I would recognize that bun anywhere. The soft but toasty brioche smacks of the flavorful Empire Bakery as any decent chef-driven burger should. I did a late night drop in to take a bite out of the new Chop House Burger which just opened but a few days ago. I was downtown most of yesterday afternoon, but a drive-by made me skittish with the hoards of people pouring out of the new burger joint.
Walking into the restaurant you notice that the tiny space is built for production. There is a requisite railing that leads customers to their ultimate destination much like you would see at a fast food operation, but this isn’t Wendy’s. I instantly spotted chef Anupam “AJ” Joglekar, the DRG Concepts executive chef. You would normally spot the chef at the Dallas Fish Market or Chop House, but with the opening he is making sure everything is copasetic even at 9pm on a Wednesday night.
There are a few burger options including your choice of beef. Each burger comes standard as a Certified Angus Beef patty, but you can also upgrade to Bonsmara beef. “Bonsmara is a breed of cattle originating from South Africa and is a leaner more flavorful cut,” explained chef AJ.
I didn’t notice the choice when first ordering or I might have been enticed to run a side-by-side comparison. What I did order was the regular Chop House Burger (5.95) and the Ahi Tuna Burger (8.95).
There were a few more burgers that will need to wait for further tasting, but I wanted to get the basic burger and size it up for flavor. The bun was of course ridiculously good. I didn’t specify how the burger should be cook and it came out a perfect medium with striations of red running through the middle. The meat tasted smoky and was crispy on the edges where it looked like it had been smashed a bit leaving the outer edges somewhat dry. But the heart of the sandwich was juicy and inviting.
The burger comes standard with a large shard of leaf lettuce, red onions shavings and black truffle sauce. Every few bites you get the truffle. I can imagine that would be perfect with the optional fried egg.
The tuna burger came with chunks of fresh ahi that were slightly seared and rested on the same Empire bun with a wasabi mayo, pickled ginger, a nori chip and arugula. First bite will remind you of a California roll. The umami of the nori and the spiciness of the wasabi melted perfectly. I might ask for the mayo on the side next time, as it was a bit more than I cared for, but otherwise a fantastic alternative to beef.
I did not try the Wine Country Burger (7.95) but it looks like something I would prefer. It has the kicked up Bonsmara beef, goat cheese, honey mustard and arugula. There is also an enticing Chicken Fried Chicken (6.50) sandwich on the menu that is slathered in white peppercorn gravy.Chop House Burger 1717 Main Street #100 Dallas (214) 736-7300