Alison Cook’s Burger Friday: solid cheeseburger ‘A’ at the food hall of POST Houston

Inside the Classic Burger with Cheddar at Butcher’s Burger in the Post Houston downtown food court

Photo: Alison Cook / Staff

By the time I got to The Butcher’s Burger, they had already crossed out the birria lamb burger on their short menu. The burger anchored by a grilled slice of halloumi cheese had also been eight-six.

It was only 30 minutes after the newly opened Post Houston Food Hall in the renovated downtown Barbara Jordan post office opened on Sunday. “Big Saturday? I teased one of the staff.

“It was nonstop from 11 am to 10 pm,” she told me.

Fortunately, the basic burger I came to taste was still available. And although the dining room filled up quickly at the tables around the illuminated central stairwell – it looks like a neon chandelier in an intergalactic ice palace – there was no queue at the place. hamburger.

I was drawn here by the pedigree of owners Ben Runkle and Bryan Butler, whose nine-year-old Salt & Time butcher and restaurant in East Austin are highly regarded. They buy their whole beef, lamb, pork and poultry from ranches in Texas that practice humane farming and environmental stewardship. Then they cut, age, soil, dry and smoke internally, hence the name “Salt & Time”.

The butcher’s burger

Houston Station, 401 Franklin; thebutchersburger.com

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; 11 am-10pm Friday and Saturday.

I thought their classic burger ground daily from steak toppings, an Austin staple, was a must-try.

And it was. Here’s how my first visit to Post Houston went.

Price: $ 12 for the classic butcher’s burger; $ 1.50 for the cheddar; $ 4 for beef fat fries, for a total of $ 17.50 before taxes and tip.

Ordered : Line up at the cashier, view the hard copy of the menu, order and pay. You give them your cell phone number and they will text you when your order arrives. (Pro tip: This gives you time to grab a local beer on tap at the kiosk of unknown address.) I took my tray to the outdoor dining area on the back loading dock – “Don’t skip the quay, “warned a sign facing my table – where I was eating merrily. Well, except for the roar of the industrial fan above.

Architecture: No salad unless you specify you want lettuce and tomato. On a toasted Martin’s Potato Bun, a big hit of Duke’s Mayonnaise is applied, followed by a layer of sour pickle slices. Next is a particularly tall, plump beef patty – I estimated it at around 6 ounces, as opposed to the $ 16 8-ounce Austin original – and the prettiest, brightest melted cheddar drape I’ve ever had. have never seen. Seriously, this cheese came down the steep sides of the patty like a sparkling orange waterfall.

Quality: The robust beef flavor of this burger is enhanced by a vigorous seasoning with salt and red pepper spots that curl through the patty. There’s not much to distract from the meaty high, just the supple cheese, the distinctive flavor of Duke’s, and the salty taste of the pickles.

This Martin bun is just the right size to be squeezed and rocked without being overpowering, another factor that makes homemade ground beef shine.

On the menu, this grind is described as “rude” and I was grateful for it. I ran into a few burgers recently (Buns & Drafts; Jamaica Pon di Road) where the grind was so fine it produced a dense, inflexible texture. The Butcher’s Burger patty was loose enough to be sumptuous.

It occurred to me at one point that I would have appreciated a sweet and sour bread and butter style pickle more, simply because it would have offered a bit of contrast to the heavily salty profile of the burger. But it’s a personal quirk, and that won’t stop me from eating this burger again.

Ooze Note: A little sploosh when the gravy meets the mayonnaise.

Classification by letter: A solid.

Value: Fair, when you consider the excellence of the beef and the location above it.

Bonus points: Very nice fries with beef fat, cut with a few skins and a few deliciously irregular chips hidden in the paper bag. Like the hamburger, they are decidedly salty; and their crispy surfaces seem slightly swollen, an interesting effect.

For later : There’s a whole expansive dining room with take-out options, plus enticing steaks and homemade sausages from nearby butcher’s Salt & Time. Signs say they’ll cut and grill a steak to order for you, if you choose.

And there’s a smart daily ‘meat and three’ option of cut-to-order roast of the day (it was an impressive roast pork crowned with chimichurri that day), along with proper daily sides like polenta. creamy, field peas with brisket, kale salad or green salad. “This will be the fastest lunch downtown,” one staff member proudly told me.

Local color : The front door of the old post office opens into the long, narrow space from which I have mailed parcels for decades. Beyond that, in front of an exposed Aston-Martin and a ziggurat-style staircase rising into a three-story atrium, I felt like I had stepped through a portal to another world – or maybe to the future.

This feeling never really left me, as I explored the many dining options, enjoyed the extremely diverse young crowd, walked the trails and vistas of the landscaped rooftop garden, with its spectacular downtown views. . I was delighted with the whole experience and can’t wait to go back.

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  • Alison cook

    Alison Cook – two-time James Beard Award winner for Restaurant Criticism and MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award recipient – has been reviewing restaurants and studying the food scene for the Houston Chronicle since 2002.


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