How many of you, like me, have had a perfectly delicious looking burger/sandwich/salad placed in front of you in a restaurant, only to discover that the entire dish had been ruined by the presence of a subpar tomato? Those pinkish, mealy, industrial-ag tomatoes should just be left off of the plate, as far as I’m concerned. Anyway, poor tomato quality has been such a consistent theme in food service establishments that the gorgeous red and dark plum colored heirloom tomato slice sitting under my burger last night immediately caught my eye. I think that the Gilt Club might be serving Portland’s best burger.
The details: Painted Hills natural beef. Gruyere. Housemade aioli (on the side!). That tomato. Butter lettuce. Homemade pickle (sweet and spicy, on the side). Cooked with a little char, pink inside, to medium-rare perfection. Served with a huge steak knife. Hand-cut (skinny) fries—no, frites, piled on the side (salted AND peppered). Sesame topped brioche bun from Grand Central Bakery. I needn’t say more.
I used to really love the Slowburger at Slow Bar, which, when glancing back at the menu just now, has basically the same elements (from the same producers), with the addition of a fried onion ring. But that burger at Gilt was perfection, and you don’t have to sit in a dive bar to get it.
[On that last note I will put in a word for the greasy burgers at the equally greasy Twilight Room up on Lombard in North Portland. They serve up one of my favorite combos: bacon, barbeque sauce and onion rings on their Western BBQ Burger - the kind of thing that you can only get in a roughed up tavern, paired either with a cheap draft, or rootbeer. Mmm…]