Ten Patty Pluck

My favorite burger chain is Elevation Burger. They have all the pro’s of fast fresh burger chains like Five Guys and Smashburger, plus they use free range, organic beef, natural cheddar cheese, and fries cooked in olive oil. And they don’t cost any more than 5 Guys. And I think they taste better.

They also have what they call the Vertigo Burger, with up to ten patties. Eat it and you get a free t-shirt. My cousin Pete and I decided to tackle this challenge one evening after we both made personal records weightlifting the deadlift. Mine was 6x 470lbs. I think his was 400lbs, and he only weighs like 155, so that’s something. I’m around 250 so I’m not quite at his level compared to bodyweight, though I have lifted 535lbs once.

Anyway enough about beefcake and back to the beef. A ten patty cheeseburger costs $24 and has 30oz of free range beef and 10 slices of cheese. I ditched the cheese. Next time I’d get a few slices. Pete had 10 slices and it looked like a cheese volcano. Was it worth it? I must say I was sated. I doubt I’ll tackle it again. A double is pretty damn good, five in a row is a bit much. But I like the t-shirt. And before you ask, my total cholesterol is 130, blood pressure 117/71 last time I checked.

© 2011 Thomas Pluck

Elevation Burger redux- the meat’s the thing

Back to Elevation Burger, the organic grass-fed burger joint. It’s a franchise, and I went to the Montclair location again with Peter-san, who just got off the plane from Tokyo. My first review a few weeks ago was a bit critical, but this time around the burger tasted a lot better. Perhaps their cooking process varies. This time it was juicier and the strong flavor of the grass-fed beef sung through the symphony of topping flavors with the voice of an angel.
Peter trains at AFS with me and has had many amateur fights, and a growing boy needs his protein. So after I picked him up from the airport, we went here. He doesn’t feed his body garbage (except perhaps Men’s Toppo and Pocky) so grass-fed organic was the way to go with fast food. This time around I skipped the pickles and hot relish, keeping caramelized onions, Elevation sauce, and little else. This let the meat better speak for itself, and made for a more enjoyable burger. They also seemed a little thicker in the patty this time, and cooked more to medium than well done. It made all the difference. They don’t ask how you want them cooked, but I’d suggest asking for it to be not overcooked. Otherwise it’s like getting a well-done filet mignon.
Peter liked the burger a lot, but we agreed that the fries were nothing special, really. Olive oil is tasty and healthy, but it’s not the best frying medium for potatoes. Five Guys has them beat there. Their shakes are excellent, however, if pricey. We both opted for chocolate shakes with black cherry sauce, and wow, were they good. Thick and rich with chunks of real ice cream, not the extruded soft serve you get at most fast food places. I was impressed. They also have organic cookies, but they don’t look that good- small and mushy. Burger and a shake is the way to go here, you won’t be disappointed.

They also serve the Vertigo Burger, which can have as many as ten patties. My pal Mike Dross has expressed the desire to attempt a 10 Patty Vertigo in November, and I may join him. You’ll read all about it here.

organic feels good, but does it taste good?

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.