It used to be that every time we drove by UnBurger my darling brown husband would cluck softly and gently shake his head. I imagine his elderly Indian aunties make a similar noise when they drive by a burger restaurant in Bangalore, but for very different reasons.
My husband will solemnly acknowledge his Hindhu birthright, but when he visits India he beelines for the golden arches and devours the sacred cow in the form of a Maharaja-Mac.
So the UnBurger clucking arose more from his concern that the ‘Un’ implied meatlessness – would the burgers contain beef, or would he be tricked into eating a cleverly sauced reconfiguration of tofu on a bun? A recent vegetarian burger experience left him with irreparable psychological scars. He resisted UnBurger for a long time.
I admire UnBurger as much for its concept as for its food – they emphasize locally sourced ingredients and offer plenty of healthy options. Mercifully, the vegetarian options do not contain stealth tofu. The menu is focused but whimsical and allows for plenty of personal customization. Everything is cooked fresh to order by college kids who actually give a damn.
The beef burgers, which can be swapped out for the more local and less fatty bison, range from neat-and-tasty to rich-and-sloppy. Chicken fillets are brined before grilling, meaning they stay plump. The Tropic Thunder (with chicken, pineapple, and chipotle aioli) is my personal fave. In fact, the carnivorous options are so tasty that my husband actually volunteered to try the vegetarian burgers, and neither the Great Falafel or the Bella Mushroom burger disappointed us.
You can choose a standard Signature bun, multi-grain bread, or lettuce wrap for your patty. They’re all good, but I personally dislike the mechanics of the multi-grain option – the toppings squirt out the other side when you take a bite and the blunt edges are aesthetically off-putting. The fries are fresh-cut and can be dunked into a range of creamy sauces.
The salad sides are fine. Just fine. I’d stick with the Edamame. Everything else seems a bit thick: the Caesar dressing is heavy, the Asian slaw needs a daintier cut, and the Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod 8-grain energy salad is on the dense side. Body Break!
However, these minor criticisms are weightily offset by everything else that’s great about UnBurger.
And the final opinion from my darling? “Un-burger – great burgers, terrible name.”