Not too long ago Wifey and I were downtown late in the afternoon on a Saturday and had a craving for burgers. Portland Monthly magazine did an article an issue or two back about the best burgers in Portland - most of which we hadn't tried - so that's been in the back of our mind as we have been planning our food adventures.
I mean, who doesn't love a good burger, right? Sorry vegetarians...I'm not quite as anit-veggie as Anthony Bourdain, but I love me some ground beef on a bun. Over the course of the next year or whenever, we plan to hit everywhere on Portland Monthly's list, as well as some they may have missed (Grilled Cheese Grill?).
So there we were, hungry in the Pearl District, and realized Ten 01 was only about a block away. Now, Ten 01 made the list on the best non-beef burger section, which to me is a little weird, but a chorizo burger sure sounded good.
Later in the afternoon there was no wait, especially since we were fine just sitting at the bar. By the way, is it weird to sit literally at the bar, on a stool watching the bartender make drinks, and not order alcohol? Or, really, anything other than water? Probably, but we had done some wine tasting earlier and really all we wanted was food. They didn't seem to mind. But it's still a little weird - to me at least.
The bar menu has all sorts of interesting looking stuff on it in addition to the chorizo burger, which we already knew we were ordering. We decided what the heck, let's get the regular burger as well, which comes with an option of bacon and your choice of cheddar, feta, or bleu cheese. Bacon and bleu cheese on a burger? Yes. Hell yes.
The chorizo burger also has a fried egg on it and came with fries; the grass fed beef burger did not come with fries. However, we saw other people order fries by themselves - has an option for truffle oil - and they looked pretty dang good. Ours were excellent.
What about the burgers?
The beef burger was good - perfectly cooked. We asked for medium well and that's actually what we got - it seems like that usually means medium or medium rare in most restaurants, so we recommend asking for exactly how you like it. In our case that would be medium, but it was hardly overcooked - it was exactly what we asked for. The bacon strips were thick and not overly fatty. Overall it was an excellent blend of flavors.
It's very difficult to describe the chorizo burger. It definitely had some kick - as chorizo is bound to do - but the egg, pickled shallots, and provolone provided a nice balance so you never really noticed that this burger had the spicy bite. If you are open to your burger being something other than just ground beef, this is where you need to go.
Which one was better? Hard to say - that's like comparing apples and oranges, really. If you want spicy and want to be a tad adventurous, go chorizo. If you want a classic, that was excellent too.
The best in Portland? Ten 01 has to be on the list for sure, but the list is long and we're just getting started.