Albuquerque, NM: Green Chile Cheeseburger at Q Burger
301 Central NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102 (map); 505-224-2747, Facebook page
Cooking Method: Chargrilled
Short Order: A whole roasted green chile is the crowning touch on a well-prepared cheeseburger.
Want Fries with That? They're okay, but sweet potato tater tots ($4) are pretty swell.
Price: Green chile cheeseburger, $8.50; fries, $4; sweet potato tots, $4
Notes: Burgers made with New Mexican grass-fed beef
When originally conceived, Q Burger in Albuquerque (then named bRgR) was a burger joint serving up burgers for the adventurous palate. Bison, kangaroo, and yak burgers were on the menu. Rumor has it that customers weren't wild for the more exotic proteins.
Now in its second incarnation, the menu features more run-of-the-mill, fancy-pants burger offerings. Not that I have any problem with that. Especially since the burger du jour is quite frequently the kangaroo burger, and so those wanting something out of the ordinary can still get their fix.
As for the fancy-pants burger, the Waygu burger came with a slab of kasseri cheese that our waiter torched table side—an impressive demonstration, yet the cheese was so thick and rubbery that it overwhelmed everything else.
Much, much better was the green chile cheeseburger (with sharp white cheddar), my go-to burger in my home state, the land of enchantment. This isn't the best green chile cheeseburger I've had—that distinction belongs to Bobcat Bite in Santa Fe—but it's one of the better green chile cheeseburgers I've had in state.
The six-ounce patty, cooked medium rare, was juicy, flavorful, and well-salted; the New Mexican grass-fed beef was ground coarsely and packed loosely. The patty post-cooking: good charbroiled taste, plus a nice brown crust. A toasted brioche bun was buttery and almost crisp around the edges, and just thick enough to soak up some of the juiciness of the meat and tomato.
Best of all, the burger came with a whole roasted green chile. There are two ways green chile appears in a burger: either chopped up in a loose sauce and spread over the patty and cheese, or left in whole form, as though it were any other vegetable topping. I like both, and Q burger's whole green chile was mild and juicy, with lots of green chile flavor.
It was only after I finished eating the burger that I noticed the burger was supposed to have "red chile aioli" on it, which I guess was responsible for the orange hue on the bun. My feeling about sneaking in a red chile element is that it should either be good or inoffensive, and in this case it was the latter.
As for sides, I'd get the sweet potato tater tots again. Regular fries were just okay, but the tots were crispy and almost caramelized on the outside, with a creamy sweet interior.
About the author: Born in Shanghai and raised in New Mexico, Chichi Wang currently resides in Manhattan, where she divides her time between writing, cooking, and tracking down the best noodles in the city. Visit her blog, Mostly Tripe.