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DMK Burger Bar

DMK Burger Bar
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  • DMK Burger Bar

    Post #1 - November 11th, 2009, 8:25 pm
    Post #1 - November 11th, 2009, 8:25 pm Post #1 - November 11th, 2009, 8:25 pm
    I went and checked this place out tonight and liked it quite a bit. More than I expected to, honestly.

    I was expecting it to be a very trendy type place with gourmet tricked-out burgers and high prices. The main draw for me was trying their grass-fed beef.

    I was pleasantly surprised in quite a few ways. While the space itself is indeed fairly trendy--they almost have to be, given the area, the menu is very accessible, the prices are fairly low for this type of a place, and the food was damn good.

    I ordered their #2 burger, which featured Amish blue, onion strings, and chipotle ketchup, a side of fries, a Domaine Dupage draft, and a short vanilla shake.

    The burger was good. Nice beefy flavor, cooked "medium plus", according to David Morton, the co-owner, which he says is the right degree of doneness for grass-fed. I was pleasantly surprised by the reasonable serving size (5 oz.) and while medium plus is more or less the same as medium well, I think, the burger still had plenty of juiciness left in it, which testifies to the freshness of the product they're using.

    The fries were good. Skin-on, kind of similar to Publican's in that they're crisp yet not overly brown. Kind of a heavy hand with the salt and pepper on'em.

    I loved the beer list and the casual, approachable feel of the entire menu, perhaps because I was expecting it to be a lot more hoity-toity. Milkshake was nice, they're using Petersen's ice cream, which is really good, rich stuff.

    Another feature which I really enjoyed was their water. It's "on tap" and they're offering still or sparkling for free, using one of these new filtration systems that other newly-opened places have, and it's really fabulous water. Nice touch.

    All in all, a nice experience. My total check was twenty bucks, which was less than I was expecting it to be. Honestly, I didn't even look at the prices until after I got the check, but once I did, I found the beer list to be really reasonable, the burgers not bad at eight bucks each, and overall, everything was about 15-20% less than they could probably get away with charging for a concept like this in that neighborhood.

    DMK Burger Bar
    2954 N. Sheffield Ave, Chicago, IL
    (773) 360-8686‎
    http://edzos.com/
    Edzo's Evanston on Facebook or Twitter.

    Edzo's Lincoln Park on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Post #2 - November 12th, 2009, 10:25 am
    Post #2 - November 12th, 2009, 10:25 am Post #2 - November 12th, 2009, 10:25 am
    I went here last night and had high but tempered expectations. Given the pedigree I felt this was appropriate for a burger and fries place.

    I ordered the #2 burger (bleu cheese, onion strings, ketchup) with an egg and the ketchup on the side, the fries with truffle cream, and the fried okra and pickles. I was served a #2 with an egg on the side and the ketchup on the burger, the sweet potato fries, and the fried okra and pickles. This was at 5.30 and the tables were perhaps 40% occupied. I understand this was only their second day and there a few kinks to be worked out. I notified my waitress of her error and decided not to have them correct it.

    The burger was very tasty. It has a nice carmelized crust and great beefy flavor. The bread is divine. It's a light fluffy potato roll, with a flaky crust, that stands up very well to the burger. One of the best buns I've ever had. The chipotle ketchup, which I had originally ordered on the side for fear of it being too sweet, had a great balance of sweetness and kick. I didn't mind it on my burger at all. The onion strings were a bit weak. The crunch was not very evident and consequently I almost forgot they were there. The patty was riddled with some gristly bits that were distracting and took away from my overall enjoyment of the burger. Perhaps they need to double grind their meat. Nevertheless, I liked the burger and for 8 dollars (+1 for the egg) I thought it was just worth it.

    I ordered the fried okra and pickles mostly just to try the pickles. Sadly the pickles suffer from the same problem as the onion strings. They are served as spears and the breading has a problem sticking to it. Surprisingly, the okra was the standout in this combo and didn't suffer from the breading problem to the same extent. I indicated some of these issues to Kornick and he noted that they had experimented with pickle chips a few days prior, but ultimately decided spears were better.

    The sweet potato fries were good, but not anything particularly special. The lemon tabasco aioli was lacking in all but the aioli (i.e. it was just mayonnaise).

    Overall, I thought that my meal was satisfactory, but only relative to the price point at which the food is situated. Relative to my initially high expectations, I would say that my experience was unsatisfactory. This is a burger bar serving higher quality ingredients but not executing their delivery to the patron at a corresponding level.
  • Post #3 - November 13th, 2009, 8:52 pm
    Post #3 - November 13th, 2009, 8:52 pm Post #3 - November 13th, 2009, 8:52 pm
    Enjoyed a late lunch here today. At about 1.45pm, there were maybe 10 other people in the (quite large) room, besides our group.

    Ordered the #4 burger - pastrami, gruyere, sauerkraut and remoulade. I was a bit surprised when the server didn't ask me how I wanted my burger cooked, but I decided to place my trust in her. It ended up being served medium to medium well, as elakin described. The bun was heavenly, so soft and almost creamy thanks to the potato. I could have taken a nap in a bed of their potato rolls. I actually really enjoyed the burger, although it was smaller than I was expecting. It had a nice beefy flavor that worked very well with the sauerkraut and gruyere. The pastrami ended up being a little lost in the mix.

    We also split some parmesan fries with truffle cream and some Wisconsin cheddar fries for the table. I didn't find them too salty, but I also didn't think they were anything special. Although for $3 for an order, I won't complain too much. I'd definitely get the parmesan fries again, if only for the truffle mayo. The cheddar fries tasted remarkably like the crazy orange cheese fries from the Wiener Circle, and I think WC actually executes those better.

    Finally, I had a chocolate milkshake. LOVED IT. Thick and VERY rich, I'm glad I got the short ($3) instead of the tall. I'll definitely have to try the malt if I return. The only other choices are vanilla and coffee, though perhaps they will expand this at some point.

    Overall a good experience, and a welcome addition to the neighborhood. It definitely warrants at least one more return trip, if only to try the other items (the lamb burger, fried okra, and mac & cheese come to mind).
  • Post #4 - November 13th, 2009, 9:26 pm
    Post #4 - November 13th, 2009, 9:26 pm Post #4 - November 13th, 2009, 9:26 pm
    2 hour wait as of 8pm tonight. I think I'll give them a try during the week.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #5 - November 14th, 2009, 7:01 am
    Post #5 - November 14th, 2009, 7:01 am Post #5 - November 14th, 2009, 7:01 am
    uvasabri wrote:Overall, I thought that my meal was satisfactory, but only relative to the price point at which the food is situated. Relative to my initially high expectations, I would say that my experience was unsatisfactory. This is a burger bar serving higher quality ingredients but not executing their delivery to the patron at a corresponding level.


    I read your review several times. Basically you said the food was great and they are still working on the service. IT WAS DAY #2. What did you expect?
  • Post #6 - November 14th, 2009, 12:16 pm
    Post #6 - November 14th, 2009, 12:16 pm Post #6 - November 14th, 2009, 12:16 pm
    David Morton, would he be the son of Arnie Morton?
  • Post #7 - November 14th, 2009, 5:10 pm
    Post #7 - November 14th, 2009, 5:10 pm Post #7 - November 14th, 2009, 5:10 pm
    Holy CRAP, this place is open already? They just started construction on it like 3 months ago!
  • Post #8 - November 14th, 2009, 9:36 pm
    Post #8 - November 14th, 2009, 9:36 pm Post #8 - November 14th, 2009, 9:36 pm
    we went today for a late lunch at around 2. they were pretty full but we got right in. i really liked this place and found it to be very reasonable. any place that pours a decent glass of red for 5 bucks makes me happy. we started with the deviled eggs and the wedge salad. the salad was great. good bleu cheese and a couple slices of bacon. the deviled eggs suffered from being a tad too salty but were enjoyable. two of us got the #8, a basic cheese burger with lettuce, tomato, onion and american. these were really good. cooked a perfect medium with a fantastic bun. they got a little messy toward the end but i just need to eat quicker! my husband got the burger with peppers, egg, and some sort of cheese i can't remember. i told him i had read they imported special peppers from new mexico and he commented they didn't have much zip. but he also enjoyed his burger. the macaroni and cheese #1 was thoroughly enjoyed by my daughter. we also tried three kinds of fries, the salt and pepper, the blue cheese, and parmesean and truffle. nothing to complain about. service was another story. our waitress was in way over her head. every time i saw her she was at the computer ordering station and seemed to be baffled by it all. it probably didn't help that she was constantly being bitched out by the manager. i never really saw any support staff as the waiters were busing tables, filling water glasses ect. they just basically seemed under staffed. but, overall i was impressed and will definitely return. we had a ton of food, 2 glasses of wine and two beers for 70 bucks. not bad at all.
  • Post #9 - November 17th, 2009, 2:34 pm
    Post #9 - November 17th, 2009, 2:34 pm Post #9 - November 17th, 2009, 2:34 pm
    Might as well chime in.

    I had dinner at DMK this past Sunday, and all in all, I think the food was pretty average.

    Granted it's about a hundred times better than anything else in the neighborhood, but there's something that irks me about a place that serves diner style patties with truffle "frites". Each burger comes on its own plate, and they bring out a decent size serving of fries to share.

    The comparisons to Kuma's are absolutely ridiculous (in my opinion). There are certainly some interesting meats and condiments on the menu, but considering the size of the patties, every topping was way too overpowering.

    I ordered the #1, which was the bbq/bacon burger with red onions. Even on a fairly basic burger, I could barely taste the meat. Perhaps this was because I ordered a single patty instead of a double, but it seemed like the owner was more interested in wowing customers with goat meat than making a legitimately good burger (and this seems to be a trend ever since Kuma's and Hot Doug's gained national attention).

    It will undoubtedly do well since it's relatively inexpensive, and in a culinary wasteland (with the exception of Panes bread cafe).

    On the plus side, they have an excellent beer list, and the waitresses are HOT.
  • Post #10 - November 17th, 2009, 4:14 pm
    Post #10 - November 17th, 2009, 4:14 pm Post #10 - November 17th, 2009, 4:14 pm
    The comparisons to Kuma's are absolutely ridiculous


    Agreed, but did anyone make any comparisons to Kuma's?

    And I don't understand your reference to goat meat. Do they have a goat meat burger that I missed?
    http://edzos.com/
    Edzo's Evanston on Facebook or Twitter.

    Edzo's Lincoln Park on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Post #11 - November 19th, 2009, 9:13 am
    Post #11 - November 19th, 2009, 9:13 am Post #11 - November 19th, 2009, 9:13 am
    I didn't see any goat on the menu as well.

    I had the #4 and I thought it was pretty good, with the green chili mixing really well with the fried egg and bacon to complement the beef. I thought my patty was a little more done than I preferred, but it was fine. The truffle fries were really good, but I thought the homemade coleslaw was a little too vinegary for my taste.

    Grant Achatz tweeted on Tuesday night that he was at DMK with his kids and that he loved the food.
  • Post #12 - November 21st, 2009, 1:57 pm
    Post #12 - November 21st, 2009, 1:57 pm Post #12 - November 21st, 2009, 1:57 pm
    I had lunch at DMK today.

    First of all, the buns that they are using are outstanding. The bartender told me they went through a lot of trial and error trying to find a bun that they liked. They're provided by an outside bakery but the bartender wouldn't/couldn't tell me which one. It's a light tasting but, but it's structurally strong enough to hold up to the burgers/toppings without falling apart. Also it's a nice switch from pretzel rolls, which I like but are popping up everywhere.

    I had the #4 (fried egg, jack cheese, bacon, and chilies). It brought just the right amount of heat and I liked how the cheese, egg, and bacon were on top of burger and the chilies were below. Why aren't more burger toppings split up? This approach seems to make sense if you want to get the most out of individual toppings rather than having them all get muddled together. Anyway, the chilies were really good but I wish they would do the burgers at temps other than medium well. The bartender told me that this is because of how a grass fed beef burger caramelizes (ok, sure) and also for food safety purposes. The food safety argument is a tricky one to make when you're serving burgers with runny eggs on them, but whatever.

    I also had a small order of fries with truffle aioli. The fries looked crispier than they actually were, but that truffle aioli (it's the same one that they use at MK) could make anything taste good.

    The burger, fries and a housemade cherry soda ran me $15 after tax but before tip. The staff was extremely friendly, and Michael Kormick was in the house seating people and generally making sure things were running smoothly. I'll be back, but not while the waits are 2+ hours for dinner on weekend nights.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #13 - November 21st, 2009, 7:04 pm
    Post #13 - November 21st, 2009, 7:04 pm Post #13 - November 21st, 2009, 7:04 pm
    made it today.. for 2 at about 2pm(saturday) there was a 15 minute wait. we weren't really told that if something at the bar opened it was first come but I'm wondering if that was the case? during that 15 minutes the music was so excruciating loud I got a headache. They were out of the house zin.

    the menu has a series of numbers corresponding to various burgers. there were two choices in the menu where it said "coming soon" as if they're going to sit there and tease you .. or i don't know. just seems weird.

    secondly, there are no substitutions. third, burgers are cooked "medium plus" which either is a made up temperature or is "at least medium, but if our cooks don't know what they're doing up to well done" ...

    i make grass fed burgers at home all the time; thin, thick, medium thickness.... to me, if i made this thickness of a burger at home i would've considered it slightly overcooked. and oddly, my burger was just slightly where there was no hint of pink in it, but my dining partners was a lot more done.. both were cooked so well that it didn't matter what beef it was, it didn't have much flavor. and to call yourself a burger bar but not just allow someone to add bacon or lettuce to a burger, to me seems like a mistake. that said, the burgers were still better than any bar-food-burgers you get in lakeview/lp.

    i ordered wisconsin cheese and shallot fries for one. we shared them w/ a side of fried pickles/okra. the fries were good.. maybe an odd choice (i wasn't sure if the cheese would be melted or runny or what, it was runny) but they were good if that's what you're expecting. the fried pickles and ocra may have been the highlight of our experience here. fried in a light batter and i think rubbed w/ spices beforehand.

    extensive beer menu but the only cider option was Crispin, which i think is my lease favorite cider in the world. overall the food has great potential but the atmosphere has a bit too much attitude for me.
  • Post #14 - November 22nd, 2009, 9:14 pm
    Post #14 - November 22nd, 2009, 9:14 pm Post #14 - November 22nd, 2009, 9:14 pm
    My wife and I met a friend at around 6:30 Friday evening...had a drink at the bar while we waited about 15 minutes for our table. Both the service from the hostess and the bar staff were excellent. Now comes the weird stuff.....my wife wanted a glass of red wine...simple enough....they only have two house reds...something like DMK big red and DMK bigger red...ok...no problem...but they were out of both of them? How do you run out of your house red that you serve by the glass? David Morton and Michael Kornick are not rookies but apparently dont have a clue about the bar side of the business. I asked for a Citron vodka and tonic....bartender states " we dont have Citron"...ok..any lemon infused vodka....Nope...only have North Shore vodka...OK fine....she then serves me a rock glass which I thought was vodka and tonic....but one taste and it was straight vodka on the rocks...I ask her to add some tonic...her reply...we dont have tonic!!

    On to the food...we all ordered burgers...I had the #4 which had some type of cheese, Hatch peppers and a fried egg.....our friend had the same while my wife had the blue cheese and something else burger....my friend commented on how hot the peppers were and I could not even taste mine...on closer review...no peppers.....we ordered 3 different fries...truffle, bacon and cheese and salt and pepper....these were the best part of the meal...mac and cheese was ok....onion strings tasted like frozen processed stuff....

    All in all....not a bad burger....if I was in the area but certainly not a destination place....I could list 10 other places with better burgers....and all the note on the menu about NO substitutions?? .. Any line cook in the city could execute this menu....it is basically burgers and fries....come on Morton and Kornick....get a life....you are not that special!!
  • Post #15 - November 23rd, 2009, 9:46 am
    Post #15 - November 23rd, 2009, 9:46 am Post #15 - November 23rd, 2009, 9:46 am
    I have been stewing over our experience last night at DMK so I could best put it on paper in a fair and honest fashion. Overall, it was a letdown for us.

    We arrived at 5pm on a Sunday with a group of 8. Some of our party arrived before us and talked with the hostess. Michael Kormick was there, walking around the dining room and talking with guests. I am not sure of the exchange my friend had with the host, but when I arrived, I was under the assumption that they were preparing a table for 8 for us. All of our party was there, there were some seats available at the bar so some of us sat. We all ordered cocktails and waited and waited and waited. I caught the glimpse of the hostess who was talking to Michael. She then came over and asked my friend if we were ‘for sure’ a party of 8. Looking around at 7 other people, she confirmed. I saw the hostess then go back and talk to Michael and him throw his hands in the air. Another 15 minutes later, making for about 45 min wait total, we realized that there were more bar stools about to be free, so we could all just stay at the bar and order our food. Michael happened to be behind the bar when my friend told the bartender that we just planned to eat there. Michael then snapped at her saying “I asked your friend twice how many were going to be in the party and he said he didn’t know.” She then replied that we told the hostess how many of us there were, twice. He replied “I am the hostess and I don’t know what you want me to do.” All of our jaws hit the floor and the staff that was behind the bar must have saw the interaction and felt badly because we received complimentary deviled eggs and great service from them going forward. Not a great way to start the meal, but the staff made up for Michael’s rudeness.

    Between the whole group of us we ordered #1, #2, #4, the lamb burger, the veggie burger, blue cheese cole slaw, macaroni and cheese, truffle fries, cheesy fries and sweet potato fries. I made a point to try everyone’s food. Ironically enough my favorite burger was the veggie. It was delicious and I could tell it was handmade! I personally ordered the #2 and it was my second favorite. The lamb burger had a lot of feta cheese on it which dried out the meat. The #1 was just okay, I was hoping for a more zesty barbecue sauce. The buns were also a great change from pretzel rolls which I really like, but do get sick of. The macaroni and cheese was not very special to me and the onions were rubbery. Yummy, but not special. The blue cheese cole slaw was unique and I would like to try to make it at home. The cheesy fries were my favorite side dish that we ordered…..the cheese sauce tasted like a pub cheese melted and I really liked it. The sweet potato fries were good as well as the standard truffle fries.

    I enjoyed the beer selections and the bubbly water on tap. As for the atmosphere, the music was out of control. I have to make the Kuma’s comparison simply because I was a weekly guest there until recently when I moved from the Logan Square area. One caveat I always had with Kuma’s was the loud music, not the genre, but the overall volume and DMK felt like it was set at a similar volume. I know someone has mentioned about the ‘coming soon’ burgers on the menu. I don’t really get this concept either, please don’t tell me about what I can’t have.

    In regards to the seating debacle, it's not the fact that we had to wait that upset us, at all. It was the fact that we were not given a time frame for seating, the communication was completely broken and Michael didn't have any clipboard or server pad to indicate that he was in fact 'the hostess.' There didn't seem to be a formal system for seating people. For the record, I was expecting about an hour and a half wait for seating for 8.

    I will absolutely return, but I would like to wait for the service to get itself together and for the chef/owner to get out of the dining room! It’s not a good sign for him to snap on a party of 8 with lots of money to spend after only being open for two weeks. He set a very strange tone for the night. Then upon leaving, did not apologize at all, but wanted to know about the food. While I appreciate the gesture, I would have appreciated some sort of apology gesture for the miscommunication as well.
  • Post #16 - November 23rd, 2009, 10:00 am
    Post #16 - November 23rd, 2009, 10:00 am Post #16 - November 23rd, 2009, 10:00 am
    Interesting that the music volume has been mentioned a couple of times. I didn't find it that loud when I was there (certainly not Kuma's level). Oh well, maybe I'm just going deaf.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #17 - November 23rd, 2009, 11:18 am
    Post #17 - November 23rd, 2009, 11:18 am Post #17 - November 23rd, 2009, 11:18 am
    the music... the problem with the music is really more of a design issue. they over-designed their speaker system and have huge speakers throughout the room every 2' along the perimeter. therefore the music is equally loud throughout and there's nowhere to sit where it's not blaring. if there were a few blaring speakers that would then allow for some area to sit where the music wasn't as loud, but their design allows for equally blaring coverage throughout. if i'm under 30 and complaining about the loudness of the music, i'm sure they're alienating quite a few who are over 30. I'm guessing by the fact that they have an elaborately designed sound system and an automation system they spent huge bucks on the sound system and therefore aren't oging to be turning it down any... i had the headache based off of where we were standing when we came in being so loud, but where we were seated (in the row of 2 tops that's at bench-level that starts opposite side of the end of the bar) there was a speaker right above my head. the loudness was perfect on some songs, but the high pitches and/or bass on others was literally so loud i couldn't hear unless i leaned my head well past the middle of the table towards the person i was trying to hear. the place was at capacity when we were there so it was really loud just from the people noise alone, and i think part of that was everyone had to scream to be heard by anyone else.. i imagine their music was boosted just to over-compensate. a self defeating prophecy.

    also, maybe this is being picky, but they use "bar towels" in place of napkins. at first i thought this was a good idea, but when i left i was covered in so much lint it looked like it snowed on me. my brown sweater was white and i had lint all over my face. a few more washes and i'm sure this won't be an issue, but i guess this is the reason more places don't use bar towels for something they're not.

    one thing i do appreciate is they gave us a comment card to fill out, which we did. michael kormick himself came to pick it up from the table after we got up. he wasn't talking with anyone, he was busy handling the wait list when we were there.

    ..as far as not having tonic, perhaps their aversion is it's hard to source high quality tonic... most of it is garbage-filled HFCS crap and by the list of ingredients on their menu and quality of other beverages i'm guessing they didn't want garbage-filled HFCS tonic water.

    if you ask me, this place would work better as a concept if they just had suggested burgers and then a "make your own" ... i've been to high end ingredient burger bars where they literally hand you a piece of paper and a pencil and you pencil mark if you want the grass fed beef, lamb, etc (no bison here, surprised given it's trendy and delicious!), which artisinal cheese, how you want it cooked, etc. this can go right to the kitchen and it seems like it would make the service more efficient... it seems their present system is designed to allow for the servers to not be responsible for incorrect orders by not allowing people to get what they really wanted to begin with.
  • Post #18 - November 30th, 2009, 4:48 pm
    Post #18 - November 30th, 2009, 4:48 pm Post #18 - November 30th, 2009, 4:48 pm
    Made it in there on Black Wednesday at about 3:30 pm. There was maybe 4 people in there. The music wasn't even on, something i don't really have a problem with - especially considering the atmosphere, I can make an assumption that the music probably would've sucked anyway ;)

    We bellied up to the bar, per usual, and the atmosphere of the place was as uninviting as any place i've ever been. The place has more stainless steel and polished chrome - looks like a cross between a Sharper Image and Apple store - absolutely horrible. The two TVs on either side of a bar (that looked literally sterile like it would pass an OR room inspection) showed a weird screen-saver like graphics the whole time. Weird.

    So, far, not looking so good for us, but we've heard about the food, thats all i care about. I'll go crawl back into my dungeon-like neighborhood bars later.

    Between the two of us, we ordered three burgers and three orders of fries, three total beers, and one soda. It all came out to $56 before tip, after tax. Not bad.

    We both thought the burgers were really good. Subtlety seems like a theme here as the ingredients on each burger aren't used in excess at all. I got the burger with the green chiles, fried egg and bacon. There was one slice of bacon on it - but it was pretty thick cut, beautifully cooked and it did it's job perfectly on that burger - so one is enough.

    The fries were a little limp, but i try not to judge hand cut fries on one occasion, I know that they can be fussy and that getting perfect crispiness every time is a feat. (Although, its amazing that Doug just owns the world of hand cut fries. I've never had a bad one there ever).

    My buddy got the burger with the grilled onions on BBQ sauce on it. I think that BBQ sauce burgers are an insult to the burger world, but I gotta tell you, the subtle hint of BBQ sauce used was really not overpowering and I would order it in the future.

    oh - and the buns are absolutely amazing.

    All in all, I think the main opinions running through this thread are pretty accurate. The atmosphere and decor of this place are awful and everything about it kind of seems pretentious. However, having said that (curb anyone?) the food is really good, the beer list is nice, and it seems like the owner/employees give a shit about the products that they are putting in front of you. On top of all that, the prices are VERY reasonable and therefore I will be going back.
  • Post #19 - November 30th, 2009, 7:33 pm
    Post #19 - November 30th, 2009, 7:33 pm Post #19 - November 30th, 2009, 7:33 pm
    djenks wrote:However, having said that (curb anyone?)


    :lol: Nice! Guess you don't have to worry about respecting wood with all that stainless steel.
  • Post #20 - November 30th, 2009, 7:53 pm
    Post #20 - November 30th, 2009, 7:53 pm Post #20 - November 30th, 2009, 7:53 pm
    :lol: This is true.

    You do not need to respect wood to do alright in this place. drink rings are a non-issue
  • Post #21 - December 2nd, 2009, 7:52 am
    Post #21 - December 2nd, 2009, 7:52 am Post #21 - December 2nd, 2009, 7:52 am
    Last night we strolled over for our first visit (but not my last). Impressions/data points:

    We arrived at 6:35. No standard tables were available for a party of two at that point, but a few spaces were still open at the communal-type hi-top tables. The friendly hostess (the role of hostess last night was being played by a young woman, not Michael Kornick) showed us to a place, which was fully satisfactory.

    A cheerful young waitress arrived very quickly. (I’d venture to say almost immediately.) We put in a drink order; water for the missus, sparkling water for me. I said “Pellegrino,” but I could see from the waitress’s eyes that DMK has its own “locavore” sort of sparkling water just as it specializes in locavore vodka, etc., so I quickly revised my order to simply say “sparkling water,” and she happily obliged.

    Our beverages arrived quickly and we placed our food order. For me, the #6 (burger with portabello, blue cheese, griddled scallions), for the missus the #9 (turkeyburger with blue cheese coleslaw). I got a small side of fries with parmesan and truffle cream.

    I really, really liked my burger. And the bun really, really was good. I’ll leave the polysyllabic descriptors to the more food-literate among you (whom I envy for your ability). Suffice it to say that I haven’t enjoyed a burger this much in a long time. DMK is more my kind of burger than Kuma’s, although I enjoy theirs for what it is. I prefer DMK’s “it’s really all about the meat” philosophy, with the toppings relegated to a crucial supporting (not starring) role. I also like that DMK’s burger is a sensible size, and that it’s actually possible to pick up the whole package, burger, toppings and bun, and fit it into your mouth without getting food all over your face.

    Thought the fries were tasty, but the truffle element is extremely subtle. At times I thought I detected it, at other times not. If I hadn’t known the sauce the fries came with was “truffle cream,” I would have described it as a garlic aioli. (Which I think is really a more apt name for it.)

    By about 7:00, by the way, a crowd had arrived, and a wait was forming. People kept streaming in. We saw some of these people leave after a couple of minutes, deciding that the wait and the scene wasn’t for them.

    Almost everyone was young. And the place has a young-people vibe. We were clearly the oldest couple there, and by a margin of about three decades. We didn’t mind that, though. Sometimes being amongst young people makes us feel we’re in the wrong place, but sometimes it makes us feel younger. DMK, for whatever reason, gave us that latter feeling, which we found energizing and enjoyable.

    I liked the industrial (if that’s the word) décor. I didn’t find it sterile, as some have. I’d describe it more as “clean,” stripped-down in a positive way. It has some originality, which I found refreshing; can’t think of another place I’ve been that’s exactly like it. I thought the bar looked inviting, in a modern way—I don’t need a bar to be made of wood or have decorative molding. YMMobviouslyV.
  • Post #22 - December 2nd, 2009, 9:02 am
    Post #22 - December 2nd, 2009, 9:02 am Post #22 - December 2nd, 2009, 9:02 am
    I know someone has mentioned about the ‘coming soon’ burgers on the menu. I don’t really get this concept either, please don’t tell me about what I can’t have.


    I have to agree with you. When I went, it was early on a Sunday (about two weeks ago) after a night of drinking and one of my favorite things to get, after a night like that, is iced tea. I was told they did not have iced tea and it was 'coming soon'. WTF? Sorry but how do you not have tea bags that you can boil with water then serve over ice? I was annoyed by that, but I will blame it on my status at that time.
  • Post #23 - December 21st, 2009, 12:07 pm
    Post #23 - December 21st, 2009, 12:07 pm Post #23 - December 21st, 2009, 12:07 pm
    Phew! I'm glad this place was good because I've been talking it up a lot. I'll say that the move to serve grass-finished beef burgers was the first thing that got me excited about the concept. They're the first place of its kind in Chicago to offer this and I think it will pay off for them. They're not waving a sustainability and ethics flag in your face, they're just doing something different which the majority of people probably won’t notice but appeals to a growing niche of customers.

    Beef burgers are the attraction here so that's what I came for. There's a lot of different ways to throw a burger together. My interpretation of what they went for is a modernization of the “old-timey” burger which makes great sense to me since you have a Morton/Kornick venture which brings the classic, beefsteak chophouse world and the contemporary American fine dining world together on the plate. The burger is old-timey in the sense that it's like your classic single beef burger with a simple looking bun, a skinny beef patty--it reminds me of Blimpy’s, “I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for hamburger today” burger. While the form and image of the burger is old-timey, the execution is anything but—it’s contemporary and modern. The bun is artisan quality, the beef is grass-finished which is considered to be "green" by some people, the adornments are fresh-fresh and of high quality and have been cooked and seasoned the same way they would be if they were prepared in a 3-star kitchen. The beef itself was cooked between medium and medium well, the patties were still pretty pink.

    The great thing about the construction of this burger is that the various choices and styles on the menu are appealing because the finished product is balanced in flavor and weight. Many specialty burger places utilize a hefty 10 oz. patty and a bun that may weigh as much as 4 1/2 oz. which brings the weight of patty and bun to nearly 1# before you add a fried egg, lettuce, tomato, onion or any other popular accoutrements. The burger is designed to eat well and clean and not to stuff you. Even so, not much to my surprise, but always a little baffling from a food professional’s perspective—I did see unfinished burgers being cleared. I learned long ago that unfinished food at restaurants does not always mean something was wrong with the food. The same thing happens at a place like Avec, where the portions are designed to be small. You’d think that purposefully small dishes would be completely consumed but often they are not. My point is, part of understanding your demographic is understanding their appetites. DMK, serves a burger that is tailored to their demographic and gives them the option to build it as hefty as they wish.

    The fried pickles and okra were extraordinary. I loved the peppery batter which was fried perfectly. Bread-crumbed pickles have always seemed a little greasy to me. Both the sweet potato fries and russet potato fries were pretty perfect. The sweet potato fries were glassy on the outside and creamy on the inside. The potato fries were not too skinny and not too thick. A Greek-ish salad was good and a chocolate malt was like a gourmet Frosty. The service was extremely good.

    In all, I think this is a great concept. A clubby-environment with great service, a modest uipscaling of a familiar favorite, a great bar and a price tag about 20%-30% less than if you had dinner at a mid scale restaurant. While hamburger joints are trends in and of themselves, they are part of a larger trend within the dining sector to provide gourmet quality meals with many of the comforts of an upscale restaurant experience at a lower price point. I know this sounds “commercial-ee” but if it’s true, we should expect to see more fine dining chefs like Kornick, Kim, Kahan and Bayless having fun too in the form of more casual concepts which I know that I’ll find good for my appetite, wallet and local economy.
  • Post #24 - December 21st, 2009, 7:46 pm
    Post #24 - December 21st, 2009, 7:46 pm Post #24 - December 21st, 2009, 7:46 pm
    art wrote:the move to serve grass-finished beef burgers was the first thing that got me excited about the concept.


    it's surprising if this claim were true in a town that purports to have a wide range of culinary options: I've had grass fed burgers in the smallest of towns. It may be new as a concept of being only a burger bar, but they're certainly not the first to think of serving a grass finished/fed burger in Chicago.

    but i'm racking my brain and off the top of it can't think of too many places in chicago w/ grass fed/finished beef burgers. i'm sure i've had one or two somewhere other than my own kitchen though.. in my head my initial thought was epic burger, but alas they are only "all natural" burgers. The Counter is the same, not grass fed, same crap as everywhere else.

    Two that come to mind that I haven't had actually had yet are Big Jones and Harry Caray's, both of which I know serve Tallgrass grass fed beef burgers.. (as well as their fantastic steaks, which I have had at said places...). Tallgrass themselves supplies at least a dozen restaurants around Chicago that I know of (North Pond, Grocery Bistro, Schubas, Bistro Campagne, Tallgrass, being a few), so I'm sure at least one or two of those places have grass fed burgers.

    (Also, I quickly googled for options i'm not aware of and came across Edzo's in Evanston. But that's a blog column called "Grass Fed" and other than that being the NY Times column it ran in, i can't find any information anywhere that actually states it is grass fed beef in use http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2009 ... -illinois/ )
  • Post #25 - December 21st, 2009, 10:10 pm
    Post #25 - December 21st, 2009, 10:10 pm Post #25 - December 21st, 2009, 10:10 pm
    @dddane,

    I had thought that I wasn't specific enough with my claim. Sure, there are a bunch of places serving grass-finished beef and burgers in Chicago but DMK is indeed the first burger place (that I know of) to use only grass-finished beef for their burgers.

    I like your predictions:

    "Fads to end in 2009...
    -New burger joints.
    -Cupcakes.
    -Carrot/ginger soup.
    -Corn fed beef(?)(?) "

    Cupcakes--who knows, they just keep on going for some reason. I like cupcakes but I just don't think I'd go out for a cupcake. Carrot/ginger soup--I think that one went out a long time ago.

    New burger joints and corn fed beef. That's an interesting one! If we stopped opening new burger joints and had to supply the existing ones, where would the beef come from? :wink:
  • Post #26 - December 21st, 2009, 11:24 pm
    Post #26 - December 21st, 2009, 11:24 pm Post #26 - December 21st, 2009, 11:24 pm
    i guess it's time to update my signature for 2010. :]

    does anyone know where DMK is getting their beef, b t w ?
  • Post #27 - December 22nd, 2009, 3:09 pm
    Post #27 - December 22nd, 2009, 3:09 pm Post #27 - December 22nd, 2009, 3:09 pm
    Last I heard, beef is from Tallgrass.
  • Post #28 - January 16th, 2010, 9:03 am
    Post #28 - January 16th, 2010, 9:03 am Post #28 - January 16th, 2010, 9:03 am
    My wife and I went to DMK last night with another couple. We got there at 7pm and were seated fairly quickly. It got a lot more crowded later in the evening.

    I ordered the number 1, which is essentially a bacon cheeseburger with grilled onions and BBQ sauce. It was tasty, but nothing special. Others have raved about the buns, but I thought they were pretty average. It was cooked very nicely, to about medium with pink inside, so that was good. I was concerned about the BBQ sauce being overwhelming but it wasn't at all.

    We shared the parmesan fries with truffle sauce and they were very good. The truffle sauce was very muted, but the overall crispiness of the fries and the saltiness was very nice.

    What I disliked about the burger was the size. It's basically a quarter pounder and it's served on a plate that's not much bigger than the burger, making the thing look even smaller. IMHO, there are a few basic tenets of being a burger restaurant:

    1. Make them big. Anything less than a half pound precooked is a waste of time. It's too small of a palate on which to create something interesting.

    2. Allow variations. DMK allows no substitutions. As someone else said on this thread, a burger place should allow for a build-you-own concept against the backdrop of a palate of a good burger. DMK's palate unfortunately is lacking, so build-your-own probably won't help much.

    They have a very large list of small batch, U.S.-based beers on their menu. I'm not really a beer guy and it seemed like the list was dominated by ales and was lacking in other styles, but again I'm not a good judge of that. The Domaine Dupage was very good, but the Crispin hard cider was awful, smelling like apples but tasting nothing like it.

    Overall, DMK is ok but not worth the effort unless you live in the neighborhood. There are a lot of much better burger places in the city.
    John Danza
  • Post #29 - January 18th, 2010, 6:30 pm
    Post #29 - January 18th, 2010, 6:30 pm Post #29 - January 18th, 2010, 6:30 pm
    dddane wrote:burgers are cooked "medium plus" which either is a made up temperature or is "at least medium, but if our cooks don't know what they're doing up to well done" ...

    i make grass fed burgers at home all the time; thin, thick, medium thickness.... to me, if i made this thickness of a burger at home i would've considered it slightly overcooked. and oddly, my burger was just slightly where there was no hint of pink in it, but my dining partners was a lot more done.. both were cooked so well that it didn't matter what beef it was, it didn't have much flavor.


    Does "medium plus" mean you have a choice of "medium," "medium-well" or "well done" or that you have no choice at all?

    I take it there is no chance of medium-rare?
  • Post #30 - January 18th, 2010, 6:42 pm
    Post #30 - January 18th, 2010, 6:42 pm Post #30 - January 18th, 2010, 6:42 pm
    LAZ wrote:Does "medium plus" mean you have a choice of "medium," "medium-well" or "well done" or that you have no choice at all?

    I take it there is no chance of medium-rare?


    The waitress never asked, and I forgot to specify.
    John Danza

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