Monday, July 23, 2012
Burger review: Adair’s Saloon in Dallas
Even without the food, Adair’s is a fantastic place.
DEEP ELLUM Adair’s. Apparently they have food.
Known for supporting local country bands and serving cheap beer, you would have been wrong if you’d just assumed that it appeared in Deep Ellum every night around 10. But you’d be right if you said that it would be weird visiting Adair’s during the day. The light peeks in through small spots in the front window, but most of it is blocked by the hundreds of stickers that cover said window. And it smells different during the day; at night it’s a mixture of low-grade alcohol, frat guy stench, and overdressed and over-perfumed women. But in the steaks of sunlight, it’s a concoction of heavy-duty bleach cleaners and stale beer - which is no surprise; half of the bars in America smell this way during the day, and most of them carry a lingering stink of vomit as well.
What is surprising is the menu: There’s not even a mention of it on their website, but there it is, hanging right over the bar. It offers only a few items, one of which, the grilled cheese, seems to be very popular. But this column isn’t called “The Grilled Cheese Evaluation” (that’d be pretty rad, though). It’s called Burger Breakdown. So let’s get to the burger.
When visiting Adair’s for a meal, don’t just go in and sit down. Nothing will happen. You will not be acknowledged or, apparently, even seen. Don’t ask for an actual menu, either. They don’t exist and you’ll be made to feel stupid for even mentioning it. There’s one menu and it’s right there, above the bar, where you place your order. You can get the "famous" grilled cheese, a hamburger, a cheeseburger, and a couple of other things that aren’t important, at least not here. Thankfully it takes more time trying to figure out how to order than it does for your burger to get to the table. And once it gets there, you’re in luck, because it’s pretty good.
The burger comes to the table closed face and tooth picked together with tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and cheese all on board. On top of the burger is a small jalapeno pepper which was immediately/accidentally dropped on the floor. The first noticeable thing about the burger is that the patty is quite thick and not overcooked. It’s slightly pink, firm, and packed together well, and only marginally juicy. After the first bite, there’s a small sweetness to both the bun and patty that you don’t get too often in burgers. As for the bun, it too is quite thick and is toasted to a surprisingly crispy texture. This doesn’t mean it was burnt; just crunchier than some of the other buns used around town. It’s a good thing, after eating several different burgers with the same boring bread this was a refreshing change.
Besides the meat and bread, everything else on the burger was par for the course: Same American cheese slice, same shredded lettuce, same purple onions, and same sliced tomatoes. So if you like the old standards on your burger, be sure to visit here.
Even without the food, Adair’s is a fantastic place. They have great live, local music, cheap beer, and a wonderful selection of local weirdos to stare at. You can dance or write on any surface that is within reach. Really, just ask for a sharpie at the bar and feel free to disparage anyone you like. Good luck finding an open space, though: Even the ceiling is full of handwritten prose. And once you’ve had enough to drink, feel free to grab a burger and soak up all the PBR in your system. Most likely you won’t regret it.
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