Pairing a Pleasant Wine with the Big Honkin' Celebrity Cheeseburger at The Grape
|Two meatballs walk into a gourmet restaurant...|
Now it's better known as the home of That Cheeseburger, aka the Classic Cheeseburger, voted NO. 1 by Texas Monthly's staff writers and available only for brunch and dinner Sundays and during dinner on Mondays. My wife and I had already tried No. 3, the issue's cover burger, at the Alamo Springs Café 10 miles southeast of Fredericksburg, and had agreed it was the best burger we had ever eaten. Since then, we wondered how any burger could taste better, and finally decided that it was time to make a pilgrimage to Lower Greenville to see what all the fuss was about.
Don't forget that The Grape earned its wings with wine, so you might peruse the wine list before ordering drinks. My wife only needed to hear me say, "Honey, they have $4 Prosecco Mimosas" before making her selection. Slightly nutty and bone-dry, this mimosa is easily worth twice the money, and at that price, you can always order more. I chose a glass of the Arceno Primo Voce Super Tuscan, an intoxicating blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Sangiovese replete with black cherry, leather, and chocolate. By the way, don't be afraid to ask for advice. They really know their grapes.
If this brunch is any indication, they know their food too. Chef/Owner Brian Luscher should be mentioned with the likes of his better known colleagues Pyles, Fearing, and Gottlich. Shredded ox-tail and banana pepper hash was topped with a rich red wine demi-glace, very much like beef bourguignon with poached eggs added. Chef Luscher is a master of pairing in the kitchen as well, for the wine chosen for the demi-glace really brought out the flavor of the beef, and the dish was better with every bite. The hash was served with wheat toast and (what else?) grape jam and the banana peppers stood in so nicely for potatoes that none were needed.
And what about That Cheeseburger? It's a grilled 10-ounce patty with peppered bacon, white cheddar, and dijonaise on a toasted pain au lait bun, and was so juicy that the top bun slipped off three times. Not surprisingly, my wife finally decided to eat it with knife and fork. After sampling it, we both decided that it had well earned its Number 1 ranking. Why? In a word: Beefy.
Chef coaxes the true campfire flavor out of the patty so that it becomes a true beef fest, and like the hash, truly improves with every bite. No condiments were needed, and no ketchup needed on the first-rate frites either. They are properly blanched to bring out the true crispy potato flavor. After my wife and I finished, our knowledgeable waitress offered to bring us dessert menus, but we declined. Instead we finished with another glass of wine and the few remaining bits of burger. On this day, we felt that the cheeseburger was the only dessert needed, and that we had successfully climbed the Mount Everest of Burgers.
THE GRAPE RESTAURANT
2808 Greenville Ave.