The Sad State of American Burgers ...

Or, "When Doing What's Right Is Called 'Gourmet' "


So this kinda gets my hackles up. A story in the Dallas Morning News headlined "Burgers go gourmet" takes on the issue of restaurants and burger chains that "take the humble hamburger to the next gastronomic level."

The story describes Mooyah, a recently opened burger joint in Plano, Texas, that clearly has aspirations of becoming a franchise-based empire. What gets me is this passage: "[David Tessier is] enjoying a higher class of burger—made from fresh (not frozen) patties, with premium toppings such as grilled onions—and paying about twice the price."

Ladies and gentlemen, that is not a "gourmet burger." That is, plain and simple, a good hamburger. If you subscribe to the notion that a "gourmet" hamburger exists (and they do—Daniel Boulud's truffle, foie gras, and braised short rib stuffed burger is an example, albeit a ridiculous one), then a burger whose patty is fresh-not-frozen and that's topped with good-quality ingredients is merely the base upon which a "gourmet" burger is built.

The U.S. is a country whose national cuisine might as well be the hamburger. How pathetic is it then that such a specimen made with fresh beef and grilled onions is considered "gourmet"?