Bar Code Burger Bar has been getting a lot of buzz recently.
So we decided to try one (actually, two).
The one pictured above is called the “Bar Code Burger” — which signifies to us that it’s the standard bearer for the operation.
The other one was called the “Green Chile Cheese Burger”, and it signaled that the owner might know a thing or two about green chile cheeseburgers.
That flagship burger claims to made with a “proprietary blend” of short rib, brisket and chuck — the former contributing fatty, richness (it was hoped), with the latter two ingredients supposedly bringing exquisite beefiness to the party. Don’t take my word for it, let’s read the menu description:
BAR CODE BURGER $11.95 — Proprietary short rib, brisket and chuck, Newcastle onion jam, smoked bacon aioli, blue cheese, arugula, pickled red onions & peppers.
Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?
And it is…right up until your teeth pierce (and your palate wraps around) the juicy-but-too-tightly-packed meat.
That’s when you discover there’s too much and not enough going on at the same time. Shall we outline our bill of particulars? Oh yes we shall.
> The patty is too thick. 2+ inches by our estimation — which makes it at least 1/2 inch too much to get your mouth around.
> That patty is barely seasoned. If there was but a wisp of salt and pepper present, I’d be surprised. All of which makes for a very thick, very bland burger.
> All that promised beefiness was also AWOL.
> It was also overcooked and none-too tender, which is something you can get away with a thinner burger, but a sin with a big boy like this.
> The onion jam (sweet) and the pickled onions (sour) didn’t exactly fight each other, but they hardly did a one-two taste tango on the meat. Together they stood for the unpardonable (and all-too-common) offense of burger overload.
> As for the blue cheese, well, it was present in name only. There appeared to be a thin schmear of a white, sticky substance on my hamburger that bore a passing resemblance to some sort of cheese product, but the sharp, strong tang of actual blue cheese was harder to find than a high school diploma at a Trump rally. (A cheap, tasteless Sysco product masquerading as the real thing? YOU BET!)
> The arugula was unnecessary (it always is), and the primary flavor was provided by the smoky mayonnaise. (Somewhere, David Chang is beaming with pride.)
Too thick, unseasoned, overloaded, and none-too-beefy….and this is the burger everyone is raving about these days?
And don’t get me started about the highly-confused green chile cheeseburger — another example of how addition by subtraction could help a recipe. (No, I don’t need fried onion rings – even good ones – falling out of my burger bun.)
The owner also needs to use some Anaheim-New Mexican chiles with real kick, not these gringo-friendly poblanos. (Any New Mexican worth his salt knows you don’t put jalopy peppers on top of good New Mexican greens.)
They also commit another felony by placing the roasted peppers underneath the burger. THESE THINGS ARE IMPORTANT, PEOPLE!
To be fair, there is a lot to like about what they’re doing here. The buns are super fresh, as is the meat, everything is cooked to order, and the fries and sauces are fantastic. And having a home-grown burger bar as dedicated to quality as this is a real feather in our culinary cap.
But these burgers need work, and someone had to say it.
Zeus hath spoken.
BAR CODE BURGER BAR
1590 E. Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, NV 89119