There are a lot of things that contribute to making a burger a great burger. I look for flavor, juiciness, size, temperature, fresh toppings, the right amount of condiments and a good bun to hold it all together. You’d think this combination would be fairly simple to create. However, over-cook a burger and you risk decreasing its juiciness or offsetting the flavor. Over toasting a bun can derail the seasoning, leaving a burnt tasting burger. Using too much of a condiment with too thick of a tomato slice and your burger has little chance of staying on the bun. Okay, maybe creating a great burger isn’t as easy as it seems. That is, unless you’re Chef Jackson Kramer at Interim Restaurant & Bar.
The Interim burger was recommended by colleagues over at Howell Marketing and a couple of my burger eating buddies, Shane Adams and Jesse Hayes. Initially, I thought $12 was too much for any burger and well beyond my lunch budget. However, if so many people were taking the time to recommend it, it’s my job (tough job, eh?) to try it out.
Interim Restaurant & Bar is located on Sanderlin Ave., between Mt. Moriah and White Station. It’s across the street from Pei Wei and Fox & Hound. Not too bad a drive from Midtown. I went with a couple of women who work down the hall from me. They were very in tune to the burger blog and asked me all sorts of questions about my burger experiences and favorites thus far. I told them how recommended the Interim Burger was, and that if everyone was right, we were in for a great burger.
Interim is definitely on the up-scale end of Memphis dining. It has a very elegant atmosphere with a contemporary decor. Being seated in the main dining room, you can see the entire kitchen from the other side of a stainless counter. Normally, I don’t care for those types of restaurants that give you just a peak into their kitchen through a window or small counter area. At Interim, you could see the entire kitchen, even the dishwashing area. The kitchen looked immaculate and very organized. There were no kitchen noises spilling into the dining room and no psychotic cooks wielding meat cleavers to be seen. It was actually kind of fun to guess some the meals they were plating.
The three of us each ordered the Interim Burger and fries. I ordered my burger medium and with everything on it except for the Applewood smoked bacon. Our burgers arrived after about 15 minutes looking and smelling pretty amazing. They were served on fresh toasted sourdough buns with white cheddar, lettuce, tomato, pickle and a roasted garlic aioli.
After snapping a few pictures of the burger, I had to do some quick maintenance on the romaine lettuce, which I wouldn’t have chosen for a burger. Maybe the top of the leaf, but not the bottom half with the firm rib still intact down the center. I had to take it off the burger and cut the actual lettuce off the rib. I’ll tell you right now, that was my only complaint.
I finally got a burger cooked medium. Other than at Alex’s and Stuffy’s, I wasn’t sure they existed. The Temperature of this 1/2 lb burger was right on the money. There was so much flavor and juice in every single bite. The Interim Burger is the juiciest burger I’ve had. Remember to lean over your plate when eating it. I think what took the burger to an entirely higher level was the garlic aioli spread generously on the bun. It was delicious and brought out the wonderful seasonings and full flavor of the burger patty. The homemade toasted bun did a great job holding up against this big juicy burger. Everything just tasted great. The great burger combination was present at Interim today.
In addition to the Interim Burger, the Interim fries were also nothing short of awesome. Take a look at those long hand-cut potato straws, fried just right and seasoned to perfection. Even as perfect as they were, the Interim kitchen staff made them even better but sprinkling them with kosher salt before they were served. I’d go back just to have the fries.
I give the Interim Burger 4.5 out of 5 stars. It’s a great tasting burger that can’t be overlooked as a contender for Best Memphis Burger.
Interim Restaurant & Bar
5040 Sanderlin Avenue
Memphis, TN 38117
If you have a favorite burger that you think is Memphis’ best or that I need to try and review, please drop a note in my suggestion box.