I Survived Tha' Nooner at Jonathon's
Each week, Justin Bitner goes hunting for DFW's most interesting sandwiches. Have a sandwich suggestion? Leave it in the comments and he'll check it out.
Venue: Jonathon's Oak Cliff
Sandwich: Tha' Nooner ($11)
Bread: Impeccably blistered bun
Toppings: Half pound beef patty, handful of ham, swiss, thick-cut bacon, american cheese, tomato, mayo and a fried egg PLUS a huge side of fries
The Case: A couple weeks ago, you'll no doubt remember ol' Reitzy lobbed this tiny grenade onto my lap (or rather my gut) on our little blog. Charged with the task of covering the giant burger pictured just above, I made a stone-faced vow to Scott and my other fellow bloggers to not only try this piece, but to take it down -- or die trying.
Making my way down to Jonathon's on a bleary weekend afternoon, I spotted the sun throwing thin rays through ebullient rainclouds. Featherweight drops of rain followed me along the sidewalk and up the staircase, creating delicate applause with their synchronized patter.
My first step into the old house that Jonathon's occupies was cozy. The restaurant's dining room and bar take up what I'm assuming used to be the living room and dining area of the house. The space certainly wasn't large, but it didn't feel cramped either, even at the height of the brunch rush. I was seated at the bar, in the very stool that I was later told once held my esteemed colleague and sandwich-dare issuer.
I scanned through the menu, half expecting my chosen concoction to be printed with a warning label. Not finding it, I surreptitiously whispered to my server Christine, co-owner and wife of Jonathon, that I was there for the famed Nooner. She gave me a quick once over, attempting to instantly judge my intestinal capacity, then resumed taking my order.
After she finished punching up my ticket, I asked her if anybody had ever finished the cardiac combo I had just requested. She responded that nobody had, but that if she were to adopt the art of meat-eating again, she could conquer it with ease. Now I not only had to prove my clout to my blogger cohorts, but I even had a leaf eater taunting me.
As soon as I saw my order appear in the tiny kitchen window, I felt my arteries firm up in anticipation. There was no turning back as Christine brought my plate around the bar and set it down right in front of me. It looked like the cautionary poster child for an anti-obesity campaign. This was Man vs. the Animal Kingdom, on a bun. Without taking another instant to size-up the burger, I took a huge bite.
The first chomp brought a wave of elation across my palate. Not only was the burger giant, it was incredibly good. The burger itself was cooked perfectly, but it blended into the background as the dual saline attack of the bacon and ham leaped out. The creamy trio of the American, Swiss and mayo gave another subtle layer of delicious saltiness. The egg, fried to a precise balancing point, displayed a gorgeous yolk that streamed over the edges of the other toppings. Toting the weight of this protein-intensive mass was a toasted bun, which tasted great on its own and held the moist toppings without breaking down.
A little past the halfway point of the burger, my seemingly insatiable appetite started to appear fallible. If there was one thing that couldn't happen, it was failure. Not only would I have received a pouty-faced pat on the head from Christine, but I would have been fired. First rule of sandwich correspondence: No sandwich left behind.
Shaking off the feeble advances of self-doubt, I buckled down and plowed through the rest of the sandwich, making sure to even finish all the non-nub fries to prove my mettle. It was hard to tell which was more satisfying, the excellent taste of the burger or actually finishing it, so I headed home and grabbed a nine-hour nap to think it over.
The Verdict: Clear your plans for the day and hit Jonathon's for Tha' Nooner, it's a delicious prelude to meat-induced slumber.
Never had a chance.
More 'Wich Trials:
The Fried Oyster Po' Boy at Po' Melvin's
The Sizzling Steak at Captain Nemo's
The Falafel Pita at Milk and Honey
The Doc Brown at Pecan Lodge Smokehouse
The Challah French Toast at Coffee House Cafe