January 17, 2011

Burgers Around Portland: Becky's Diner

With the end of the Thai-o-rama project, in which a band of bloggers reviewed all the Thai restaurants in Portland, we decided we couldn't get enough of these themed collaborative reviews. So this year, we're mixing it up a bit, but you'll still get several bloggers' opinions about a monthly topic. And to kick the new project and new year off right: burgers. Specifically diner and sandwich shop burgers.

I decided to try Becky's Diner's burger. This place is always recommended to tourists in profiles of Portland as the place to rub elbows with lobstermen while you eat an omelet (never mind that if you're there any time after 5am, you won't see a lobsterman, as they will have gone to work, and there will be an hour-long wait). But no one ever talks about Becky's lunches and dinners. And as a diner, lunch, and diner should also be a forte.

I ordered a bison burger to mix it up a little bit. I also added cheese and subbed cole slaw for my chips. I was slightly alarmed to see my total burger come to $9.25 instead of the listed $6.50 (an extra $2.75 for cheese and slaw, really!?). But anyway, this burger was pretty good- a nice soft bun, which came fully dressed with lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayo. The burger actually reminded me a little bit of Five Guys!

My only complaint was that it was overcooked. These burgers are pretty thin (1/3 lb.), so it wasn't the end of the world that it was well done. But bison is pretty susceptible to overcooking, so a lighter hand should have been used on the griddle (since I ordered it medium rare and it came medium-well).

M. ordered the chicken salad club, which was awesome. Nice wheat bread, great crunch to the chicken salad, with great smoky flavor from the bacon. After a pretty lousy dining experience at Ruski's last night (rude, slow service and bad food—ouch), we were happy to have some good diner fare.

While I have ranted against the hype surrounding Becky's brunch, I was impressed by their lunch effort. This place didn't make my go-to burger spot, but with the good prices and the great club sandwich, I'd recommend it for a cheap, classic lunch.