Restaurant Review: Black to go

The classic American hamburger: eight ounces of prime ground beef, toasted bun, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, a generous squirt of ketchup to glue it all together and crisp, greasy, golden French fries on the side. It’s an institution that the gourmet burger fad can never quite equal, and that fast food joints around the world more or less preserve, more or less.

Look, I eat carpaccio, I eat sushi, and I eat steak tartare. All by conscious choice. But listen carefully; if you’re going to have the word  “Burger” in your name, you’d better make sure you hire people who can cook the burgers.

In the endless shuffle of restaurant spaces, Kurasin on the third floor of Malcha Mall has been replaced by Black Bar Burger’s express incarnation, Black to go. I don’t know how long it’s been there, but Black Bar Burger chain has certainly been around for a while.

I happened to be in the mood for hamburger, which happens… let’s say, infrequently. There are a handful of fast food burger places in the food court, but when I want a hamburger, I don’t want something that resembles a hockey puck on a limp roll with questionably organic lettuce and tomatoes. Gimme burger, ‘kay?

My wife and I made our way to the top floor and were seated by the staff at Black to go right away. Which was good, because it wasn’t that busy. We looked over the menu, but since we were there for burgers, burgers it would be.

As a basic rule, a 2cm thick burger (roughly the thickness of my thumb, YMMV) needs 4 minutes on a side, two minutes at a time, over a 350°F heat.

My wife’s burger was fine, cooked exactly right. I, however, had to send my burger back twice; the third time (and second burger!) it was finally cooked enough to eat. Or maybe I had simply wasted enough time there and I just wanted to eat and get the hell out.

The decor was neither here nor there, but the ambiance was another demerit. Something about the gyrating dancers and edgy lyrics while I’m trying to eat, in the middle of a Jerusalem mall… eh, dial it back a little, maybe? Or at least make it more obvious that you’re attracting a difference clientele. Or get a different DVD for the lunch crowd. Something.

On a positive note, I loved the presentation of the fries in little fryer baskets. It was very clever in a deep-fried sort of way, and I even had the presence of mind to remove it from the plate when I sent the burger back so I would have something to eat while I was waiting for the burger to return. The lettuce was visibly fresh, as were the tomatoes, so that counted for something as well.

The manager seemed concerned/upset when I reported my experiences to her, which I didn’t buy for a second. But she did ask me if this was my first time at the restaurant, which was a very important question for her to ask. Because that means she’s going to ream someone out when I’m gone. Which may or may not be deserved, but that’s not for me to decide.



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