Thursday, November 5, 2009

Elmwood Inn or "Ragin' Ron's Menu Regrets"

I did not have a great burger at the Elmood Inn, but it's not entirely their fault.  Once again my poor ordering skills were in full effect, as all the signs were there to point me towards what may have been a burger more suited to my palette, but like at Rohrbach's, I ignored them.  A quick glance at the menu shows me where I went wrong.

As you know my main point of contention with Rochester burgers is the roll everyone uses for buns, which throws the beef-to-bun ratio off and results in a bready and dry burger experience.  Well, this menu warned me that these burgers come on a roll, and yet still I threw caution to the wind and ordered a very basic cheeseburger - the standard lettuce, tomato, onion combo.  I also asked for mayo, but my request went unheeded (that one is on you, Elmwood Inn, we both made mistakes here).  My thought process was that I needed something simple to properly judge the meat.

Here's the spread:

I immediately regretted my relatively spartan burger choice as I began to power my way through another full-on bread slog.  This burger wasn't horrible, but eating it made me wish I had ordered something else.  My self doubt taunted me: "Why didn't I pay attention to that little square around the blue cheese burger?  It's got a square around it, it has to be good!"  The ghost of the "Cheeseburger Club" also haunted me with its tantalizing prospect of thousand island dressing (an In n' Out Burger staple) and two patties for a (in my imagination) better meat-to-bun ratio.  But I had made my choice and now I had to eat it and judge it on its own merits.  First of all, the Elmwood inn has some explaining to do if they think this is medium rare:

Uh, no.

That is called medium, approaching medium-well.  As we've established I have enough trouble ordering food without the added complication of having to guess what your establishment's arbitrary definition of medium-rare is, so here's a message to anyone cooking burgers: don't force me request a rare burger when I want medium-rare just because you are pandering to people who are scared of ground beef.  Apart from the overcooking, the patty could have used a better sear on the outside and some more salt, but the meat was okay and it had a decent texture.  The burger also comes with some unremarkable fries, which are indistinguishable from those you would get at Jay's.

Their website boasts "You'll Love Our Food... Or It's Free!" I'm sure they would have honored that if I had brought it up, but it's a moot point because even if I had read that guarantee before I did-not-Love their burger, who wants the hassle of trying to talk your way out of a bill at a restaurant?  I'll tell you who: the kind of asshole who sends their medium-rare burgers back complaining that they aren't cooked enough.

Also on their website I discovered they had hired this dude (apparently some kind of poor-man's Gordon Ramsey-for-hire) to update their menu, and there is a deceptive video of him making a hamburger.  Deceptive because he puts it on a normal hamburger bun, which he butters and toasts.  I guess whoever is actually in the kitchen at Elmwood has never seen this video since they just put their burger on the standard Rochester unbuttered kaiser roll.

The verdict:  Rochester style bun + unexciting pub style execution + Ron regrets his order = shoulder-shrugging indifference.  If I try one of the other burgers on the menu and its an epiphany, I'll be sure to post about it.  For now my opinion is that the Elmwood Inn is a decent place to grab a drink and chill out, but the burger is nothing to write home about.
Price: Burger + Fries: 7.59 (Or $0 if you do not love it, or just enjoy trying to weasel yourself free meals.)