Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Kuma's Corner

Kuma's Corner
2900 W. Belmont Ave.

Let's get right to it, this sitting at Kuma's Corner constituted one of the top five meals of my Chicago existence, and I can agree with Nat's early advising that although Rosebud Steakhouse probably serves the best basic burger in the city (and has the best value), Kuma's has the best speciality burger (although TOC lists it as the best "pub" burger). With a variety of different ingredient permutations to choose from, I could imagine devoting an entire blog/project to Kuma's alone.

Nat had already been to Kuma's a number of times, so my expectations were inconceivably high. Upon arriving and sitting, we were greeted by a waitress with a sparkling personality and an aesthetic that made me homesick for the Seattle-cum-Minneapolis cigarette-adorned coffee shop girls of my adolescence. We ordered Bloody Marys, brewed six days previous and made with jalapeno vodka, which by themselves made it worth the trip.

This Bloody Mary contains the three things I always hope for: intense spiciness, dill, and some sort of salt/worcestershire sediment.

When it came time to order food, Nat steered me away from the Slayer--a pile of fries topped with a burger, jack cheese, chili, cherry peppers, and andouille onions--as it had previously destroyed him, and doesn't "technically" count as a burger (although Nat and a friend of ours had previously ordered the Slayer with a side of hamburger buns). I went with the Mastodon, which was a great first foray into the diverse menu. The most amazing aspect of the Mastodon, is the exactly proportionate nature of each of the ingredients. Left to my own devices, I generally will not order cheese on my burger, but the perfect amounts of cheese, BBQ sauce, fried onions (which absolutely make the burger) and bacon, make sure that the patty itself was not subsumed.

The Mastodon (aka the realest thing I ever ate): fried onions, bacon, BBQ sauce, and cheddar.

I haven't been this happy since Wellstone was alive.

Nat, an old pro, ordered the Led Zeppelin (pictured below). Our cherubic waitress remarked that she always feels a bit winded after finishing the Zeppelin, but when we left, both Nat and I were perfectly full, and neither of us felt sick.

The Led Zeppelin: Pulled pork (PULLED PORK), bacon, cheddar, and pickles.

I take terrible photos.

So the real dilemma is this: Given Kuma's extreme proximity to Hot Doug's, we are left with a cognitive dissonance-inducing choice to make, every Saturday around noontime. Kuma's essentially is the hamburger version of Hot Doug's. Incredible quality ingredients, creative combinations of elements, and an overall indie sensibility. The drinking options at Kuma's clearly tip the scale in the hamburger's favor, yet Doug's delectable fries favor hot dogs. Either way, I guess we should be glad we don't live around California and Belmont and have to confront this conflict on a daily basis. To ambiguously echo the concerns of one of our mothers, I would probably never again know what fruit tastes like.


lauren said...

Oh, I'm so glad your Kuma's experience was so wonderful! I've had fantastic food and really really nice service every time I've been there. I recommend the Kuma burger, if you haven't had it. It's the one with the fried egg. I felt a little weird the first time I ate it (you know, wondering if I would have a heart attack after I was done) but then when I was done I was in such a state of bliss that it didn't matter. And I didn't even have a heart attack, obviously. And the pretzel rolls! I could go on and on.

masur said...

Doug's for lunch. Kuma's for dinner. Death for breakfast.

A.Ruiz said...

But I do live by California and Belmont.

Hate me.

Hendrickson said...

Your link to Kuma's ingredient permutations doesn't work. Evidentally Kuma was able to get the domain name without the dash,

RooneyBlue said...

I am interested in one of your photos of a burger from Kuma's. Who took that? May I speak to you about potentially obtaining it in high res, if you have it?

Keara Hays

Ed_H said...

I know this is an old review, but I have some questions for anyone who's had a Kuma burger (or Rosebud Steakhouse burger, which is similar):

Does anyone know what kind of seasonings are used to create the amazing flavor of this burger?

Other than high quality fresh beef, salt and pepper, my guess is some addition of a sauce like worcestershire or heinz 57.

Instead of waiting the 2+ hours every time for a seat at Kuma's, it would be nice to be able to make a burger at home once in a while with a similar taste.

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