Above: A mouth-watering burger bonanza: Americana’s Bleu Burger, the Bubba Burger, and a very rare G. Mig’s prime rib burger.
By Wini Moranville
After 20-plus years of covering the dining scene, I’ve tasted (and thoroughly enjoyed) more burgers than I can count. Here are my three current favorites, among the many I have scoped out over the years:
• Bleu Burger at Americana: The never-frozen patty gets seasoned with a blend of 10 herbs and spices (including dill, paprika, rosemary, thyme and coriander). It’s decked out with great toppings—blue cheese crumbles, pickled red onions, smoked tomatoes and Sriracha aioli—then served on a ciabatta bun. While this beauty is available for $13 at lunch on weekdays, I’m most inclined to seek it out on Sunday nights, when it stars as part of Americana’s $7 burger night special: a choice of six burgers plus one side. (1312 Locust St., 515-283-1312; americanadsm.com)
• Bubba Burger at Bubba–Southern Comforts: Take a look at the photo. That isn’t just cheese, it’s homemade pimento cheese. That’s not any ol’ bacon, it’s pecan-smoked bacon. And that’s no ordinary bun, it’s a rich, nicely grilled South Union Bakery brioche bun. The pickles? Sweet-tangy bread-and-butter house-made pickles. For this $12.50 burger, patties are formed in-house from an all-Iowa blend of beef chuck and brisket, ground fresh daily and never frozen. (200 10th St., 515-257-4744; bubbadsm.com)
• George’s Burger at G. Mig’s 5th St. Pub: How does former country club chef George Migliero make a burger? With fresh-ground prime rib, of course. Add caramelized onions, a mushroom blend and Jack cheese, and serve it on a tuggy ciabatta bun, with horseradish sauce on the side, and you have a clear winner. One caveat: I do wish they’d use real plates instead of plastic-ware. This $12.75 burger (and everything I’ve tasted at G. Mig’s) deserves better! (128 Fifth St., West Des Moines; 515-255-4550; gmigs.com)
Wini Moranville writes about food, wine and dining for dsm magazine and dsmWeekly. Follow her on Facebook at All Things Food–DSM.