April 19th, 2012 by Richard Chudy
There’s always been something slightly off about Citizen Pub for me; a seemingly hip place with a great Whiskey list, I know many who adore it but I always found the service to be lackluster and the food and cocktails uninspired and painfully ordinary. A great effort and with past dishes and meals, it was serviceable but just a notch below similar restaurants in the city. I’ve been after their burger for a while; however, it’s always looked great as it passes through the dining room and I’ve received more than a few email endorsements on its behalf. The description of the burger on the menu doesn’t do it justice, and that’s a compliment. Simply listed as “Ground Sirloin Burger, local Cheddar or English Stilton, Golden Fries, $14,” makes it sound ordinary. But make no mistake about it, this is one beefy and delicious burger.
I would bet there’s more going on here than just sirloin, normally a cut of beef that is more on the leaner side of things and is generally one dimensional in flavor. I’m guessing there’s a few other cuts but I could be wrong, because there’s a bold, beefy presence that only the great burgers can claim. It’s seasoned nicely with a bit of funk thrown in for good measure, and that is a very good thing. I opted for the Cheddar which properly helps with the funk factor, effectively melted and worthy of sitting atop this burger. The meat is oddly cooked though, uneven is more like it, as it’s close to raw, medium-rare and medium across the board. But it doesn’t matter at the end of the day, because it’s just so flavorful and appetizing. The one big misstep is the bun: call me crazy but I’ve seen this burger before and I recall a soft, squishy bun that would have worked perfectly. Instead, at least on this day, a slightly stale, far too large and crusty Ciabatta plays the role of burger bun and it’s a big step down from what should have been an even better burger experience. The bun is dry and chewy, not qualities that I look for when sandwiching the meat. The fries are thick, crispy but a little hollowed out in the middle, they have a good sprinkling of salt on the exterior and for the most part, they are enjoyable.
The burger at Citizen is ahead of the curve, only let down by a poor choice of bun and unevenness in cooking the beef to temperature. It’s great but probably could have been even better. Thankfully though, it is a burger purist’s dream, no bullshit lettuce or tomato to mess it up, and there’s enough juiciness where condiments are completely unnecessary. A great value for the amount of beefiness it yields for $14 and easily desirable for hardcore burger fans alike.
Overall Score: 86