Overhyping burgers seems to have become a thing. When was the last time you ate a non-fast-food burger that didn’t have massive expectations attached to it?
As Nietzsche once said, “Keep your expectations low, then you won’t be so bummed out.”
Thus it was that we stumbled into Parlour on a recent Saturday night — a rare visit to the well-heeled heart of the warehouse district on a weekend — and ordered their burger ($13). We tend to cringe at menus featuring burgers priced in the teens, but there are exceptions to our usual rule of DRAB PRICE (Diminishing Returns As Burger Price Rises Into Crazy Excess), and the Parlour burger proves itself worthy of the additional funds – not with smoke and mirrors, but with sheer focus and simplicity in execution and flavor.
This is the brevity burger. It is the punchy Papa Hemingway short story on a shelf sagging under the weight of bloated George R.R. Martin novels that exhaustively list the lineage of royal horses in each Westerosi ruling family. This burger is the sawed-off shotgun hiding in a pile of laser-sighted assault rifles. It’s the ascetic Desert Father fleeing the sinful bloat of the city to shed all forms of vanity and live a pure life before God. It’s … just really good, and really simple. Two patties. Two slices of American cheese. One well-grilled bun (on both sides!). Pickles on the side. We could go on, but like obsessively dissecting the new Star Wars trailer a full year before the movie comes out — what’s the point?
OK fine, fine. We all want to talk about the new lightsaber, the new droid, and the new cast, so of course we want to tease apart this burger, too. Writing any more than a tweet’s worth of words about such a simple construction of a sandwich seems antithetical to its inherent philosophy (inasmuch as a burger can have a point of view), but the genius of this burger lies in its editing, and that is worth talking about (are you listening, JJ?). There is nothing hiding the refined bare essentials except the burger’s deceptively simple appearance – the two patties are formed from ground sirloin, ribeye and brisket. There is no aioli, no sad, obligatory lettuce and tomato, no fucking bacon (is the bacon thing still a thing?). It’s a double cheeseburger. The choice to use two patties makes sense only if the chef is taking advantage of all that additional surface area to create textural contrast, and it works wonders here — a crusty exterior has been imparted to each patty by a hot flattop, and the meat is done to a perfect medium (no temperature preferences were asked for, mercifully). Glued together with that American cheese (hat tip to the superior melter), the Parlour burger nails it: it’s hot, delicious, and architecturally coherent.
So we encourage you to swing into Parlour with a casual air when the craving for a good burger activates your hyperdrive. Don’t go out of your way. Or do. Whatever. Just be chill about it. Before you get there, try to Jedi mind-trick yourself into forgetting you read this, then bite into the piping hot, unadorned mess of beef and melty cheese with zero expectations, and savor the experience. As Yoda once said, “Toppings are the path to the dark side. Aioli leads to powdered ketchup, powdered ketchup leads to onion foam … onion foam leads to suffering.”