Novemburger: Hyde Park Bar & Grill

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 8: Hyde Park Bar & Grill
4206 Duval St. 458-3168,
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday. 11 a.m. to midnight Friday-Saturday.
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 11.08.11
The burger: In the world of burgers, fried eggs are the new cheese and bacon. So could I rationalize and call Hyde Park’s fried-egg sandwich a burger? It’s one of the Top 10 sandwiches in the city, with ham and cheese on toasted sourdough. Doesn’t qualify? OK, the half-pound sirloin it is. It won’t draw the same cult following as that double-egg wonder, but it’s at least worth a straw poll victory in a Midwestern state. The beef has a grill-marked flavor, dense and lean, hardly seasoned at all. They know to just leave it alone, on a warm, egg-washed bun with leaf lettuce, red onions and tomatoes. A few slices of smoked Gouda cheese is about all the upsell I need, at 95 cents. It’s a solid sidekick for the real Hyde Park headliner: battered fries. Read on.
Fries or rings? I’ve never left Hyde Park without Hyde Park french fries. They’re dipped in buttermilk, then floured, then fried ($1.99 with a burger). Twenty-five years ago, they were the first battered fries I’d ever seen, and I thought they were crazy stunt food. Double-fried french fries? What’s next, deep-fried bacon? A chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey? Burgers with doughnuts for buns? By now, battered fries feel like a return to sanity, or at least a return to the little house on Duval Street where I always feel at home. They don’t extend onions the same battered courtesy as potatoes, so I added a side of bright green, wok-seared collards for $3.25. After so many burger sides all tan and fried, my body cried out for something leafy and green. Great, as long as I don’t tell my body there’s bacon in those greens. My waiter brought a bottle of sport peppers in vinegar to sprinkle over them. Liquid magic.
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)