The Chef's Table
The Chef's Table went big with a Five Dot Ranch Beef burger on a housemade pretzel roll topped with smoked brisket, aged cheddar, heirloom tomato, confit onions, and yellow mustard aioli. This creative concoction had the highest overall grade from the panel of judges, and qualifies The Chef's Table to compete in the World Food Championships in Las Vegas.
Chef David Hill of The Chef's Table holds the custom-made Sac Burger Battle belt.
Krush Burger won the People's Choice award for their "Da Philly" burger, made with a blend of Angus short rib and chuck, topped with grilled mushrooms and sweet onions, provolone, and roasted red pepper aioli, on a signature Krush Burger Bun.
The Delta King, located in an old riverboat (which is also a hotel) served up eight-ounce patties of American Wagyu topped with Tillamook cheddar cheese, green leaf lettuce, brandywine tomatoes, cumin fried onions, and dill pickle, with sweet chili aioli on a brioche bun. This was my favorite burger of the night because the quality of the beef was stellar, the toppings were classic with a twist, and the execution was top notch.
de Vere's Irish Pub
de Vere's had a classic burger, made from a blend of three cuts of meat, topped with peppered bacon, butter lettuce, red onion, Dubliner cheddar and house-made mayo on a freshly baked bun. This was my second-favorite burger of the night, beat out by The Delta King's by a very narrow margin (half a point).
Ettore's European Bakery & Restaurant
Ettore's was slinging Niman Ranch beef patties on a house-made bacon and scallion bun, with cheddar and Swiss cheese, herb mayo, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, red leaf lettuce, heirloom tomato, and avocado.
Kupros Bistro wins for having the most creative burger, made from a blend of kangaroo and wild boar, topped with beer cheese, relish, Sriracha aioli, and rosemary serrano compound butter. The burger was served on a squaw roll, which is similar to pumpernickel. Unfortunately, bold strides in the creativity department didn't translate into a great tasting burger. The meat was too gamey and the flavors didn't come together.
Restaurant Thir13en's Capitol Burger was a great representation of a slightly-upscale take on a classic burger, with house sauce, marinated heirloom tomato, pickle, and baby lettuce, but the focaccia bun killed it for me. A softer, squisher, and less bready bun would have been a better choice. Still, a solid offering.
The Porch went all out with their "Bayou Burger", topping a thick beef patty with buttermilk-fried okra, grilled andouille sausage, smoked jack, smoked garlic, lettuce, tomato, and cayenne mayo. This "snake jaw" burger was tough to get a complete bite of, unless you could unhinge your jaw. Ultimately, the sausage took over the beef, and I think this one would have been tastier as a sausage sandwich.
The Eatery opted for a pure pork burger, dubbed "The Big Bad Wolf", featuring a grilled pork patty on a bacon brioche bun smeared with peach mustard and topped with smoked pork shoulder and heirloom tomato.
The Shady Lady
You really had to love onions to get into the burger from the Shady Lady Bar, which had a mound of caramelized onions on top of the patty from Lucky Dog Ranch, plus heirloom tomato, bibb lettuce, whole grain mustard, and aioli.
The Golden Bear
The Golden Bear grilled their "Prescription Burger" over mesquite. The spicy patty was made with three cuts of meat and five types of chilies, then topped with crispy potato sticks.
The Flaming Grill Café
The Flaming Grill Café's "LaVe Ma Go Chz BAH-ger" was all about the accroutrements, including nippy goat cheese and fresh mango salsa (red onions, mango, and red bell pepper) on top of a lamb and veal patty. I wasn't a big fan of the burger, but the bacon on the side was stellar.
The Squeeze Inn
Cheese skirts were in full force on The Squeeze Inn's burger. The beef was a little dry and bland, but the giant square of crisped up cheese made up for it.
Squeeze Inn Burgers
Here's how that famous cheese skirt is created. Beef patties sit simmering in a lake of shredded cheese until it crisps up and is segmented into skirts.
Grange Restaurant & Bar
The Grange went the slider route, topping their "Grange Pretzel Burger" with heirloom tomatoes, house-made pickles, spiced bacon, and jalapeño remoulade. This burger really stood out from the competition because it was quite spicy, and also very tasty. Big marks for creativity.
Michelangelo's Italian Art Restaurant
Michelangelo's served up "Italian-style Smash Burgers" made from pancetta and gorgonzola smashed patties, topped with dijon pickled slaw and garlic tomato sauce.