kuma's corner

6:33 PM Sian Mei Yeoh 0 Comments

arguably the best burger in town?

the 'best burger in chicago' discussions typically highlights kuma's corner as one of the top contenders. whenever somehow i get caught in this never ending debate of the best, three names get mention -  kuma's corner, edzo's and dmk burgers. {cn} has picked her favorite - edzo's has earned her loyalty that of which is with good reason when i've had the pleasure of trying it earlier this year. on the other hand, kuma's corner's huge following also includes adam gertler who chose the plague bringer burger on food network's 'the best thing i ever ate :: with garlic' edition

sunday noon was the fated day when i'd be picking my side. edzo's or kuma's corner. whom of the two will win my favor? (btw, i know there are tons of other great awesome places in chicago - just haven't tried them)

i was there right on time - and they've just filled every single table...did i mention i got there right as they opened? my name was the first on the wait list which worked out since {xy} ended up being late (again!) anyway for our lunch appointment. btw, they don't take reservations so i'd say be there earlier just slightly before the doors open.

{xy} being late meant it gave me some time to take in the ambience.

the bar lined one of the walls where diners were seated with their burger selections. the cooks huddled in the small open kitchen at the back corner, cranking out burgers like clockwork. the aroma from the kitchen wafted throughout the dining space - threatening to have most diners smell like burgers when they left. very much like their menu items which are named after heavy metal bands ranging from metallica, black sabbath and plague bringer just to name a few, the decor leaned towards the same theme which is reaffirmed by the loud (angst-y?) music..

when {xy} finally got there, it was another 10 minute wait before they led us out back to the patio for our lunch. i have to say i was somewhat relieved and happy to be seated outside although it was a tad chilly since the music was starting to get on my nerves. btw, i've heard and read that the wait is usually astronomically long - sometimes it could take up to one or two hours.


there were so many different renditions of burgers - each with a unique spin that it was quite a task to actually pick one. even so, i have no clue why i decided to pick the safest option out of all the interesting offerings that were available. >.< it has to be the damn bacon and gouda.

burgers :: yob | smoked gouda, bacon, roasted red peppers, roasted garlic mayo ($13)

one of kuma's signature style is to serve their burgers and sandwiches using pretzel buns which is a nice touch. i love pretzel bread because of its chewiness yet soft texture and it could hold the burger without falling apart. the thick hunk of meat between the two buns was cooked to medium with the juices still intact. the smoked gouda added a nice light smokey flavor to the burger and obviously bacon is win! :) however, the roasted garlic mayo was so subtle that it was almost nonexistent and not sure if i like the roasted red pepper in the burger since i'm not sure what it lends to the flavor profile. overall, a pretty solid burger. however, the fries that came with it were disappointingly not crispy.

sandwiches :: hate beak | buffalo chicken, spicy buffalo sauce, monterrey jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, and red onion on a pretzel roll with a side of bleu cheese dressing ($12)

{xy} wasn't quite thrilled with the sandwich since the chicken was a tad dry. his selection got him wondering what is with the hype with kuma's corner. one redeeming point was his potato chips spelled yumminess that i wished i had ordered that instead. i kept stealing {xy}'s potato chips that i had to mentally stop myself. judging from {xy}'s response to his buffalo chicken sandwich, burgers and maybe their mac&cheese are the way to go.

to answer the question of the best burger - personally i would pick edzo's but i realized it wouldn't be a fair comparison since they both serve two different styles of burgers. they both dish out solid, yummy burgers...it is perhaps because i prefer the old school diner (griddled) burger - just with quality basic ingredients that make a delicious burger. kuma's corner, on the other hand, has eccentric combinations for the more adventurous taste buds. they have interesting concoctions of flavors and ingredients as condiments giving each burger the kuma's corner personal spin.

oh, to make this experience even better: {xy} being late to our lunches does have its perks - a free lunch since he felt guilty for letting me wait. :)

disclaimer this is written based on personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others

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