Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Best Burgers in Baltimore?

Burger with Swiss, Bacon, Caramelized Onions,
Mushrooms and Garlic Mayo
The holidays have kept me away from the blogging game for awhile but that doesn't mean we've been resting on our laurels. The Hungover Gourmet is still out there pounding the pavement, trying new things and attempting to track down some good eats.

One of our favorite finds this last month was Baltimore Burger Bar down in the Hampden neighborhood. I took a flier on a local coupon for the joint earlier in the year and realized a few days before Christmas that it was about to expire.

Knowing that Ryan probably wouldn't go for the esoteric burger toppings – the BBB PB&J features "grass-fed beef, fresh peanut butter, berry elderflower marmalade, herbed banana and brussel sprouts, bacon, gouda" – we got a sitter for the afternoon and headed down to give it a try.

Frankly, most of the burgers I've had in Baltimore haven't been much to write home about. Either the restaurant is unwilling or incapable of cooking the burger the way I want (rare to medium rare), or the place serves up a decent burger that's no better than anything I can make at home. (Which is one of the reasons I have yet to try the much lauded Five Guys. I feel like I'm bound for disappointment.)

Up to this point, my favorite Baltimore burgers came via the Chowhound food truck that was hired to cater the fundraiser at my daughter's pre-school. And even though I was unimpressed by the rest of the meal, the Kobe and Foie Gras sliders at Salt are still memorable several years later.

Until further notice the Baltimore Burger Bar serves up my favorite burger in the area. Though a bit pricey (two burgers, two sides of fries and a couple canned sodas came in around $30), the grass-fed beef burgers are a hefty handful that were actually prepared the way both my wife and I like them cooked. The row house location is definitely casual and you can sit outside if the weather's nice or head up to a table in one of the rooms that overlook the Avenue. Makes for great people watching while you fight to keep the burger juices from escaping past your wrist and down your sleeve.

Topping options are plentiful and range from traditional to more outré. Side orders of fries were nothing remarkable but came well-seasoned with salt and black pepper. On my return visit I'll probably skip the fries and hope that one of their soups is in stock.

I plan to give Five Guys and the resurrected Gino's a try in the coming months, as well as a return trip to Towson's own Burger Brothers. Any other Baltimore area burgers I should definitely try? Or definitely avoid?


Johntaro said...

What about Alonso's on Cold Spring Lane? Their cheeseburgers used to be legendary (in a great way). I wonder if they still are?

Dan said...

I have not been to Alonso's in years but yes, their burgers were legendary. They were huge but I found them to be hit or miss with the quality. Good call, though, should definitely make a return trip one of these days.

Mercedes said...

Great post! My husband and I will be in the Baltimore area for Memorial Day and I definitely want to stop at the Burger Bar to receive some beefy goodness! Not sure how often you or anyone else frequents NJ but we have a great burger joint here as well called Frankly Burgers. If you're ever in the area, make sure you check it out; you wont be dissapointed. Sometimes it's difficult to find a great burger in NJ so I'm looking forward to my vacation and with your recommendation, a tasty burger!

Dan said...

Mercedes: Thanks for the comment and be sure to let me know if you get down to Burger Bar. Our quest continues so keep us posted if you try anyplace else in your travels!

Tamela Craig said...

You could have missed the chance of your life when you almost forgot that your coupon was almost invalid in the Baltimore Burger Bar. But if it happened you could have looked for another Burger Bar that you could spend your holidays with.

Anonymous said...

Golden West in Hampden, they use locally sourced ingredients, very very good