Note: Today's guest post comes from fellow burger blogger Rev. Dave Ciancio of Burger Conquest, which, after 137 burgers, recently celebrated its first birthday on October 17! Although based in New York City, Rev brings us a review of a burger chain in Amsterdam, for AHT's first post about a tasty burger in the city (Adam has previously posted about a not so tasty burger from an automat in Amsterdam.)
Elandsgracht 130, 1016 VB Amsterdam (map); 020 423 6225; burgermeester.eu
Cooking Method: Flat top griddle
Short Order: Q: How do you say "burgers taste better with cows starring at me" in Dutch?
A: "CRISPY PANCETTA"
Want Fries with That? No fries available here.
Price: Biefburger, €6.50
One of the perks of my job (I manage rock bands) is traveling, and on the one-year anniversary of Burger Conquest, I was in Amsterdam. After a little bit of research, I was pointed in the direction of Burgermeester, a Dutch burger chain with three locations, one of which was a convenient 4 blocks from our hotel in Leidseplein.
The Burgermeester concept is simple but smart: hand-made burgers made fresh with only the best ingredients, prepared on the spot and served on freshly baked bread with homemade sauces. All burgers come in two sizes: regular and mini. You can also choose beef, chicken, tuna, lamb, rabbit, eggplant, or veggie patties. Not sure what to get? Try out a Mini Trio. All burgers automatically come with lettuce, onion, pickles, tomato, mayo, and Burgermeester sauce.
The menu is entirely in Dutch, so either go with a local, know before you go, or sit and try to get the very, very busy staff to help you out, which is what we did. In the end, I went simple: Biefburger with cheddar cheese and pancetta. My buddy Jim ordered a Biefburger mini and the lamb burger with chorizo and jalapenos, while my friend RAM ordered a Biefburger and a tuna burger mini. While we waited for our burgers to arrive, I noticed the entire place was decorated with pictures of cows, most of which are starring at you while you, er, devour them and their friends. Yeah, that's not totally uncomfortable or anything, is it? Does make for a good photo though.
The burgers arrived on what resembled a multi-grain Portuguese roll and looked so good that I kind of wanted to take mine on a little burger date. Maybe a nice canal cruise around Amsterdam? A moonlight stroll by one of the city's famed windmills? But as I brought it to my lips to give it a little kiss, I ended up just shoving the damn thing in my mouth.
Dutch beef tastes different than what we are used to here in the states. But that stands to reason: they drink different water, they eat crops that grow in different soil. Maybe they even feed them the flower that made the Netherlands famous, the tulip. The beef is denser and has a less salty flavor than we have come to expect from someone like Pat LaFrieda. It's also a little gamier, which could easily scare away most, but to a guy who loves venison like me, it was great—I am all about gaminess.
As the burgers are not made to order, they're served well done, which makes said patty slight more on the dry side of the scale rather than moist. The sauce was a tangy mix of tomato relish and mayo, and the cheese added a nice salty paring to the sandwich. What really made the burger a stand out was the crispy pancetta. Holy smokes, that is worth the price of the flight alone! I almost ordered a second burger just so I could have more pancetta.
I didn't chomp into RAM's tuna burger, but he said it was great. As for Jim's lamb burger with jalapenos and chorizo—ladies and gentlemen, we have a big winner. I find lamb to be a dicey proposition and 9 times out of 10, would choose otherwise. However after only one bite of this thing, I have to say it's the item to try on the menu—and of course, with the delicious meal-making pancetta.