Burgers are decently represented on menus of this year’s James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Award winners. No, you won’t find them at Outstanding Chef Dan Barber’s Blue Hill or Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Jean Georges, winner of the Outstanding Restaurant medal. But bless Myriad Restaurant Group’s Drew Nieporent, winner of the Outstanding Restaurateur Award. He, at least, knows New Yorkers (and others) love their burgers! The Black Angus Burger at his Tribeca Grill is one of that town’s favorites.
Iron Chef Michael Symon, chef-owner of Lola in Cleveland and this year’s Best Chef: Great Lakes, menus a Lola Burger (bacon, onion, aged Cheddar and his very own Special Sauce) at lunch. Philadelphia’s Amada may be primarily a tapas restaurant, but Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic Joses Garces finds room on his lunch menu for the fabulous $14 Amada Burger (a half-pound of Angus beef, tomato escabeche, bacon, guindilla aioli and manchego cheese on house-made brioche).
At Seattle’s Tilth restaurant, Best Chef: Northwest Maria Hines accompanies her Mini Duck Burgers ($14 as a starter, $27 as an entree) with fingerling-potato chips, house-made ketchup and hot mustard. Tim McKee, chef-owner of La Belle Vie in Minneapolis and the 2009 Best Chef: Midwest, has Grilled Lamb Burgers for $9 on his lounge menu. They’re served with mint yogurt and hot pepper.
And City Grocery may be in Oxford, Miss., rather than in one of the major culinary Meccas, but Best Chef: South John Currence serves a burger that he can match up against anyone’s. His BBB Bacon Cheeseburger begins with 8 oz. of ground tenderloin, with red onion, lettuce, tomato, white Cheddar, pickle and Guinness mustard added to the toasted ciabatta bun. Sounds like a winner to me.