Over the past few months several people have written in telling me the Best Memphis Burger is the Brie Burger found at Patrick’s Steak & Spirits. Initially I didn’t believe it. However the suggestions keep rolling in via Twitter, my suggestion box, email, and even on a Yelp message board. It’s hard to ignore passion and in this case, a lot of people seem pretty passionate about this burger.
Patrick’s is located in East Memphis on the northwest corner of Park and Mt. Moriah. It’s where the Buntyn Cafe once stood. I don’t know where they were previously located, but their website claims “they’ve been a local Memphis gathering place for over 18 years, bringing together the city’s best made-from-scratch home cooking, hand-cut, aged steaks, competition barbecue and mouth-watering daily specials in an eclectic, fun atmosphere.” They feature a bunch of Elvis memorabilia, a fireman’s memorial and a Memphis Tigers wall. It’s a very comfortable and casual restaurant with a ton of menu choices that should even the pickiest of eaters.
Unfortunately, my regular Burger Buddy Tim was out of commission that day. He had too much going on at work and couldn’t go. The flip side of that is I have a new Burger Buddy, Allison Jacob, who was more than ready to help me on this one. Allison is the Publisher for Memphis Cork It magazine and also runs the Pink Bride operations in Memphis. If you’re planning a wedding in Memphis or anywhere in Tennessee, Allison’s site contains a wealth of resources to help. Allison knows her wine and spirits. She knows her food and best of all, she knows where to get a good burger. We’ve chatted on twitter for a few months, but she really impressed me when we met up at Roxie’s Grocery and I watched her take down an entire Mr. Good Burger. You’d never know it though, she’s very fit and regularly works out with a trainer.
Allison and I met at Patrick’s around noon and grabbed a nice table by the bar. She ordered the One-Eyed Jack burger which is Patrick’s classic burger topped with a fried egg and American cheese. I ordered the highly recommended Brie Burger. It’s a 6oz hand-pattied burger stuffed with Brie, green onions and garlic and Served on their “soon-to-be-famous sweet sourdough bun”. We both ordered our burgers cooked medium and Allison got the seasoned curly fries while I ordered regular french fries.
From the grill marks on my burger, I could see this was a flame grilled beauty. The Brie Burger was put together just like a Juicy Lucy with the cheese cooked between two patties. I could see juices from the burger and cheese just pouring out the side onto the bun and plate. This was good news. I wasn’t going to be eating a dried out burger that day. Our burgers were presented opened faced and sided with the top of the sourdough bun, a small heap of shredded lettuce, an unripened semi-slice of tomato, three rings of an onion and a couple slices of pickle. I was pretty sure this was going to be a messy burger once I added the toppings and condiments. As I finished the assembly and gave it a little mash before picking it up, even more juices came squirting out the side. Had I not had a napkin on my lap, I would have worn a pretty embarrassing grease spot for the remainder of the day.
Only one of the two patties, was cooked perfectly medium. The other was well-done. That was very strange to look at. Obviously one side spent too much time on the grill. The taste of the burger was, como se dice, different? While I liked the flavor I initially got from the patties, it was quickly overshadowed by the bun and green onion. The sourdough bun which Patrick’s calls ‘soon to be famous’ may just have to wait a little longer. It was just too sweet for me and I really didn’t like it. It wasn’t as sweet or as the bun at Green Beetle, but it was still the wrong flavor for me and the kind of burger I’ve come to enjoy. On the flip side, I liked the flavor of the Brie stuffed in the middle, but I only got a small taste of it before I was overpowered by green onion. I love green onion, but in moderation. This burger just had too much for my liking. All I tasted for the remainder of the meal (and most of the afternoon) was green onion.
Allison’s One-Eyed Jack burger looked interesting. She said it was cooked perfectly medium, but to me, it looked more medium-well. Nonetheless she said it was really good and loaded with flavor. Although it was a little messy, I was able to eat burger complete with my hands. Her’s was truly a mess. There was no way she was picking that up. I felt bad she had to break out the fork and knife.
I’m glad she got the seasoned curly-fries. They were really good. Not the best fries in Memphis, but much better than the regular steak fries I got.
I give the Brie Burger at Patrick’s Steaks & Spirits 3 out of 5 stars. I can see where some people would love this kind of burger. For me however, it was too far away from what a great burger should be. I’d love to go back and try another, but with a more conventional hamburger or potato bun and certainly without the fluff stuffed inside.
Patrick’s Steaks & Spirits
4972 Park 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.