Tag Archives: Burgers

Chef Mike’s Charcoal Grill

12 Mar

I’ve had this Living Social deal for quite a while, so prior to the Michael Jackson Cirque show, hubs and I made our way to Chef Mike’s for (what we anticipated to be) a quick bite. I’ve heard about the place, but not much besides where it was located and that they (obviously) use a charcoal grill for the menu.

When walking in, you walk into a small space with two hallways leading in the opposite direction. One door was labeled for a private party, so we went into the ‘bar’ side. As we walked down the hall, we were abruptly stopped by the hostess. She awkwardly informed us she would seat us and then walked back down the hall to grab menus, then disappeared. She ended up circling the restaurant (from the opposite side) and aggressively saying “I thought you were following me?” An awkward layout with an equally awkward greeting.

We ended up in a booth down the right hallway, which then in return had me sitting with my jacket on the whole meal due to the cold draft that came up from the front door. The atmosphere was extremely casual, a family friendly bar of booths and tables lining the wall to the medium sized bar. I didn’t make my way back there, but hubs informed after he had used the restroom that there was a large room on what I perceived to be the ‘other side’ of the restaurant (where the private party was). He said it was open and nicely laid out, though not really private for the group that was there.

After 10 minutes or so of waiting, our server approached in a slightly rushed manner. The private party was about to put in their order, so she encouraged us to order right away to beat that rush. I appreciated the gesture, and was lucky to have had those 10 minutes to decide what I wanted. We ordered a crock of the apple onion soup to share and each a burger. A few minutes later, she came by with our drinks and we began to wait for our meal. And then we waited some more. Confusion set in when a family of 6 were given there meal prior to us, though they came in after we did. At this point, time was ticking away. Time we didn’t have to be forgotten as we had to leave for downtown. At this point, I thought my soup was a lost cause, but she finally showed up with it, which is when we then asked to have our check delivered with our food to help save on time.

The soup was smokey. Not just the apples and onions, but the broth and cheese seemed almost like it was infused with charcoal smoke. Both hubs and I assumed it had been sitting in the smoke right at the end to finish it off with that flavor. But it was overwhelming – and I should have stirred it up because as we approached the end of the crock, it wasn’t smokey at all. The onions and apples were tender and slightly sweet, with a rich and subtly smokey beef broth. It was a good cup of soup, something different and unexpected.

During our soup eating, the time continued to tick down to 10 minutes until we had to go. She refilled my soda at one point, and we had to unfortunately ask for our food to go. It came out about 5 minutes after in to go containers. I was trying to finish the soup, so hubs started on his burger. He raved between bites, liking the taste and texture of the burger, while I worked on paying our bill. My burger looked great, but it was missing the tomato, lettuce and pickle. The bun looked and tasted fresh with a slight charcoal char. It was thick enough to uphold the juicy chive and bourbon burger with jalapeno havarti cheese. As I ate it (in the car), I really enjoyed the charcoal taste that I love with burgers. It wasn’t overwhelming like the soup, but definitely lingered after every bite. The chives provided a crunchy texture and subtle onion flavor with every bite, but I couldn’t get any bourbon taste out of the mix. I’m not quite sure why I ordered havariti – it is great for melted cheese, but so mild in taste and the anticipated spice was non-existent. The burger itself was very good – I didn’t need the cheese or the missing toppings to know that I liked the flavor. My side were potato skins – which were really deep fried potato slices. They were different and good despite being pretty greasy, I enjoyed seeing a side that I hadn’t seen before.

I clearly thought just over one hour would have been enough time for this meal. Maybe without a large group and busy server, we could have. But I think that our order may have been delayed or forgotten. The service wasn’t very apologetic, not that she was rude either, just slightly uncomfortable as she knew we weren’t very happy about it all. To add onto the annoyance, we didn’t even get the right amount off our bill from our Living Social deal. It was $20 worth of food and our server ended up only discounting us $15, but I didn’t have the time to argue the bill as we were grabbing our to-go boxes and running to the car. Despite all of the setbacks, the burgers were great. And overall, we did make it to our show on time due to inhaling our burgers in the car. I’d go back, but I would also ensure that I didn’t have a place I had to be afterwards.

Chef Mike’s Charcoal Grill * 7102 Woodland Dr. * Indianapolis, 46278 * 317.295.9490 * @chefmikesgrill

Krolls West (Green Bay, WI)

28 Dec

A staple in Green Bay, Kroll’s is a restaurant many visitors dine at when visiting. Located across the street from the famous Lambeau Field, Kroll’s is a great place to grab a burger before game time. This past weekend, hubs and I were in Green Bay to visit family for the holidays and made our stop at Kroll’s. There isn’t a visit home that we don’t dine at Kroll’s.

I usually order the same thing, despite many of the menu items being great. But when you only get to dine at a restaurant you love twice or maybe three times a year, you savor every bite of your favorites. So this time around, a cheeseburger with everything except onions and a bowl of chili, spaghetti and cheddar included. The cheeseburger is a thin patty, but it has a great charcoal taste to it from the open flame that they use. The ketchup (maybe catsup) is always warm and the melted butter is dripping from every bite. Classic yellow mustard gives you a slight tang while the pickle crunch gives you that added texture. Your fingers will be shining with the butter, but it doesn’t matter, it’s that good. And the buns are also toasted. If you are lucky, you may get a toasted bite of cheese on the bun, like a mini toasted cheese sandwich – delish. A perfect vehicle for this memorable burger. They make a mean toasted cheese sandwich too.

And the chili – I love this chili. It is greasy, clearly from sight. But there isn’t a greasy taste to it. Just a meaty, subtly spicy glow. The meat is fine, but the chili still has a substance despite it being ground. There isn’t much to it, but it is divine. And an optional addition, spaghetti and cheddar, always compliment this bowl of chili for me.

It may not look pretty, wrapped in paper and presented by rotating servers. You order with a call button on the wall and get small glasses of water to sip on while you wait. And I love it all. There is something about Kroll’s. It may remind me of grade school dances and meeting up with friends after, or of grabbing a quick bite to eat with my mom when shopping. The food is good. It is solid. There is something special about this place that will always have me returning and out of town guests wanting to grab a burger or cheese curds.

Kroll’s West * 1990 S. Ridge Road * Green Bay, WI * 920.497.1111

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Carmel Burgers

31 Mar

Hubs and I had planned to dine at Carmel Burgers a few different times, but we always get side tracked.  Finally, we had a casual Saturday evening and headed that way with some friends to watch some NCAA basketball and nosh on some food.

First things first, the restaurant is definitely casual.  From the website, I was expecting a more ‘comfortable’ atmosphere where you could have some drinks and watch some March Madness.  But I knew this wasn’t the case as hubs and I peeked in when we dined at Pizzology last week.  However, my friends had no idea to how casual it really was until they walked in the door.  For a party of six, we had to sit at two tables since seating is limited parties of four or less – but it is so casual that pulling some chairs aside isn’t a big deal.  And I believe there was only one tv, so space is limited if you are there to watch a game.

Hub ordered the For the Love of Bacon burger, which consisted of bleu cheese and bacon.  The burger was 1/3 lb., and had good flavor.  It was cooked all the way through (you aren’t asked how you would like it cooked, so it made me wonder if the patties were frozen), but still had juice to the bite.  His didn’t come with any veggies on the side (unlike all the other burgers our friends ordered with an overly large slice of lettuce, onions, and tomato), and he smothered his in the subtly sweet bbq condiment that was offered.  He also ordered the steak fries covered in cheese.  They were like your standard steak fries covered in a heavy dose of melted cheese sauce.  I am not a huge steak fries fan (too much potato for me – I know, ironic), which is why I say they were standard.  Note – our orders didn’t come out correctly.  My onion rings were served with hubs burger (but really, it wasn’t a big deal, just note it for the photos on why they don’t match up.)I love a good burger, but I ended up ordering the gyro.  I knew I was going to get a bite of hubs, and I’m a sucker for a good gyro.  Plus, there was an option of adding feta cheese for $.50 – I couldn’t pass that up.  The gyro was very good and quite large – I would even say it is one of the best gyro’s I’ve had in the city.  The meat was tender and I was happy to experience it as the main taste of the sandwich.  Sometimes tzaziki can be overwhelming, but there was a perfect amount this time and it gave the whole sandwich a strong, garlic taste.  I would have preferred one more tomato, and the onions didn’t bring much to the plate, and there was a heavy dose of feta.  Though I love my cheese, I think it wasn’t the wisest decision because it made the sandwich awfully salty.  There was a lot of feta – which I love – but with the tzaziki and slightly salty meat, it was a little too much for me, so next time I may cut back on it or skip it.  But I loved the components – a great sandwich.  For my side, I ordered onion rings.  And I have to confirm random dude eats random food – yes, those onion rings were good, but definitely frozen and not made in house (I asked to make sure).

Our friends all ordered the combos (a burger, fries and soda for about $6) and seemed to enjoy their burgers.  I did notice one of their burgers had an onion taste to it, though onions weren’t present, so that was slightly interesting.  One of them ordered wings as well, which come in a few different flavors.  These were basic bbq, but seemed more fatty than usual.  I guess it makes sense to not order wings at a burger joint – stick to the gyro or try a burger for sure.

One thing I really liked was the offering of sriachi as a condiment.  I feel like you don’t see that very often, so I happily dipped my onion rings into the spicy condiment.  I enjoyed that you could add your own condiments and that there was more than the ketchup and yellow mustard staples.

Overall, it was good because that was what we were going for.  A basic burger in a casual environment.  But, living down the street from another popular burger joint (and just as casual) in Carmel, I don’t know if I would make it my staple.  But for those who live in that immediate area, it has potential.

Carmel Burgers * 5790 East Main Street  * Carmel, IN * 317.848.5060

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