Once I finished the P90X program, there was one thing that I had on my mind that I just had to have that I hadn’t touched for the entire 90 days. It wasn’t a beer or a dessert or a slice of pizza or even a pastry (though the twice baked almond croissant was a very, very close second). It was a cheeseburger. Not a McDonald’s cheeseburger or anything like that, but a nice, perfectly made and grilled, absolutely delicious cheeseburger. I made plans to work from home on a Friday, and decided that the Brave Horse Tavern would be my cheeseburger destination.
The natural question then is, why the Brave Horse? Why not one of your favorites like Red Mill or Sport? Or some place like Spring Hill that had the best burger in Seattle according to the Seattle Met? Well three reasons. First, I wasn’t in the mood to drive all the way to Seattle. Second, Brave Horse is a Tom Douglas restaurant, and you just can’t go wrong with anything that has his fingerprints on it. And third, it says right on the menu that their burger is 100% grass-fed, Painted Hills beef (I actually made the decision to pass on John Howie Steak because the menu said that the meat was from Nebraska, and I just associate that with corn-fed…yeah, it bothers me that much right now).
Anyway…I digress. I made it Brave Horse at a little after noon, and was meeting my friend Josh. The line for seating was about 10 deep, and the restaurant was packed. I made my way to the back bar and was able to find one high table. The place itself was very wide open, and there was quite a bit of noise and energy. TVs around the area showed the various available sports channels. The decor was something of a wild west meets South Lake Union. I started by ordering a beer while I was waiting for Josh. Once he got there, I went for a handmade pretzel and then built my cheeseburger…getting real creative I ordered the burger with cheese. The menu is definitely build your own…if all you want is a hamburger, you can get a great deal at $6, but add cheese, bacon and onion, and you get up into the $12. I finished it with the apple and endive salad rather than the fries as my side; I couldn’t stray tooooooo far.
I was so excited when the pretzel hit the table (Carbs!!) that I completely forgot to take a picture of it. Oh well, you will just have to trust me that it looked awesome. And it tasted great. Baked to a nice crispiness on the outside but soft and moist on the inside. Not too much salt at all; just enough that you would notice. I sampled it with the variety of housemade mustards. I couldn’t tell you what each was, but I can tell you I would take a bottle of any of them…none too sweet, one with a good amount of heat to it, all delicious. Then came the burger and salad. The salad was nice…fresh apples, fresh greens, very minimal dressing just letting the ingredients do their thing…though it wasn’t anything I couldn’t do at home. I took a couple of bites, set down my fork, and turned my attention to the reason I was there in the first place…my burger.
My first impression was that it’s not a huge burger, and I’m ok with that. I don’t need a 3/4 pound burger…a nicely cooked 6 oz. burger is perfect. It was nice and thick, the cheese melted perfectly, and a little bit of burger sauce running down the side. I took a bite and a smile spread across my face. The burger was cooked a perfect juicy medium. The sauce added a little sweetness and contrast, but the burger was still the star of the show.
After depriving myself of hamburger goodness for so long, the burger at Brave Horse was just what I was looking for. It was the right size, well cooked, juicy and delicious. I wouldn’t put it as the best burger that I’ve had in Seattle…I still think the one that I had at Sport before my opposition to corn-fed beef invaded my burger selection criteria was a bit better. But I would absolutely go back and order another one, this time maybe adding some onions or something to compliment it further and make it pop just a little more.