The Americana burger - house made burger with sweet and sour coleslaw, cheese, pickles, American mustard, and our chipotle BBQ sauce served with fries - $18
With a description like that you need to be intrigued!! Sweet and sour, chipotle BBQ sauce, American mustard. A wacky mix that would either be sublime or substandard.
Chicago Bar is a self proclaimed American style sports cafe, so it had to have burgers on its menu that required rating.
Taking along my fellow burger afficionado Brad, we hit the joint for lunch.
Both of us had consulted the online menu. Brad bagsed the Hurricane burger, which was described as "the biggest burger in town" and had a $22 price tag to match. That left me with the Americana burger. I must add here that they also had a burger on their $12 menu- a beef burger with cheese, mesculin (sic), BBQ sauce and fries, which I didn't consider. In hindsight it might have been a better option.
The burgers were ordered and arrived in good time. As depicted in the picture they were smaller than we thought they would be. To be fair, they were relatively high - hence the need for a skewer to keep it from collapsing.
Opening the Americana up, the first sign for concern appeared. There was a solid slathering of American mustard. Either it absorbed the house chipotle BBQ sauce, or there was none and they doubled up on the mustard. I am guessing the latter. I can't be sure but the pickle appeared to be sweet & sour gherkins.
There may have been cheese in under the mustard but again I am not certain. The other angle, the cross-section, didn't provide conclusive evidence. Benefit of the Doubt? In any case, the proof is in the tasting.
Now here is the trick to making the intriguing mix of flavours work. Drown the whole thing in mustard, which will completely overpower any other flavour you may have added. There was no subtle sweet and sour or chipotle BBQ flavour. Another negative was that the bun, even though it was well toasted, was crumbly. It wasn't overly tasty and didn't support the burger.
On a positive note, the pattie was well cooked and seasoned nicely.
I didn't try Brad's Hurricane burger, but he commented that he had seen bigger burgers at the little ripper's open day. Okay I made that up. The point being that the burger was not large. The only thing that made it appear big was the fact it was stacked high and there was no way you could pick it up and eat it. Knife and fork material.
So, it has taken me a while to post this review. The main reason being that it left me totally uninspired. For an establishment that trades on its Americanness, you would think that they could make a decent burger. Underwhelming and overpriced. 4 out of 10 for me. I think Brad rated his burger slightly higher...
The service, on the other hand, could not be faulted. The beer was excellent!! The venue was a bit nostalgic as the Chicago Bar served as our rugby clubrooms in the late 90's. Many great memories and my first introduction to "the Beat Girls".