On Episode 63 of The Charlie Tonic Hour, Charlie and I spent a good deal of time raving about a hamburger that is just possibly the best one we’ve ever had. In fact it led to a discussion of flavors, social class, and life experiences that led us far beyond a quick review of a restaurant and it was one of my favorite parts of the show. Any burger that can inspire that kind of discussion deserves its own write up.
We decided to try Azur because it was recommended to me by Sharon Rudd, the food blogger and culture writer behind Eggplant To Go. She has written about Azur’s innovative food events and efforts to make good food accessible and local in the past and when I mentioned that I would be doing some business in Lexington she recommended I check it out. It did not disappoint.
Charlie and I stopped by Azur around 5 pm on Saturday and at such an unfashionably early dinner time we had our pick of seats. The atmosphere was clean and modern with warming accents and cool blue walls. Service was prompt and polite. The worst part of the meal for me was not being able to afford to try more things on the menu. The special of the night was elk, which I’ve never had, but at over $40 for the entree we had to give it a pass. We ened up each having a dinner salad and sharing a burger with truffle and garlic fries.
The salad was very good. The combination of “field greens, toasted almonds, dried cranberries, shaved red onions, blue cheese crumbles, and balsamic vinaigrette” is nothing original but the ingredients were fresh, quality, and well balanced. The garlic truffle fries were delicious, and by a nice coincidence I had just been telling Charlie about how much I missed the garlic fries I used to get at my favorite bar in Oakland. I was able to satisfy a craving I’d had since 2001 even if I would have liked the fries to be thicker cut. The burger was just plain out of this world. As with the salad, the basic combination of ingredients are not all that unheard of when dining. The menu describes the ‘wig’ burger as having, “lyons farm beef, shredded short rib, talleggio cheese, jalapeno fig bbq, and crispy onions.” Burger, pork products, cheese, bbq and onions. Nothing I can’t get at T.G.I. Friday’s right? But that is where you would be wrong because somehow this basic combination of flavors came alive in a way that I’ve rarely tasted before. First of all the burger itself was perfectly cooked, juicy and full of flavor. This was a good quality piece of cow. Second of all the fig bbq added an earthiness that most bbq lacks. And finally it just all came together in such an amazing way that I feel unqualified to try to pick it apart. If this is what they can do with a simple burger I would love to see what they can do with scallops.