Bradley's Fine Diner, in the Houston Heights, has been one of the most talked about new restaurants in the area. With award-winning chef Bradley Ogden at the helm, could this really be a diner? Could they serve a hamburger I'd enjoy? Would I ever survive the crowds of those fellow-foodies clamoring to get a seat at Bradley's table? All of my questions were answered on a recent visit.
My inaugual outing to Bradley's was for a Monday lunch. Walking into the high-end lounge insprired diner, I was surprised that only a handful of tables were taken. Great for me, but how good could this be for business? As I was seated along the back wall, I had a full-view of the entire restaurant. Everyone, both staff and customer alike, seemed relaxed and ready for anything. A very friendly server took my order - The Oak Grilled Chuck Burger with carmalized onions and BFD fries. When that same gentleman presented the burger, my jaw dropped. This hamburger was a work of art with one of the thickest patties I had seen in quite awhile, especially with the addition of applewood smoked bacon and white cheddar cheese on a nicely grilled and fluffy brioche bun. On the side were the thin and crispy BFD fries, house-made pickles (very popular with today's restaurant creative teams) and field greens. This burger looked scrumptous!
Wasting no time in cutting the burger in half, I noticed some beautiful pink juices flowing out of the perfectly charred, cook to temperature patty. As I took the first bite, anticipating true burger euphoria, I coudln't help but noticing that the meat lacked flavor. There was no kick. There was no punch. Even dipping the burger into the side of ketchup (and I'm not an enthusiastic ketchup fan) added no inspiration to the burger. Don't get me wrong - everything was quite good, but the flavorless taste of the meat was rather disappointing, especially given the lineage of Bradley's Fine Diner, and the qualtity of the food and ingredients presented.
Bradley's Fine Diner has all the right elements - an acclaimed chef, great location, friendly/attentive service, insprired decor, and unique offerings. But a hamburger is all about the meat. My hope is that their Oak Grilled Chuck Burger will evolve into something a little more special and become a true hamburger legand.
Cheers to Eating More Burgers!