The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Burgers
For the next 20 weeks, we'll be rounding up the runners-up to our 2011 Best of Houston® winners. In many categories, picking each year's winner is no easy task. We'll be spotlighting 20 of those categories, in which the winner had hefty competition from other Houston bars and restaurants.
Does that burger have Fritos and refried beans on top? Yes. Welcome to Texas.
Houston has a lot of burgers. A lot. We could do a dozen different Top 10 posts on just the different styles: gourmet, steakhouse, fast-food, burger stand, veggie, old-fashioned -- you get the drift.
Instead of that, we've picked 10 of our favorites from around the city that all represent the many different styles you can find in Houston. If you like burgers, you're guaranteed to find at least one burger that's "your type" on the list.
If not, you know the drill: Yell at us in the comments section until you feel better.
10. Cream Burger
The burgers at this Third Ward drive-up can most accurately be described as the kind of stuff that Whataburger would make if it were still a one-restaurant operation in Corpus Christi. The buns and patties are thin and slightly crispy. The cheese is gooey and melty. And the burger is slathered with healthy amounts of onions, shredded lettuce and mustard. This is a true Texas burger. And in true Texas style, don't forget to order a Frito pie on the side.
Petrol's burger would be higher up on the list if it didn't take so damn long to get the bartenders' attention there to order it, and if it didn't take so damn long to come out. Burger and a pint night on Mondays are the most popular time to order Petrol's huge, craggy burger topped with salty Cheddar cheese -- which also means you'll be in for a hell of a wait. The craft beer bar gets bonus points for also offering one of the tastiest lamb burgers in town.
8. Green Seed Vegan
Photo by Troy Fields
Unlike bean- or tofu-based patties, the Dirty Burque burger is mostly buckwheat, a pseudo-cereal that's high in protein and better known as kasha (as in kasha varnishkas), the base of Japanese soba noodles. The patty is made from scratch -- like everything else at Houston's only vegan food truck -- and is naturally gluten-free. The buckwheat patty is studded with colorful chunks of vegetables, from orange bell peppers to green flares of bright cilantro. On top you'll find buttery slices of avocado, peppery arugula, raw white onion, a tangy spread of egg-free mayonnaise and a New Mexican-style green chile sauce that's tart and slightly hot.
7. Down House
Down House doesn't do everything right, but it does make a mean burger. Its Longhorn burger is the stuff of sweaty-foreheaded, dilated-pupil, burger dreams. The patty tastes of nothing but sweet, buttery beef with a hint of salt, served on a fresh, yeasty bun. And instead of interfering with that driving, meaty flavor, the other ingredients simply complement it like a chorus of backup singers whose sole purpose is to make the star shine even brighter: Longhorn cheddar, peppery arugula, ripe tomatoes and house-made mustard thick with whole grains of mustard seeds that pop and sizzle against the beef.