Purveyor: Hinano Cafe, Venice, CA USA
Menu Item: Turkey Burger
Price: $9 USD (w/ Cheese)
Squawk: First of all, don’t get your panties all in a wad over the fact that we’re reviewing a TURKEY burger on a chicken burger blog. Turkeys and chickens have a lot in common: both have two legs, one beak, lots of feathers, can’t fly very well and taste delicious. Secondly, it would take a very special turkey burger to earn a spot here on Holy-Gobble… errr… Cluck. Point is, Hinano claims their burgers are “world famous” and while the validity of such an overused claim is in part due to their iconic location right at Venice Pier, it’s also due to the fact that they make a kick-ass burger in a salty, old run down dive bar, that if you didn’t know better, looks like it would surely be home to a sneaky salmonella or two.
Thankfully it is not and more thankfully, they get it consistently right. We love the simplicity of serving in a cardboard tray, the random bag of chips that gets thrown in (You don’t get to choose – I got Cheetos, my friend got Sour Cream & Onion), and we especially love the accompanying pickled chilli peppers and dill pickle. It may not sound like it all makes sense, but trust us, it does. Simplicity is the key here. Other than choosing a cheese (Cheddar or Swiss) you don’t get a ton of options like some other places (See The Counter review coming soon), but you do get a perfectly grilled turkey patty on a nice bun with fresh lettuce, tomato and if you need to sauce it up there’s big ol’ squeeze bottles of yellow mustard and red ketchup within easy reach.
Buaawk: Did we mention this place is a dive bar? It’s seen better days, and so have most of the regular patrons who hold court there – and their relentless flow of nonsensical drunk talk sorta drives us bananas. But then again, maybe we just didn’t have enough to drink.
Bonus Points: Sawdust on the floors and a jukebox that just don’t give a fuck.
Purveyor: Beautiful Burgers, Chippendale NSW, Australia
Menu Item: Yankee Chicken Burger
Price: $13.50 AUD
Squawk: We’ve seen this somewhat inconveniently located place on our travels and it’s been on the “gotta try that place one day” list for ages. We finally did it and, generally speaking, the burgers are better than the place looks from the street. Beautiful Burgers isn’t in a beautiful part of town, and the quirky garage sale interior isn’t doing them any favours, but our beef burger friends love the joint, so we decided to see how their chicken burgers fare.
The first surprise is that the chicken is a patty made from minced chicken – more like a traditional hamburger patty. This meant flavour and texture were consistent and it was nicely charred. They call it the “Yankee” and we’re guessing that has a lot to do with the bacon, pickles, and American mustard in the middle. It really works (the mustard especially) on this one and all of us enjoyed our lunch. Even more so thanks to the friendly service, surprising beer list – beers are served in paper bags, we’re not sure why, but we liked it – and the rustic outdoor dining area.
Buaawk: The team at Beautiful could have scored a few more points by going the extra mile and making real slaw – shredded lettuce didn’t cut it for us. Chips have to be ordered separately and come in a cool metal bucket. We ordered two buckets after the first one came out only half full (we’re optimists here at Holy-Cluck) and way too salty. The second bucket was a little more full. And a little more salty. One of the HC team said they “hurt to eat.” Thank goodness for that beer list. Where this burger really falls down, however, is the bun. We universally hated the bun and were dismayed by whatever series of unfortunate events that led to its appearance around everything else that makes up this burger. We likened it to un-toasted “Turkish” style bread that seemed like it could have spent more time in the oven. And finally that sprig of whatever that is that makes up the “salad” is a waste of everyone’s time.
Bonus Points: Outdoor courtyard, friendly service