Apr 13 2010

Top 10 Burgers in Denver: Elways “Smashburger”

jko

Elway’s “Smashburger”

Location: Cherry Creek

Price:  $12.50

The Skinny: Elways, in spite of the marketing-gimmick name, actually does a lot of things right, and in some cases brilliantly.  They’re pleasant at the door, the servers are friendly and professional, the space is beautiful, and their food is absolutely rock solid. I’ve been here a few times and have literally left thinking it was one of the best dishes of its kind in the city.

At the center of this is Tyler Wiard – executive chef of Elways, and highly esteemed player in the local food community.  The guy transforms every meat dish in the place into a memorable experience – turning lamb chops and cheeseburgers into flavor milestones.  I might not remember my parent’s birthday, but I remember where I was sitting the first time I had the Elways Smashburger

I don’t know who had the idea of calling it a “smashburger” first, but the name graces the menus of at least 4 Denver restaurants I can think of.  Apparently, in addition to a catchy title, it is also a style of cooking the burger.  At Elways, they cook one side, flip it, and then smash the hell out of it.  This, according to my waiter, helps retain the juices and doesn’t bruise the beef – prime beef, for those keeping score.  However it’s done, it works.  And well.  The beef is tender and moist, and dominates the flavor of the burger, as a good patty should do.  This, along with the cheese, puts it head and shoulders above the other smashburgers (and non-smashburgers) in town.

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Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)

Apr 2 2010

Top 10 Burgers in Denver: TAG’s “Cheeseburger”

jko

TAG’s “Cheeseburger”

Location: Downtown

Price:  $12

The Skinny: Ok, I’ll admit to being a little bit of an evangelist when it comes to TAG.  I discovered their food while doing the list of 100, and fell madly in love.  I introduced my parents to it shortly after.  They got along well.  Siblings and friends are next, then maybe I’ll think about a ring.  It’s just that I haven’t found one thing they don’t do well, and I almost wish I did, so I didn’t come off as such a shill.  No such luck in finding it with their burger – it was awesome.

The stamp of this burger is the meat and bun -the real cornerstones of greatness.  Put all the truffles and foie gras in there all you want, but the bun and meat better deliver or it’s sunk.  Maybe the picture isn’t amazing, but take a look at that bun there – see the pockets of air in the bread?  That, along with the buttery top gives the thing a lightness and slight crunch when you bite in, almost like a croissant.  In the middle of that was the delicious meat.  Fresh, perfectly cooked, and full of moisture and flavor.  Maybe more medium-rare than medium, which was fine by me in a joint like this.  I had a few fun toppings but the meat, as it should be, was the star.

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Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)