My husband Matt has a saying when the stress level rises at the restaurant he manages. When the cooks get frazzled he says “Relax, it’s just burgers and beer”. It’s meant to remind them to take it one order at a time and that there are bigger issues to worry about. While it puts great perspective on a stressful situation the truth is that much of America is built on “Burgers and Beer”.
As Americans we all have opinions on the best burger, it’s in our blood, it’s what makes us “happy” as children, it’s a first date food for young and old, available at any level of restaurant and a conversation you can have in any situation (yes even a PETA meeting). I was reading a “Freshly Pressed” blog the other day from JustJotter where the author mentioned not having taken part of the fried egg on burger trend. I commented that the fried egg was a must and provided a restaurant that does this exceptionally well. I then started craving the fried egg burger and couldn’t get it out of my mind for days…
5/13 Hiroshi’s Pub www.hiroshispub.com
Matt had a Friday night off and took me out for my birthday. Not to stand up Jeff, he was of course invited. We’ve been looking forward to sharing this place with him for a while. This is Hiroshi’s newest restaurant, he also owns Shuhei www.shuheirestaurant.com where I had my wedding reception dinner. While Shuhei is more traditional Japanese food, featuring great steaks and the sushi I grew up on, Hiroshi’s Pub features and amazing beer list, great burgers, smoked meat BBQ and an upbeat atmosphere.
Game on – Beer selection! Our server reviews a few of the choice beers. Matt’s favorite, Stone’s Arrogant Bastard, is on draft. I ask what the seasonal selections are. Great Lakes Brewery’s The Dopplerock is on tap. As soon as I order it, my cohorts follow suit. This is a great beer and hard to find on tap. Lightly malty, with a focus on the sweet, floral hops this is a beer best described as friendly. There is no bitterness here, just caramel and toasty flavors. A good first beer for those people who think they don’t like beer.
We decide to order two sides to share. The onion rings are great – enough batter to be crunchy but the onion isn’t lost. We also chose the fried oysters since I know I’ll eat them but Jeff is skeptical. He tried oysters once before but didn’t like them. We all got burgers but ordered them very different ways. I went with the Bacon Egg and Cheeseburger. I had a craving that wouldn’t let me look at anything else on the menu. Jeff chose the Pub Burger where you can pick your toppings. He went with pepper jack cheese, jalapenos and bacon. Matt selected the Brisket Burger.
The Oysters (technically a starter not a side) came fried in panko with a remoulade and a wasabi cocktail sauce. Panko is the secret to super crispy fried foods that you don’t want to overcook. It’s a flaky bread crumb that gets crispy fast so you can flash fry. The oysters were perfectly soft and not at all fishy. A “fishy” or salty putrid taste is often found on less than fresh seafood and is the sort of thing experienced by most who think they don’t like a particular creature. Try it in one of the best restaurants where items are flown in daily. Tasting a fresh perfectly cooked oyster turned Jeff around. He even went for more! The wasabi cocktail sauce hit just the right note of sweet/spicy.
We are discussing the merits of super fresh seafood when the burgers arrive. Hiroshi serves half pound Black Angus burgers in a 2 quarter pound patties format. The patty is still thick enough to cook to order but with double the surface area to get the crispy, smoky sear. All burgers are served stacked on a soft brioche bun.
Jeff was thrilled that his “medium” burger was actually served medium. Other than muffled happy sounds and the occasional note about how it was worth the drive I couldn’t get a good description out of him. There was a sign of a tear when it was gone. He said something about allergies getting to him but I know better.
My burger was everything I’d been dreaming about. Juicy burger cooked perfectly medium with a pink band in the middle. Chewy, smoky bacon embedded in thick American cheese. The whole stack topped with one bright sun shiny fried egg. The egg adds a richness you can’t get from cheese. The silky texture of a lightly runny yolk sinks into the burger and the crispy edges of the white add a toasty fried taste. Basically adding a good fried egg to a burger is like rediscovering the burger.
I was pretty much in burgervanna when Matt declared himself the winner for the evening. He gave me a taste. The Judges decision was unanimous. His double burger was topped with about a cup of shredded house smoked bbq brisket. Hiroshi has mastered a full BBQ flavor with sweet notes, smoky flavor and a touch of heat. The brisket was so tender it fell apart with each bite. Matt had ordered the burger with Swiss cheese, and while the flavor of the cheese went well with the meat, it was not necessary since the brisket was so soft and creamy.
Burger craving satisfied, we confirmed that yes, it was worth the drive to Beachwood from Akron, even if it was just burgers and beer.
Until we eat again,