When I review a burger for AHT I prefer to go for something basic, if given the choice. But when I went to SarahJames in Bed-Stuy last Saturday, I wasn't thinking, "Hey, I should review their burgers," but something more like, "It's 9 p.m. I'm hungry I'll eat anything food must get inside me this isn't a grammatically correct thought Idon'tcareI'mhungry."
All it took was a split-second glance at their specials board to order the Elvis Burger ($9.50) made with a grilled half-pound patty topped with a few slices of banana tempura on a bun smeared with peanut butter on both halves, and drizzled with honey on the top bun. It's named after the fried peanut-butter-and-banana (and commonly bacon) sandwiches that Elvis was known for eating. I'd never eaten an Elvis sandwich before, with or without a giant beef patty. It was time to do something about that.
As a moderate fan of peanut butter, fried bananas, and sweet-and-salty combos, I enjoyed the toppings (if you're not a fan, you'd probably find it gross)—the crispy, creamy bananas and hint of sweet nuttiness didn't overwhelm the flavorful charred patty, just sort of melded with it. Any more of either topping probably would've been too much—there's a thin line between, "Mmm, peanut butter, bananas, and beef!" and "Eeeeuhh sweet jesus, peanut butter, bananas, and beef." (Important note, maybe: I split the burger with a friend, so this opinion is based on a half-experience.) I wish the patty had been a bit juicier, but it was moist enough.
You can tell what the major problem is with the burger just by looking at it: The bun is gargantuan. There was too much extra bun around the circumference of the patty, and the top bun was so fat and dense that I quickly left it off and ate my burger open-faced. (The bun itself was fine as bread; it just didn't belong with a burger.) Also, the honey on the top bun, while tasty, made for unpleasantly sticky fingers. A flatter patty would also make it easier to eat.
The fried-banana-and-peanut-butter combo isn't going to replace a plain ol' cheeseburger as my favorite burger, but I'd try it again, although not from SarahJames unless they change their buns. (The fried bananas would be great in a dessert, though. SarahJames, if you make a fried banana sundae, perhaps drizzled in caramel sauce and crushed roasted peanuts, I will happily eat it.) If Rub BBQ hasn't tried it for their Monday night burger special yet, maybe they can put it on their "to do" list.
I don't mean to give up on SarahJames; their service is friendly and it's a nice option that's a short bus ride away from my apartment (or I could walk for half an hour and burn off a smidge of the burger). Also, I'd still like to try one of their normal burgers when my brain is capable of forming thoughts more complete than, "HONGRYYYY" (said in my best growly zombie voice). If anyone has recs for burgers in Bed-Stuy, let me know.
Anyone else a fan of Elvis burgers?