St. Louis, I'm going to let you in on a secret when it comes to hamburgers. There are exactly four things you need to prepare a great burger: ground beef with a fat content approaching 15 to 20 percent, salt, rocket hot heat and a bun that keeps the whole thing together. Four. That is it.
True, you can make a great burger with more than these four things, but you can't make a great burger with less. And, like a Shaolin master, you can spend years perfecting the techniques required to deploy these four ingredients in a way that slays burger lovers from backyards to the finest of dining establishments. If you are looking for a reason why one restaurant excels at burgers, this is it. One place that has it down: Quincy Street Bistro.
From what I recently tasted coming out of the kitchen, I’ll be venturing to this revamped Princeton Heights eatery for my burger fix for some time to come. Things start off with a half pound, house-ground and hand-formed beef patty, aggressively seasoned and grilled to temp. (Don’t be surprised to find that coveted medium-rare burger has a center of red beef surrounded by swaths of pink.) I was all set with some onion, lettuce, pickle and a slathering of mayo sandwiched between the pillow-y yet supportive hamburger bun. Additional adornments seemed excessive. What can I say? I’m a purist.
That being said, I know there are folks out there who are looking for something more. They want burgers stuffed to the gills, with toppings slipping out of the sides of their bun. I get it, and chef Rick Lewis gets it as well, serving up stable of kicked-up cheeseburgers and a rotating cast of specials (usually announced via social media) that run from the neoclassic - a St. Louis take on themed Minnesota-bred “Jucy Lucy” - to the downright decadent - a Cajun-spiced patty of bacon and strip steak topped with pimento cheese and caramelized onions. Over the top? Sure. But strip away the toppings, and you have the same basic elements of a great burger.
So this week, when you are thinking about a burger for lunch, make your way to Quincy Street, and don’t be surprised if it becomes your go-to burger in the process.
Quincy Street Bistro, 6931 Gravois Ave., 314.353.1588, quincystreetbistro.com
Tired of reheating last night's dinner for lunch? Every Monday, food writer Andrew Mark Veety guides you to some of the best midday meals in the St. Louis region, with great places to bring clients or enjoy an outing with your co-workers. Missed one of his columns? Check them out here.