Saturday, October 2, 2010

BLT Burger Hong Kong : What an $80 burger tastes like.

Well, it's really 80 Hong Kong dollars and not US dollars. But still, I had to know ... what does an $80 burger taste like?
BLT Burger is part of acclaimed chef Laurent Tourondel's bistro empire (BLT -- Bistro Laurent Tourondel, get it?) and he has one in Las Vegas, New York and now, they had just opened the first one in Asia, along a busy, crowded corridor in Ocean Terminal.
I was overdosed from char siew pork and dumpling noodles and came upon BLT Burger one late week-end afternoon. Since it wasn't too full, I was able to snag a small table by the window, overlooking the view of Hong Kong Harbor.
The exterior view was much better than the interiors. I thought BLT a little too cozy -- the tables were small and edged up against each other. The lighting was dim and looked like your regular sports bar with un-sports bar prices.
I ordered the classic 7oz. Certified Black Angus burger which was $78. It was the cheapest burger on the menu (the BLT burger with bacon and cheese was $98, the Wagyu burger without cheese, $118). If I wanted cheese, I would have to shell out $8 more for a choice of blue, American, cheddar, Swiss or Monterey Jack. I held off on the cheese and the fries ($38). And held off the waiter pushing me towards the "combo" which would have cost me $128 -- for the classic burger, fries and a glass of soda.
Instead, I opted to spend $30 for a can of Tsing Tao Beer (when in China ...)
A beer is much better than fries. Or a soda. Or a milkshake, another specialty of the house ($58 for chocolate, strawberry or vanilla, $68 for fancier concoctions like Mocha Mudslide and Rocky Road).
My burger arrived and I was disappointed to see how ordinary it looked. There was a mound of shredded cabbage and raw onion rings on top, perhaps to lift the bun and give the sandwich more height. A small wooden stick with the word "medium" was stuck on the bun. Aside from this little piece of decor, it came with a small portion of coleslaw and a pickle slice (not even a whole pickle!!! For $80!!!).
For a moment, I almost wished I had spent more money on the combo and not the beer!
Taste-wise, the burger was juicy (a perfectly cooked medium) but I thought it had been fried and not grilled -- it was a little greasy. It was a bit bland but perked up a bit after I put some salt on it. Juice (grease?) ran down my fingers after a few bites.
However, the Tsing Tao beer was very cold and very good. The $80 burger was just so- so. BLT notwithstanding.

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