Upset Central? Do you ever find yourself rooting for the underdog? Do you ever say, “man, it would be great to see those guys get upset tonight.” I do, and I absolutely enjoy getting jazzed watching an upset in the making. However, most of the time, I think my passion and excitement for the underdog gets destroyed when I realize the team they are playing does in fact have the perfect formula to win. I am not saying this match-up will have the result I dread, however, but both TAG Burger Bar and 5 Star Burgers really made us think about this. Coming out of the Broncos region, this Burger Bracket Battle could be a nail biter. Let’s see who will prevail….
(3) TAG Burger Bar
Known to many as the old Madison Street, TAG Burger Bar has been creating and dishing out some of the most epic burgers since October of 2012. Under the direction of Chef Troy, (TAG and TAG Raw bar in LoDo) this neighborhood newbie is fitting right in. Fitting in is right and already creating a buzz with some of the massive burger combinations you can create. The way you order is as follows: 1. Start with the Basics 2. Pick Your Packaging. 3. Choose your style. Sounds simple enough, yes? Psych! With each of the “Styles” all yelling at me, I really did not know what to do. From the COLORADO PROUD ( house-roasted green chile , local goat cheese, and honey) to the BEL BIV DEVOE (grilled onions, sautéed green peppers & banana peppers, Cheez Whiz!) to the BLIND IN TEXAS (chile-rubbed crispy onions, aged cheddar, chipotle BBQ), all choices sounded like music to my ears. However, I figured for this battle to go in a different direction.
After staring at the menu for a good 10 minutes, I noticed French Onion Soup “Onions” in the description of the MENAGE A TROIS burger. Combined with Gruyere cheese, and Grey Poupon, this take on a French Onion Soup really piqued my interested. When I ordered it, our waitress told us it was the “burger people say they will get next time”. I figured since it was my first time, why not get it this time. When all of the food came out, each burger was well presented on the plate and looked extremely delicious. The gooey-ness of the Gruyere cheese blanketed the entire house-made patty, which then covered with the “soup” onions were topped with bacon (gotta get bacon). The other half was a toasted and what appeared to be sesame/grain bun, smothered in Grey Poupon. I could tell after the first bite this was a contender and appropriately seeded #3. It is always a good sign when no matter the toppings, you can still taste the beef from the patty.
Only regret: TAG Burger bar is also known for the ANDREW JACKSON ( house-cured pork belly, fried egg, truffle aioli, mustard vinegar slaw, bone marrow salt, and crispy chicken skin). This sounds incredible, and I could have asked, but it was not on the menu on Sunday. “That is what I will get next time“. (Side note: It costs $27)
(6) Five Star Burger
Five Star Burgers is known and proud to say their beef is All Natural hormone and antibiotic free Black Angus, and they pride themselves in being environmentally efficient and friendly. Started in Taos, New Mexico this growing franchise, now with 6 locations in 3 states, even recycles all frying oils for bio diesel fuel. They are darn proud of their beef and everything that comes on top of them. Before we get to far into this, remember what I said above, about the rooting for the underdog.
Once I realized it was started in New Mexico, it was obvious to me that I need to have some sort of green chile on my burger. That left with me two standard green chili options they have: The Taos Burger (Crispy Green Chile, BBQ Sauce, Cheddar, add bacon) and the Green Chile Cheeseburger (Green Chile, Pepper Jack Cheese, Green Chile Mayo). As I was licking my fingers from the green chile mayo that was on the table, out of my periphery was a giant object approaching the table. It was my Taos Burger. Dropped down in front of me, I could see the entire crispy (whole) green chile hanging out the sides of this 8oz patty, covered in cheddar cheese and bacon and smothered in a sweet BBQ sauce. All of this sitting between one of the best buns ever: toasted brioche. I found myself thinking, “Is this an upset? Should I root for the underdog? The first bite was an explosion of flavor…but not the flavor I came for….. I could not taste the burger at all. With each bite I could taste the delicious bun and toppings, which overshadowed an overcooked and lackluster burger patty.
Does this underdog win? I keep coming back to the bun at Five Star Burger. I keep coming back to the patty at TAG. Well, this is a burger battle. That said, advancing to the next round is TAG Burger Bar.