Can Too Many Fancy Ingredients Ruin A Perfectly Good Burger?

This is not the burger in question, though it is very tall. (Jackie Alpers)

This is not the burger in question, though it is very tall. (Jackie Alpers)

As anyone who’s ever tried to bite into a stacked tower of toppings balanced atop a simple burger patty can attest, sometimes it seems like our fascination with novelty is just… too much. That is, until a $250 Kobe beef burger with black traffles, pancetta, caviar and foie gras comes along and it’s like, oh that sounds SO GOOD. To some diners, at least. But at one point do the toppings overpower the humble yet worthy hamburger?

The best burger I’ve ever had included four components: Bun, patty, cheese, and onions. The way those simple ingredients were sourced, cooked, seasoned and put together makes all the difference.

So when faced with ingredient list in the aforementioned $250 burger, which is set to debut at a NYC restaurant, Rachel Tepper of Yahoo! Food writes that one can’t help but wonder if all those fancy ingredients amount to overkill.

She spoke with the founder of a foie gras and truffle purveyor to get her take on the combination of all those flavors and whether or not they could possibly work together in harmony, or just ruin a good hunk of meat.

For example, the thought of foie gras might be right up your alley, but you might not want to clog your arteries all in one go: “If you are going to put foie gras on a burger, maybe you want to consider the [fat content] of the meat you use. Fat on fat, it’s going to be overkill.”

Add pancetta to the party and it’s just getting crazy, the expert adds, as it’s very salty and “assertive” in its flavor. ”

“Foie gras and pancetta in the same sentence? I’m afraid of that.”

And those magical, highly sought after truffles? You’d need a whole lot more than a few shavings to actually taste them with all the rest of that stuff going on.

“Being unique and creative just for the sake of stunning people, it’s going to work in the short term, and then it’s the emperor’s clothes,” the pro explains about our tendency toward over-the-top burgers. “People are going to see through that very fast.”


You can follow MBQ on Twitter and she might just tell you where that best burger of all time is from: @marybethquirk

Anatomy of a Bad Burger [Yahoo! Food]

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  1. JoeBlow says:

    I think it depends on what we’re talking about. The $250 burger in the article, and other burgers like it making use of expensive ingredients, aren’t really designed to be great, just to be expensive. Now, if we take a loose definition of “fancy” to mean ingredients one would not find in a typical burger, like the mac and cheese in the burger pictured on this site, or other gimmicks like the ramen burger, I think those are perfectly fine to offer as something different. It’s not too different from offering “specialty” burgers, like a “southwest” burger that has some peppers or barbecue sauce. As suggested, it’s not necessarily going to work in the long term; if you build your menu and hype around one specialty item, you might get a lot of one-time customers. Luckily, most restaurants already know this, and offer a varied menu.

  2. Pacer says:

    I’ll probably order up a couple of these when I stagger into the St. Giles at 2:00 am after a night on the toot. But only because there’s no White Castle on E. 39th Street.

  3. RupturedDuck says:
  4. CzarChasm says:

    IMHO, any burger that is so large you need a fork and knife to eat it, is not really a burger.