For my last blog post of the year, I will focus on a place recommended by many. Nearly all of my friends and fellow foodies suggested that I try the burger from Belmont Grill. With many of them believing that it's the best in Memphis, I felt it was time to give the burger a try. I did it despite reading a lukewarm review by Seth of the blog Best Memphis Burger, someone who I agree with most of the time. However, Seth ended his review by saying that the bar/restaurant probably had a bad day and he might try the burger again. As someone who believes in second chances, I was anxious to go to East Memphis for the much-heralded cheeseburger.
I went to Belmont Grill on a Sunday night when it had a full house. Thinking back to Seth's review, my confidence in getting a great burger diminished. With so many people there, I lowered my expectations in the hope of getting a decent meal. After grabbing a spot at the bar, it took several minutes for the lone bartender to take my order. I eventually got the Belmont Burger with cheddar cheese and a side of potato skins along with a glass of water. It didn't take long for the burger to arrive, for I got in a little over ten minutes. As I waited, a guy sitting next to me affirmed my choice, boosting my confidence.
SIDE NOTE: If you go to Belmont Grill (Poplar Ave. location) for lunch during the week, do not park in the area behind the adjacent law office. Those bast... er, barristers will charge you $300 an hour along with towing fees. Even though it's legal, that seems like a dickish thing to do. If the law firm is as good as Belmont Grill's burger, potential clients will get to it in spite of any inconveniences. If Belmont's small parking lot is full, I advise parking on the other side of Mendenhall by the First Tennessee Bank and Houston's (a pricey restaurant with a mediocre burger).
The Belmont Burger is simple in its composition. It merely consists of a huge beef patty within a French roll with lettuce and tomato on the side. As always, I ordered my burger "medium rare" which the restaurant got right. The ground beef tasted great, supported by a roll that was full of freshness. In all, it was a textbook-perfect cheeseburger that I really liked. However, I wasn't sure if it was worthy of inclusion on my best burger list. Fortunately, a key component of my dinner swayed my decision.
In addition to the burger, the restaurant added a side of coleslaw to my plate. With a cup of sour cream stacked on top of it, the slaw took me by surprise. I will say that I wasn't happy about getting it, for I'm one of a few native Southerners who don't like the veggie concoction. Luckily, Belmont's slaw was a treat to eat. What impressed me about it were the sweet vinegar flavor and the crunchy texture of the cabbage and the other vegetables in the slaw. It also wasn't loaded with lots of mayo and buttermilk, a big reason why I rarely eat it. In my opinion, the coleslaw is definitely one of best in Memphis along with restaurants like Jack's Bar-B-Q Rib Shack.
The coleslaw went really well with my burger. As I was finishing dinner, I wondered what it would taste like with the slaw in the burger. With a bite left, I put a dab of slaw on it that really made a difference. The slaw and the rest of the burger combined for a savoriness that delighted my taste buds. Regretfully, I should have had the foresight to eating the burger that way from the start, but I'll keep it in mind on my next visit.
It seems that the prevailing opinion about Belmont Grill's cheeseburger is true, for it has proven itself as one of the best (as in #15 on my list) in Memphis. That especially holds true if it is eaten with coleslaw, for it adds that extra element that makes it special. I believe that if my friend Seth gives the Belmont Burger another chance, he might get a more favorable outcome from it. I think he will fare better with slaw as opposed to the restaurant's mushroom gravy, but I can't say for sure because I haven't had it. In addition to hamburgers, Belmont Grill has a wide array of menu items from appetizers like potato skins (mine were okay, average) to sandwiches and seafood. I might try some of them in the future but even if they fall short of what I expect, I'm cool with it as long as Belmont Grill keeps making awesome burgers.
Website (Germantown restaurant only): www.belmontgrillgermantown.com
Labels: Appetizers/Bar Food, Burgers, Commentary, East Memphis, Multiple Locations
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