111 N. Michigan Ave.
This was a meal that we entered amidst quite a bit of controversy.
First, Nat expressed skepticism over any American establishment advertising a hamburger consisting of Kobe Beef. To be fair, our waitress came clean and admitted that the preparation that their burger received was an Americanized version of true Kobe methods.
Second, Park Grill offers two burgers, which presented somewhat of a conundrum. TOC voiced their preference for the 18[expletive]dollar Gorgonzola-balsamic grilled onions-grain mustard burger (also confusing, as they listed the Park Grill burger under "classic" burgers; not under "dressed up" burgers). On the other hand, the Chicago Tribune, a highly trusted source in these matters, in their 2005 top burger list, championed the $10 standard lunchtime burger. To demonstrate our commitment to this project, we both ordered the $18 joint, and I can best sum up the experience by stating it was a very good burger that I will not pay for ever again.
PG gets points for a little creativity. The balsamic onion/Gorgonzola/grain mustard combination suggests thoughtfulness, and the execution was well done. All ingredients were of high quality and none of them overshadowed the taste of the meat itself. The burger is also deceptively juicy, which--in a way--was refreshing to see a classier type place attempt to pull off.
Note the large portion of blank white space on each plate. The presentation was less than dazzling.
Nat suggested that the Gorgonzola did not melt as blue-veined cheeses normally do. As a cheese-novice myself, however, I was unnerved.
Nat also observed that the pretzel bun served with the burger is the EXACT pretzel bun at virtually every establishment serving pretzel-bunned burgers in Chicago, from The Rosebud on down.
The fries were a complete afterthought and are not deserving of any description.
The burger on its own is a solid specimen, and the view was nice enough that I could definitely see coming back in warmer months to eat the lunch burger. Paying an additional eight dollars for cheese, onions, and mustard, however, is really something I only need to do once; and really those eight bills should really be saved to hit up That's-A-Burger some time later in the week.