Houston's Top 10 Pub Burgers
5. Branch Water Tavern
Photo by Mai Pham The $13 burger at Branch Water is worth the price.
Branch Water isn't a sports bar by any stretch, but it is a nice place to catch the game if a calmer and chicer climate suits you. In keeping with that climate, chef David Grossman offers an outstanding $13 Texas Wagyu beef burger that's worth every cent (Bon Appétit thinks so, too): Grossman grinds nine ounces of the Texas version of the thickly marbled Japanese beef, then tops it very simply with tomatoes, red onions, butter lettuce and his own pickles, all atop a fluffy bun that soaks up the steam of beef juices nicely. You'll still need plenty of napkins for this one, though.
4. Rockwell Tavern
Rockwell Tavern's big burgers don't mess around.
You may not expect a stellar craft beer selection and big, beautiful homemade burgers in this little strip-center tavern in Cypress. But Rockwell Tavern has cultivated a fervent following for offering those two things in spades, and it shows in the regulars who pack the place each night. One of the best things about Rockwell's burgers is the sweet buns that sandwich the beefy patty in place, a nice eggy lightness to them in the face of all that meat.
Monday night burger night at BRC isn't the madhouse you'd expect, given how damn good the burgers are -- and how discounted. A burger on a normal night runs you $8.50 ($3 extra if you get fries). But burger night gives you BRC's classic burger -- a sort of upscale version of the Big Mac, complete with "special sauce" but with bacon and cheese to boot -- along with a basket of fresh, hot, homemade fries for only $6.50.
2. Petrol Station
Photo by Nicholas L. Hall A tangy, tzatziki-topped lamb burger at Petrol, one of several burger options.
Petrol is a less than ideal spot in which to watch any kind of sporting event -- but that's because it's a pub first and foremost. The draft beer selection is among the city's best, and the special casks and kegs that Petrol taps keep the place a perennial favorite among craft beer lovers. Even folks who could care less about beer, however, come to Petrol for its famous burgers -- especially now that the kitchen is back up and running. Burger and a pint night on Mondays may seem like the best night to go, but it's also the busiest. Stick to another night and enjoy the huge, craggy burger topped with salty Cheddar cheese with a cool, crisp pint. (Or go whole hog and order The Rancor.)
1. The Queen Vic
The Queen Vic's English burger comes with plenty of house-cut fries, to boot.
This is the burger that caused me to question what I thought was a constant in my life: hamburger buns. Why don't more places use English muffins for buns? They are much sturdier than regular buns but still soft, their craggy interior soaks up meat juice admirably and they're far thinner, which means the important meat-to-bun ratio is always perfectly tipped in favor of the meat. Oh, and that meat -- The Queen Vic's patties are ground fresh daily, then topped with housemade bread-and-butter pickles, salty English cheddar and peppy Coleman's mustard for a truly out-of-this-world burger experience. You might even forget the Texans are on TV.
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