My friend, music writer Mike Smith, (you may know him from the Leslie Tyler Fink brouhaha or his musings over at Rocks Off) made a pretty bold claim the other day: Blanco's Bar & Grill (3406 West Alabama, 713-439-0072) has the best cheap burgers in town.
I'd never had the burgers -- or any other food there. But what I did know is that there's no other place in town where a shot of Maker's with a Shiner chaser fits so nicely in the grand scheme of your dinner. And there's no other place that offers such honky-tonk enjoyment while you eat. As an added bonus, you could always two-step the burgers off on the dance floor afterward.
So I set out to Blanco's with Mike last week to test his theory. As it turns out, he's not far off.
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A regular burger was $3.95 -- not exactly super-cheap, by my standards, but nothing to really complain about -- and for a little bit extra, it came with some nicely greasy, skin-on French fries that remind me of the ones Cliff's Hamburgers used to serve when I was younger. Avoid the sweet potato fries, however, as they were soggy, awful things.
The burger itself was great. I ate my half in four bites, with Mike taking a little while longer to savor his. We're not all savages, I guess. I liked the hand-formed patty -- neither too fat nor too thin -- but wished for crisper, better veggies than the nearly white lettuce leaf and somewhat mealy tomatoes that came with it. The patty also could have stood a little seasoning...some salt, some pepper, perhaps. I ended up dunking my half in the honey mustard that came with our Saddle Dogs, which worked quite nicely.
And about those Saddle Dogs... I couldn't pass one up while we were there, after reading Mike Morris's take on the State Fair-ish food last year. Mike's post speaks for itself, which is to say that Saddle Dogs (hot dogs and cheese rolled up in a flour tortilla and deep-fried) function best as a novelty item. It was good, but only for about two bites or so.
My favorite cheap burger in town is still at Cream Burger, but Blanco's does have a distinct edge over the little burger stand: It serves booze. Beware of going on Mondays, though, as the kitchen closes after lunch.