In Search Of Best Burgers

Jo McGarry
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Wednesday - August 31, 2005
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Nico Chaize serves fresh fish
and a great burger

The Wynn Las Vegas Resort has received some tremendous accolades from the culinary community since opening just a few months ago. Among the outstanding collection of restaurants within the resort is Daniel Boulud Brasserie. You remember Daniel - he was the guy who made a $50 burger the talk of New York last year. His “tribute” to the great American classic had a center filled with short ribs braised in red wine then mixed with foie gras and black truffle. (Personally, if I never had a foie gras sandwich for the rest of my life, I’d feel really OK about it.)

And now Daniel has created a new burger to celebrate his love of barbecue. The DB West is 9 ounces of sirloin stuffed with juicy barbecue pulled pork covered with a tangy barbecue sauce. It’s served with homemade jalapeno mayonnaise and chopped jalapeno peppers. Now that sounds more like it - and at just $25 a serving it’s way more affordable.

I thought if Daniel ever made it to Hawaii I’d take him to taste some of the best burgers we have. One of them costs a mere $2.95 and gets you a simple patty served on a simple bun that’s simply delicious. W&M burgers are a bit of an institution in Honolulu. They say that the secret is in the marinade. Personally, I think the secret is in knowing where to park. Oh, and make sure you call to see when they’re open. The pleasant lady I spoke to on the phone reminded me that “people are always coming when we’re closed.” Hours are Wedneday-Sunday, 9 a.m-4:30 p.m. Veterans know to back into one of the few parking stalls and keep the engine running.

Tiki’s Grill and Bar in Waikiki has a remarkably good burger, but no fewer parking woes. A half-pound of ground chuck steak with lettuce, tomato and mayo on a kaiser roll is $8.95 and comes with Nalo greens or crispy fries.

Murphy’s, on the corner of Merchant Street and Nuuanu Avenue, does an exceptionally good Irish burger from time to time. Topped with either Cashel Blu or Guinness Cheddar, the burgers are both juicy and piquant, and a great companion to a cold glass of beer.

Teddy’s Bigger Burger is a stop I’d definitely suggest to Daniel.

And I’d insist he stop by one of Jason Chong’s Korean BBQ restaurants. At the original Kiawe Grill on South King Street, you’ll get an outstanding burger. Each one is hand-made and then grilled over kiawe wood on a restored Korean grill. Hard to beat that for taste and tradition.

Sports fans should try the burger at King Street Café and Sports Bar - a monstrous combination of grilled beef, lettuce, tomatoes, bacon and mayo, it has gained a wide reputation as one of the city’s best. And you can sing a little karaoke and catch up on the scores while you chow down.

The final place I’d take Daniel on our tour of the city’s best burgers would be to Nico’s Pier 38, where Nico Chaize has the freshest fish and the finest burger. The Pier 38 Double Cheeseburger is a homemade hamburger with lettuce, tomato, red onion and Cheddar. At $5.75 with Nalo greens or fries, it is outstanding value and perfectly made.

Burgers with views, cultural ties, traditional recipes and family secrets - and not one of them over $9.

Happy eating!

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