Novemburger: Big Daddy's Burgers & Bar
Because 50 Burgers, 50 Days wasn’t enough, I’ll write about a new burger every day this month. And next. We’ll call that Decemburger.
Day 7: Big Daddy’s Burgers & Bar
9070 Research Blvd, Suite 101. 614-0252, www.bigdaddysaustin.com.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 11.07.11
The burger(s): On one of the 10 TVs I can see from my table on an NFL Sunday, a commercial comes on for the KFC Cheesy Bacon Bowl. And from where I’m sitting, it doesn’t look all that excessive, because there are clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right. Here I am, stuck in the middle at Big Daddy’s, the Nutty Brown Cafe’s sister restaurant that took over the former home of the Bagpipes breastaurant this summer.
To the left of me: The Bad Boy Grilled Cheese Burger (photo at left), with grilled cheese sandwiches for buns. To the right: The Hangover Burger (top photo), with a Krispy Kreme doughnut for a bun. Stuck in the middle: Me, with defibrillator paddles for hands (not shown).
I understand the allure of goofy excess, of letting a Green Bay game and a couple beers goad you into trying a doughnut burger. It’s one of those stunt foods guaranteed to attract the Food Network, the Travel Channel and self-righteous food writers like me. But it’s a trainwreck on a plate. A half-pound of beef crosshatched by bacon smashes the bottom half of the doughnut into a syrupy pool, and the top of the doughnut sits like a hemorrhoid cushion over the full moon of a fried egg. Harsh imagery, I know, but this is one of those crazy ideas that’s just crazy enough not to work. Push all the elements into their separate corners, and maybe you could salvage the experience by imagining a steak-and-eggs breakfast with a doughnut dipped in au jus, like a Chicago beef sandwich. ($11.95 with a side of fries.)
At least you can lift the grilled-cheese burger with your hands, grabbing it by any of four slices of Texas toast. The grilled cheese on top has bacon; the one on bottom packs thick slices of pickled jalapeño. Two sticky pieces of American cheese, hardly warm much less melted, weld together each sandwich. In between is a juicy mouthful of beef cooked a bright medium-rare with grilled onions and, for no thematic reason, a fried egg. It’s $13.95 with fries. Look at it this way: Bring your kids, and that one plate could be two sandwiches and a hamburger steak.
Speaking of kids, one of the dads on my kid’s soccer team is a heart surgeon. He offered to come along when he heard about the doughnut burger. For backup.
Fries or rings? These vertically cut steak fries seem like they’ve been dredged through a light breading, with a small-crumbed armor that emphasizes the soft potato inside. But they also absorb and deposit fryer oil disproportionate to their size, and you’ll taste it like you were doing Wesson shots. They’re included with the burger plates. For an extra $1.50, you can sub the best thing I ate at Big Daddy’s: rings of poblano pepper scattered among the onion rings with a batter like fried chicken, the onions and peppers barely soft, finished with ketchup dressed out like a Bloody Mary.
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)