Off The Hoof Burgers

Not Always In Harmony

Last week, I wanted to satisfy my curiosity by trying something I heard about. A while ago, Seth of Best Memphis Burger blog proclaimed that he found his first five-star burger. Give the fabulous sandwiches that he had previously, I assumed that he found the Holy Grail of hamburgers at Off The Hoof. So, I decided to make a trip to Arlington, Tennessee for a taste of magnificence.

SIDE NOTE: Because I lost my smartphone recently, I've had to rely on Google Maps for getting directions to places. On the night that I went to Off The Hoof, the directions stated that after going about a mile down U.S. Highway 70 (from the exit off of I-269), I had to make a right turn on Chester Ave. followed a left on Mott Ave. In making those additional turns, I assumed that the restaurant's entrance didn't face the road of its official address (12013 U.S Hwy 70). Anyway, I ended up on a dead-end street, far from anything resembling a restaurant. After turning around and going into "old" Arlington, I wasn't sure that I would find Off The Hoof. At one point, I thought I would get "DWBed" ("Driving While Black-ed") by cops wondering why I was driving around the neighborhood. After about ten minutes, I eventually made it back to U.S. 70 and found the burger joint. If there is a lesson from this, that is knowing where you're going and not putting blind faith in the Internet.

Once I arrived there on a Wednesday night, Off The Hoof was nearly empty. My server greeted me immediately and escorted me to my table. Once there, I had already mind up my mind about what I wanted. I decided to get two burgers, with one of them beef-based and the other from one of the restaurant's "big game" meats. Off The Hoof offers unique hamburgers featuring buffalo, elk and ostrich for those wanting to expand their horizons. Unfortunately, those meats were out of season so I settled for a beef burger. Actually, the primary reason for my visit was to try the Pat LaFrieda Chopped Steak burger that received Seth's highest honor. I was hoping for a sample of amazement, but my expectations were dashed.

Before I go on, I want to say that the Pat LaFrieda Chopped Steak cheeseburger is really good. There are great things to like about it, such as the freshly baked croissant bun and the spicy pepper jack cheese (other cheese options are available). On the other hand, the best part of the burger had flaws when I got it. The meat of it is a combination of two-way chuck and boneless short rib, considered by many as prime cuts of beef. While the mix itself is very good, my burger wasn't cooked properly. As most followers of this blog know, I like my burgers and steaks cooked "medium rare" although I'm not a stickler for perfection. However, I value something that was lacking in my "LaFrieda" burger, consistency. After taking a couple of bites, I sensed that something was wrong. Upon further examination, I saw that I had an unevenly cooked beef patty. Some parts of it were slightly rarer than "medium" while other portions were "well done." In and of itself, the burger was the opposite of a disaster, but it fell far short of expectations. Ironically, I hoped for something similar to a Three Angels Diner burger, the inspiration for the Best Memphis Burger blog. While Three Angels' burgers are the epitome of steaks in a bun, the Pat LaFrieda Chopped Steak left little to be desired. In the end, while I have a deep regard for Seth's opinions, I will respectfully disagree about Off The Hoof's five-star status. While the burger is very good, I don't believe it is the ultimate "Best Memphis Burger."

Along with the burger, I got a bowl of Off The Hoof's battered fries. With "battered" being the key word, the fries are heavily coated with batter that is crunchy, buttery and well seasoned. They are also filling, for I tapped out after eating a few of them. By itself, the battered fries make for a great snack, but I advise consuming a small portion if it's a side item to something else.
Overall, I had a nice time at Off The Hoof Burgers. While expectations weren't totally met, the restaurant's food and service was satisfying. Speaking of the latter, my server was very courteous and quickly brought out my order in less than ten minutes. In hindsight, I might have gotten my burger too quickly, given the end result (speed isn't everything, as a recent poor burger experience at Mot & Ed's proved). However, I appreciate the restaurant's efforts in serving me and hope to return soon. When I do, I hope that the "big game" meats are in season. If so, I'm sure to have a blast (no pun intended).


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