Friday, August 31, 2007

On the Road: Thurman's Cafe

Thurman Café
183 Thurman Avenue (Columbus)

Based on the thoughts from the Burger Guys crack research staff, as well as some recommendations from readers, one Cincinnati family decided to include a trip to the Thurman Café on their trip to Columbus. Below are their thoughts, so without further ado, the Cincinnati Burger Guys welcome Mr. T and his family.

Thurman’s is a small bar with only about six booths. Due to its popularity, one may have to wait for a table in the lobby that is as small as the bar. We heard waits can be long, so plan your arrival.

The bar is decorated with all kinds of old things, hanging from the ceiling and walls. It’s truly is cluttered; but provides plenty of stuff to look at while first waiting for the server, then while anxiously waiting for the burger’s arrival. The menu included several different burgers.

Then came the surprise - ginormous burgers! No one in our family thought they would be that big. The Thurman Burger had practically everything on it one could imagine, thus possibly too over the top. The fries and the fried pickles were great.

The burgers were large, moist, and not dried out. Only our young-adult male eating machine ate the whole burger. Some may want to consider splitting one burger. Would a male using a fork be labeled a “girly man”?

The Thurman Café was worth the wait. Feeling stuffed, three of us took our leftovers back to Cincinnati. Then again, we had enough room for the treat nearby - Schmidt’s cream puffs. Yes, even one for the eating machine.

We also received the following message from another reader.

We split a burger for lunch today that was very tasty. It was at a place called Thurman's Cafe in the German Village in Columbus. The reason we split it is because they are 3/4 pound burgers! We also shared a side order of onion rings and the fries that came with the burger. All the food was excellent, especially the burger. I saw some people eat the whole thing. Amazing!!

Next Review: Shooters Sports Grill

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Oakley Update

Thanks to those helping us clarify the situation at the Oakley Pub & Grill. Longtime readers may remember a similar situation involving another top-rated burger (Mingles). We posted this note of the original review.

Since posting this review, the Oakley Pub and Grill changed owners. We have received several concerns about the current burgers, which prompted one of the Burger Guys to visit. He noted that the burger had undergone significant enough changes that it should be removed from the Burger Honor Roll and be re-evaluated by the team. This review is not meant to endorse or criticize current ownership, but to only inform readers of the situation.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Mike Fink's

Review 35 @ Stop 40
Mike Fink’s
At the foot of the Suspension Bridge (Covington)

While at a luncheon during last year’s Tall Stacks, an impressive-looking burger a few tables away caught Freddie’s eye and noting a future return trip would be in order. Knowing the reputation of this restaurant, Freddie knew Bucky could relax and not worry about cleanliness. Given the view and excellent service one expects at Mike Fink’s, the burger duo wondered if they could deliver a burger to their liking.

The first surprise: The burger is reasonably priced - $6.50 with fries or chips and a pickle spear! Although that’s not a bargain, the Burger Guys have seen higher. Honestly, the price is very much inline with others – especially with fries included.

Second surprise: The menu has six different black angus burgers!

Not surprising: The view, exceptional service, and nice touches as both catsup and mayo on the side and a toasted Kaiser-shaped bun. Lettuce, tomato, and onion accompany the well-presented treat.

The result: The patties were about one-third pound, with a char-grilled flavor, but without any extra seasonings added. The burger duo could not distinguish between medium and medium well. Hand-formed patties? Unsure. Frozen? Possible. Sorry to say, it didn’t match Freddie’s previous image. On the other hand, did the fact of it being a Monday effect the result? Possibly.

Considering the view, service, and price, this burger is a bargain. Not award winning, but worth the try because it may have been a bad day. Let it be known that sometimes full-service restaurants do provide the American traditional at a reasonable price.

Points: 4.0
Rating: Average

Next Review: Guest Review: Thurman Cafe (Columbus)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Golf Club at Stonelick Hills

Review 34 @ Stop 43
The Golf Club at Stonelick Hills
3155 Sherilyn Lane (Batavia)513.735.4653

The Golf Club at Stonelick Hills is a pleasant 6-mile drive east along Rt. 50 east of I-275. Due to our initial appearance in the Cincinnati Enquirer, we received information about their Stoneyburger. Well, finally we decided to venture to this unknown spot.

First of all, a short history. Jeff Osterfeld created Stonelick Hills because he wanted to have the best golf course serving the best cheeseburger while serving the coldest beer in the area. For those who don’t know, Mr. Osterfeld is the founder and CEO of the 175+ Penn Station East Coast Subs chain.

None of the burger trio have played the course, but Golf Digest selected Stonelick Hills as one of the Top 10 Best New Public Courses in 2005. This past summer, local golf enthusiasts may know that Stonelick Hills hosted the Duramed Futures Tour, a circuit serving as a development tour for the LPGA.

Upon arrival, the Burger Guys decided to sit outside to enjoy the beautiful weather. Great choice! Covered by shade while being refreshed by a gentle breeze, the lakeside table enjoyed a view of the 9th (right) and 18th greens (left). Although entertained by watching the golfers, no one observed a golfer taking a high-risk chance by going for the island green (over water) in 2 on the par-5 9th.

The Stoneyburger ($6.50) is a half-pound of fresh, not too lean ground chuck that is made to order and served on an onion bun with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, mustard, and mayo. Bucky loved the grilled Butternut bun, let alone the fresh onions to boot! Obviously hand made, the presentation was one of the best! For those ordering fries (extra), it was quite the helping.

Upon the initial meat-only taste, each Burger Guy detected a definite addition of seasoning added to the meat – thus a big smile by Freddie. Upon further investigation, a mixture of primarily onion salt and garlic salt is their key. Penn Station followers probably already know the taste.

As it turned out, the extra seasoning turned out to influence each of the burger guys. Bucky wondered if too much was added to the meat. Wolfy agreed, but also questioned if the combination of the seasoning with the onion bun provided too much of a seasoning flavor. Freddie, still proclaiming that at least something was added to the meat, felt overwhelmed by the presence of the lingering taste as the same seasoning seemed to be on the fries.

The Stoneyburger menu description of “Pub Quality” again shows owner Osterfeld’s goal. The Burger Guys applaud his commitment and the direction of his staff. To support that goal, the Cincinnati Burger Guys provide two suggestions for improving the Stoneyburger. (1) Less seasoning as it dominated the taste and (2) be sensitive to the cook to order. Medium-rare types (as Wolfy) need more red.

The day at the Golf Club at Stonelick Hills was a good one: wonderful weather, a beautiful setting, and three good friends enjoying themselves and a burger. Kudos to restaurant manager Gary and server Lori. Unfortunately, the guys forgot to test the cold beer! With all that in mind, try it.

PS: The restaurant is open April through October.

Points: 6.0
Rating: Average (High)

Next Review: Mike Fink’s