CityBeat’s Burger Week is back with seven whole days dedicated to America’s favorite sandwich. Over 50 restaurants throughout the Tristate are serving up both classic and gourmet creations for only $5, with no shortage of culinary concoctions to fulfill every meaty — or vegetarian — craving.
Participants can hop from joint to joint with an official Burger Week passport, available here. Passports list specialty burgers available at each participating restaurant, including designations showing where vegetarian options are available. Get yours stamped at at least three locations for a chance to win an epic grill-out from the Ohio Beef Council.
We asked our interns to eat three Burger Week burgers in one go — a meal that may sound excessive, but luckily, two were for dessert.
Washington Platform Saloon and Restaurant
Ordered: Breakfast burger and side salad
Washington Platform is a classy place. I walked in and felt as if I were transported to the “good old days”; the second I saw a leering Elvis statue wearing a sombrero I knew I was in another world. As the only non-vegetarian at the table, I felt an obligation to try the breakfast hamburger to fully survey the spread despite my aversion to fried egg. While some may revel in the ripe yoke dripping over their burger, my childlike distaste for “weird textures” made me apprehensive. Luckily, the egg is fairly unobtrusive. After the first bite sent a wave of yoke crashing onto my plate, I was left with a standard (and delicious) burger. Consisting of homemade chorizo goetta, American cheese, fried egg, curry aioli, lettuce, and tomato, each bite was a unique blend of flavors. The curry aioli was spicy, but the vegetables and cheeses cut the taste with a fresh sweetness. It was filling, but light enough that between my burger and side salad, I was pleasantly full.
Ordered: Black bean burger with provolone, basil, tomato and roasted garlic mayonnaise
Burgers are a path to true contentment. A restaurant that opts to include their vegetarian brethren in the path to enlightenment already has a leg up in my book. The art of the bean burger patty is a difficult one to perfect. It can be too compact or too loose; some try to imitate beef too much, while others are tasteless. Washington Platform has crafted a patty somewhere in the middle — squashed between two halves of a sesame bun, the patty has a slight spice and it feels homey. It’s layered provolone, fresh basil and a garlicky mayo spread topped with classic tomato and lettuce. Burgers’ longtime partner — fries — made an appearance too, crinkled and dusted in BBQ flavor. Speaking as a true fan, I prefer them shoestring-style and crispy. The dim lighting, off-white walls and Elvis Presley statue in the restaurant makes this spot feel like you just stepped out of a TARDIS into a past time.
Ordered: Black Bean Burger Caprese
I’ll start by saying that I’m a classic burger kind of girl. Though I’m a vegetarian, I want the works when my veggie burger makes it off the grill — onion, tomato, pickle, ketchup and a bit of mustard will do. But I was happy to try Washington Platform’s caprese burger in honor of Burger Week. The patty was delicious, and the Italian-inspired flavor was creative. Complete with cheese, basil and tomato, it truly tasted like a caprese salad. But it was an update on a classic. The restaurant opted for provolone in place of mozzarella and roasted garlic mayonnaise in place of oil or vinegar. It opened my eyes to the potential for experimentation in my own burger making. But next time I may go for something a little more in my comfort zone — I hear Tickle Pickle in Northside has a classic complete with a vegan patty and spicy ketchup.
Ordered: Macaron Burger
Surrounded by pastel patties, the burger macarons take on an uncanny sense of realism. They have an almond flour-flavored bun sprinkled with real sesame seeds, modeling chocolate the exact texture of cheese and lettuce and two thick, dark chocolate patties. Each pack comes with two, and their full flavor left me almost as full as a real burger. The taste of this slightly supersized macaron is exactly what I used to imagine meat pies tasting like: so sweet, but almost savory due to the rich flavor. The ambiance is trendy, like walking into a Barbie Goes to Paris Dreamhouse — pink, pastel and pretty. The bar itself is tiny, but like their macarons, it only makes it more adorable. Just beware of going with annoying friends (like me) who will wax poetic about eating macarons: “When I was in France…”
Ordered: Macaron Burger
Macaron Bar feels designed for optimal lighting to fulfill the need to show off the trendy, French dessert on Instagram. The treat made for Burger Week is twee and surprisingly filling. Real sesame seeds topped the sugary bun. Molding chocolate served as wavy lettuce and American cheese. The patty oozed between and was made of deep, dark chocolate. Adding a photo to my Snapstory captioned with “Intern Lyfe,” a few believed I was chowing down on Play-Doh. Rest assured, that’s against CityBeat’s ethics. Straight out of a cartoon, the delicious, hip macaron was nearly too #aesthetic to eat.
Ordered: Macaron Burger
I’m a true believer in one theory that determines cuteness: The smaller the object, the cuter the object. This macaron was to a burger as a kitten is to a cat. Made with real sesame seeds and modeling chocolate as lettuce and cheese, the macaron tricked my eye. The sweet and airy almond meringue was almost a surprise, and the chocolate ganache was deep and dark. My only qualm was the modeling chocolate, but to be fair, I’m not a fan of white chocolate. Luckily, it didn’t overwhelm the dark. But it did add two chewy layers to a typically light dessert, making it about as filling as part one of our meal.
She’s living her best life directing high school band and on a detox diet. Sad.
CINCINNATI BURGER WEEK continues through Sunday at various locations throughout the Tristate. For more information and a full list of participating restaurants, visit cincinnatiburgerweek.com.