The other day, I was looking for a post run place to go for dinner. My criteria were that it had to be in Ballard, serve cold beer, and be post-run wardrobe acceptable. Basically, I wanted a place where I could walk in wearing sweats and wouldn’t have to get the stink eye from patrons who clearly cared a lot more than I did. A quick search revealed that the place to go was Bad Albert’s Tap and Grill. So after my short, yet still painful run along the Burke-Gilman, I headed over to old Ballard and found Bad Albert’s on the corner.
As soon as I walked up, I knew I had picked the perfect place. I’m not saying that Bad Albert’s is a dive per se, but it is not at all like the Loft across the street where I would need to break out my expensive jeans and faux-hawk. It’s a place where you walk in and it’s a sports bar. There are a bunch of TVs, high tables with padded stools, worn carpet, a chalkboard with the menu. And on that menu was the “Famous Dock St. Burger”. Anytime you go to a place with a “Famous” anything that’s a little divey, you have to order it right? Well, at least I do, so I did, and a Manny’s too (for those of you not from Seattle, that’s a durn good local microbrew).
After my beer arrived, I pulled out the iPad and fired up the Rockies game. Hey, even with all the TVs they have, it wasn’t on, and yes, I’m dorky enough to actually take my iPad out in the bar. I wanted to watch my team play ball. And while my choice of bar apparel didn’t get a sideways glance, the overabundance of electronic devices did, but I rolled with it.
When my burger showed up, and I rearranged all the crap I had out, I cut into it. I was excited because it had won a Best Burger award from Seattle Magazine which I find to be fairly reputable when it comes to judging local restaurants. But I was a little apprehensive because I didn’t necessarily like what I saw when I cut in. The patty seemed pretty thin and there was A LOT of lettuce. One bite in, I was torn. The burger wasn’t bad, but it definitely wasn’t one of the best in Seattle. A couple more bites confirmed my initial thoughts. Unfortunately the Dock St. Burger violated some of my key burger criteria. First, there was no juice. When you squeeze a burger, juice should seep into the bun. Second, there was too much “other” stuff. With this one though, it was the lettuce. The bacon didn’t overwhelm it and I one point I thought to myself, “I thought this had cheese”. But the lettuce was so much. It was like a salad on my burger, and if I’m eating a burger, I don’t want a salad. Third, the burger lacked seasoning. Now, don’t get me wrong, I want the burger to be the star of the show, and quality beef doesn’t need much help. But a little salt and pepper please. And unfortunately to top it off, the bacon wasn’t good. It was like it had been cooked and then kept under a heat lamp.
Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed in the burger. But the fries were a different story. Obviously hand cut, cooked well, and seasoned nicely. I made my way through every single one of them with no complaints at all. Didn’t even need ketchup.
I will say, I enjoyed my evening at Bad Albert’s, and I do think I will go back. The menu looked pretty interesting with things like Po’ boy Sliders and a couple other appetizers. The ambiance was good for a casual night to watch a couple games. And the beer was cold. But I was disappointed in the burger, and will not be ordering that the next time.