Review #25: Dain’s Place (Durham, NC)
8 oz. Angus Burger (Classic Rocks)
At the time of this writing, the U.S. Congress has yet to approve a Constitutional amendment requiring that burgers be rated by certified professionals. In fact, I know of no bill to this effect before any congress in any state.
This is a crime.
The absence of such legislation leaves us subject to everyone with a spatula claiming to have “the best burger in North Carolina.” Or “the best burger in the country.” Or, as at least one purveyor claims, “the best burger anywhere.” Sure—I get it. It sounds better than “arguably one of the better burgers in the vicinity” or “among the top 15 burgers in Pittsfield.” But c’mon, people, must we be so cavalier with our absolutes? Must we sling the word “best” like a drunken tailgater with a cornhole bag?
I say no.
Dain’s Place in Durham serves a fine burger. And yes, apparently it’s ranked #10 on the venerable list of “50 Best College Bars in America.” And yes, its 8-ounce Angus burger is respectable, even quite tasty. But does it really offer the “best burger in the Triangle,” as its website augurs? Until the fat cats in Washington get their priorities straight and illegalize such proclamations, we’ll never know.
Scott’s review: 3.25 out of 5.
The Defibrillator (Look at Me!)
“So, what are you guys in the mood for?” Scott asked.
Scott turned from the temporarily insane John to me. “How about you?”
“I don’t know. Definitely not the Defibrillator.” It wasn’t going to get the restaurant’s signature burger, yet it called to me: An 8-ounce patty. With cole slaw. No, I can’t. And sweet chili. Sweet Jesus. And a hot dog. What?! I’ll just get a bacon cheeseburger. Definitely not the Defibrillator.
The waiter came to the table and sat next to Scott. “What can I get for you?”
While Scott ordered his standard and John ordered his ketchup concoction, I kept myself focused: Bacon cheeseburger, bacon cheeseburger, bacon cheeseburger. The waiter looked at me expectantly.
What? I just ordered a burger with a chili dog and a side of slaw on it. What is wrong with me?
But once it arrived, all doubt was erased. The sweet chili, salty dog, and crispy slaw elevated the otherwise average patty to the centerpiece of an overall fine burger. If you don’t think you can stomach the full-on experience, split it with someone; Dain’s is really on to something with this burger. Make the trip to Durham and enjoy.
Michael’s review: 4 out of 5.
8 oz. Angus Burger (Classic Rocks; no cheese for a total focus on the patty I’d heard so much about)
This will be brief, as Dain’s warrants only a few words, despite what I had been led to believe about it. The patty was fresh but disappointingly bland (which would typically indicate low-grade ground chuck and an insufficiently seasoned flat grill). The bun was traditional and acceptable. I found the burger to be a 3.25 at best. I would be surprised if ever I Dain to eat another burger there again.
John’s Review: 3.25 out of 5