It could be (and probably has been) argued that the hamburger is an iconic American food. Maybe this is why grilling one has somehow become synonymous with what once was a patriotic holiday that originated with the idea of honoring those who died serving our country. Of course it is harder and harder to find people who remember what this holiday was created for 153 years ago, and because of that there are those that would like nothing more than to relive the olden days when it was called Decoration Day by having everyone be a little more solemn and practice a little "proper flag etiquette."
Not proper flag etiquette, I imagine.
(from Grub Street)
(from Grub Street)
Wherever you fall on the Memorial Day solemnity scale, one thing you can agree with me is that it is turning out to be a less-than-ideal grilling weekend in Denver (although of course as I am finishing this Sunday afternoon has turned into a perfect day for grilling). In fact this Spring in Denver has been more like summer in San Francisco and I surely grilled more in January and February than I have yet in May. With summer grilling season still not quite there, we should be thankful for the increased attention that has been paid to the burger all over Denver, from the burger battle that is just around the corner again, to the numerous burger-centric restaurants that have of late popped up like cupcake shops did in 2008 and 2009.
By chance I ate last week at Deluxe Burger on East Colfax. This was my first time in Deluxe Burger although last summer I visited the mostly-mobile Deluxe food truck and joked about how often I would see it parked ironically in front of its stationary, sit-down counterparts. This night the food truck was nowhere to be seen as my wife and I pulled up to park in front of the trademark orange logo.
Deluxe just may be the only burger shop anywhere to share space with a designer furniture store. It's not a bad combination, as we were able to browse some over-priced used designer furniture while we waited for our burgers. Although I will blame the inordinately long wait for what otherwise is essentially a fast food experience for allowing my wife sufficient time to turn our $20 meal into a $70 shopping trip.
Was it worth the wait? Absolutely. I ordered the Denver burger, which was a mash of green chiles and a fresh, poignant pico de gallo of wonderfully ripe tomatoes, red onions and cilantro. Over that was drizzled an excellent jalapeño aioli while melted cheddar oozed everywhere.
We got our food to go and I inhaled this burger before starting the car but only after stuffing on it a bunch of the house fries, that are thickly hand cut and sprinkled with thyme and garlic.
I had eaten these fries before at the Deluxe truck and will have to say while they were great layered on my burger, they were not as good as I remember them. I think on this trip they were the major part of our extended wait time as they came out scorching hot from the fryer and slightly undercooked. On top of that they were a little plain. Next time I will have to try the truffle fries.
I didn't try the truffle fries mainly because they have cheese on them and due to some breast-feeding baby-dietary-changes my wife is not eating any dairy. That also made her burger-experience less-than-optimal, as no one in the kitchen knew if the buns had dairy. I must say, however, that they did their best to find out and came up with the solution of sandwiching her burger between some lettuce halves. In the end, my wife was pleased and although it doesn't look that great to me, it will let you see the Deluxe burger au natural:
And it was a good thing she didn't order the bun, because regardless of the dairy content inside, on the underside it was slathered in butter and grilled to perfection. Here is a close-up of my outstanding burger again, so we don't go out on such a plain note:
Deluxe Burger is a perfect place to get a satisfying and great-tasting greasy, gut-bomb-of-a-burger. I would go back without hesitation when I'm in the mood for a fast burger that is not at all like fast food, although next time I think I'll go back well after Mod Livin' closes.