Sunday, March 16, 2008

J. G. Melons

Huge. 8oz of juicy ground beef. J. G.’s has an open kitchen across from the bar, so we watched ‘em being cooked while we were waiting for a table and it was all I could do to keep from slobbering. Unfortunately my bacon cheeseburger had no flavor – no charbroil or seasoning – and it was just a large patty of meat. It’s what you’d get if you squished two handfuls of beef together and put it in a frying pan at home. It’s a big burger, but that’s all it is.

Crinkle-cut, round, cottage fries that were probably sitting under a heating lamp for too long. Points for doing something different with the shape, but they gotta be fresh to be good.

No onion rings on the menu. But chili was and just seeing it being dished out planted the seed for me to get some. Once again, there was no zing or zest in the bowl and nothing that mom couldn’t have served up to feed the kids.

I just had Bass, but the bar was well-stocked and I could have found quality in whatever type of alcohol I wanted.

The waitress seemed to miss a couple of requests for things, but she was pleasant enough. The place was busy and booming for a Friday night. And I actually liked the watermelon theme throughout the place.

Probably. I’m surprised it’s made so many best lists, but that’s probably because of the size. But when it’s said and done I felt like J. G. Melon’s would land just north of average on our best burger list.

Yummy Yummy Yummy (I Got Love In My Tummy)

A couple of friends of mine recently started on a burger quest. We didn’t really set out on a “quest,” but one Friday GJ said let’s grab a burger at BLT Burger and we did. Then the following weekend we found ourselves at a joint in Alphabet City and then it became an almost weekly thing.

So our burger crusade has become a nice conversation starter because even a vegetarian is on the lookout for a decent veggie burger (though they’ll never find that out here!). And once you tell someone what we’re doing, they inevitably ask, “so where’s the best one?” and “are you writing reviews?” Well it’s too early in the search to say where the best one is yet, and with my poor memory, it’s bordering on too late to write them up.

But it’s clear you can’t start a mission like this and not document it, so here’s my feeble attempt. Please note that these are not really reviews. I don’t know much about food and probably couldn’t tell ground chuck from sirloin. And I can’t find a non-stilted or clichéd way of writing a restaurant review – so I’m not going to try. When I wrote music “reviews” I always wanted to find a way to make the music pertinent to your life. Thus my goal was to give you a sense of whether a record would appeal to your ears. Who better to judge the quality of music then the listener and the maker. And so it goes with burgers.

However, these write ups include the thoughts of the 3 main participants. I pulled out what’s important to me and threw a few words down about those things so that you could decide for yourself if you want to go. But my counterparts have a different interest in food. GJ would never be so pretentious to describe himself as a “foodie,” but Fish and I have no compunction about describing him as such. And Fish is a former chef who’s run kitchens in some very popular restaurants around New York City. So he gets the “chef” designation and brings that knowledge to our journey. Me? I once described myself as a food pedestrian – meaning my taste buds are not well developed, but I know what I like and don’t like (which could be anything from Taco Bell to the Union Square Café).

If you’re in town and want to join us on one of our burger treks, say the word. Otherwise heed these words and enjoy your next hamburger.

Yummy, Yummy, Yummy,
I. got love in my tummy,
That your love can satisfy;
Love, you're such a sweet thing,
Good enough to eat thing
And sweet thing, that ain't no lie.
I love to hold ya,
Oh love, to kiss ya,
Ooh love, I love it so.
Ooh love, you're sweeter,
Sweeter than sugar.
Ooh love, I wont let you go.

--Ohio Express