Review #12: The Raleigh Times (Raleigh)
Scott’s Review (Classic Rocks)
THIS JUST IN: Researchers Call Raleigh Times Burger “Weak-Ass”
According to a recent report by the National Burgiatric Institute (NBI), a federally funded research and development center established to determine the merit and edibility of U.S. hamburgers, the burger at the downtown Raleigh eatery The Raleigh Times Bar is “weak-ass.”
“Dude, the burger was like…charred. I mean seriously,” said Eric Zuckerberg, renowned burgologist and NBI’s lead researcher. “And don’t even talk to me about the bun. It wasn’t even that good. It was like…dry. I mean c’mon.”
Zuckerberg, whose landmark study “Eukaryotic Cellular Mitosis in Patty Melts” brought national attention to the post-modernist burgiatry movement, said that he was “totally surprised because everyone is always like, dude, you have to go to The Raleigh Times and check out their burger.” Zuckerberg added, “Whatever, dude.”
The NBI rating was “weak-ass,” just above “lame-ass” and just below “s’alright” on the NBI Fleischner-Cerrano Burgery Scale.
Scott’s rating: 2.25 out of 5.
Michael’s Review (Look at Me!)
A Comparative Study of Expectations Versus Experience: The Raleigh Times
By Michael Marino, PhB
Abstract: The burger at The Raleigh Times Bar was recommended by a number of people. This study will evaluate the expectation generated by those recommendations and the actual burger experience.
Method: My colleagues and I defined our expectations (E) as a unit of measure that is consistent with our rating system, which assesses burger quality on a scale of 1 to 5. Given the high expectations established by our readers, we set our expectation rating in this case as E = 4. I will focus here on my own experience (R).
Experience: I ordered the salami brie burger, medium rare. The option to order the burger at a preparedness level less than medium—the standard minimum at most restaurants—increased E to 4.5. The build of my burger was simple: burger, salami, Brie, caramelized onions, tomato, mayo. The salami was grilled, the Brie was melted but maintained its form, and the onions were pleasantly pungent. The overall presentation was good, a vital determinant of R >= E. Unfortunately, the flavor of char was so strong that it overpowered the delicate flavor of the Brie. (Char is an interesting phenomenon. If used correctly, it can give the burger a deep smoky flavor and add a satisfying firmness to the chewing experience. In this case, however, it tasted as if the burger were burned on a grill that wasn’t fully cleaned.) The inside was indeed medium rare, but the surface diminished the experience overall.
Conclusions: The Raleigh Times scores points for originality of ingredients. However, the quality of the patty itself detracted significantly from the overall experience. Though we burgiatrists do not allow expectation to color experience, for the layperson E will usually negatively affect R. My recommendations are to temper E, as to not be disappointed.
In the case of The Raleigh Times, E > R, and R = 3.
John’s Review (Classic Rocks)
An Epicurean Burger Axiom
(one that is important for Raleigh Times—and all the no-palate dilettantes who claimed their burger was good—to understand)
It is easy to make a burger look good, but there is little correlation between burger appearance and burger bliss.
It’s not enough to buy good-quality beef, cook it up, melt some cheese on it and then present it on an open, toasted bun. Even if all of the elements of the burger are of adequate quality and look colorful and fresh arranged so prettily on the plate, burger bliss will only be achieved if each ingredient was selected, prepared and assembled with the love and alchemy of a talented and devoted burger chef. One who understands what it takes to bring to fruition the full flavor potential of the patty and to conduct, as if with the elements of an orchestra, the complete harmony of the ingredients. A thesis, as only an introduction to a full education, could follow here on tools (such as a seasoned flat-grill), techniques and theories on the mysterious influence of the burger cosmos, but for that, I refer you to the Universität Müenster in Hamburg, Germany.
Which brings me to the much-touted burger at Raleigh Times. There was no love, no magic, no mystery to this burger. It was simply a decent patty, cooked poorly and laid out prettily upon an open bun (an affectation of presentation that annoys a true burgiatrist, as it serves no purpose but to release heat and hinder the ability of the ingredients to balance their temperature and meld their flavors prior to the first bite. Exhibit A: McDonalds’ McDLT). The bun looked good, but was utterly dry and flavorless. The tomato was red but mushy, and also flavorless. The patty was cooked through and the char on the outside had the caustic flavor of burnt gristle, rather than the pleasant undertone of salty sizzled beef fat. For what little it’s worth, the lettuce was okay.
This burger came out looking pretty on the plate, and between that and the reputation that preceded it, I was optimistic. It was served without mayo, so after I waited quite a while for it, assembled my own burger and waited just a minute for the flavors and temperatures to come together, I took a bite and was instantly disappointed. It was not cooked to temperature, the truth of the colorful individual ingredients was revealed, and—most disappointingly—there was absolutely no magic, no harmony, no burger bliss.
Raleigh Times was a cool place with a great vibe. I was rooting for it, but the burger, and the service let me down (a smile would be nice, mayo can be retrieved in less than five minutes, and the bartender can probably confirm whether you have a particular libation before you tell your customer you don’t). With the ingredients involved, this will never be a great burger, but with the touch of a true burger chef who could apply a little love and magic, it had the potential to reach a 3.5. However, it comes in at a lowly 2.5. If it’s a great burger you’re after, don’t waste your Raleigh Time.