Friday, June 13, 2014

Burger Battle: The Sloppy Joe vs The French Dipster

The weekly burger battles at Left Bank are noteworthy for their unique burgers. Besides the already varied and highly customizable menu, the weekly battle provides an opportunity to check out new and extravagant creations from the staff at Left Bank.

This week, a burger called The French Dipster is facing up against last week's winner, the Sloppy Joe. I am a huge fan of French Dip sandwiches and as soon as I saw Left Bank's interpretation, I knew I wanted to try it. However, I thought if I was going to try one of the burgers from the battle, why not try both and come up with my own winner?
The French Dipster is made with a brisket patty and topped with shaved rib-eye, gruyere, horseradish mayo, fried onion strings and au jus. The Sloppy Joe is also made with a brisket patty, but is topped with homemade chili, sloppy joe sauce, pale ale cheese sauce, roasted red peppers, red onions and fritos.

  (Sloppy Joe on the right; French Dipster on the left)

One thing I noticed when looking at both that was despite the number of ingredients involved in each burger, everything is layered and sized pretty well. While these were definitely large and more than filling, the point behind the burger isn't to create a giant monstrosity but truly to create a fun, interesting burger that lives up to its namesake and all the components are scaled to make that happen. 

The Sloppy Joe held up to its name; it was, in fact, a bit sloppy but at the same time, it held together fairly well. The brisket patty was good - fairly densely packed, juicy, flavorful,  but its main purpose (which it served admirably) was to serve as a solid base for the chili and sauces, all packing some serious punches of flavor. The chili was smoky, tangy, and slightly sweet from the sloppy joe sauce while the pale ale cheese sauce was creamy and mild, tempering the stronger flavors from the chili but adding richness. I didn't notice the roasted peppers much but the red onions were great, adding some bite. I thought the fritos would be overkill, but actually, they ended up tying the entire burger together. Most of the chips had absorbed a bit of the other flavors and their own saltiness ended up emphasizing those tastes while adding some crunch. The overall burger was a mix of flavors dominated by the chili creating a smoky, beefy, almost southwestern taste that was at once familiar but also much more complex than your traditional sloppy joe.

The French Dipster was more subtly flavored but equally as complex. The rib-eye on top of the brisket patty was tender but substantial. I would have loved to have seen it sliced a bit thinner, but as it was, it was very good. The gruyere was mild, perfectly melted and added some slight nuttiness, breaking up the intensity of the beef. The horseradish mayonnaise was somewhat pungent and spicy, but still creamy and almost sour cream like in texture. The fried onion strings added some good crunch but not a lot of flavor which was a little disappointing. The key component, the au jus, helped keep the entire burger nice and juicy, giving a nod to the French Dip concept. 

I had every expectation of absolutely loving the French Dipster and declaring it the winner, but upon trying them, I found my expectations challenged. The French Dipster was mild and understated in taste and while good, I found I really preferred the intensity of the Sloppy Joe with its much more varied layers of flavor. I would definitely recommend both and found them to both be worthwhile contenders, but when you stack them up against each other......the Sloppy Joe wins!

Have you tried the burgers? Agree or Disagree? Let me know your thoughts! You have through the weekend to come up with your own winner.

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