Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Bad Burger: Billy Mac's Grill.

Well, it finally happened; I finally had a burger worth absolutely trashing in my humble little blog.

You see, the problem with blogging about burgers is that burgers are generally good. While no dish fit for the gods, it is really, really difficult to serve an awful burger.  Even the restaurants that are dirty and have trouble frying a decent chicken strip, typically are able to serve up a perfectly palatable burger.  Really, the sandwich lends itself to cheap ingredients and hasty cooking methods.

It makes it tough, burger after burger, to continue to come up with something interesting to say.  I find myself at times scrutinizing every burger to a completely unfair degree, and often writing less than stellar reviews of perfectly good hamburgers, that lack nothing besides a bit of  wow-factor.  The problem is exacerbated by the fact that I target places that allegedly have a decent burger for my reviews.

When all the burgers are so good, what is a burger blogger to do?

But alas, nothing will come of nothing, and it was only a matter of time before I stumbled across a truly terrible burger.  To be perfectly honest, once I realized what was happening I was so delighted, that I wasn't even upset about the hockey puck on cardboard sandwich in front of me.

That said, I have just the slightest bit of trepidation about bluntly trashing a local person's business venture.  I would like to say that Billy Mac's is clearly a successful restaurant in a great location; the service was awesome,  and the place was immaculately clean.  The other items that were ordered by my dining partners were, while not mind-blowing, perfectly edible, and even tasty.

Now, without further ado, the hamburger.

Billy Mac's is on on 19th in West Eugene, and you may never see it if you weren't looking for it.  It's cute enough place, and, like I said before, immaculately clean.  The decor is a loose mixture of outdoor and fishing memorabilia.  The menu consists of mostly American with a smattering of international dishes.

The burger is a 1/3 pounder, and comes with regular fixin's, a choice of sesame seed or whole wheat bun, and Mac's seasoned fries .  If you want cheese it's $.50, and bacon is a $1.50.  For the record, that makes it $9.50 for a bacon cheeseburger with fries; that's a lot of money, especially considering what was about to come out.

The very first thing I noticed was that the fry sauce came out in a disposable plastic ramekin.  At almost ten bucks this seems inexcusable.  Come on folks, you have a business in eugene... get some reusable dishes.

Next I took a look at the burger itself.  It looked off... a bit stiff perhaps... oh wait... what the hell?  I could tell before even touching it, that when I picked it up it would be completely rigid.  I am not sure how they did it, but the bun was stiff like a crouton.  The bacon was cooked to a crisp, and the beef was no better.  The truly amazing thing was that the server had asked me how I wanted the burger cooked; apparently medium-rare means cook the hell out of it at Billy Mac's.

At this point, I got a big smile on my face, as I looked at my friends who were eagerly awaiting the verdict.  I delightedly expressed my opinion: "It is awful!"  Having had the conversation about my blogging difficulties previously they did not need to inquire further about my ironic pleasure.

The french fries, listed on the menu as "Mac's Seasoned Fires," were the one high point of the meal.  They were perfectly seasoned and crispy.  I was so impressed that I asked the server just how they prepared their namesake "Mac's" fries, only to find out that they come out of a box: pretty tacky.

As I close up this entry, I would like to throw out a challenge to Billy Mac's owner/management, if you are reading.  As much as I enjoyed the opportunity to write my first really bad burger review, I would enjoy nothing more than to let you redeem yourselves.  If you think you can get your burger in shape, give me a holler, and I will promptly return to give you a second chance.


The Eugene Burger Blog

Billy Mac's Grill
605 W. 19th St.
Eugene, OR