Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Second Lunch Trip to Butcher and Singer

As I indicated in my last post, I returned to Butcher and Singer yesterday for a second go at the $5.99 burger. Using my first experience as a guide, I adjusted accordingly. First, as my last offering was overcooked, I asked for my meat medium rare, hoping to get a nice warm pink-centered medium. Instead, I was served a rare to blue burger. Most of the center of the patty was not even warm. Granted, we went at 12:15PM this time and the restaurant was not yet full, only slowly filling up, so the line cooks were probably anxious to keep ahead of the game. Time lapse from order to plate-on-table was approximately six minutes (I counted). There is no way that a 10 oz. piece of meat can cook to 125 degrees in six minutes. (I feel like Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny asking the cook if he had magic grits because the witness on the stand said they cooked in ten minutes)

All that to say, the burger was undercooked. As is my shiny personality, I tried to find the good. I said to my lunch companion (who initially clued me in to the $5.99 B&S burger), "Being that the burger is undercooked; it will not be as greasy." I was wrong. I even ordered the burger without the oily sautéed onions. None the less, the burger was a mess to eat again. I assume that this is due to the higher quality meat used in the burger, probably 80/20 choice sirloin or chuck. Regardless, it was a mess again. This time I ruined two napkins.

Halfway through the burger, I gave up. In the middle of the patty, the only parts of the meat that was cooked at all were the sear marks. I touched the meat and it was cold to the touch, with the fat specks still intact and solid. They had not even been rendered during cooking, not at all. The middle was raw. The parts that I was able to eat were tasty and delicious, but I could only eat about 60% of it. A high pointon this visit, however, was the state of the fries. They were freshly crisped and were still too hot to eat when they were placed in front of me. Big win there.

So, when the front of the house manager noticed that I had only eaten the outside half of my burger, he approached the table, looked at me, and kindly asked how our lunch was. We both said that the burger was great. He looked at my plate and asked me again, so I mentioned that mine was a little under temperature. I followed by saying that it was ok because I had been there last week and devoured every scrap of the far from low-cal burger. I expressed no disapproval or unhappiness with the meal. Low and behold, the front of the house manager removed the burger from my bill. After a minute or two of insisting that I pay for the burger that I ate more than half of, the young man (no more than 25 or 26) said that he and the server agreed that the meat was drastically undercooked and that he would not dream of charging me for it. I concurred with his assessment of the burger and thanked him for the gesture. I believe that a restaurant is half the food, setting and personality, while the other half is ability to keep the customer happy when things don't go smoothly. Butcher and Singer certainly wins in both categories. While the burger was not fired correctly both times I ordered it and was a mess to eat, it still ranks as a good burger and an even better marketing idea.

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