Burgers and Deep-Fried Dogs at Blanco's
The bacon Swiss burger at Blanco's.
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.
The infamous Saddle Dog.
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.
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