Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Something Special: Marché

I really didn't want to like it.

I first heard about Marché's $11 burger about two months ago, and it came highly recommended: "no doubt, the best burger in Eugene."

Oh brother... here we go again.  It's not just a great burger... it's the best burger.  Those of you who have read any of my past posts, may know that this is a slightly touchy subject for me.  If a burger is going to get thrown around in discussions as the "best burger," it better be a real face-melter.  It needs to be a burger that is not only made with the highest standards and best ingredients, but that is also unique: something really special.

Now, I need to clarify something here: I'm not talking about a restaurant's claim that its own burger is the "worlds greatest," or the "best in Oregon"; who cares what Chuck, the kitchen manager thinks? I'm talking about a collection of popular public opinions that makes it tough to ignore the possibility that a burger is something very special.

I picked on Cornucopia, probably unfairly, a couple of months ago for this very reason.  I went in expecting a life changing experience based on a few rave-reviews not to mention the coveted "Best of Eugene" recognition, and got... well, I got a really, really great burger, but that was it.  It was lacking a  certain je ne sais quoi that is required to heft a trophy like that.

So, The more I started thinking about the burger at Marché, the more I was sure I was going to be disappointed.  First, I had heard nothing but great things about it.  Not good things, rather great things.  Unless you're the Jonas Brothers, how do you live up to that kind of hype? Second, the burger is eleven freakin' bucks!  Who the heck do these people think they are? Not only was I sure I was going to be disappointed, I wanted to not like it; I came in looking for a fight you might say.

I gotta tell you people before I go any further, Marché's burger lives up to the hype.

For those of you who haven't been to Marché, think about checking it out one of these nights when you have a couple of extra bones in the bank, because unless you get the burger, you are gonna spend $20+ an entrée.  Not only that, if you go in a t-shirt, jeans, and some ripped up Vans like me, you may feel a bit under-dressed: lesson learned.

Marché is at the Fifth Street Market, and is open for both lunch and dinner.  They serve mostly French cuisine, and they are very committed to procuring everything they serve locally: something that I care about, and that you should care about as well.  Their beef comes from the Knee Deep Cattle Company that is not only local, but also feeds its cattle no cereal grains, and no hormones.

The burger comes with grilled onion, Shropshire blue cheese, whole grain mustard aioli, and pommes frites.  I didn't ever find out what the heck pommes frites were, but the burger also came with excellent hand cut french fies.

The fries deserve a brief extra second here, because they are excellent.  They're handcut, small, light, and perfectly fried.  They are the perfect compliment to the burger.

The burger itself is a sight to behold.  Sitting perfectly on its fresh home cooked bun (did you know Marché has it own bakery called Provisions?).  The blue cheese is some of the best I have ever had, and the onion is sweet and still just the tiniest bit crunchy

The meat is cooked to order, and these guys know what they are doing.  Something tells me that folks don't have to send meat back at marché very often.

The actual flavor is something out of this world. Remember, I not only expected to be a little disappointed, but I was a little excited about the possibility of it.  So, when I took the first bite of juicy burger nirvana that is the Marché burger, I was left a little speechless.

It sounds cliché, but words truly wouldn't do this burger justice, so I will simply say that it is about as good a burger I have ever had, even with the $11 price tag.  I actually passed the burger around the table, and made my guests try it; it was that good.

I hate putting myself in the position that my blog may lead some poor soul to have a horribly disappointing burger night, but I am so confident that this burger will leave you satisfied, that I give it my full endorsement anyway.

This is truly one of the best burgers in Eugene, if not the best.  The price is a hard pill to swallow for a burger head like myself, but I think Marché backs it up.

One more thing, If you happen to go, and it is not on the menu, order it anyway: They will make it.  Enjoy.

296 East Fifth Avenue
Eugene, OR 97401