Monday, November 11, 2013

Lunchbox Laboratory

Imagine that there are two categories for Burger Goodness.  You have Fast Food Joints, that are the standard bearers of fast food burgers, where they're made super quick and without much flash.
  • McDonalds - baseline hamburger.  Consistently familiar.
  • Carl's Jr. - good burgers, love the Western Bacon Cheeseburger
  • Five Guys - not bad; lots of burger condiments to choose
  • In and Out - the standard, most basic and most delicious burgers in the world
And then you have your Sit Down and Order Off A Nice Looking Menu Types of Restaurants that serve a supposedly better burger at a slightly higher price.  I had the chance to eat at the Lunchbox Laboratory this past weekend and this place definitely falls into the second category. 

"And the best thing about this? There is no way to mess it up."

Lunchbox Laboratory signage. Seattle Lab. It's autumn and I'm hungry!

There are three locations in the Puget Sound area:  Bellevue, Gig Harbor and Seattle.  I went to the Seattle one with my friend.  What's cool about Lunchbox Laboratory is not just their huge selection of burgers to choose from but the multitude of combinations in bringing together a custom ordered burger to your liking.  Just as the name implies, you get to play around with all of the ingredients (from meat choices to dipping sauces to the number of patties that you want for your burger) to come up with a masterfully delicious concotion. And the best thing about this? There is no way to mess it up.  

My friend ordered the Upstate New Yorker with three patties; it looked like a heart attack just waiting to happen. With Super Beef (which is Lunchbox's American Style Kobe Beef), Monterey Jack Cheese, Onions, Super Gorgonzola Spread and Buffalo Ketchup, it had all of the makings of an edible Empire State Building.  It looked quite decadent, New York style.

Upstate New Yorker Burger.  Yes, that's three patties.  The little cup behind the salad is a cup of jalepeno mayo for the fries

I had the Tear Jerker, which comprised of Super Beef, Pepper Jack Cheese, Onions, Jalepenos peppers, Habanero Mayo and Satan's Tears Ketchup.  The ketchup wasn't as devilishly hot as the name implies but it was quite flavorful, like ketchup mixed with tabasco sauce.  I ordered it with two patties (one patty equating to about a 1/4 pound of ground beef) and that seemed too much. 

The Tear Jerker with two patties. That red stuff is Satan's Tears Ketchup. I did cry a little but it was tears of burger joy.

Overall, this burger was super flavorful, with a bit of kick.  The meat had a lumpy shape to it, as if someone had just handrolled the burger to order.  It's wasn't hard at all when it arrived; it was rather juicy with some flavor.  But the flavor of all of the condiments that come in the burger (from the habanero mayo to tabasco infused ketchup) added more than enough spicy zest to make me sweat.  

Is ... is that bacon salt? And garlic? Wait! Cinnamon? So much flavor!

You get to choose your sides and I got the standard issue skinny fries.  They also had tater tots, housemade chips, sweet potato fries and Mac and Cheese selections.  The skinny fries were OK.  Super thin and salty but lacked any potato taste.  Next time, I'll have to get the tater tots or chips to compare.  Tots would have been better since I could have experimented with the various seasonings they had available.  Mmmmm ... bacon salt.

They had a fair selection of appetizers, shakes and spirits but after a half pound of burger heaven, I decided that eating any more would be too hazardous to my health and decided to pass.  Next time, Lunchbox Laboratory!  I'll see you next time with my empty stomach in tow. Highly recommended for a real gourmet burger.

Lunchbox Laboratory
1253 Thomas St.
Seattle, WA 98109
Also in Bellevue and Gig Harbor

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