Monday, October 31, 2011

Hawksworth at the Georgia Hotel

Fancy place, Hawksworth at the newly renovated Georgia Hotel in downtown Vancouver.

A fancy shmancy gourmet burger awaits. And by the way when I say fancy gourmet burger I don't actually want to insinuate that this burger is instantly better the some fantastic hole in the wall or casual eatery burgers around town. Rather fancy is a function of 3 things:

1. Price. Its going to be expensive, in this case $18. After all have you seen this restaurant, huge overhead, they have to pay for fancy space, perfectly quaft pretty people and spotless designer uniforms.

Check, everyone and everything looks stylishly perfect.

2. A Celebrity chef. Check again, David Hackworth gained fame through many award winning restaurants, Vancouver Chef of the year in 2008 and currently parlays this into guest judging appearances on Top Chef Canada.

3. The Show. Your food does not just arrive but is presented to you in a beautifully choreographed dance and once placed before you is entirely camera ready. Check once again, this is a purdy looking burger.

So is the burger any good or is it just hype and ambiance? I think a little of both. My friend Deb and I both had the burger and we were both in agreement that this was a perfectly tasty burger a solid 8.5/10.

Here's' the breakdown:

The server asked "how would you like your burger done"? Music to my ears exactly what I want to hear when I order a burger, unfortunately 98% of the time its " would you like fries or salad"... really? Like there's any option anyway.

Speaking of fries the advertised frites were not. Instead, they were big thick beams of potatoes stacked appropriately enough, depending at how you look at things, in a square resembling a log cabin. Hmm I had the same thing at Hackworth’s previous Restaurant West. Not impressed, just deliver some really good frits please, its hard to improve on a classic.

The flavour of the burger was better than good, but not great, coming predominantly from the bbq sauce and oven roasted tomatoes. I also expected a much juicier burger especially from one cooked medium rare. The bun fell apart, which usually happens in my humble experience when it's not fresh. Dare I say that Hawksorth served a burger on a day old bun?

This is all sounding a bit harsh but really in the end a good burger. But then, I think Hackworth’s is more about the experience and not necessarily about the burger.

By the way we had a few appies that were absolutely outstanding.

The highlights:

Baised ShortRibs

48 hr beef shortrib black pepper jam, honeydew, green papaya, peanut, thai basil.

yellowfin tuna carpaccio avocado, cucumber, yuzu, puffed rice

(the puffed rice didn’t work but the tuna rocked)

Pork Dumplings

Chocolate Desert
I’m definitely coming back for dinner.

Tuna Carpaccio

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hog Shack Cookhouse

I’m a bit disgusted with myself. No, actually, I’m totally discussed at myself. I ordered the Flatline Burger at the Hog Shack Cookhouse. Two patties, gobs of cheese stuffed between two grilled cheese sandwiches. What the hell was I thinking? I don’t usually go for the gimmicky Man v. Food type of its free if you can finish it in 5 min type of burger. And on a side note, do you really think Adam Richman is going to make it to his 40th b-day (currently 37) without a massive coronary? But I digress.

OK, so I was curious, I’ve never had a grill cheese burger before and what the heck. Now I can honestly say, “Never again” and, in case you are wondering, no, I did not finish it.

This thing is not really a real burger, it’s a marketing piece, it gets people talking but really you should never order one, it’s the futuristic concept car at the auto shows that will never be produced commercially. Sadly, Flatliiner has been released to the public.

Just not enjoyable, you can’t really eat this like a burger it’s just too thick, it falls apart and then you end up doing the unimaginable, using a knife and fork on a burger. The patty’s were well seasoned, bordering on a meatloaf feel and cooked through just like a meatloaf. Nice tomatoes, tons of cheese, this thing is a mess. I’m not going to rate it.

BTW just to maintain that gimmicky marketing feel, the Hog Shack should place an emergency defibrillator by the front door with a sign “in case of Flatliner Emergency”. Just trying to help Although, the grill cheese buns are made with whole wheat bread, so maybe the defibrillator is not needed ;)

My dining companion, Paula, was much smarter than me; she ordered the Classic, 6 oz burger. And she liked it. A solid 7.5/10 apparently not juicy enough to completely rave, but it had sufficient flavor. Yes, the patty was a cooked dry disk; same as my two but it looks like we have some decent potential here for a good burger just don’t flatline. Unless of course you can eat it in 5 minutes because then it’s free.