Friday, December 14, 2012

A Burger Joint?

In the Number Two spot on’s list of restaurants in this upscale enclave of expensive condos, houses, shops, and restaurants?

We had reason to cross the San Diego Bay to Coronado Island and part of the plan involved lunch. The Number One spot was a very expensive Crown Room at the Hotel Del Coronado, which, besides not being open for lunch, was way beyond our budget. So on to Number Two—Burger Lounge.
“Burger Lounge grew out of the idea that a hamburger should not only taste great, it should also utilize healthy ingredients produced in a sustainable environment. We provide a simple premium quality menu that appeals to health conscious diners, vegetarians, salad lovers, and diners simply ‘hankering for a great hamburger.’

“Our beef comes from one farm, grown by a small company where the animals are well-treated and never spend time in a corporate ‘feed-lot.’ Their diet consists of tall green grass from beautiful Kansas prairie land.
This is what nature intended cows to eat and nothing more. No hormones, no antibiotics, no grain, no corn, just beautiful green grass. These conditions produce a beef that is delicious and far better for you than conventionally grown beef” (

Burger Lounge is part of a small regional chain that began in La Jolla and has expanded to multiple outlets in the San Diego area and Orange County. The Coronado outlet occupies a long and narrow space along Orange Avenue which seems to be, along with the ferry landing, a center of the Island’s (which is really not an island) retail and restaurant universe.

This is an order-at-the-counter-get-a-numbered-placquard-find-a-seat-and-wait-for-your-food-to-be-delivered kind of place.
And if the pile of paper bags behind the counter is any indication, Burger Lounge is popular with the take-out crowd.
And note the tops of the beer taps. They are representations of the domed section of the roof of the Hotel Del.

The menu offers two salads. One, the Fresh Vegetable Salad, includes romaine, spinach, arugula, tomato, corn, cucumber, red onion, jicama, and ricotta with a lemon-basil or buttermilk ranch dressing. The other, the Organic Quinoa Salad, contains roasted baby squash, corn, tomato, arugula, spinach, kale, red onion, toasted almonds, and feta with a smoked tomato vinaigrette.

But it is really about what comes on a bun. The choices include: the Grass Fed Bison Burger with Maytag blue cheese, pickled red onions, and roasted garlic aioli; the Free Range Turkey Burger with fresh basil; the Quinoa Veggie Burger with organic quinoa, brown rice, zucchini, garbanzo, carrot, corn, and chipotle; and the Wild Salmon Burger with fried green tomatoes and house-made bbq glaze. These, and the more traditional hamburgers, come with lettuce, tomato, house-made 1000 Island dressing, organic cheese (white cheddar or American), and fresh or grilled onion.
But do you go to a place called Burger Lounge and not order a burger? In a word—no. So Chuck selected the Lounge Burger—a six-ounce patty that he wanted with the organic cheddar, lettuce, and raw onion. For me, it would be the Baby Lounge Burger which weighed in at only three ounces and with all of the accoutrements.

As described at “The patties of their Grilled Lounge Burger…are made with organic grass-fed beef. The result is a clean, tight flavor, with almost a hint of sour—one might even call it ‘grassy.’ The beef is lean, unlike the usual upscale burger, resulting in is a less indulgent, but more concentrated and tangy beef flavor. The patties are wide, loosely packed, and not very thick.”
Chuck was perfectly happy with his burger, which when cooked medium had some pink in the center. (Medium doneness refers to beef that is a bit pink in the center and gradually becomes gray-brown toward the surface of the meat. When beef is grilled to medium doneness, the surface is nicely seared [].)

I, on the other hand, was not impressed. My three-ounce patty was dry and almost as thin—if not thinner–-than your basic fast-food burger. Look closely at this photo.
Why make the patty so much larger than the bun? Why not make the patty bun-sized? But any flavor this thin patty might have had was overwhelmed by the assorted condiments.

With the burgers, we ordered the half-and-half. Half an order of fries and half an order of onion rings. The parsley-flecked fries were dry, and I suspect had been sitting under a heat lamp in anticipation of the lunch hour crowd. On the other hand, the panko-coated onion rings were among the better ones we have recently eaten.

Chuck and I cannot speak as one about the rating. Chuck thought this was a 4.0 Addie burger lunch. I only give it 2.0 Addies.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

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