the Short North) 614.294.2860 For the rest of my burger hunts, click here.