Review #22: Red Monkey Tavern (Raleigh, NC)
As a kid, I had a tough time with summer vacation. Of course, I enjoyed it at first. It started out with such promise. Lazing around playing Atari games, riding my bike, going to the pool. After a while, though, I was ready to go back to school. Summer always felt three weeks too long, and I ended up bored.
Which wasn’t unlike my experience eating the Oscar Burger at Red Monkey Tavern.
As I bit into the Oscar, which was topped with sautéed garlic spinach, lump crab meat, hollandaise sauce, and sweet garlic mayo, I was sure this would be the best burger ever. The salty crabmeat and hollandaise sauce combined delightfully with the spinach. I was sure I wouldn’t want it to end. A couple of bites in, however, I realized that the patty was a little tough—and had little flavor. A few bites later, I didn’t even feel like finishing it. It didn’t taste bad; I was just bored.
Michael’s rating: 3.25 out of 5.
In burgiatry school, we are trained to ask ourselves this question upon completion of a new burger: Would I eat this burger again? Easy, you might say. But burgiatry isn’t about easy, my burgiatric compadres; it’s about correct. To this day I remember agonizing over my first midterm paper at university (Cheltenham & Gloucester College of Meat Pies, Newcastle campus—go Flatgrills!), pulling all-nighters in Condiments Hall, poring through dusty volumes of neo-classical burgonomic theory, agonizing over the ostensibly “easy” question of whether to return to the Jolly Fryer in Filton for the two-patty Super Scooby. If that was easy, burger friends, I’m in the wrong line of work.
While preparing to compose my review of the perfectly pedestrian Pub Burger at Red Monkey Tavern in Raleigh (bacon, “whiskey cheese sauce,” “sweet garlic mayo”), I recalled a technique that a fellow neophyte burgiatrist (Phil Weisberg, author of the bestselling Catsup: How It’s Spelled) taught me back in those heady days at C&G: If you’re unsure about whether you’d eat a given burger again, make a list of five things you’re likely to do instead. If the list comes easily, the answer is no.
So here it goes—five things I’m more likely to do before I return to Red Monkey for another go at the Pub Burger:
- Watch Phil Collins’ Live and Loose in Paris (2-DVD set)
- Develop basic understanding of Cary geography
- Troll eBay for season 1 of Bewitched
- Stand near register at Qdoba, yell “Welcome to Moe’s!” as people enter
- Learn to play pan flute
Now that was easy.
Scott’s review: 3 out of 5.
Note: I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: This burger wasn’t bad per se. It’s just not worthy of an all-nighter.
John’s Red Monkey Stream of Consciousness Review
Charlie Babbitt taught me how to drive. Rain Man. Better than average movie, but much more better-than-average than the Red Monkey burger. Better analogies out there. Start over.
My friend Tom from college. The Elbow Room dance floor, kickin’ around empty “dollar beer night” cups to the sound of the beat. An only slightly better than average dancer in nice threads. Much better analogy.
Toto. Pat Sajak. Wrangler jeans. Store brand soda.
A day at the beach, with no waves, no sun, deer flies and a slight drizzle, but still better than a day at work. Hmmmm… Drizzles’s fun to say. A little Double Dutch, girls? “Drizzle, dizzle, fizzle, whizzle, Red Monkey burger needs more sizzle!”
Miracle Whip. Generic potato chips. Kia Motors. Ziggy Marley. Boxed wine. Rayon. Where am I going with this?
Oh yeah… things that are better than acceptable in the just slightest of ways and only under unique circumstances – like when a better alternative is completely unavailable and out of the realm of possibility. In that circumstance, a Red Monkey Classic Rocks cheeseburger can be just as satisfying as getting some good sleep on a sleeper sofa.