Here Are Some of Cincinnati’s Priciest Burgers

$27? lol ok.

Photographs Courtesy El Nariz, Yamabika Y / Shutterstock

Pawn your wedding ring, borrow money from your rich uncle, sell your plasma, whatever: Do what you gotta do to try these fancy burgers.

Walt’s Hitching Post: The Trifecta Burger, $13
Looking to throw dietary caution to the wind? This is the burger with which to sin big: In-house ground filet and strip steak is smothered with plenty of smoked brisket and a massive tangle of fried onions for a chop house-inspired (Ruby alums anchor both the kitchen and front-of-house), messy as hell, meat lover’s extravaganza that takes no prisoners at an awfully affordable $13. Just keep a few Alka-Seltzers at the ready. 3300 Madison Pike, Ft. Wright, (859) 360-2222, waltshitchingpost.com

The Wildflower Café: Grassland Graze Beef Burger, $14
On flavor alone, this burger is beyond reproach: the local grass-fed beef is some of the tastiest we ate, and we loved the red onions, peppered bacon, and cheese (goat, organic American, or organic blue) that top it. We’ve long been fans of this all-things-local-and-seasonal spot located, fittingly, in a converted historic farmhouse. The reason the burger fell from its previous championship spot? Our taster had serious problems getting the burger from plate to mouth—the patty collapsed into pieces on the plate, leaving just the tough, past-its-prime bun in hand. That may not sound like much, but with so many great burgers out there, it made a big difference. 207 E. Main St., Mason, (513) 492-7514, wildflowergourmetcafe.com

Red Feather: Burger, $15
This is how you do a $15 burger: Fresh Eckerlin’s beef that’s juicy but not fatty, with a hit of carbon and smoke from the proximity of the grill to the wood-fired oven. A Sixteen Bricks brioche bun with the flaky inner texture of a croissant that’s also been grilled. Housemade herbed soft cheese (rich and fatty), super-crisp candied bacon (sweet-salty), and red onion marmalade (earthy and a little acidic). It’s a gorgeous balance of flavor that brings out the mineral essence of the beef without overwhelming it. And it comes with fresh-cut fries! This is the perfect expression of what Red Feather is trying to do—use fresh, locally sourced, seasonal ingredients to make top-notch dishes. ž3200 Madison Rd., Oakley, (513) 407-3631, redfeatherkitchen.com

The National Exemplar: Kentucky Bison Burger, $15
It’s not just ground meat: it’s bison. This two-fisted burger is right at home in the clubby, pubby atmosphere of The National Exemplar at Mariemont Inn.Unlike the ersatz Tudor decor, this is the real deal—rich, rosy, and substantial, topped with pepper jack, chipotle aioli, and crispy onions. Wimpy field greens seem a bit wan in the macho assemblage, but the chewy wheatberry salad is a suitably stout side. 6880 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, (513) 271-2103, nationalexemplar.com

Jean-Robert’s Table: French Chateau Burger, $15
Visiting high-end restaurants and opting for a burger can be akin to ordering from the kids’ menu, but at Jean-Robert’s Table, menu shaming quickly gives way to order envy. The French Chateau is a rich burger that sources ingredients from local and national vendors. Their rotund patty, cooked with caramelized onions in the meat, is made of ground tenderloin from Luken’s in Findlay Market. The buttery brioche dome that engulfs the beef comes from the Tribeca Oven bakery in New Jersey. Both are perfect vehicles for the creamy and crumbly Fourme d’Ambert blue cheese, a French staple that gives this sophisticated dish a sloppiness worth relishing. 713 Vine St., downtown, (513) 621-4777, jrcincy.com

Metropole: The Metropole Cheeseburger, $17
Fancy burgers too often fall into the trap of forgetting about what matters most—the meat. But not at Metropole. A brioche bun sandwiches a nearly inch-thick patty made with beef from Blackhawk farms in Princeton, Kentucky. Trust us, it’s worth every penny. The perfectly seasoned beef shines in each bite, complemented by a sweet red onion marmalade that’s a nice foil to the blue cheese crumbles. 609 Walnut St., downtown, (513) 578-6660, metropoleonwalnut.com

Salazar: Burger, $17
On paper, the ingredients seem basic: Cheddar, bacon, and tomato. When the sizeable burger arrives, it’s clearly far from standard. The cheddar is aged and gooey. The bacon—crisp, peppery strips that outshine all other toppings—comes from Eckerlin’s. (The beef, also from Eckerlin’s, was a tad overcooked.) Instead of a beefsteak tomato slice, it’s tomato confit. And Salazar opts for a “Kaiser Jose” bun—an unexpected choice—that adds a soft, easy-to-eat texture to the burger. The lesson as always: Don’t judge an item by its menu description. 1401 Republic St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 621-7000, salazarcincinnati.com

The Precinct: The Jeff Ruby Burger, $22
Half a pound of juicy, nicely charred specialty blend Dry-Aged Beef from Pat LaFrieda, Jeff Ruby’s eponymous burger oozes umami-ness. Ours was cooked a perfect medium rare and arrived looking downright dignified—the peppercorn mayo, caramelized shallot jam, and Wisconsin cheddar cheese stacked with architectural verve, a mini basket of Boardwalk fries and one tangy dill spear by its side. The only flaw? The herb brioche bun broke down, forcing us to eat the last chunks of meat with our hands. Which was undignified, but still damn good. 311 Delta Ave., Columbia-Tusculum, (513) 321-5454, jeffruby.com

Boca: Boca Burger, $27
Step inside and find yourself transported—to a different city and a more celebratory mood. And if a burger appeals to you, then you’ll be happy with Boca’s fresh, very juicy, slightly sweet offering. Just don’t expect too much from the bun. While it’s perfectly proportioned, it’s also a little dry. The toppings are basic—LTO, creamy American cheese (if there’s an artisanal version, then this is it), and “sauce maison,” which added tang but wasn’t intrusive. It comes solo in a charming copper dish, but if you’re eating a burger at Boca, you’re not worried about value are you? 114 E. Sixth St., downtown, (513) 542-2022, bocacincinnati.com


This post was edited and condensed from the original.

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