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First Look at eT Craft Burgers & Beer in Northwest Houston

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Fans of the mini double-patty burgers from eT Premium Grill in the tunnels below the JP Morgan Chase tower now have a larger location to frequent in Northwest Houston. eT Craft Burgers & Beer opened in Cypress on September 25 and features a much larger space than the restaurant downtown. It's a welcome addition to this expanding shopping center.

Right off the bat you will notice that the newest location has a different name than the original tunnel restaurant (eT Craft Burgers & Beer instead of eT Premium Grill) and that's because the 3,040-square foot establishment not only serves up juicy double-patty burgers with specialty fries, but it's also got a stellar lineup of local craft beers. Folks can fill up a growler to take home (eT Growler glass bottles cost $6 and each fill costs $16). Choices range from 8th Wonder Alternate Universe, Karbach Hopadillo, Buffalo Bayou 1836 Copper Ale and Saint Arnold Santo (as well as the brewery's root beer!), giving Cypress residents an excellent choice of local craft brews that they might not otherwise get at other restaurants in the area.

And it's not just the beers ($5 each) that are decently priced; every burger, regardless if you build it yourself or choose a premade option from the menu, costs $6.49. The only kicker is that the "double meat" burgers don't include two full-size patties. The ground meat (beef, chicken or turkey) is formed into two slider-size patties and are then stacked off-center between the bun.

Because eT prides itself on you designing (or crafting) your own burger, I opted to personalize mine rather than order one of the "favorites" on the menu. However, I wish I had noticed the seasonal offer, the Carolina Confit (con-fee) burger, before I placed my order; it's a beef burger stacked with arugula, apple cider slaw, blue cheese crumbles and tomato confit with both honey lime vinaigrette and ranch spreads. Yum.

To build your customized burger, you first choose the meat (beef, chicken or turkey). Rather than marking down the burger toppings and spreads you want on a sheet of paper, or ordering it all at once at the register, you follow your tray down the line telling the eT employees what to put on your burger. Choices for toppings include classics like bread and butter pickles, bacon, lettuce, tomato and red onions, as well as more crafty ingredients like chili, apple cider slaw, grilled poblano peppers, flash-fried jalapenos and tomato confit. Keep it simple and traditional with a spread of ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard, or amp up the flavor with jalapeno or Sriracha mayo, Creole mustard or basil pesto.

Because I love the sweetness of BBQ sauce on a burger, I topped my beef patties with that spread, then finished it off with smooth avocado, a slice of Cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and caramelized onions. My dining companion and I decided to try two of the fries: pesto fries ($2.99) and regular fries ($1.99).

Surprisingly the time it takes to create your own burger at eT takes less time than to build a burrito or bowl at Freebirds -- and the folks at eT are cooking the patties right in front of you.

My burger was definitely not the easiest thing to eat. Placing two small patties underneath a large buttery and crispy bun makes it difficult to take a bite without squeezing out some of the ingredients and sauces. You are warned, these burgers are messy, especially if you get avocado and BBQ sauce. But, it's worth every bite. Once you get to the center, each bite is packed with all of the ingredients and spreads. The combination of sweet onions with the BBQ sauce was enough to balance out the savory, juicy burger patties excellently seasoned with cracked black pepper. I thoroughly enjoyed the toasted, buttery bun, however, because the patties are small, your first few bites are just bread and some toppings.

When it comes to fries, stick to the regular version seasoned simply with salt and pepper. The pesto fries became mushy after being covered in the pesto sauce. Separately, the sauce was tasty and packed with fresh herbs and enough oil to bind it together, but atop the fries, it just became a soggy mess. But, the regular fries are top-notch; each is soft on the inside and has an excellent crunch on the outside. The golden fries are finished with salt and pepper -- and that's all they need.

Not only can you get a finger-licking good burger paired with a local craft beer at eT, but if you're watching your calories, you can still enjoy a majority of the burger flavors on the grilled chicken salad. Just as you choose the ingredients to put on your burger, you can select from those same toppings to put on your salad; you basically get everything but the bun.

eT Craft Burgers & Beer caters to a variety of customers, from young high school students and families to casual dates and social gatherings any night of the week. There's lots of options and new ways to create a custom burger, making each visit unique and different each time.

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