Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Grafton

4530 N. Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL

After our 8,000-calorie snacks at Max's, Adam and I rolled over to Lincoln Square (about half a mile north of Jury's) to see whether there was anything remotely special about the burger at The Grafton, one of at least ten prototypical Irish pubs within about a mile of each other. (Celtic Crown, also on our list, is the tenth---stay tuned.) We wandered around the restaurant unnoticed before we decided to seat ourselves in a booth by the kitchen and futz with our phones for a few minutes.

$7.95 buys you the burger, lettuce, tomato, and fries. Other toppings---even onions!---are 50 cents apiece. You can upgrade the fries to onion rings or a salad for $1. A side of curry sauce costs 50 cents. Napkins were free as of this writing. We ordered burgers (mine, medium rare with bleu cheese; Adam's medium with onions) and one side of curry sauce. (We received and were charged for two.)

Because we were sitting by the kitchen, we actually noticed that our burgers were ready well before anyone employees of The Grafton did. A busboy eventually picked them up, circled the restaurant, returned to our table, and then got the hell out of there before we realized how much our orders had suffered. Just look at the impenetrable skin that developed on the curry sauce:

Isn't that horrible? The fries were lukewarm by this point, but they're identical to the fries served everywhere else in the entire world, so we couldn't be too disappointed.

The tomato slice was pretty good (hard to screw up a decent tomato this time if the year); the limp mesclun added nothing. This patty's got some size to it, with a respectable amount of char and a generous serving of bleu cheese. The meat was a cut above what we expected; Adam dubbed it a better version of the Select Cut burger due to substantial sirloin flavor. I found mine to be drier than I would have liked, and decidedly cooked past medium rare.

My bun made it about halfway through the meal before falling apart. Putting the tomato on the bottom couldn't have helped. For the life of me, I can't figure out why places do this.

The best part of the whole experience? We've now put the Pub Burger category to bed.


j.dot said...

ok...i saw that you have the celtic crown on your list. o.man.i love that joint but because it's the best place to watch bear games. that being said they have burger specials but do yourself a favor...get the tots and not the fries. im not knocking the fries...never had them but the tots go great with a their delicious burger...peace.

KenB525 said...

Nice Beer! Shiner Bock, greatest beer ever.

DJ Intel said...

The muscle at Hop Leaf are my favorite in the city. Kumas used to hold it down, but they've been slipping.

gibsona said...

My gf and I visited The Grafton this past weekend and both agreed the burger should not be anywhere near a best-of list. Dry and overcooked and the fries were lukewarm at best (although my burger rating rule is to not count the fries in the overall burger rating).

Two Fat Feet said...

I had a turkey burger at the Grafton, and it suffered from similar problems.

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