Cooked to Perfection: Charred Burger + BarNov 01, 2022 08:12AM ● By Tamsen Butler
Photo by Bill Sitzmann
Upon arriving at Charred Burger + Bar on a Saturday night, my guests and I were worried there would be a long wait because there were people standing in the doorway with the look that only hungry people have. But we were pleasantly surprised when the host said they could seat us immediately and even gave us the option of eating inside or outside on the patio.
We chose to sit inside because, on this particular Saturday, it was blazing hot. The interior of Charred isn’t anything special, but it’s not unpleasant either. We sat in a booth and were promptly greeted by our server—a jolly woman with an infectious laugh.
Though my husband and I stuck with water and iced tea, my friend and her husband both ordered vodka drinks, which came in mason jars with lids. My friend’s husband took the first sip of his cherry vodka lemonade and his eyes widened. “Oh, that’s dangerous!” he proclaimed, going on to say that the drink was tasty, and he could easily see himself ordering more than one and guzzling them down before he realized what he’d done. His wife reported her strawberry vodka lemonade was also good but made no claims about its danger level.
We shared fried cheesy pickles as an appetizer, and they were a big hit. A dill pickle spear eveloped in cheese and a wonton wrapper fried and served with ranch dressing and a jalapeño aioli made all of us pause as we considered how these fried pickles were unlike any we’d tried before.
Charred is known for its Waygu beef burgers, so my friend’s husband tried the Charred Burger, which featured peppered bacon, balsamic tomato jam, charred cotija cheese, onion, and lettuce. He remarked how his medium-rare burger was perfectly cooked, a feat he says most restaurants don’t manage to pull off successfully, in his experience.
My friend ordered the Carolina BBQ burger, which features cheddar cheese, Carolina-style BBQ, coleslaw, onion straws, and bacon. She was happy with the burger. They shared an order of cheese fries, which our server persuaded them to load with bacon pieces. They tore through them quickly and thoroughly enjoyed every last one.
My husband ordered the jalapeño popper burger, which he said was exactly what he envisioned from the description on the menu. The burger had peppered bacon, cream cheese, and charred jalapeño. He enjoyed the toppings but remarked that the burger patty itself was exceptional. The beef was juicy and flavorful and made all the better by the toppings. He liked the fries he had on the side but wistfully commented that he would rather have a plate of fried pickles instead. I, on the other hand, thought the pickles were filling after just a couple of bites and can’t imagine eating more than one.
My order was the only disappointment of the meal. I ordered the chicken avocado sandwich with fries, which had a seared chicken breast, lettuce, tomato, pickled onions, cheddar cheese, and avocado. It looked delicious, but when I picked up the sandwich, the bottom bun was so soaked with something—oil from the cheese, or perhaps juice from the pickled onions. It started to fall apart as globs of cheese plopped onto the plate. It was a soggy mess and made the sandwich far less appetizing.
As far as the avocado portion of the sandwich goes, it was more of a quick pass of smashed avocado than the slice of avocado I’d expect to see in a sandwich with “avocado” in the name. And while the fries on the side were good, I definitely felt like I was the least happy with my meal.
We ordered a warm chocolate chip cookie for dessert, but wound up with the chocolate chip cookie sundae, a plate of vanilla bean ice cream with strawberries, chocolate drizzle, and walnuts. It was tasty and very sweet, but not what we wanted.
Our server was attentive and friendly but seemed as though she was covering far too many tables.
I’m not against visiting Charred Burger + Bar again, but if I do, I’m not getting the chicken avocado sandwich. I will, however, absolutely order the fried cheesy pickles. And if I’m feeling like a drink, I just might try that cherry vodka lemonade my friend’s husband made sound like a revelation.