Quest For Ultimate Burger: Second Floor Bistro

by Rob Banes

Last week’s burger quest took our group to the Westin Galleria Hotel to try the burger offering at The Second Floor Bistro-Bar whose kitchen is headed up by Chef J. Chastain and overseen by Scott Gottlich owner of both Second Floor and Bijoux. At lunch Second Floor features a variety of soups, salads, sandwiches and entrées such as hand rolled fettuccini, risotto and house made gnocchi.

As intriguing as those dishes sounded, we were there were burgers and a few moments after sitting, our server took our drink and lunch orders. I ordered the Second Floor Blue Burger cooked medium which featured blue cheese, pancetta and grilled onions for $14.50. The regular cheeseburger comes with white cheddar, gruyere Swiss or jack cheese. About 10-15 minutes later my burger was placed before me.    
I didn’t expect the side salad to come with the fries but it was a welcome addition to the plate after tasting. The mix of field greens was topped with a flavorful vinaigrette and added a healthy foil to the decadent burger.

If you wanted some greens with your burger, they would add a different flavor and crunch to this burger. The burger was served simply with a fresh bun topped with a patty topped with a generous portion of blue cheese, pancetta and red wine grilled onions. Taking my first bite, I was overwhelmed with the flavor of the blue cheese but after removing a portion of it, I really enjoyed the burger.

The patty was cooked to a perfect medium and and crispy smoky pancetta was offset with the sweet grilled onions. I think that the blue cheese is great in concept but a little bit goes a long way. In the future I would choose the cheddar or the gruyere option. The pancetta was cooked crispy and gave a unique alternative to the typical bacon placed on a burger. It had a nice smoky flavor and melded well with each bite of the patty. The onions were cooked to a very soft texture and picked up the flavors of the red wine that they were cooked in.

Next the patty was very juicy and seasoned lightly with salt and pepper. I thought that the patty held up well to the burger. Finally the fries were thin style and cooked crispy. They were seasoned with salt, pepper and a few herbs and were a welcome side dish to the burger.

Overall, I thought that the Second Floor served a really good upscale burger. The patty was cooked perfectly and seasoned to provide a nice flavor in each bite. The blue cheese was tasty but tended to overwhelm the flavors of the pancetta, onions and beef in each bite. Ultimately I think it is difficult to balance all the rich flavors that a blue cheese burger provides. I would definitely order a burger again at Second Floor and look forward to trying the other options such as the Friday night molecular gastronomy drinks and bites.

Ratings (1-25:)
Bun – 20, stood up well to the very juicy burger, nice flavor
Meat – 21, perfectly cooked, pancetta added nice dimension to each bite
Appearance – 21, beautiful presentation, nice contrast between cheese, greens, fries and onions
Taste – 20, blue cheese overpowering at first, great flavor of beef, pancetta and onions
Overall – 82

Rob Banes is one of the city’s great food enthusiasts and burgermeisters. He counts beans by day and burgers by night at Quest for the Ultimate Burger.

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