The Burger Battle of the Best continues…
Elevation Burger is a newer chain that’s finally arrived in Montclair New Jersey. They advertise free range, grass fed, organic beef; french fries cooked in olive oil; and fresh, local-sourced ingredients “when practical.” While I haven’t drank the organic Kool-Aid, I did want to try a grass-fed burger, so Milky and I gave them a try.
I consider Five Guys Burgers & Fries (visit & review here) the burger chain against which all others should be compared. They make things fresh, serve them simply, and let you go to hell with yourself with toppings. Elevation Burger is their organic cousin. You walk up to the counter to place your order, but here they deliver it on a steel tray. They offer shakes and malts, organic cookies, pre-made side salads, and they have veggie burgers on the menu. Like the Shake Shack– which has a portabello burger- you can mix & match to have a meat & veg burger, which should make my British readers snicker.
The burger comes wrapped in paper with a handy sack. The standard is a double, but you can “elevate” your burger up to 10 patties high in fine In-N-Out Burger style. A double with fries and a root beer was plenty filling, but go for it. So, how’s it taste? I give the aged cheddar cheese high marks, and grass-fed ground beef has a stronger beefy flavor that reminded me of the ground-to-order sirloin in my favorite burger, the one Tony Bourdain slings at his downtown NYC location of Les Halles (I haven’t had the one at the Park Ave location, but a friend told me it wasn’t as good). But it didn’t have the mouth feel of a good grilled burger, something Five Guys gets right every time. For toppings, I had hot pepper relish, pickles, caramelized onions and Elevation sauce. The pickles were very thinly sliced longways and I couldn’t get any snap or flavor from them. The hot relish was a little mild, and I couldn’t tell what the Elevation sauce was. Next time I’ll get a standard burger with sauce, lettuce & tomato to find out.
So that does mean I will return, a good sign. Their fries cooked in olive oil were a bit thin- shoe strings- but had good flavor. Olive oil burns quickly and they seemed a bit over browned, almost like sweet potato fries, but the flavor was good. The flavor of grass fed beef is an acquired one, but it’s almost steak-like. I liked it. The texture was just different, perhaps ground too finely. For a chain or franchise, this was an excellent burger, and I recommend trying it out. Especially if you want to try an organic, grass-fed free range burger for a change. I’m not convinced it’s that much better for you, but it does show in the taste. If Elevation Burger reads this, I’d suggest some crunchy toppings. Bacon, which was oddly absent, given the availability of Niman Ranch free range bacon; crunchy pickles, or fresh jalapenos (something I love on a Five Guys burger). You’ve got a tasty burger, but it needs some snap. Good job on bringing grass-fed beef to the burger crowd.