Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Diner Soho: Superbowl Burger Excess

The Diner kindly invited several burger enthusiasts for a tasting of a new monster burger they are rolling out for their Superbowl party. Now although they are sold out for that evening (see bottom of this post), for those that aren't fans of 'football', but are fans of burgers as big as your head, this beast will be rolled out for the week following the event, 4 - 10 February.

Its called the Stiff-arm burger (see this for explanation) and is one of those plates that actually get you a little worried when its brought to the table. That little flutter of "fuck, am I actually going to finish that?! How do i even start it?!" while people turn to stare from other tables. You'd be right to be worried. The Stiff-arm contains a 5oz beef patty, an 8oz Jucy Lucy (we'll come to that), jalapeno slaw and 'football' sauce all in cased in a poppy-seed Rinkoff bun. So that's 13oz of meat give or take. Its a fearsome plate of food.

The Stiff-Arm

Of course all that food would be a waste of food and money if it tasted like crap. Luckily it doesn't. The beef was medium rare, juicy and seasoned well. Diner beef has been given some shtick in the past by the Burgaffair boys, but we all agreed that this was night and day compared to previous patties. By itself and at 8oz, it would make for a damn tasty burger. The real star was the next layer up. The original Jucy Lucy comes from Minnesota and is a beef patty with melted cheese in the middle. The Diner has made their own version. A pulled pork (shoulder) patty with the layer of cheese in the middle, bread-crumbed and deep fried. The flavours and contrast of textures were amazing and it looks far more appealing than the original. Crispy exterior, flavourful, seasoned, succulent pork and an oozing american-style cheese sauce. The Diner guys told us that this patty is a mammoth effort to get out the kitchen but everyone at our table agreed that it would be a winner if on the menu as a stand-alone burger.

The heat from the jalapeno and football sauce are lost in the cacophany of meat, but the freshness of the slaw does help with the richness of the pork and cheese. Some sharp pickles in the slaw would help boost the contrast. The bun actually amazingly held up and was soft but not overly sweet like some brioches. The Diner told us they may put the slaw on the bottom to help with the structure and also may put something between the patties for greater contrast.it can be ordered with several sauces on the side. My favourite was the chipotle, the rest didn't do much for me.
I mean, just LOOK at it!

Overall I can't fault the individual ingredients, each element is done so well. The biggest issue was when looked in its entirety if it all came together. Was this a case of just one thing too many, or was it a stroke of genius? I view it in context of what it was created for: the Superbowl. The most over the top, commercialised, manly sporting event in modern history. This burger has to embrace and represent what the Superbowl is: gluttony, excess, vice. It undoubtedly hits the brief and as a short-term challenge, its a damn great burger.

Details: The Diner Soho will be serving the Stiff-arm from February 4th-10th, as well as at their Superbowl event Feb 3rd. Although this is sold out I believe, contact @thedinertweets to see if there are any cancellations.

Diner Soho
18 Ganton Stree, London, W1F 7BU. Tel: 020 7287 8962
Nearest tube: Piccadilly / Oxford Circus

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