By OCinSite At-Large | May 25, 2011 12:21 PM
Tracy Powell, our inimitable Creative Director, likes his Surf & Turf burger topped with Maine lobster. This one’s from The Yard House, in Newport Beach.
By Dani Fankhauser | Photos by Jody Tiongco | Newport Beach Magazine, June 2011
With all the burgers in town, it’s hard to pick just one. From the type of bun to the cheese, sauce and toppings, how the beef is cooked to whether a burger is made with beef at all, the variables make options endless. To find the perfect burger, expect a journey that is anything but ordinary. Surprise ingredients are around every corner with Newport’s best chefs continually creating a new spin on the American classic.
Take a peek at our staff picks for Newport’s tastiest burger, and you will become a burger connoisseur in no time.
“The patty was so moist with hints of rice, cheese and mushrooms. And the fries were good, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. TK is a great place with a fun beachy vibe to grab a burger on the go or to eat there and people watch.”
Pick: Veggie Burger, TK Burgers
Inside: Lettuce, tomatoes, red onions and green bell peppers on a lightly toasted whole wheat bun
Enjoy with: a few big gulps of fresh ice tea
TK BURGERS, 82119 W. Balboa Blvd.; 949-673-3438; tkburgers.com
“The Brie Burger is not as dainty as it sounds—be prepared to spill out a few leaves of arugula as you bite down! The sweet, carmelized onions balance out the tang in the melted Brie cheese.”
Pick: Brie Burger, Summer House
Inside: Brie cheese, carmelized onions, arugula, tomato, mayonnaise
Enjoy with: the Icy Summer cocktail made with fresh strawberries and mint leaves
SUMMER HOUSE, 2744 E. Coast Hwy.; 949-612-7700; summerhousecdm.com
CEO & Editorial Director
“Use the menu on the clipboard to build your own burger. With tons of top-notch ingredients, there are more than 300,000 possible combinations. The burger you build can range from stomach bomb to downright healthy (chicken, turkey, veggie and burger-in-a-bowl—sans bun—are available). I need that medium-rare beef with lots of blue cheese, although I do throw in the organic greens so I can feel good about it. The roasted garlic aioli was a tough choice considering there are 21 sauces to choose from.”
Pick: Custom Burger, The Counter
Inside: Blue cheese, organic mixed greens, tomatoes, roasted garlic aioli
Enjoy with: a cold Stone IPA and it doesn’t get much better.
THE COUNTER, 1104 Irvine Ave.; 949-642-0700; thecounterburger.com
“You’ve probably had (or quivered in fear of) piquant gorgonzola before, but most are new to taleggio, and this is the perfect introduction to a real smooth, nutty Italian cheese.”
Pick: The Crow Burger, The Crow Bar
Inside: Taleggio and gorgonzola cheeses, housemade ketchup, wild rocket lettuce, rosemary bun
Enjoy with: one of their many microbrews, or if your head’s still spinning from the night before, make sure you get your burger done “hangover style” with bacon and a fried egg, and maybe opt for a fresh lemonade instead.
THE CROW BAR, 2325 E. Coast Hwy.; 949-675-0070; crowbarcdm.com
Associate Art Director
“This bar burger knocks my taste bud’s socks off. Made with 7 ounces of ground chuck, aged cheddar cheese and bacon that is peppered with brown sugar (YUM!) this is one of those burgers you will describe as ‘You gotta try this!’ Served with two colossal onion rings dipped in buttermilk with a light crispy panko crust, you will end this meal planning your return.”
Pick: The Fleming’s Prime Burger, Fleming’s Steakhouse
Inside: Lettuce and sliced red onion on the side along with smoked jalapeño aioli
Enjoy with: the MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir, perfectly paired by operating partner Russ Bendel
FLEMING’S STEAK HOUSE, 455 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach; 949-720-9633; flemingssteakhouse.com
V.P. of Marketing
“The fun that we had and the quality of the burger was so good that my daughter Piper ate all of the vegetables on the burger. The masterpiece was stacked so high that we both had difficulty holding it and fitting it in to our mouths—a classic indeed!”
Pick: QW, The Quiet Woman
Inside: A classic 8-ounce, handmade Black Angus sirloin with cheddar, pickles, avocado, tomatoes, onions and Thousand Island dressing
Enjoy with: a delightful heap of crunchy classic fries and an ice-cold Stella and Sierra Mist—a perfect complement to the burger.
THE QUIET WOMAN, 3224 E. Coast Hwy.; 949-640-7440; quietwoman.com
“Hallelujah—a turkey burger that doesn’t look and taste like cardboard! I was beginning to believe that it was an impossibility, but the folks at True Food Kitchen have proved me wrong. Juicy, flavorful, and a great alternative.”
Pick: Turkey Burger, True Food Kitchen
Inside: Provolone, lettuce, tomato, avocado, flax seed bun
Enjoy with: a fresh and lemony Tuscan kale salad and a cucumber & lemonade refresher (cucumber and honey lemonade)
TRUE FOOD KITCHEN, 451 Newport Center Dr.; 949-644-2400; truefoodkitchen.com
“I’m all about the texture of food, and with that being said, I don’t care for sprouts, cucumbers, or tomatoes! But, there is something about this burger that grabs me, and it’s delish! Another thing about this burger—it’s messy! It has so much stuff in it, it’s hard to keep it all in. Expect to use a fork to finish it off!”
Pick: Veggie Burger, Tommy Bahama
Inside: Veggie patty, lettuce, cucumbers, sprouts, roasted tomatoes, avocado
Enjoy with: And to wash it down? A nice, cold Longboard beer.
TOMMY BAHAMA, 854 Avocado Ave.; 949-760-8686; tommybahama.com
Director of Digital
“What, you ask, the Wing Man has ventured out from his wing-only routine? Yes. When you visit a joint like Muldoon’s, you need to take advantage of their menu.”
Pick: Celtic Burger, Muldoon’s Irish Pub
Inside: 1/2 pound of love, fresh cabbage, sliced lean corned beef, onion and melted Swiss on a brioche bun. Served with homemade pub chips and a Dijon dipping sauce.
Enjoy with: a perfectly poured Guinness. And maybe a few wings.
MULDOON’S PUB, 202 Newport Center Dr.; 949-640-4110; muldoonspub.com
“Take a half pound of natural Angus beef and add Maine lobster sautéed in garlic butter, grilled asparagus, and Swiss and tomato, and stuffed within a wheat bun. Although this sounds like some sort of Frankensteined tailgate party concoction, it’s actually the Yard House Surf & Turf burger. And it tastes like something straight off your buddy’s grill at a Charger home game. Que sabroso!’ A tailgate BBQ is not complete without an ice cold drink, but if you’re at the Yard House, make sure to pair the burger with their new Belgian Six-Pack Sampler.”
Pick: Surf & Turf
Inside: Maine lobster sautéed in garlic butter, grilled asparagus,, Swiss and tomato béarnaise prepared with half pound natural Angus beef, in a wheat bun.
Enjoy with: the Belgian Six-Pack Sampler
YARD HOUSE, 849 Newport Center Dr.; 949-640-9273; yardhouse.com