Today’s review comes from a dear burger buddy who knows burgers as well as anyone. His review of Hillstone in Cherry Creek is worth a read!
The Hillstone restaurant group has provided me with a great meal on more than one occasion. My mom and I have the great tradition of celebrating our joint birthday at Cherry Creek Grill and I joined a couple other Burger Baron contributors at Bandera in Chicago. All that to say I was very excited to try out Hillstone, another great piece of that spectacular restaurant group. I was even more excited when I heard the burger there had received high marks. After arriving and hearing the great jazz music and smelling the meat cooking over the fire, I almost classed it up a bit and order a steak. However, I stayed on course and ordered the chuck and brisket mixture that is ground in house everyday. This is my first post on the The Burger Baron, so I must tell you that I always order my burger medium rare, and Hillstone was no different. The burger came out and it looked spectacular. Here is the run down:
- Egg bun – toasted, topped with a few sesame seeds
- A secret ingredient that I will get to later
- 8 oz mid rare burger. They didn’t tell be the exact break down of the blend, but it was chuck and brisket and I think there was more brisket than usual. The burger was well salted and grilled
- Thick cut extra sharp cheddar
- Crinkle cut pickles
- Fine chopped white onion
- Shredded mix of green leaf and iceberg, more on this momentarily
- Really nice looking tomatoes, my guess is hot house
Every single aforementioned item was well above average. Each component was a fresh, high quality ingredient that looked and smelled amazing.
And here is where the mystery begins. I don’t know why or how, but as I am 90% sure the quote goes, “The sum of the parts was greater than the whole.” The taste of the burger was average (maybe slightly above average), but nowhere close to breaking into my top five of 2012 (which for me is Elway’s, Park Burger, Pat Lefrieda burger, CityGrille, and the Baron’s own). After walking into to a great restaurant and seeing the beautiful product, I fully expected it would give Johnny boy a run for his money.
A couple of afterthoughts:
- I am sure that the Baron will be brave enough to one day broach this topic, but how does a burger with outstanding parts from top to bottom not taste great? Can a burger lack a certain je ne sais quoi? Good luck with that brain buster, Baron.
- The secret ingredient that I spoke of earlier was, in my opinion, genius. Below the patty, mixed in with the bright yellow mustard, was a few pieces of shredded cabbage! Crazy right? Yeah, crazy like a fox. As confirmed by our great waiter, the cabbage was there to help out the bottom bun with containing the juices. No added flavor, a trace of added texture, and the bottom bun was strong from start to finish.
- On the subject of shredded items, Hillstone used a mix of shredded iceberg and green leaf lettuce. I know by saying this I run the risk of not getting published by the lettuce snob Baron, but I liked the mixture. I know that with shredded you lack a little crunch, but you don’t have to worry about a non-conforming piece of lettuce compromising the structural integrity of the entire burger. The green leaf added some great color.
- The fries were shoestring cut and nicely salted. Like the burger they looked better than they tasted. Way too oily. Total bummer.
Overall, I feel that the burger definitely was lacking something. At $13 dollars I expected more. I would love to go back to Hillstone (I had a great martini), but next time I would go with the steak. When it comes to gourmet steak house burgers in Denver, Elway’s is still undefeated.