My Brother’s Bar — a local eatery right by the flagship REI on 15th St downtown, and allegedly the oldest bar in Colorado — has long been tossed around in burger circles as one of Denver’s best. Feeling left out, a buddy and I gave it a shot last week. Does it live up the hype? Read on, my ravenous ones…
As you’ll note above, My Brother’s Bar has decent Urbanspoon ratings, decent Yelp ratings, and a KILLER website. (Please note, this bar is NOT the same restaurant as the chain Brother’s Bar and Grill at 19th and Market. Don’t get confused, I almost went there first before calling My Brother’s Bar and asking, “Are you guys the place famous for burgers?” After an emphatic “YES” from whoever answered the phone, I knew I was heading to the right spot.)
We ordered two burgers, all of which can come as a double if you want: the J.C.B., which includes Denver’s traditional jalepeno cream cheese, and a double Johnny Burger, which was a behemoth including the aforementioned jalepeno cream cheese, Swiss, American, and grilled onions. The burgers and fries arrived with a nifty little caddy including pickles, raw onion, peppers, and condiments.
Ordered medium rare, our 80/20 chuck 4-ish ounce Castle Rock Meats patties arrived definitely north of medium. Maybe a small touch of pink…and unfortunately somewhat flavorless. I am now going to rant:
Burger cookers, for Pete’s sake, don’t shy away from salt! Sure, sure, it can be overused. I get it. But if there’s one thing that is going to whip up a patron into a frothing, incoherent burger euphoria, it’s beef, cheese, and SALT. Put those things together correctly, and even the Baron himself enjoys a commercial grade frozen patty from Costco slathered in semi-plastic pseudo-cheese. Call me crazy. But I digress.
Keeping these things in mind, the Johnny Burger worked on some level simply because the bland patty and standard bun just got out of the way and acted as delivery vehicles for copious amounts of molten cheese and grilled onions. Being that I could just eat caramelized onions and melted cheese on it’s own, it’s not like I was particularly unhappy…just not impressed.
The J.C.B. only worked insofar as I enjoy cream cheese and jalepenos…but again, the beef and bun just didn’t make the cut.
All in all, My Brother’s Bar may serve to satisfy a burger craving if you are stuck on foot in the Platte River district…but given that Highland Tap and Burger and Park Burger are just up the hill in the Highlands, I’d be hard pressed to do anything at My Brother’s Bar except have a brew.