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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thing 145: Ray's Hell Burger

They love it when you order B.I.G Poppa.

Luckily, B.I.G Poppa is a black pepper crusted burger, with a thick slice of aged Danish blue cheese, cognac and sherry sauteed mushrooms and grilled red onions served on a buttery poppy seed brioche roll. I loved it when I ordered B.I.G Poppa, too.

I was at Ray's Hell Burger, where the burgers are enormous, they don't make fries, and they clearly love horror movies and hip hop music (and word play, too).

I wish I'd remembered my camera. I'm not sure words can do these burgers justice. They are massive. And meaty. They drip beefy juice all over your hands and mouth and plate when you bite into them. They require a bit of tactical planning to ensure a little taste of everything stacked onto them ends up in every bite, and they are salty, sweet, juicy, fatty, rich and beefy in every bite.

The store itself is small, an open kitchen at the back that is little more than a line with griddle, three registers for your order, and two dozen tables crammed in side by side at the front of the store. Framed posters for B-horror movies line the walls of the restaurant, along with the rules of the establishment -- don't hold a table, don't dawdle, etc. Soul, hip hop and funk music play over the constant din of diners and short order cooks and I saw at least three people burst into spontaneous dance moves as they got up from their tables after eating.

You can create your own burger combination from the list of toppings and cheeses, but it's so much fun order their pre-decided combinations, why wouldn't you? In addition to the B.I.G Poppa, you can order the Big Punisher -- round here they call me Big Pun -- with spicy chipotle marinade, pepper jack cheese, charred jalapenos, grilled red onions and piranha sauce, the Dogcatcher -- bow wow wow yippie yo yippie yay -- with roasted bone marrow and persillade; Let's Get it On -- we're all sensitive burgers, with so much to give -- bacon, swiss and Vermont white cheddar, cognac and sherry sauteed mushrooms, grilled red onions, sauteed peppers, roasted garlic, lettuce and tomato; and of course, Fat Joe, with a fat slice of seared fois gras with a balsamic glaze, white truffle oil, crispy shallots and vine-ripened tomato.

Incidentally, they offer one of my very favorite cheeses of all time, Rogue Creamery Smokey Bleu -- as an option for the build-you-own burger, as well as a cheese that I think might be illegal in the states, the epoisse de Bourgogne.

They don't serve fries, which is surprising but fine, since the burgers are big enough to fill you up plenty without the extra starch. If you really need something fried to accompany your meal, you can order fried cheese and potato balls, or what appeared to mac 'n' cheese (although at that point I was so consumed with burger bliss that I only vaguely noticed what the people to my left were eating). They also have root beer on tap. And for dessert, a larger thermos of rich hot chocolate sits at the back of the store, and you can pour yourself a tiny cup for free. A small taste of something sweet, perfect for the very small amount of room left in your belly.

Be warned -- Ray's is cash only. And your meal, unless you're ordering the Fat Joe, will be around $12.

Two years ago: I learned nine things about the St. Patrick's Day parade.


Dmbosstone said...

I went to Hell Burger for the first time last month and I also had the B.
I.G. Poppa- it was good but the flavors were strong, I really wanted to evaluated the burger. Next time I'll build my own.